The Boys seasons 1 and 2 developed Homelander’s obsession with Madelyn Stillwell and her breast milk, and season 3 takes it in a new direction.
Even in The Boys season 3, Homelander continues to make it clear that he is still obsessed with milk. Throughout season 1, Homelander’s jealousy of Madelyn Stillwell’s infant son became increasingly clear, finally peaking in the finale. In a shocking turn of events, he kills Stillwell after confronting her about her continued dishonesty regarding his own offspring. The Boys season 2 continued this story, showing a despondent Homelander lurking around her empty office, eventually helping himself to the leftover bottle of her breastmilk he finds in her freezer.
In a show that is unafraid to have a superpowered baby lazer people to death, or a “hero” with invisibility powers using it to lurk in the women’s washroom, somehow, the scenes between Homelander and Madelyn Stillwell still standout because of their bizarre, uncomfortable nature. Homelander is a man-child with extraordinary yet dangerous powers, and Stillwell was the Vought executive tasked with keeping him under control. The latter accomplished this by appealing to his deepest desires — not for a sexual partner, but for a mother.
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Homelander’s maternal desire is most strongly illustrated in a memorable scene from The Boys season 1 in which Stillwell invites Homelander to lay his head on her lap as she imitates breastfeeding him, having him suck her fingers while she cradles him and soothingly assures him “you’re my good boy.” The dialogue and energy of the moment has an undercurrent of sexual tension — especially her seductive tone of voice, and the slow saunter of her movements — yet the act itself is limited to a mother-child pantomime. Homelander actually drinking Madelyn Stillwell’s breastmilk in The Boys season 2 is the natural continuation of this arc.
Homelander’s Milk Obsession Explained
As The Boys season 2 explores further, Homelander may be a sociopath, but he does have a genuine desire to belong to a family, and clearly has unresolved resentment toward Vought, the corporation that raised him to be their star property. Homelander was made in a lab — and unlike other heroes who were still raised in a home environment, such as Starlight, Homelander’s upbringing was at the hands of scientists trying to make him into something they could use. Because of this, The Boys season 2 sees a desperate Homelander trying to bond with his son Ryan, but he struggles to do so because he lacks the basic experience of a normal loving relationship. Madelyn offered that with her strange pseudosexual Madonna act, but — as Homelander discovered in season 1 — it was all a lie.
Homelander didn’t just kill Madelyn because she lied to him about Ryan; he killed her because she revealed to him that her maternal act toward him had been just that — an act. In the end, his obsession with watching her pump breast milk, his jealousy of her relationship with her infant son, and his actual drinking of her breastmilk were all behaviors of a frustrated, lonely man. Call it an Oedipus complex or just plain “mommy issues” — either way, Homelander is motivated to fill a void inside resultant from his unorthodox upbringing.
Homelander’s Milk Obsession Takes A New Direction In Season 3
However frustrated and unstable Homelander may have seemed before, The Boys season 3 catapults him to a new level of unhinged, bringing his milk fixation into the new season with aplomb. According to Starlight, “there’s something wrong with Homelander… something broken… he’s lost his f**king mind.” While these statements could have easily applied to Homelander in previous seasons, The Boys season 3 does seem to be reaching for yet more shock value. Foremost among this evidence is the fact that Homelander is seen milking a cow and reacting to it in either an orgasmic or appalled manner – and possibly both. This isn’t unrelated to his milk obsession of seasons 1 and 2, but it does signal a new and perhaps even more disturbing direction. Antony Starr, who plays Homelander, described the experience of milking the cow as disgusting (via CBR), but it could be that Homelander is deriving some kind of pleasure from it. Whatever the case may be, Homelander’s continuing milk obsession is still a significant component of his mental breakdown in The Boys season 3.
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About The Author
Sarah Bea Milner
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Sarah Milner is the Weekend Lead Editor for Screen Rant’s Film/Television features (SR Originals) division. She is a writer, editor, and folk musician. She often watches movies — sometimes she reviews them too.
A graduate of Trent University, Sarah’s MA thesis examines Frankenstein adaptations and their relationship with popular culture. She has a fierce love of all things “spooky,” and a deep appreciation for classic cinema.
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