As season 2 of The Boys progresses, Butcher (Karl Urban) and Hughie’s relationship turns hostile and even violent, as Hughie (Jack Quaid) realizes that this man is not his friend.
The turning point comes when Hughie is seriously injured by a super. After treating Hughie so coldly all season, Butcher’s emotions suddenly take over.
Along with Starlight (Erin Moriarty), Butcher goes to extreme measures to ensure that Hughie receives medical help. It’s a historical scene that completely changes the dynamic between Butcher and his young protégé.
The Boys later reveal, through Butcher’s aunt (Karl Urban), that the specter of a long-dead brother could be behind his affection for Hughie (Jack Quaid).
If Butcher learns to accept Hughie, he becomes close to Ryan too. Despite his cluttering habit, Butcher embraces Hughie as part of his family, a sort of brother in The Boys.
And while Ryan also threatens to ruin Butcher’s plan to free Becca (Shantel VanSanten), the eloquent Brit finally takes the child to his heart, taking the position of a surrogate father.
The parallelism between Hughie and Ryan explains a large part of Billy Butcher’s character development in season 2 of The Boys. At first, Butcher has no priority other than Becca.
In the end, Butcher sees a brother in Hughie and a son in Ryan. But if Hughie hadn’t rebuilt his relationship with Butcher by nearly dying, would the unconventional protagonist have decided to save Ryan in the end or would he have gone ahead with betraying him in The Boys?