Why is Billy Butcher dying in The Boys?

Christopher Baggett
Karl Urban as Butcher in The Boys

Season 4 of The Boys opens with Billy Butcher in one hell of a pickle: he’s dying. So, how long does he have left, and what caused this?

The Boys has never been a superhero show about happy endings and rosy outlooks, but it’s been particularly cruel to Butcher. He started the series seemingly hunting Supes out of necessity, but they’ve slowly taken everything from him and pushed him over the edge.

Now Butcher’s more unhinged than ever, as he’s got a death sentence at the start of Season 4. And rather than just run down the clock, Butcher is hellbent on taking every Supe down with him.

The Boys Season 4 is now in full swing, but for fans just catching up, here’s what’s happening with Billy Butcher.

What’s wrong with Billy Butcher?

In The Boys Season 4, Billy Butcher is dying from a massive brain tumor that is the result of using Temp-V.

The temporary version of Compound V was introduced in The Boys Season 3 as a means of levelling the playing field, giving Butcher and Hughie powers on par with Homelander and the other Supes, but only for 24 hours.

But, Temp-V is unstable, and there’s a reason Vought hasn’t put it into production. It’s incredibly rough on the body, with Butcher and Hughie both going through withdrawal symptoms after using it.

It’s said in Season 3 that three to five doses of Temp-V are fatal to the user. Sure enough, after six doses, Butcher is told he has brain tumors that will ultimately end his life.

So far this season, we’ve seen Butcher coughing, passing out, and to put it simply, losing his mind. In one of The Boys Season 4’s most shocking moments, in Episode 6, it was revealed that Joe Kessler is a figment of Butcher’s imagination.

How long does he have to live?

Butcher has about six months to live at the start of Season 4.

When he first learns of the tumors in Season 3, he’s told he has 12-18 months to live. When Season 4 begins and Homelander learns of the tumor, he comments that Butcher has about six months to live.

Can Butcher be cured?

Butche does not seem to have a cure for his tumors. But, that’s not to say the weird world of The Boys won’t offer some solutions.

There are quite a few incredibly weird healing solutions we’ve already seen in The Boys. In Season 4 alone, we’ve already seen Kimiko regrow an arm and reattach her face. There’s also Victoria Neuman, who is seemingly invulnerable.

It’s not a huge leap to assume something can save Butcher, either by killing the tumor or boosting his powers. But as it stands right now, Butcher’s condition is decidedly fatal.

There are plenty of The Boys theories out there, but the fact Butcher might be a Supe is the most convincing hint he’ll end up surviving.

New episodes of The Boys Season 4 premiere on Thursdays on Prime Video. If you can’t wait, check out our ranking of The Boys seasons. Or read about the best new movies on streaming and the best new shows on streaming this month.

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