What is Operation Charly in The Boys Season 3 Episode 3?

What is Operation Charly in The Boys Season 3 Episode 3?

The Boys season 3 premiere left us with extremely significant revelations and made us question what’s to come next. This was especially true for episode 3, which connects the stories of so many characters, including Grace Mallory, Soldier Boy, Black Noir, and Stan Edgar.  

In episode 3, the boys listen to the story of Operation Charly, which follows the operations of Vought back in 1984. The story sets the stage for Soldier Boy while depicting the origins of Black Noir and Stan Edgar. In fact, it also shows how M.M. got into the entire killing supes business.  

So what exactly is Operation Charly? 

Operation Charly was a 1984 mission led by the CIA to smuggle drugs into the US and use the money to buy more weapons. This mission was a joint mission between the CIA and Vought, which deployed a team of supes, including Soldier Boy, called Payback.  

Considering there are quite a few threads in this story, it might get confusing. So, let me first tell what the operation was and then individually address every associated character’s arc.  

What is Operation Charly? 

In 1984, when Grace Mallory used to work in the CIA, the US government wanted to carry out an off-the-books mission. The agent in charge was Grace. Her job was to take a troop of soldiers to smuggle drugs from the Contra Rebels into the US.  

The money would then be used to buy more weapons, which would help them defeat the Russians. The thumb rule of sales was to sell the drugs only in black neighborhoods and stay clear of the white neighborhoods.  

This operation didn’t involve just her team but a team of superheroes from Vought as well. Stan Edgar was leading this team, and it was called Payback. Payback was like The Seven of the 80s. It included numerous superheroes, including Black Noir and Soldier Boy.  

Due to a supe’s stupidity, their location is given off to the enemies, who storm into the camp along with Russian agents. The attack was so brutal that the entire camp was destroyed, killing a superhero called Swatto, critically injuring Black Noir, and apparently killing Soldier Boy. Grace also says that his body was carried away by the Russians. 

This was the entire story. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.  

Soldier Boy’s Death in Episode 3 

What is Operation Charly in The Boys Season 3 Episode 3?
Soldier Boy | Source: Fandom

The entire reason why Grace is telling this story to Billy Butcher is because of Soldier Boy. He was the invincible war hero who helped America win World War II. So, for someone so unkillable to die at the hands of Russians was unimaginable. However, we still don’t know what weapon was used by those agents.  

The weapon is what Butcher is behind because it can be found and used again to kill Homelander. In current times, he’s that unkillable supe. Butch, Queen Maeve, and perhaps many other people want him dead, and this is one way to ensure that. 

However, I do not think Soldier Boy is dead. We see him in a few shots in The Boys Season 3 trailer. He’s seen walking on roads, surrounded by buildings that look pretty modern, indicating that he’s not dead. 

We see him remove some tubes or wires from his body in another shot. He almost looks like he’s coming out of cryogenic sleep. So, either he’s been experimented on in some way by the people who took him away, or he’s a clone created from the DNA of the dead Soldier Boy.  

Black Noir’s Identity and Origins 

What is Operation Charly in The Boys Season 3 Episode 3?
Black Noir | Source: IMDb

Black Noir is perhaps the only superhero who is part of Payback and The Seven. During this mission, he has conversations with Stan Edgar about how he doesn’t want to wear the mask.  

Although Soldier Boy is the team leader, he wants to showcase his identity as well. But Edgar advises him against it because of the discrimination against people of color in the country. Nevertheless, he still decides not to wear his mask, and Edgar allows it.  

However, after the battle, we see him sitting motionless with half of his face burnt, his eyes almost popping out, and his scalp scorched. As Grace passes by him after the attack, while looking at the massacre, he tries to reach his mask.  

This explains why Noir never removes his mask and also the disfigured face we saw for a brief moment in season 2. It also shows how the character’s arc is wildly different from the one in comics.  

Marvin’s Father’s Death in The Boys 

What is Operation Charly in The Boys Season 3 Episode 3?
Marvin | Source: IMDb

We know how Mother’s Milk (MM), aka Marvin, has been with Billy Butcher for three seasons now in his hunt for superheroes. But we didn’t exactly know why he was in the middle of all this.  

Season 3, Episode 3, answers this question for us. Marvin’s father was a small-time lawyer who righteously fought for justice. He went against Vought, sued them, and fought till the very end until he died at the age of 55.  

What didn’t help his case was his color and how Vought had essentially paid off everyone involved. So, Marvin carried on his legacy until he met Billy Butcher. When Grace mentions how the smuggled drugs were being sold only in black neighborhoods, it shows how the system was always against people of color, and they never stood a chance.  

Stan Edgar’s Mission to Induct Super Soldiers into the Defense 

In the first episode, we see Stan Edgar offer a new serum called Compound V24 to a government official. This would give soldiers power for 24 hours and help the country in war. However, the amount for every vial was exorbitant, and it had negative side effects.  

He also tells how this superhero business doesn’t make sense for Vought anymore. Instead of building supes and making them join the defense forces, it’s better to give powers to soldiers who are already trained.  

One of the main reasons behind this is that creating supes is far costlier. The job becomes one of babysitting, handling egos, managing disasters, and more. This isn’t good business. However, it took Stan Edgar over 30 years to arrive at this conclusion.  

Operation Charly reveals how Stan Edgar has been trying to get Vought to work with the defense forces. It was a trial program where supes would work with the CIA operatives and soldiers on the mission to see how it went and how supes could join the forces permanently.  

What is Operation Charly in The Boys Season 3 Episode 3?
Stan Edgar | Source: IMDb

So, these are the numerous plot points and subplots going on in the current season. As we move forward, it’d be interesting to see what happens to Soldier Boy’s story, Stan Edgar’s ambition, and MM’s quest for vengeance against Vought.  

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About The Boys

The Boys is an American satirical superhero streaming television series developed by Eric Kripke for Prime Video. Based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, which was originally published by DC Comics under their Wildstorm imprint before moving to Dynamite Entertainment, it follows the eponymous team of vigilantes as they combat superpowered individuals who abuse their abilities.

The show is a satirical take on the superhero genre and showcases a world where superheroes are corporatized and controlled by companies. What happens when these superheroes step out of line and rub some boys the wrong way, is the story.