“Better Goff Dead” is the first real mission for “Project Butterfly.” This entire episodes centers around the team’s assignment to assassinate an alleged butterfly, and possibly his family, if they’re also found to be butterflies. All of this butterfly talk irritates Peacemaker, however, because Murn doesn’t trust him enough to explain what exactly they’re hunting. In learning who their target is and the potential for other casualties, his vow from The Suicide Squad returns to haunt him. “I cherish peace with all my heart. I don’t care how many men, women, and children I need to kill to get it.” Maybe this vow isn’t as cemented into his core beliefs as he portends them to be? Or could a moment in his past be the true reason for any doubt he is confronted with? Regardless, the mission must move ahead by any means necessary, which pleasantly surprises Murn.
“Best Friends, For Never” concluded with the reveal of who Peacemaker’s father, August “Auggie” Smith, truly is. After all, we were all wondering how he could have such an insane arms lab in his generic small town home. Auggie is revealed to be the White Dragon and no stranger to time spent in jail with a slew of followers of his white supremacist beliefs. James Gunn seems to have taken inspiration on Peacemaker’s father from the Crisis on Infinite Earths series, where Peacemaker was first introduced in DC Comics. Here, his father is Wolfgang Schmidt, a Nazi officer in the Nazi elite S.S. corps, who was responsible for the deaths of 50,000 innocent people. Even in other iterations of Peacemaker’s father, he was never the White Dragon. It appears James Gunn has combined Wolfgang Schmidt and William Heller, the first White Dragon who appeared in Suicide Squad #4 [DC Comics, 1987]. Heller, too, was a Nazi extremist who founded a group called the "Aryan Empire.” We get further glimpses into this aspect of Auggie’s life in Episode 4 “The Choad Less Traveled.”
Aside from the fact that this makes Auggie “not a good man,” I don’t see how this aligns with the whole “Project Butterfly” plot line. Already there have been comments about Peacemaker being deemed a racist just by the family relation he has with his father, coupled with his violent past. Does this have anything to do with two members of “Project Butterfly” being people of color? Or does Peacemaker have to apologize for his father’s racist actions? James Gunn is developing a correlating factor here that I don’t see quite just yet, but it’s bound to be made more clear in the near future. Why else would Gunn cast Robert Patrick, best known as the T-1000 from Terminator 2, if he wasn’t going to give him a significantly evil story?
“The Choad Less Traveled” continues with the backlash of Dye-Beard pinning the death of Annie Sturphausen, Peacemaker’s one night stand gone terribly wrong. This is an episode where we realize just how screwed up almost everyone on the team is. From emotional traumas to bad ideas gone awry, anything that can go wrong, almost entirely does. The finale of the episode is a major surprise and leads you to see how good Gunn is at covering his tracks when it comes to hiding a major reveal. With each passing episode, Peacemaker just gets better and better. John Cena is really getting comfortable in Peacemaker’s skin, and who can’t help but love this character? He’s rude, raucous, and tons of fun. Nothing really seems like fluff as the story rolls right along. There are 4 episodes left and I can’t wait to see how this all wraps up.
Peacemaker episodes 1-5 are available to watch now on HBO Max, with a new episode premiering every Thursday.
Ruth Kotsalos spent her Saturday mornings as a kid fully invested in Batman: The Animated Series. Since then, she has been a fan of all DC animated cartoons and movies. Ruth currently works in the nonprofit sector, has a masters degree from The New School, and lives in New Jersey with her husband John, and their German Shepherd puppy, Athena.