Okay, a show of hands: how many people were genuinely surprised Murn is actually a Butterfly? Credit to James Gunn who has been trying to deter us from this secret by making Murn seem like this hardcore, stone-cold military assassin who is trying to get in touch with a friendlier side of himself. Even with all of these subplot talks between Murn and others, something about him seemed to be a little… emotionally dead. Yes, anger and frustration were easy for him, but everything else on the spectrum of emotions looked way too weird on him. Now that we know the truth about Murn, these next couple of episodes will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see if anyone else catches on too.
The other big secret that was going on wound up coming out in the rinse when Peacemaker became aware his father was set up to take the fall for him over his one-night-stand’s death. Peacemaker hoped to clear the air with his father and even seek a semblance of fatherly love and wisdom from him. Not a chance in hell, because apparently Auggie can’t stand him and has no hesitation in destroying his son for his incarceration and a lifetime of misery. Auggie holds Peacemaker solely responsible for the death of his other son, but we haven’t been given details about this and the matter remains a mystery. This encounter with his father is only worsened by Vigilante’s idiotic actions in the previous episode, as a result of Adebayo’s meddling.
Speaking of Adebayo, if you haven’t realized already, she is running in parallel with Peacemaker, when it comes to kids with issues with their evil parents. As we learned in the premiere episode, Adebayo is Amanda Waller’s daughter. It’s not like she’s grown up in this covert ops lifestyle. She’s very much a civilian, but she has enough knowledge and experience for Waller to bring her in on Project Butterfly. No one else is aware of this, which leaves them to openly criticize Waller’s indiscretions and non-existent empathy for others. Even if Adebayo could defend Waller and explain she has been a great and supportive mother, this will not make up for even the smallest fraction of bloodshed Waller is responsible for. What will be interesting to see is whether or not Adebayo will remain loyal to her mother. Peacemaker himself is wracked with guilt, anger, frustration, and unreciprocated love for his father, who is just like Amanda Waller, only in the form of a white supremacist who fights for his own brand of evil. Adebayo and Peacemaker have to truly reckon with their generational trauma in order to come out on the other side of it as better people. The question is: are they courageous enough to do the work? We will see in the episodes to come.
"Monkey Dory” is the fifth episode of the season, and it continues with another mission for Project Butterfly. This time, the team looks into a clue from their encounter with Goff the Senator Butterfly and Judomaster. The mission of course goes comically and violently awry. We also get to see Peacemaker’s helmet in use and it’s freaking awesome! Even my initial criticism of John Cena needing to let go and become Christopher Smith/Peacemaker is dissipating. Cena’s role as Peacemaker is only upping his credibility as an actor thanks to all of the moments of internal struggle he has to work with as Peacemaker. From my work in filmmaking in a past life, it takes a great "actor’s director" to really get the best from their actors. You don’t go the extra mile for a paycheck or a gig that you know is awful. Gunn is really working with Cena in order to get him to fully grasp who Peacemaker is.
We actually see some of the best of what Peacemaker has to offer in Episode 6 “Murn After Reading.” You’ll know the scene when you see it and yes, that’s really John Cena! No hand doubles or anything like that. Honestly, that aside from his, cough, conversation, cough, with Economos in “Monkey Dory” that make my top two favorite Peacemaker scenes in the series.
Moving on, “Murn After Reading” is a HEAVY episode in that so much happens here and the story really sprints ahead in a way that surprises you. This largely is a result of either Peacemaker’s or Vigilante’s mistake (I still can’t figure out who to blame). Whose ever fault it is, of course chaos ensues and you will be left in awe of it. What else can go wrong? We’ll see next week in the penultimate episode to the season.
Peacemaker episodes 1-7 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.