John Cena’s Peacemaker was an odd but entertaining part of 2021’s The Suicide Squad. Apparently writer/director James Gunn thought so too, creating a spinoff series for the character, despite his apparent death near the end of the movie. Now back and with a team of misfits on a special mission we’re learning very little about, Peacemaker is out of his depth and flailing around in “Best Friends for Never,” his show’s second episode.
Last episode ended with Peacemaker’s one-night stand taking a very unexpected turn, and now he has to escape from the aftermath. As he runs back to the apartment where his night went off the rails, he calls Harcourt for help. From the contact on her phone to the way the conversation goes, we can tell she really has no respect or affection for the lead character at all, but she’s determined to do her duty. After a lovely view, she sprints for Adebayo’s apartment, yelling at her that she needs to drive as they go save Peacemaker. There are a lot of scenes cutting back and forth between Harcourt and Adebayo driving, and Peacemaker making one of the least efficient escapes of all time. There is some petty thievery, a brief hostage session with a couple that clearly has issues, some hide and seek with cops, and a demonstration of how skilled Harcourt is before they finally manage to get away, even bringing Eagly with them.
At the team’s temporary base, Murn and Economos are taking steps to cover Peacemaker’s far-from-subtle tracks, although Economos makes some really questionable choices. Some of the cops, familiar from the series’ very memorable opening credits, drop by on Peacemaker’s father, and that goes poorly. Augie, Peacemaker’s father, is a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work. The team’s after-action meeting covers a variety of topics, including a potential mole on the team, Bat-Mite, comparing resumes, and the death of Rick Flag. Murn keeps berating Peacemaker for endangering the mission, and while the idiot in question made a lot of bad choices, he reasonably enough points out that he (and we the audience) doesn’t even know what the mission is. After some failed Charades, Adebayo gets a new assignment as everyone breaks up for the night.
With the meeting over, Peacemaker returns to his garish home and has a small breakdown. In the midst of that, he gets interrupted by Vigilante, who the cops mentioned earlier. Visually, this character is based loosely on the second DC Comics character to use that codename, but aside from that, it’s very much a… unique… interpretation. Peacemaker and Vigilante have an odd conversation, even by the standards of this show, while Adebayo pays a call on some people we saw before and shows that, whatever her skills are, this isn’t among them.
Vigilante and Peacemaker continue to talk about a lot of different things, and we learn that, if nothing else, Vigilante at least has a fair amount of self-awareness. After more weirdness at Peacemaker’s place, the two adjourn to the woods for target practice and show off an impressive variety of weaponry and an utter disregard for their own, and each other’s, safety. Either Adebayo steered some potential witnesses in a particular direction or there’s some weird coincidence going as the police do their investigation and get steered towards a familiar face as the main suspect.
There is a series of small wrap-up scenes to round out the episode. Adebayo, clearly reflecting on an earlier conversation with Harcourt, has a talk with her wife, and that doesn’t go well. Peacemaker enjoys another hook up, part of which I expected, some of which I very much didn’t. In the afterglow, he toys with one of his souvenirs from earlier and gets a big surprise, as does his company. And the last thing we see is that there’s a lot more to one of the characters than we first suspected, none of it good. It’s enough to trouble one of the cops observing the interactions.
What I liked: This show is a mess, but it’s so much fun to watch. The remarkably dysfunctional team is getting some depth, and they’re very entertaining. John Cena is great at physical comedy, and not afraid to make himself look like an idiot. I’m intrigued by the mission, although it’s still remarkably vague. It’s interesting to hear Bat-Mite exists in this world. The show certainly goes places most wouldn’t dream of. The hostages made for some good comic relief. I’d definitely like to see more of Agent Harcourt. Augie, Peacemaker’s father, is coming into (very sinister) focus.
What I didn’t: Ok, yes, in some ways I’m a comic book geek and purist. If you’re going to have a character be nothing like their usual version, why use the name and appearance?
This review is shorter than many. That’s not at all a comment on the show. Between action sequences and physical comedy, I both didn’t want to spoil it and wasn’t sure it would translate well to written word.
I’m having a lot more fun than I thought I would with this show. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5, and am looking forward to when I can manage to see the next episode.