Peacemaker: Murn After Reading

No, I swear! I wasn’t looking at porn on my work computer!

The entertainingly demented Peacemaker series continues to prove surprising on several levels. I wasn’t sure if I’d like this one or not, despite some talent behind it that I tend to enjoy (Janes Gunn, John Cena). Between the absurdism that’s hitting a lot of good notes and the interesting underlying story, I’m a lot more engaged than I thought I would be with this. Last episode ended with a big reveal about a major character. Now, we learn a lot more about that and the butterfly plot moves forward in “Murn After Reading.”

Last time, as the episode wrapped up, Adebayo found out that Murn, the team leader, is actually one of the butterflies the team is hunting. There were a lot of ways that could have gone, but what happens is actually a fairly rational discussion (after a few fearful moments) about exactly who and what Murn is. This answered a few questions, and left me with a few more, but what they revealed made sense. It also took a look at what seemed at the time like a low comedy moment a few episodes ago and made it make a lot more sense. Adebayo gets a few questions answered, and we learn about something else before the very memorable opening sequence. After that, we see that Jamil the Janitor, who we met briefly in the first episode, has asked Peacemaker for a favor. In my view, this shows that both Jamil and Peacemaker have really bad judgement, but the scene didn’t go as badly as it could have, and gave us another flashback to the death of Peacemaker’s brother. I suspect we’ll finally get more information on what actually happened there in the final episode.

Speaking of Peacemaker’s family, Augie gets released from prison and rattles off a simple to-do list. Captain Locke, Murn’s inside man at the department, isn’t at all happy that Detective Song has been taking action without his knowledge. He stalks off, fuming, as Song briefs the cops on their new mission: taking down Peacemaker. Peacemaker himself is at home with his odd collection of… pets isn’t quite the right word for it, but it’ll do. Adebayo tries to come to terms with what she’s learned, gets some help from Harcourt, and an utter lack of anything useful from Economos. Between them, the team gets an idea or two about what to do next, and Adebayo gets a message she’s going to have to deal with later.

While Song gives some last-minute instructions to her team, Vigilante drops in on Peacemaker. Weirdly, while he was being so paranoid about being unmasked before, Vigilante is now wandering around in daylight in full costume with the mask off. There’s more of their really weird banter, and then the butterfly Peacemaker has been keeping does something really surprising. As the police roll out and Locke calls Murn with a warning, Peacemaker comes up with a way to get some information from the butterfly (which really does look more like a mantis). It’s a simple system, but Vigilante, true to form, can’t quite seem to grasp it.

Of all people, Economos manages to solve a communications problem (really, someone else should have thought of this earlier), and Peacemaker and Vigilante get a barely-in-time warning about the cops surrounding the place. Peacemaker, Vigilante, and Eagly barely manage an escape, but due to two separate but dumb actions, Vigilante lets the butterfly escape. What happens next is unexpected and changes things a lot for a supporting character. Peacemaker and Vigilante make a break for freedom, pursued by an improbable amount of cops, and get some help with their escape from one expected source and one surprising one. Things change a bit among the cops hunting them, and, in part, we get a wonderful line about “Peacemaker and the buffoon.” This particular Vigilante really does seem useless for anything outside of combat.

On the run, there’s a misunderstanding about phones and the cloud before Peacemaker finally makes contact with the team. Back in Peacemaker’s trailer (I guess he really can’t go home again), there are assorted odd developments with both Song and Locke, for very different reasons. Murn comes out of his office, asking about Peacemaker’s diary, which Adebayo flinches about, but Murn’s questions get derailed when a very angry Peacemaker arrives, Vigilante in tow. There are some partial reveals, which mostly highlight how much this team isn’t trusting each other, and Peacemaker actually makes some good points in the discussion. Peacemaker surprises Murn with part of his report about the raid, and Economos makes an important discovery.

Fitzgibbons, Song’s sidekick, continues to have a very surreal day as we see, among other things, a computer upgrade that has the machine working in something that almost looks like Interlac, the language used by the Legion of Super Heroes. There’s already been a mention of one Legionnaire on the show, so it’s at least possible. Economos walks the team through his discovery, and the beginnings of a plan come together, although Peacemaker is aware he’s being kept in the dark about a few things. Song makes some preparations for her newest mission in life, while Augie Smith enjoys a few things at home before getting down to business. While Augie suits up and Song leads something horrific, Adebayo gets a few moments with her wife. They discuss options, and really, how screwed up does your life have to be when going to Gotham City sounds like a better plan? If I lived in the DCU, that’s the last place in the world I’d make my home.

The last few bits of the episode give us a nice moment between Peacemaker and Harcourt, an unexpected but touching musical number (with the actor in question actually playing the instrument, which is impressive), and a press conference that surprises several different people, all for different reasons. Things are getting harder and harder for the team. Well, mostly for Peacemaker. Everyone else could probably walk away at this point and be ok, but they are either too dedicated or dumb to do so. Then again, the enemy gained some valuable intel this episode, so maybe not.

What I liked: The Adebayo/Murn/Harcourt conversation near the beginning of the episode filled in a few blanks. The musical number was nice, and I liked the scene with Harcourt and Peacemaker. I don’t like Augie Smith at all, but the costume they are giving him is a near perfect representation from the comics. Eagly was impressive this episode. I’m glad Peacemaker was smart enough to notice the team is keeping things from him.

What I didn’t: When there’s not actual combat going on, Vigilante needs to get kept in a box or a straightjacket or something. He’s really amazingly dumb. I don’t like what happened to Song or what she did afterwards, although it wasn’t her fault. I thought I knew what was going on with Locke, but clearly I was wrong. The press conference near the end is going to make things really rough on the team, and I don’t like that Adebayo is playing secret agent.

This was demented fun. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5. I’m really curious as to what the original version of the diary was about, and what, exactly, Adebayo’s mission is here. Hopefully, we’ll find out in the next two episodes.

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