Peacemaker’s first season is almost over. We’ve learned about the threat of the alien butterfly invasion, seen the really weird dynamics of this not-quite-a-team, and gotten some insights into at least some of the characters. Now things are building up to the final confrontation, and it’s getting ugly. We lose at least one character, and see several factions after Peacemaker and the group he’s with. Because of the way the episode is structured, there will be a few mild spoilers below. Be warned before you “Stop Dragon My Heart Around.” The title is not just a pun, as they tend to be, but a nod to the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks song from the 80’s.
Near the end of last episode, Peacemaker played a song on the piano, which was an oddly quiet moment for the show and showed off John Cena’s real life musical talent. Now, that song takes on a lot more meaning as we see the tie it has to his past, and finally see the details of how Keith, Peacemaker’s brother, died. As you might expect, it’s Augie’s fault, and Peacemaker, then just Chris, was blamed for it. Vigilante comes to check on him, they argue about the taxonomy of butterflies, notice their prisoner has escaped once again, and decide to try and complete their mission before the forces ranged against them manage to capture and/or kill them. Probably kill them. And Peacemaker and company don’t even know yet that his father, now armored up as White Dragon, is leading a collection of white supremacists to hunt them down. While Augie Smith is a hate-filled creature who probably doesn’t need much of an excuse, that particular problem is actually Economos’ fault. Peacemaker, justifiably mad at this point, blames some of his problem on Adebayo, and manages to persuade Economos to come along on this potential suicide run.
Also maddened, Harcourt goes to Adebayo’s room and rages at her about betraying Peacemaker with the false dairy. Harcourt leans some surprising things about Adebayo, and then their argument gets interrupted by Murn warning them that they’ve been blown, pointing at the news conference and explaining. He tells them to stop arguing and get moving, and this is one of the few flaws with the episode. At least two of them are experience operatives, they know enemies are coming, and they stop to pack and get their roller luggage? This a grab weapons and go situation, not prep your carry-on bags. Some kids get a scare at a convenience store and do some really stupid things, which will come back on them soon. Harcourt, trying to salvage something from this mess, calls Peacemaker but gets his voicemail. Even the man’s greeting is weird. Peacemaker, Vigilante, and Economos are going down the road and once again rocking out, although there’s some debate about the timing of that. They more or less come together and get focused on their objective when White Dragon attacks, and he’s come prepared for a fight. The ambush gets blunted somewhat by Vigilante’s quick return fire, although this is followed by a slightly unclear piece of action. The team gets split at this point, with Vigilante looking the worse for wear and a stunned Peacemaker and terrified Economos running through the woods. Vigilante commandeers some transportation while Economos asks a good question and Peacemaker figures something out.
The punk kids we saw earlier get their payback for their earlier stupidity, and a very violent man gets a surprising show of appreciation. At the motel, the corrupted cops arrive, and the team gets caught by surprise because, as I said above, they stupidly stayed to pack. To paraphrase a comedy series I enjoy, this was “because the scene needs to happen.” Harcourt and Adebayo come together, but Murn gets taken down, as does his passenger. The cops take off, a bit surprised by something they learned about Murn, and Harcourt starts showing more feelings that she has tended to up to this point. Not even given time to process events, Harcourt and Adebayo get jumped by Judomaster, who, by the way, is most definitely not using Judo for most of his fighting. Harcourt shows she’s quite skilled, and then we see the value of teamwork. Out in the woods, Economos gets another great line when Peacemaker is surprised by something, and the racist thugs run across what seems to be James Gunn’s signature animal at this point.
Vigilante has some driving difficulties, but Peacemaker and Ecomos (and Eagly) manage to find him. They make a run for it, but once again, Vigilante’s attempts to help go awry. After some oddness with Economos and Eagly, Peacemaker tries to fix the newest problem, but ends up recreating one of the first scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. A huge fight ensues, with a lot of injuries on both sides, but the day is saved by a combination of Economos’ unique panic fighting and something Vigilante noted in a previous episode. After a very emotional confrontation, Peacemaker manages to close the door on an important chapter of his past. In the emotional aftermath, Vigilante once again shows his utter inability to read, or handle, other people’s feelings. Even Economos comments on it, and he’s not exactly the most stable or well-adjusted of people. Adebayo and Harcourt do some more talking and try and figure out Adebayo’s complicated past and what they should do next. Things finally start looking up when Harcourt gets a call from the other group.
The team reunites in a somewhat strange place, but it makes sense given some of the injuries sustained. Vigilante continues to be really weird and casually homicidal, leaving most of the rest of the team puzzled at best. Adebayo steps away to call her wife, and sees something that both ties back to a previous episode and gives her some sense that she’s possibly meant to be here after all. This echoes some comments earlier from Harcourt. Finally, the team comes together again, decides on a new leader, and lays out what they have of a plan. It’s not great, but it’s the best they can do, with a big deadline tacked on just to ratchet up the tension. There’s an interesting bit with some of the background characters for this scene that was entertaining. We also hear more oddness from Vigilante, this time about the end of a classic movie. As the team goes over what they need to do, we see the bad guys getting set to accomplish their own task, and things aren’t looking great. The last episode is going to be interesting, that’s for sure.
What I liked: They do a few nice nods to events from earlier in the series and tie them together well. Economos does seem to have an effective, if unusual, fighting style. While Augie Smith is a loathsome character, he’s remarkably consistent. I really wonder where he got his tech from, and if this episode is going to cause Peacemaker some supply issues going forward. I liked the developments with Harcourt and Adebayo. The team is starting to gel, almost in spite of themselves.
What I didn’t: As mentioned above, there was a bit in the Vigilante vs. White Dragon fight that really didn’t track. Judomaster seems to serve no purpose aside from ultra-violence framed as comic relief. The idea the team is operating on to end this threat doesn’t really make sense given what we saw on one of the computer monitors earlier in the series.
This was another bit of goofy fun. They’ve got a lot in motion for the finale. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. The conclusion should be a hell of a mess.