The Following Recap/Review Contains Spoilers for Episode 5 of ‘Peacemaker’. For a review of Episode 4, click here.
Following the extremely emotional and shocking ending of episode 4, Peacemaker returns this week with an action-packed fifth episode. After having a somewhat independent fourth episode that saw each character more or less going their own way, episode 5 does the opposite. Titled ‘Monkey Dory’ and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez, this James Gunn written episode is all about the team. Their dynamics and chemistry with each other is the focal point of the episode. Moreover, this focus on the characters as a team works so well.
After Chris recovers from his emotional night, Project Butterfly reconvenes to discuss the nature of these “butterflies”. This scene not only highlights the comedic timing of Cena as Peacemaker and Agee as Economos but also is a great exposition tool to explain the butterflies. Nothing feels forced. As Murn narrates a hilariously made powerpoint courtesy of Economos, tensions boil over between Agee’s character and Peacemaker. Angered at Economos for putting his father in prison, he berates “Dye-beard” and his humorously made powerpoint. Economos and Peacemaker haven’t had the time to really develop their relationship so far. Luckily, this episode does wonders for that dynamic within the team.
Peacemaker brilliantly balances different subplots, and it’s more evident than ever in this episode. Adebayo is shown to be struggling with project Butterfly in her own way. While she shows herself as open to the team, her darker secret connections to Waller slowly weigh her down. A small scene which shows her brushing off her wife to go straight to work speaks volumes to how her time with project butterfly has already changed her. For this show, it’s the little things.
Now that project Butterfly (and the audience) knows that a butterfly can enhance the strength of a human after entering through the ear or mouth (or butt, as shown in Economos funny powerpoint), their objective is clear. Investigate a production plant that may be butterfly compromised, and what also may be responsible for their food production. With a new mission, Project Butterfly takes off in their van to investigate the situation. What follows is another team bonding moment, in which Peacemaker tries to decide on what song to listen to on their way to their mission. Economos and Peacemaker get a bonding moment, in which they grow closer over their mutual admiration for ‘Hanoi Rocks’.
Although Peacemaker may be projecting some frustrations with his father onto Economos, he still allows himself to be vulnerable once he finds a way to relate with someone. Upon arrival to the location, Harcourt takes point and is unfortunately forced to be paired with Vigilante, after losing rock, paper, scissors to Adebayo. What follows is one of the most intense and hilarious action scenes of the series.
Peacemaker embraces its inner John Carpenter, as Peacemaker equips a new x-ray helmet that helps to identify butterflies from the humans. Armed with a shotgun, Peacemaker tears his way through unsuspecting invaders. Add to the fact that Roddy Piper, a former wrestler turned actor, does nearly the exact same thing in Carpenter’s film They Live, and you have a hell of a homage. During this madness, Murn stays behind to deal with the White Dragon ordeal from last week’s episode.
After the intense cliffhanger, which showed us that Murn is a butterfly, audiences were eager to see what came next for his character. What follows was an unexpected sort of development for Murn. Rather than address the fact that he’s a butterfly immediately, the episode barely touches on it. Rather, we see Murn bring up a shady associate from his past to discuss covering up the Economos frame job. Murn is ridiculed by his associate (Christopher Heyerdahl) ridicules him for having gone soft. Murn merely replies that he’s trying to do better. It’s an interesting introspective look at the mercenary turned butterfly.
Tied in with this White Dragon conspiracy is detective Sophie Song (Annie Chang), who has been on Peacemaker’s trail since episode 2. Her Jim Gordon-esque character played in a straight-laced way that you can’t help but root for. Her determination to get to the bottom of the situation is played seriously and in an intense manner that’s a good departure for the rest of the show. She’s onto Peacemaker, and there isn’t much that Murn can do about it.
Going back to the production plant, Peacemaker and the rest of the team have their hands full. Vigilante and Harcourt are ambushed by a mysteriously powerful assailant. Peacemaker and Adebayo, desperate to come to their assistance, use a grenade attached to a Russian tank shell (of Peacemaker’s own invention) to take out a horde of butterflies. While the last episode may have been short on action, episode 5 delivers on the goods, and then some. Upon investigating what the butterflies call their “guardian angel”, Peacemaker discovers it’s a gorilla. The humorous and intense action scene finds Peacemaker at his seemingly insure demise by the gorilla.
That is, until Economos comes to his rescue with a chainsaw, killing Charlie the Gorilla.
In a powerfully emotional bonding scene, Economos, covered in blood, offers Peacemaker his hand to help him up. Finally learning to respect Economos as a person, he acknowledges him by his real name, and not dye-beard. Following the successful mission, Peacemaker and co. celebrate on the way back by listening to ’11th Street Kids’. It’s a heartwarming moment captured by Harcourt, who takes a picture and adds them all to a group chat named after the song. The team’s shown to finally start growing fond of each other and really feeling like a unit that can rely on each other.
This heartwarming moment’s cut short by Adebayo. On orders from Waller, she plants a journal on a finally trusting Peacemaker. It’s a sad moment, setting up future conflict for the team. Peacemaker decides to follow up on a cliffhanger with another. Ending the episode by having Adebayo discover Murn is a butterfly. He chases her down, ending the episode. Overall, this week’s episode balances plot points well enough, but another immediate cliffhanger after last week is a bit tiresome. It’s still an exciting development and sets up the remaining episodes of Peacemaker to have some exciting resolutions. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 8.5/10
Peacemaker Airs New Episodes on HBO Max Every Thursday