The Following Recap/Review Contains Spoilers for Episode 6 of ‘Peacemaker’. For a review of Episode 5, click here.
Peacemaker’s sixth episode, titled ‘Murn After Reading’, is the best episode of the series to date. Following last weeks team oriented episode, which saw a gorilla get hacked with a chainsaw and Economos and Smith reaching a mutual respect, episode 6 begins things with a some instant follow up. Last weeks episode ended with an intense cliffhanger, which saw Adebayo discovering Murn was a butterfly. Running in fear, Adebayo is pushed down by Murn.
Just when it looks like things might be over for Adebayo, Harcourt shows up. Rather than an intense fight or confrontation, Peacemaker subverts expectations with a casual conversation. Harcourt, unfazed by the standoff, instead helps Adebayo up form the ground, annoyed that she too knows that Murn is a butterfly. Returning to the office, the three discuss what this means for the group. At this point in the episode, Murn’s true intentions are finally revealed. Chukwudi Iwuji gets to really show his prowess as an actor in this opening scene. With Adebayo weary of Murn’s intentions, he opens up to her and Harcourt.
Murn explains that the butterflies, who had to leave their dying planet, took refuge on Earth. Some of the butterflies, led by the female butterfly known as Goff (the senator, now kept in a jar by Peacemaker) decided they want to take control of the planet, through means of leeching off powerful figures. Politicians, celebrities, and other types of people have been slowly inhabited by different butterflies.
When confronted by Adebayo with the fact that this butterfly leeched someone too, Murn becomes personal. His need for a bad person to occupy to stop Goff sent him to Murn. James Gunn’s writing helps to humanize even the worst of characters. Clemson Murn, a character who at this point, has only been known for ruthlessness, shows vulnerability. The butterfly, who has access to Clemson’s memories and innermost thoughts, tells Adebayo that Murn had the ability to become a better person. If even someone as terrible as him could be redeemed, humanity is worth preserving. It’s a beautiful moment that helps to ease tensions and get the audience on the side of Murn.
Following the best theme song in television at the moment, We get an opportunity to see Peacemaker in a new environment. As a favor to janitor Jamil and his daughter, Peacemaker shows up to a school for show and tell, answering students questions. It’s a peek into the larger DCEU through the lens of children, and Peacemaker’s disdain for real superheroes is shown even further. The comedy in the show continues to leave its mark as one of the best parts of the show.
However, things take a dark turn when one child asks Peacemaker if he has an origin story. Recalling the dark memories teased in episode 4, Peacemaker falters for a moment, still troubled by his past. However, Peacemaker seems to assimilating back into society well enough, ignorant to the troubles brewing around him.
Things start taking a dark turn, with Sophie Song releasing Auggie Smith from prison. Sophie and the rest of the police department ready up, Intent on arresting Peacemaker to get answers. Meanwhile Auggie, now a free man again, has also come to a conclusion of sorts: he has to kill his son. Robert Patrick plays his role as an absolutely terrible father to perfection. Patrick uses certain subtleties as an actor to give off the feeling of a character with so much hate in him. While this is happening, Peacemaker and Vigilante make the discovery that Goff is trying to communicate with them.
While playing a hilarious game of 20 questions with Goff, Peacemaker’s trailer is quickly surrounded. Warned by Murn over phone at the last second, Peacemaker and Vigilante make a quick escape through the roof window. What follows is one of the most hilarious and intense scenes in the show.
Peacemaker and Vigilante lose Goff in their escape, who quickly flies into Sophie Song’s mouth, taking over her body. It’s a sad moment thats quickly overshadowed by the police giving chase to P and V while Sophie convulses on the ground. In a hilariously choreographed scene, Eagly cements his role as Peacemaker’s best friend and sidekick. Taking out multiple officers for Peacemaker, the trio are nearly caught, until Murn’s friend Locke saves them.
Locke, played by Christopher Heyerdahl, is a menacing and hilarious character. He executes innocent police without a second thought, and his demeanor while doing so is menacing. Each character has their moment to shine, thanks to some excellent writing on James Gunn’s part. Moreover, these cruel and chilling scenes aren’t pointless; rather, they serve to develop our characters. In the case of Locke executing innocents, it’s Peacemaker doubting his role in project butterfly, and his ability to kill at all.
As tensions rise in Project Butterfly over Murn’s relationship with Locke, and Goff now using Sophie’s body, things couldn’t get more serious in Peacemaker. Chris has become tired of all the team secrets. The team dynamic feels natural, especially in conflict. Meanwhile, Annie Chang as Goff is on an entirely different level than when she was Detective Song. Her callousness and ominous call for backup is menacing.
This all culminates in a terrifying ending. Set to the song ‘Monster’ by Reckless Love, Peacemaker continues have terrific editing as Goff brings an army of butterflies to consume the police department. This is intercut with Auggie Smith armoring up as the White Dragon, surrounded by White supremacists. Seeing bodies convulse as butterflies overcome them to this hard metal song, while they slowly transform was terrifying and awesome at the same time.
Peacemaker, meanwhile, bonds with Harcourt, as he reveals his new hesitancy to kill. Peacemaker continues to struggle with his identity, and this development couldn’t come at a worse time for the character. With all of his enemies, ranging from the butterflies to his father, beginning to close in on him, the audience really begins to feel for the character. The episode culminates in a moment where Chris, alone with his thoughts, plays the piano contemplatively. Cena continues to show us throughout this shows first season he is a fantastic actor, and this episode of Peacemaker is undoubtedly the best so far because of it.
Overall, the sixth episode of Peacemaker has the perfect balance of amazing performances, character work, humor, and action. James Gunn puts it all on the line, with excellent writing and direction that ends the episode on an explosive note. Something that will reverberate into the shows remaining two episodes. – Ernesto Valenzuela
RATING – 9.5/10
Peacemaker Airs New Episodes Every Thursday on HBO Max
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