The Following Recap/Review Contains Spoilers for Episode 7 of ‘Peacemaker’. For a review of Episode 6, click here.
Stop Dragon My Heart Around is the penultimate episode of Peacemaker, directed by Brad Anderson. This episode is filled with emotional heft and action, and that’s no surprise considering that every episode of Peacemaker thus far has had more or less the same type of balance. James Gunn’s writing for the show’s first season has thus far been incredible. All the tension, group dynamics, and ominous flashbacks have been built up to have an incredible payoff in this week’s episode.
The opening scene this week is the long-awaited flashback that’s been teased. There have been glimpses of it throughout the last couple of episodes, but this week we finally get the full story. Chris and his brother Keith, bonding over their love of metal and rock music, have a nice moment before their brought out by their father, forced to fight each other in a pit, as their father eggs them on.
As Auggie Smith berates his own two sons and provokes them to fight, Chris unintentionally lands a deadly blow. His older brother, foaming at the mouth and convulsing, dies. Auggie berates Chris, saying he killed his brother. The flashback is emotionally taxing for viewers and Chris. This scene immediately transitions to the present day, with Chris having a breakdown in the bathroom as the television in the other room reports about him.
From this point, the image of the Peacemaker crying cuts, transitioning to the theme song. It’s a jarring and troubling transition, and that is no doubt the intention of the editing. The whole episode feels uneasy. Peacemaker has been building to the conflict between both Peacemaker and the Butterflies, and Peacemaker with his father. Now that it’s finally here, things haven’t felt more dangerous for Chris. Intense and angry, Chris leaves with Adrian and Economos. Peacemaker chooses to leave without the team to kill the cow.
Because of this, Harcourt, Adebayo, and Murn are left alone. Project Butterfly has been separated. This couldn’t have come at a worse time for them. With all the walls closing in on them, Harcourt confronts Adebayo. By this point, she’s figured out that Adebayo planted the diary. It’s the first of many cathartic confrontations in the episode. The two characters air out their frustrations with each other. Brooks and Holland give this scene their all. It’s something that’s uninterrupted by a more tragic development.
The butterflies, now having access to Captain Locke’s memories, ambush the location they’re staying at. Murn distracts the butterflies, encouraging Harcourt and Adebayo to finish what they started. Murn is eventually overpowered and killed. It’s a tragic moment in the episode. Moreover, Chukwudi makes the most of his final scene as Murn. It’s a sad departure.
Peacemaker, unknowingly being tracked by The White Dragon, gets ambushed in an equally emotional scene. White Dragon and Peacemaker have their standoff that has been building up all season. Vigilante and Economos do their best to help Peacemaker. However, in the end, Auggie is clearly Chris’ biggest demon that he needs to deal with. Alone. The confrontation drags out for most of the episode, cut in between that and an odd Judomaster subplot.
The pacing of this episode isn’t as consistent as previous ones, but the premise is still nonetheless captivating. We get to see some expertly choreographed action. Specifically, Harcourt takes on Judomaster in a satisfying one on one fight. Eventually, after some assistance from Vigilante and Economos, Peacemaker is face to face with his dad in a depowered White Dragon suit. The two are finally on an even playing field.
Cena puts some truly raw emotion on display when lashing out at his “father”. Robert Patrick helps to carry some of the weight of the scene, too. He puts on an absolutely terrifying and heart-wrenching performance. The way in which he berates his own son is sad to see. Moreover, Cena as Chris finally lashes out and uses all the pent-up anger and resentment he has for his father. Rightly deserved and a satisfying scene to watch.
Eventually, this confrontation ends the only way it can: with Peacemaker killing his father. In the middle of his father berating him once again, Chris finally pulls the trigger, ending his father’s life.
The scene is absolutely heartbreaking, as we see Peacemaker at his absolute lowest. James Gunn and episode director Brad Anderson work in tandem as writer and director to craft a truly satisfying ending to this sick relationship between father and son. With Eagly injured in the scuffle, they take him to the vet, where Adebayo and Harcourt meet up with them.
With almost every member of the team discourage and at their lowest, they find a new leader. Jennifer Holland shows a new side to Harcourt, stepping up and providing leadership with Murn gone. While the sense of belonging and family might not be there for Peacemaker anymore, he still decides to step up. The rest of the team does too, in yet another incredible slo-mo walk, Eagly included.
Overall, this sixth episode of Peacemaker, while containing some pacing issues, still makes for a fantastic penultimate episode. Everything has been set up for one final confrontation with the butterflies, and the reveal of a monstrous and gigantic “cow” leech-like creature leaves viewers excited. The Finale for Peacemaker is sure to be something special. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Rating – 8.5/10
Peacemaker Airs New Episodes Every Thursday on HBO Max
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