DC’s Peacemaker: The Choad Less Traveled (Episode 4) Review
With its latest episode, Peacemaker tones down the action to focus more on its characters, mainly its titular anti-hero, and create more intrigue around its central mysteries.
Peacemaker has excellently introduced James Gunn’s elevated, signature comedic style and some intriguing themes about toxic masculinity stemming from Peacemaker’s (John Cena) upbringing with his racist, hyper-masculine father Auggie (Robert Patrick). With this episode, some of the more comedic elements persist as Economos’ (Steve Agee) cockiness about defeating Judomaster (Nhut Lee) comes to hilariously bite him in the ass and Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) continues to be an absolute joy. It’s pretty funny to watch Peacemaker flip out at his teammates for them locking Augie up and it’s even better to watch a disgruntled Murns (Chukwudi Iwuji) get frustrated at his dysfunctional team. The comedy is a little more toned down though and Peacemaker’s more personal story and themes are deeper explored.
It’s been great to see Peacemaker’s view of the world and immature masculine demeanor be challenged and cause him to think deeper about himself. This episode goes even further with Peacemaker’s relationship with Auggie being the focal point and it brings out some interesting origins for Peacemaker that will be great to see explored further. Even though Auggie’s racism and evil past are clear to pretty much everyone else, Peacemaker has a tough time dealing with it since, after all, this is his father. Even though what Leota (Danielle Brooks) and Vigilante say about Auggie and his villain persona, the White Dragon, are true, it’s not that cut and dry for Peacemaker and this episode captures the struggles in dealing with familial racism with genuine maturity and honesty.
Peacemaker coming to grips with who his father really is can absolutely sting at times because of how real this realization is. Although Peacemaker does try to deflect past the truth about Auggie, it’s easy to see that he knows the truth and the speech that Leota has about how people with their own family’s flaws is an honest, underdiscussed truth about our lives. Even when people close to you that are even family say or believe something awful, it’s not easy to instantly cut them off and rather we try to see the good in them to look past the bad. This isn’t the case for Auggie, who’s only growing his white supremacist army while in prison, and Peacemaker slowly realizing this is surprising emotional.
It’s actually crushing to see him crave the answers about what his father did to him growing up and how it led to his brother’s death. We’ll likely know more about what happened soon based on some flashbacks, but even for how Peacemaker’s immaturity and offensiveness, it’s truly sad to see him hit such a low. Both Cena and Gunn’s writing work excellently to make another drunken music sequence hit you right in the heart and the tears that flowed from Cena cut deep. It’s an incredibly relevant personal story about confronting your upbringing and who you are that adds a lot of layers to Peacemaker’s story. It’s a modern dissection of racism that’s unique and spars no emotion or perspective in touching on a tough, relatable topic and it’s what makes Gunn’s writing for Peacemaker some of his most complex yet.
With that glimpse of the White Dragon’s armor and the direction of the story, there’s no doubt that an emotional final father/son confrontation is soon, but this episode also teases something else. Through some very obvious teases, there’s another villain to likely appear in the future, maybe even a second season. It seems a big silverback gorilla named Charlie has been stolen from a local zoo and while most DC fans would gravitate towards thinking that Gorilla Grodd is in Peacemaker’s future, there’s a second, more likely option. Grodd isn’t the only silverback DC villain and because the name Charlie is so prevalent, this has got to be a tease for Sergeant Gorilla to make a debut. A gorilla with the skills and tactics of a soldier feels like a great villain for Peacemaker to duel one day, but first, we’ve got a lot to figure out with these “butterflies.”
It was a blast to see Peacemaker and the team battle against the butterflies and while the action does get toned down this week, aside from a parking lot battle between Judomaster and Peacemaker and Vigilante dishing out some justice in prison, the mystery surrounding the alien butterflies heightens immensely. Not only do we find that Peacemaker has one of the butterflies in a jar and tries to get it high, but Murns is revealed to be a butterfly. It’s a shocking way to end the episode that creates so many questions. What are the butterflies after? Is anyone else on the team masquerading as a double agent? Does Amanda Waller know that Murns is a butterfly? It’s going to be interesting to see how Murns being a double agent causes some trouble and what his true intentions are.
Peacemaker latest episode delves deeper into its personal narrative and central mysteries to create a surprisingly emotional episode that forces Peacemaker to confront his familial and personal flaws and reveals some interesting new threads surrounding that secretive alien butterfly invasion.