By Cedars A&E Staff
“But if you would just take a second and just drop that, and be Chris Smith, I think people might actually like you.”
Now more than halfway through “Peacemaker’s” runtime, it’s finally coming into focus on what kind of show it’s trying to be. Sure, there’s a whole “body-snatcher” type alien threat that Peacemaker and his team are trying to stop, along with plenty of mysteries to uncover and loads of bloody action to experience. However, episode 5 shows that at its core, ‘Peacemaker’ always was a story about heart. It had always been a theme in its early episodes, but these latest 45 minutes show growth, love, and friendship in a way that I never would have thought possible back when I was watching the first two episodes.
In terms of plot, episode five deals with the team being sent out to a processing plant after Adebayo discovers a link between the Butterfly hosts. During the briefing for this mission, Peacemaker and Economos are at each other’s throats after Peacemaker discovers that he was the one responsible for putting his father in prison. This serves as the emotionally-tense backdrop for the mission, and with team tension at an absolute high, what was supposed to become a quiet reconnaissance mission becomes a bloody battle for survival with Adebayo and Peacemaker in its center.
The whole processing facility scene is another phenomenally filmed action sequence full of tense moments, bloody violence and genuine stakes. Every character of the team gets brought in to try and defeat the threat by the end of the scene, but the one who ends up coming through to save the day is actually Economos. This whole sequence is a turning point for the series, as through it Peacemaker actually starts to recognize Economos as an equal member of the team and earns his grudging respect. This gives us one of my favorite scenes of the whole series during their ride back to their base, when Harcourt puts on a song from a favorite artist that Peacemaker and Economos both share. Watching the team, as dysfunctional as it’s been, jamming out to a song with smiles and laughter was a surprisingly emotional moment. It demonstrated that despite these characters’ flaws and ridiculousness, they had truly grown both in terms of their selves and their team dynamic.
The quiet moments of downtime in this episode bring out sides of Peacemaker that have been 5 episodes in the making.
Episode five has also demonstrated the most growth in Peacemaker out of any episode, and by this point of the show, I’ve gone from just tolerating his character to being truly invested in and rooting for his journey. After the whole action scene and the ride back is over, we even get a scene of him and Adebayo just sharing a beer together as they talk about life and Peacemaker’s feelings for Harcourt. This scene definitely demonstrates the ground that Peacemaker still has to cover, but he’s no longer as toxic as he used to be. Episode five shows us how Peacemaker, or Chris Smith if you prefer his real name, is truly trying to become a better person and is making small victories. Whether or not he’ll be able to change fully or not we’ll still have to wait to find out, but it definitely shows truly admirable character work from Gunn and phenomenal acting from John Cena.
Like any good drama show, however, when there is good change there must always be negative change. This source of conflict in episode five comes from the ongoing plot thread of Peacemaker’s dad in prison, who has finally been able to alert the authorities to the fact that he’s been set up. With his dad soon to be released and the detectives moving in on Peacemaker (despite Murn setting up one of his past contacts as a replacement sheriff in order to deter them), the genuine happiness of this episode turns into a much more bittersweet ending. Pair this with an excellent cliffhanger that will have major, lasting consequences, and episode five keeps the excitement and the nuance of “Peacemaker” growing bigger and better.
I give episode 5 of Peacemaker a 9/10.