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‘Peacemaker’ Episode 5 Recap: “Monkey Dory”

*Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode five of Peacemaker*

Well, we’re five episodes into Peacemaker, and it may just be one of the very best projects coming out of the DCEU. Each episode, so far, has consistently kept the story moving in an exciting direction, and this week’s is no exception. After a rather tedious PowerPoint presentation from John Economos (Steve Agee), containing the only joke that doesn’t work, where Peacemaker (John Cena) names a barrage of celebrities that could’ve been framed instead of his dad (Robert Patrick), the “11th Street Kids” go to the Glen Tai Bottling Factory to investigate if any butterflies are present.

When they arrive, Smith activates X-Ray vision from his helmet and sees that the place is swarming with butterflies. This prompts our hero to immediately shoot any person he sees at point-blank with a shotgun, losing the element of surprise. It’s the episode’s best scene, never shying away from its gore and brutality. It’s also hilarious, through Peacemaker’s desire to kill any butterfly he sees, instead of acting “discrete” as Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) probably would’ve done. Of course, Peacemaker’s decision leads to an all-out battle between the butterflies (who have possessed every Glen Tai employee), putting Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) and Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) in danger.

The battle is expertly shot and choreographed. It always retains James Gunn’s spirit for dynamic action, which always puts the audience smack-bang in the middle of it. The kills are brutal, but the kicks our heroes (and villains) do to themselves are even more cathartic. The situation only escalates when the crew discovers that a talking Gorilla (Stephen Blackheart) controls the factory? That’s right, and he even knows martial arts?!?!? The possibilities for an incredible action sequence are endless. Director Rosemary Rodriguez delivers with one of the series’ most satisfying moments, where Economos emerges as the hero, cutting the Gorilla in half with a chainsaw. This will prompt Smith from being more tolerant with Economos, calling him “EconoGOAT” instead of belittling him with “dye-beard.”

Meanwhile, Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) enlists the help of Caspar Locke (Christopher Heyerdahl) to cover up Detective Song (Annie Chang) and Fitzgibbon (Lochlyn Munro)’s investigation on Auggie Smith/White Dragon. Auggie tells them that his son is responsible for the attack with the butterfly and that fingerprints will prove it, but Locke takes control of the investigation to make sure the White Dragon never gets out of prison. This will prompt Song to travel to his uncle, a Judge, who may give her what she wants to arrest Peacemaker and free his father. That’s a dangerous gamble, considering White Dragon’s criminal past.

Speaking of Murn, remember when he was revealed to be a butterfly last week? Well, it’s also the cliffhanger of this episode. After putting Peacemaker’s diary in his trailer, to the request of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Adebayo feels guilty about double-crossing whom she considers to be his friend and goes back to headquarters. Murn is here, tinkering with an object. Adebayo sees that Peacemaker left his helmet on a seat, takes it, and activates X-Ray vision. She then sees the butterfly controlling Murn’s brain, which prompts him to attack Adebayo immediately and…well…find out on next week’s episode!

Every time you think Peacemaker is done surprising you, a plot twist or shocking reveal invests us further into the series’ wild roster of colorful characters, energetic action sequences, rock-heavy soundtrack, and already the best performances of any TV show in 2022 so far. The year’s just started, sure, but John Cena has never been better. Robert Patrick is a compelling enough antagonist, and he’ll soon be joined by Chukwudi Iwuji next week when we’ll know more about him. From the looks of next week’s episode, we’re in for one heck of a ride and a finale, likely building up a confrontation between Peacemaker and White Dragon, a recurring theme in James Gunn’s work. But it may be more complex than in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, for example. So we’ll have to wait and see what he has in store for us next week. 

The fifth episode of Peacemaker is now streaming on HBO Max.

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Written by Maxance Vincent

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is currently finishing a specialization in Video Game Studies, focusing on the psychological effects regarding the critical discourse on violent video games.

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