Peacemaker’s Episode 5 is the best episode to date. It is likely the funniest episode, and certainly best suited to drive the plot forward into the last three episodes. It tackles both the Auggie and Project Butterfly plotline, leans heavily on both light and dark humor, provides at least one or two “superhero moments,” and still has time for a little heart.
Peacemaker is still in his own head about his life and identity as a mass murderer, continuing probably the greatest focus of the series. While he sinks to deeper mental and emotional lows, the episode shows him a potential way out through the power of friendship. Part of the brilliance of the characters’ dynamics is how everyone feels as if they operate on the same playing field, even if they shouldn’t. Economos and Peacemaker, for example, were one of the highlights of the episode as they passively sparred over how the former accidentally framed Peacemaker’s dad. While everyone on this small Task X squad seems as if they are one bad hair day away from a psychotic break, the moment they join forces under the umbrella of chainsaw-massacre-ing a super gorilla, positive things are possible. It’s a hard pivot to a dirty and psychologically unstable version of Paw Patrol, but they don’t call him Peacemaker for nothing.
While the show is generally entertaining as hell, it has noticeably lacked much of the gusto that’s come to be expected of most comic book properties with its action scenes. The series certainly isn’t devoid of it, and there is no reason this can’t be plenty successful with a “less is more” approach. Still, the premise begs for a little more. Luckily, the fifth episode does more than hint that it’s still connected with its over-the-top, violent roots. The entire sequence of the bottling facility is the series’ peak so far. Between Peacemaker shooting most of the heads off of unassuming yet butterflied civilians to the eventual boss-level super-gorilla chainsaw party, it doesn’t disappoint.
The episode still has its flaws, which generally speak to Peacemaker as a whole. Adebayo is a strong character billed as, and given the screen time of, a co-lead in the series. Danielle Brooks really delivers for the character, but her background and family struggles are not particularly engrossing and, at times, feel like an additional weight to the clunky balance of plots. The Auggie plotline has been interesting as it adds to Peacemaker’s character but otherwise has felt a bit out of place next to Project Butterfly. The detectives that spend quite a lot of time working to keep notorious KKK-level supervillains off the streets just feel like they are around without offering much more. While exploring Peacemaker’s relationship with his father has a lot to offer, there is too much focus on Project Butterfly and the detectives rather than that actual arc for it to pay off fully. Similarly, Project Butterfly feels a bit watered down and lukewarm amongst the mix.
For plenty of reasons, Episode 5 is the strongest episode yet of Peacemaker and a great kickoff into the final half of the series. It ends in a cliffhanger (or two) that propels the main plotline forward enough to keep Project Butterfly in the air. The humor is there, and the emotional components – while at times extremely corny this episode – are still performing. The weight of the somewhat incompatible plotlines seems to – for a lack of a better term – weigh Peacemaker down just a bit, it only shows signs of going up from here as this fifth episode continues the series’ streak of improving on the last.