In the latest episode of Peacemaker, the Butterfly Project plot takes center stage and begins to envelop much of the series’ story, which is a welcome change of pace that gives the final leg of the series significantly more plot momentum than it’s had in the previous five episodes. This story development and the laughs from the Vigilante-Peacemaker dynamic make Episode 6 one of the most enjoyable episodes of the series. While inner-character turmoil acts as a strong undertow for the episode, unfortunately, Peacemaker’s main arc fails to meet its own expectations.
“Murn After Reading” continues to intensify its redemption theme for Peacemaker’s titular character. Peacemaker is continuing to vocalize that he does not actually want to kill people anymore. Whether it’s the fact that he can’t stomach Murn’s creepy friend murdering unconscious people or dramatically playing the piano, one thing is for sure—the guy has feelings. On one hand, the series is pushing a generic and fairly expected “he’s a good guy now” story. The fact that that is so standard on its own is a bit of a disappointment given the show’s propensity to try and push barriers and comic book media norms.
On the other hand, this arc was built to be pretty easy and flat for our main antihero. While the series assumes you know every detail of Peacemaker’s development of The Suicide Squad, the supposed super-killer actually doesn’t do much of that in the series itself. He hasn’t killed anyone that wasn’t a butterfly and has hesitated from the beginning. So, the fact that his change of heart takes up as much space as it does, it’s monotonous.
The actual inner turmoil moment that gleams in this episode is Murn’s mini-monologue after confessing that he is a butterfly. Luckily, after the last episode’s cliffhanger ending, the knowledge that Murn is a butterfly does not remain a lingering issue for more than a few seconds — he is a butterfly working for the greater (human) good. His emotional recognition that he took from his host (a very bad man, apparently) even something as hypothetical as the opportunity to change hits harder than Peacemaker’s personal revelations. Chukwudi Iwuji’s moment better encompasses the “I have feelings, but killing is necessary sometimes” theme.
Vigilante is still the best character of Peacemaker. The character’s scenes, dialogue, and interactions with Peacemaker and Butterfly Goff make Episode 6 a genuinely funny episode, even compared to the rest of the series. If Freddie Stroma’s character went away, Peacemaker would have a huge absence that seems like it would be difficult for the series to overcome.
So while Peacemaker’s character arc feels generic, Murn and Vigilante are star players that shine and give Episode 6 the extra coat of paint that it needs. Probably the best moment of the episode—and series—comes when Eagly starts homicidally divebombing police officers. Hopefully, more gloriously CGI Eagly moments are to come in the final two episodes.