After a six-week run, the first season of Peacemaker has come to an end with “It’s Cow or Never.” The series has seen some highs as James Gunn has yet again taken the comic book genre and flipped it on its head. This time he tackled one of DC’s most unknown characters, Peacemaker. The highly anticipated finale has finally arrived and proves why Gunn told people to avoid Social Media at all costs. The only question remains: did the finale live up to the rest of the show?
Keep in mind, this review contains massive spoilers of the finale. So, only continue at your own risk.
The Peacemaker finale does not waste a second, as we jump straight into the action. Our unlikely team is on their way to take down the “cow” teased during the previous episode’s final moments. John Cena‘s Peacemaker has gone through quite a bit in the past twenty-four hours, such as being betrayed by a friend and killing his father. That would obviously affect anyone’s mood with the betrayal of Adebayo hitting him especially hard. He proceeds to make fart noises over her attempted apology highlighting his childish way of handling these kinds of situations.
One of the running jokes this season is that Peacemaker constantly rags on Economos, such as mocking his beard. It all built up to a surprising somber moment after he briefly tried to infiltrate the Butterfly’s hideout. While it felt a bit silly given the stakes of the story, it did give us some great character growth for everyone left on the team. It was a heartfelt moment that was important to build up the final confrontation.
Peacemaker’s journey this season, strengthened by John Cena‘s performance is what truly carried the series. His work on the series is stunning, as he offers a strong emotional range from a character that once killed an entire village of people without batting an eye – no, we won’t talk about Rick Flag. The finale uses his character development to push his old belief in direct contrast to the lessons he learned throughout and what it means to have friends.
The series doesn’t want to fully turn him into a boy scout just yet, as the final moments reveal his father is still haunting him. This is an element torn right from the comics but given a psychological twist. This time around isn’t the soul of his father living in his helmet, but a personification of his regrets. He also isn’t joining any superhero group, as the amazing surprise cameo by the Justice League gave him a moment to curse them out on being late and focusing on what is truly important.
One of the series’ biggest strengths lies in how it uses parallels to further develop its characters, especially with Smith and Adebayo. They have similar parental situations and had to realize that they might not be as good as they once believed. After he was forced to face his father head-on, she decided to do the same by revealing Amanda Waller’s ties to Task Force X. Not only is it a way for her to make up for planting the diary but also to confront her demon. Plus, it got us a cameo by the always-amazing Viola Davis.
The finale may have featured one of the series’ best action sequences. It highlights just how much effort has been put into the choreography of the series, as the all-out assault being played alongside the series’ theme song “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” gave us some memorable moments. We even get Peacemaker wielding a shield to play on the ongoing joke of him being a “douchy” version of Captain America.
Ther is one oddity in this series that remains even in the final episode, Judomaster. While he provided some incredible beatdowns – Nhut Lee offering a fun performance throughout – he didn’t really provide that much to the series. He just showed up and kicked ass. There wasn’t much of a character arc outside of his love for snack food. The only reason he wasn’t a butterfly was revealed due to him buying into their vow, but it may be something that the now-confirmed second season might further explore.
The first season of Peacemaker was truly something special and the finale offered a tense, fast-paced, and incredibly well-put-together 45-minute episode. James Gunn continues to be a powerhouse in the genre of comic book adaptations, and it’s no wonder DC wants to develop more projects. If this episode is anything to go by, the DCEU will be shaken up quite a bit moving forward, and I can’t wait to see more of John Cena in this role.