Peacemaker’s penultimate episode resolves one of the two major series storylines, which exposes the strength of the Auggie storyline but also makes it feel like it was gone too soon. Stop Dragon My Heart Around hits peaks in terms of emotional impact with Peacemaker’s relationship with his father and leaves the Project Butterfly plotline as the clear, ultimate threat for the finale.
The Auggie/White Dragon/Peacemaker’s dad storyline turns out to be quite the sleeper. After being almost exclusively a racist piece of garbage on the sidelines, Auggie steps into his White Dragon supervillain suit one last time to kill his son. While from the series alone it is not entirely clear what exactly the White Dragon got up to in his prime, now is apparently his moment to rock a killer suit while lightly jogging through the woods with an army of discount white-pillow-case-wearing skinheads. While pretty cool to look at, a more keen eye would notice that the White Dragon suit is more reminiscent of a KKK-inspired Frank rabbit from Donnie Darko.
The ending of the White Dragon story packs more of a punch than anything else in the series. While Peacemaker’s dad was interesting until now, his role was mostly to passively provide context for Peacemaker’s existence and redemption. Early in this episode, we get the full picture of how Peacemaker caused his brother’s death when they were children, providing ample motivation for Peacemaker to do what he does—unceremoniously and abruptly execute his father. The cold nature of the killing combined with the emotional impact it clearly has on Peacemaker is a wonderfully-staged moment where the character truly has to decide who he is. It is underscored by conversations throughout the series that Auggie is beyond all saving, yet Peacemaker could never kill him. Considering that Peacemaker is simultaneously coming to terms with how he does not want to kill anyone, it’s a very strong moment for Peacemaker.
At this point, it is all too clear that the Auggie aspect of the series carried likely much more weight and impact than pretty much anything else going on. It feels a bit like there is lost potential—had this storyline been given more attention the combination of the darkest corners of White Dragon, the brightest spots of Peacemaker, and the greyest spaces of the real world surrounding them could have been electric. Giving a relatively new character a white supremacist-based story (one where he willfully ignores his dad’s famous racist beliefs and crimes) right off the bat probably is not the best strategy. But it just doesn’t fully find its place within this series, which is a shame.
While the Butterfly Project plot is off to the races, it still is not exciting. And now, compared to the resolution of its companion plotline, it looks even less inviting. As generic as it has felt, Murn’s death this episode is it at its best. After butterfly Murn got a bit more of the spotlight last episode, it feels like it matters a bit that the character is gone. The final moments with Murn as the sad and crumpled butterfly are actually heartbreaking, even if only because we have more sympathy for a dying animal-type creature than a human. Either way, Murn’s death is a classic “we’re really a team now” tragedy—Phil Coulson would be proud.
While Episode 7 is strong, a few elements of Peacemaker still feel out of place. Top of that list still is Judomaster, who once again ends up unconscious after fleeting moments of screen time. The character is great, but what is his point? How is he related to anything other than working as security for the Goffs? Why did he “ding dong bitches” our main team after hanging out at a gas station? Another is Adebayo and her Amanda Waller connection—it is too significant of a thing to not have greater meaning or consequences, but it has only served as extremely minimal background information for Adebayo’s character. Amanda Waller is a major character in this universe, but quite frankly, Viola Davis herself is on another level. Surely cameoing in a FaceTime conversation is not the full extent of her involvement.
Honestly, the finale of Peacemaker might end up being less interesting than this episode. The penultimate installment rightfully draws a hard line between its two stories but it ends up highlighting the strength and the greater potential of the one it ended. Project Butterfly as we know it falls short in comparison, but perhaps it still has some meaningful surprises up its sleeve. The finale is set to feature some violent, over-the-top, last-stand-type action no doubt, which could be phenomenal. In any event, after Murn’s death, Task Force X is in its best place in terms of team dynamics going into the final battle.