Each week, Chris from @officialtalkintvpodcast will be recapping Peacemaker, now streaming on HBO Max.
Episode 2: Best Friends, For Never
In episode 2 the first act of James Gunn‘s Peacemaker continues. This episode succeeded on many levels. The world is further developed and more depth is added to the narrative. The tone of the show continues to be reinforced, confirming what many audience members realized in its premiere; that the comedy is just as much a character as any actor we’ve seen on screen.
If you loved the comedy of the first episode as much as I did then you will probably share in my excitement when saying that the supporting cast really begins to come to life in this second episode!
We are finally starting to see the role of the supporting cast come into the bigger picture. This episode helps to build on the team dynamic of the show as for the first time we see our heroes in the field working together to save the day! Or…save Peacemaker. But, you get my point!
Each and every one of these supporting cast members further helps to add to my infatuation with this show. Steve Agee’s Economos is hilarious, simultaneously towing the line of resident genius while still making rookie mistakes that almost cost the team the mission. Mistakes like tying a loose thread right to Peacemaker’s father in an attempt to get the heat off of Peacemaker and the team. Out of all the people in the world to divert attention to, he picks our main character’s father! Could that connection be any closer to home? HAHA.
Danielle Brooks is the resident newcomer to the team. Her cloudy past allows her to fit right in with the rest of these societal misfits. However, it is her innocence and lack of field experience that becomes more apparent with time. These qualities help to set her apart from the rest of the team and also adds to her charm. Throughout the course of the series Brooks delivers hilarious word-vomit monologue that are as awkward for her as they are for those watching. A by-product of her nerves as she claims. Brook’s character is the daughter of Amanda Waller, and only the audience knows that. This weight she carries is heavy and one I could not imagine bearing.
Of course Jennifer Holland as Emillia Harcourt is the perfect casting to play across from Peacemaker as she is poised and confident in the field. The right casting to balance Peacemakers clumsy, careless nature. She is a combat specialist, incredibly perceptive, and brilliant. All of these things make her the ideal love interest for Cena’s Peacemaker as we see their potential romance begin to flourish on screen throughout the series. However she is far from perfect. She has flaws as well, and misses opportunities in the heat of action same as the rest of her companions.
We also see the introduction of a new character, Vigilante played by Freddie Stroma; who further helps to add to the depth of the narrative. Stroma’s Vigilante is a character inspired by Cena’s Peacemaker. He is a superfan. The kind you hear about who send shivers down the spine of those they worship. Don’t be fooled, Vigilante worships Peacemaker. However, he isn’t a carbon copy.
Peacemaker claims that he kills for peace. Vigilante kills for sport. While Vigilante at first seems harmless, as the series progresses we can see just how dangerous he is. And how perhaps his relationship with Pacemaker isn’t as harmonious as we may think. More on that later.
Episode 2 sees our A.R.G.U.S. agents continue to work the case of “Project Butterfly”. This is the mission that Amanda Waller, head of A.R.G.U.S.; has assigned our characters to as punishment for breaking her orders in the events of 2021’s “The Suicide Squad”.
A.R.G.U.S. stands for “Armed Revolutionaries Governing Under Secrecy”; a secret military branch of the United States Government in the DC universe.
At this point in the narrative we’ve heard of “Project Butterfly” but we have yet to know it’s full reach and how big of a threat it poses to the world. The narrative is very much keeping us in the dark on key details of the threat our heros face. Furthermore, we have just as much information as our lead, Peacemaker, putting the audience and Peacemaker on the same level, essentially making us equals, which makes it even harder for us to fight our negative feelings we hold toward him.
Gunn’s ability to keep us in the dark as audience members is fascinating adding much to the mystery of the show. The balance Gunn is able to strike between what information is given to the audience and what information is yet to be uncovered helps to maintain a much needed balance between the comedy and seriousness we’d expect from this series after the events of the first episode.
The comedy continues to to feel earned. The laughs are not cheap laughs. Furthermore, progressing through this story we come to find that in fact the stakes are high, that “Project Butterfly” is a very serious threat, and so, the humor helps to cut the tension in a way I find to be very needed and welcomed. Gunn has found a way to keep things light, but still tense.
Some of this tension comes from the way the filmmakers are handling the character of Peacemaker. If Peacemaker could just be given a few missing details perhaps he wouldn’t make mistake after mistake. Perhaps he would be more effective in his fight for good. It’s frustrating to watch but also enjoyable.
This dichotomy adds yet another layer of confliction to the audience to process as they work their way through this series.
My connection to this story grew deeper than my initial infatuation as I further became acclimated to the world of peacemaker in this second chapter. My understanding of the characters increased, and with that my love for this world.
Each and everyone of these characters shares something in common with Peacemaker. Flaws. The very element every good character has. One of the reasons the Marvel films seem to fall short is that our characters are always perfect. They can do no wrong. And they easily overcome every obstacle.
However, that is not the case with Peacemaker. These characters are not perfect. In fact, these characters couldn’t be any farther from perfect if they tried. Even the most adept and trained of the bunch has their issues. They all have flaws.
The second episode of the first act expertly delivers the comedy we are growing to love while keeping the stakes high. Peacemaker continues to push the needle forward on our journey to understand and take down “Project Butterfly”.
Peacemaker is 2/2 in its start to the season.
Photo from IGN