Most superheroes try not to breach their “no-kill policy” because it is what differentiates them from supervillains and, in turn, makes them more human. For those who have killed someone, intentionally or accidentally, the weight of their actions torments their character. But besides all these overthinking superheroes, there is one person who kills to maintain peace. The Peacemaker is a more complex character who cannot be easily classified as a supervillain or a superhero. He is somewhere in the middle of these two polar opposite identities, and that’s what brings conflicts to his character, an identity crisis of sorts. But that’s the area where one finds both humor and drama, and James Gunn evidently has an eye for it. He doesn’t explore the dark alleys without cracking a few jokes on the way. Well, one should laugh off their worries because life is already difficult for people suffering from an existential crisis.
Peacemaker Episode 1 is a mix of all the things James Gunn is known and lauded for. The guy is not a superhero, not even close to it. He is looking for validation, mostly from his father and women. He could be our new Star-Lord, who plays a music number exactly minutes before a fighting sequence. Episode 1 plays smoothly, fulfilling its sole purpose of entertaining and capturing the audience. However, it’s just a prologue into the life of amusing Peace Guy, and hopefully, there will be more to the story in the upcoming episodes. Let’s explore what all happened in Peacemaker Episode 1.
A Bit Of A Unnecessary Prologue
Episode 1 begins with a short recap to refresh our memories of when we last saw Peacemaker. In The Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller hires Peacemaker, also known as Christopher “Chris” Smith (John Cena) and other supervillains for Project Starfish. Chris was serving a 30-year prison sentence in Belle Reve for murdering people in the name of peace. He had only served four years when Waller sent him to Corto Maltese, where he attacked his teammates and killed Rick Flag to stop him from revealing government secrets to the world.
At the end of the film, Chris was shot by Bloodsport but survived the attack and ended up in Mount Rogue hospital, where Peacemaker Episode 1 continues further.
Project Butterflies – Not Fighting A Mothra Now
Episode 1 takes place five months after the destruction in Corto Maltese. As soon as Chris finds out that no one is looking for him or even bothered to look for him, he sneaks out of the hospital wearing his blood-stained costume (sorry, “uniform”). He fears that authorities will throw him back to jail to serve his remaining 26 years of prison time and thus enjoy his little run-away accomplishment.
Chris arrives at his patriotic-looking trailer and quickly checks his voicemails. The lonely guy wants to believe that someone, at least his father, might have missed him. But he only gets voicemails from his BFF, Vigilante. However, before Chris can feel pathetic about his life, a few uninvited guests point guns at him.
Clemson Murn, a mercenary-turned-government agent, brings his team that includes the tech geek, John Economos, a field handler, Emilia Harcourt, and desk operator Leota Adebayo (Waller’s daughter, whose identity is concealed from the team).
On Waller’s behalf, Murn threatens Chris and compels him to join a new operation named Project Butterflies. Under this new project, the government will exploit Chris to kill bad people or butterflies. These harmful elements will probably be metahumans, supervillains, and the people who raise their voices against the government. The guy with the helmet doesn’t have much say in this Godfather kind-of-offer because he will be sent back to prison if he refuses to accept it. And if he tries to run away, then Waller will trigger the chip placed inside Chris’ body and blow him up into pieces.
Without any further ado, Chris joins Project Butterflies and receives a file for his first target, i.e., U.S. Senator Royland Goff. The upcoming episodes will explore the mission briefing and execution in depth.
‘Peacemaker’ Episode 1: Ending – Supervillain With Daddy Issues
Throughout the episode, the Peacemaker seeks validation much more than peace itself. After Chris is discharged from the hospital, he pays a visit to his father, August “Auggie” Smith, to get his sidekick, Eagly, nesting in his father’s garage, and also to get a new helmet because he traded the old one for a taxi ride.
Auggie is a typical Ku Klux Klan American with racist and extremist beliefs. Besides his political ideologies, he feels his son is a disgrace to the family, which evidently explains Chris’s desire for affection and validation. Because Auggie never complimented his son or cherished his accomplishments, Chris became a vigilante to bring peace to the world, even if no one asked him for it. He is still living through a childhood trauma where he draws a painting and expects his father to compliment it, but instead, Auggie tears it apart and throws it in the bin. Hence, a brief but significant father-son interaction in Episode 1 points out Chris’ complex character traits.
In James Gunn’s Peacemaker universe, Auggie is like Howard Stark to Chris, except for the fact that he is not dead or rich (maybe). Auggie has a secret lab in the house where he designs advanced weaponry for his son. Though he explicitly tells Chris that he didn’t miss him while he was in prison, it is evident from the dialogue that in Chris’ absence, Auggie has invented some really cool helmets for him. These helmets have exceptional capabilities like full-body force fields and the ability to breathe underwater. For the time being, Chris chooses one with a supersonic blast and uses its power to blow up a wild metahuman freak with beast-like capabilities who attacks him at the end of Episode 1. Her name was Annie Sturphausen and was infected with a butterfly.
The hunt for love, affection, and validation continues as Chris hits on a waitress, his partner, Harcourt, and Leota. So far, it’s been his only struggle to impress people so that they love or worship him. He notices even subtle admiration given to him, like when the waitress compliments him on his choice of order. However, Harcourt and Economos are stuck with this guy because they betrayed Waller and helped Task Force X in Corto Maltese. And to keep a check on the mission, Waller sends her own daughter, Leota, to spy on these misfits and report directly to her mother. She orders Leota to plant Peacemaker’s diary in his trailer, somewhere he won’t find it. The diary has a Wayne Foundation logo on it that may connect it to Batman or Bruce Wayne in upcoming episodes. More secrets will be revealed as the story unfolds.
Read More: ‘Peacemaker’ Episode 2 & 3: Recap/Ending
Peacemaker is a 2022 Action Comedy Superhero Series created by James Gunn. It is streaming on HBO Max.