Why does anyone even become a superhero? To save people or to save themselves? For the most part, the latter seemed true in Christopher Smith’s case, as throughout “Peacemaker” Season 1, he was saving himself by following a vow he made to his dead brother, Keith, whom he killed accidentally, and thus, under the weight of this trauma, he decided not to kill anyone without a “reason,” but instead kill them in the name of peace, thereby becoming a complex superhuman, “Peacemaker.”
The vow, in itself, made Chris a supervillain because killing people, no matter what the reason might be, is morally incorrect, and thus, James Gunn gives Chris a choice at the end of “Peacemaker” Season 1, which decides his fate as a superhero. However, even if Chris makes the right choice by the end of Butterfly Invasion, the past hunts and haunts him again as the ghost of his father, Auggie Smith, appears in front of him, which is indeed not a spirit but instead the tricks that his mind is playing with him. Without any further ado, let’s see where the end of “Peacemaker” Season 1 leads to.
Episode 8: Recap – The Holy Cow, Torpedo-Ed
After Murn’s death, Leota calls her mother, Amanda Waller, and informs her about the extraterrestrial cow that is producing food for the alien butterflies and thus requests her to authorize the Project Butterfly team to invade Coverdale Ranch and exterminate the entity before the butterflies teleport it from the ranch. Hence, Amanda not only makes Agent Emilia Harcourt the new team leader but also decides to inform the prestigious Justice League to save the day.
The team speculates that the good and the pampered superheroes will come late, as usual, and by then, the cow will be moved out of the facility, so they decide to take matters into their own hands and ambush the alien butterflies all by themselves.
To destroy the barn, they decide to use Peacemaker’s Sonic Boom helmet, whose power we have already witnessed in “Peacemaker” Episode 1. For the mission, Leota places a walkie-talkie inside the Sonic Boom helmet to activate it from a safe distance while John Economos disguises as a watchman to plant the helmet inside the barn, where he finally witnesses a giant alien life-form resembling a cow.
As per the plan, Leota activates the Sonic Boom helmet, whose lethal waves kill all the butterflies in the vicinity while also damaging the teleportation machine the aliens have triggered to transport their cow to the Eastern Base in Maine. Chris and his band of brothers take the butterflies by surprise. However, there are severe casualties in the battle where Vigilante and Harcourt get shot, and Economos breaks his leg.
Chris and Leota follow Detective Sophie Song to the underground where the butterflies have hidden the “holy cow,” and finally the final clash between Queen Butterfly and Chris takes place. However, she doesn’t want to fight, but instead wants Chris’ help to pull the third lever to teleport the cow to their cavern in Maine. And when Chris refuses to help, she tries to convince Chris that the extremist beliefs of butterflies are very similar to Chris’ vow to kill people to maintain peace.
Finally, Queen Butterfly reveals their intentions of dominating the human world as she informs Chris that they came to planet Earth after their own planet became inhabitable, but when they arrived here, they witnessed that the people of Earth were on a similar trajectory of exploiting Earth’s resources, thereby worsening the living conditions and leading to climate change and massive destruction at large. Hence, the aliens controlled human bodies (killed them) and robbed them of their autonomy so that they wouldn’t repeat the same mistake as the aliens once made with their planet. But Murn didn’t approve of such extremist beliefs, which was why Queen Butterfly killed him to silence the opposition.
Listening to all the heavy lectures about saving the world through tyrannical ideologies, Chris reflected on his own actions and beliefs that he blindly follows. Hence, this juncture becomes a turning point in Chris’ life that gives him a chance to redeem himself and become the superhero he always wanted to be. Instead of falling prey to his own ideologies, Chris makes a choice to give freedom to people to be their own judge instead of having some aliens dictate their choices. After Chris activates the human torpedo helmet worn by Leota, it flies directly into the cow’s giant body and makes a hole large enough to kill it without any further fuss. In the meantime, Chris shoots Captain Locke and Sophie Song while the Queen Butterfly hiding inside Song’s body manages to escape.
‘Peacemaker’ Season 1: Ending Explained
The extraterrestrial cow was the only source of food for these butterflies, and after its destruction, the remaining butterflies will most likely die of hunger. The Justice League team (Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Superman) also made an appearance at the end of “Peacemaker” Season 1, where the available actors, Aquaman and Flash, shared a few words with Chris, while Superman and Wonder Woman remained in the shadows.
Harcourt was hospitalized after suffering severe injuries during the final battle. Vigilante too was shot, and though he was trying to protect his privacy, he had to be admitted at last. In Harcourt’s absence, Leota called for a media gathering and leaked the confidential files of Project Butterflies. She finally revealed to the press that it was her mother, Amanda Waller, who abused her power and exploited the convicted criminals of Belle Reve prison to create Task Force X and use them to carry out the dirty words of the government in exchange for time off their sentences. Leota even confessed that she planted the diary in Peacemaker’s trailer on her mother’s order, and thus both Vigilante and Christopher Smith were working for the government and not on their own. The confession uplifts all the charges against both of them, so they are free to roam.
The ending montage further depicted that Economos returned to a closed-down Belle Reve penitentiary, which means that the government had already closed down the facility after the public revelations made by Leota. Her confession will probably have a more severe effect on the working of the government and Waller’s role, but the episode chooses not to go into too much detail.
‘Peacemaker’ Season 2: Expectations – Auggie Smith Returns To Haunt Chris
In the closing sequence, we finally witness Queen Butterfly returning to Chris’ trailer, where he feeds her with the leftover amber fluid so that she can survive yet another day. However, it is the last frame of “Peacemaker” Season 1 that brings in a cliffhanger, which is Auggie Smith sitting beside Chris outside his trailer.
Throughout Episode 8, Peacemaker envisioned Auggie Smith returning to Chris’ life as a ghost. In the comic books, Chris’ father, Wolfgang Schmidt, a Nazi officer, kills himself when Chris is just five years old. This traumatizes Chris’ childhood, leading to his bipolar disorder and subtle signs of schizophrenia, due to which he starts hallucinating about his dead father.
In the series, Chris faces a similar trauma in his childhood, but it is the death of his brother, Keith. However, signs of schizophrenia become visible in his life in Episode 8 when he starts imagining Auggie Smith, who bullies his son as usual and swears that he will not let Chris sleep peacefully at night and will haunt him forever no matter how dead or alive he is. It was only after a massive hustle that Chris was able to give closure to Keith and the trauma that followed, but it seems like the tragic hero, the Peace Guy, won’t be getting any peace even by the end of Season 1 as his father appears in front of him to haunt him again.
The second season of “Peacemaker” will follow Chris on a new mission or adventure, but it will also explore his mental illness and Auggie Smith’s hallucinations, adding depth to the narrative.
“Peacemaker” is a 2022 action drama television series created by James Gunn. Season 1 is streaming on HBO Max.