Peacemaker #4: The Choad Less Traveled

Peacemaker #4: The Choad Less Traveled

We’re back! After being spoiled by a three-episode drop, Peacemaker will now take on a more traditional schedule. Weekly releases, every Thursday. Episode 5 will release January 27th, 2022.

Though we weren’t spoiled with nearly as much of Weta Digital’s Eagly, we have quite a bit to unpack. I’ll be the first to admit it: I didn’t think Peacemaker would be a particularly thrilling show. In fairness, I didn’t watch any of the trailers so as not to be spoiled. What DC is doing with Harley Quinn, (the newer better) Suicide Squad, and now Peacemaker is an insane about-face for the once-struggling “DC Extended Universe”.

Personally I enjoyed Man of Steel, but I struggled to enjoy later entries to the DCEU like many other fans. I knew the show wasn’t over after Justice League and was intrigued by the more graphic direction the first Suicide Squad took things. Watching in real time as DC tried to experiment and adapt in a Marvel-saturated market of superheroes, it has been thrilling to see the DCEU finally find it’s niche. Surprisingly, that niche bears closer resemblance to other darkly comedic works like The Boys than it does the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I applaud that change. DC can’t replicate what Marvel did, nor should it try. This bold move not only gave us hilariously absurd characters like King Shark, Polka Dot Man, and Starro; it just works. It’s fun and stands on its own legs, and that’s more important than anything else for the audience.

Speaking of absurd characters, the DCEU is leaning hard into the more silly heroes and villains of the comics. After the acclaim characters like Polka Dot Man received, Peacemaker’s characters now make regular references to others, though we have yet to see them on screen (YET!). We already got conversational confirmation of Batmite last week, and this week we were graced with confirmation that Matter Eater Lad does in fact exist in the DCEU.

Episode four has also given us more backstory on Chris Smith AKA Peacemaker than we’ve seen before. By now, we know that his father is August Smith, better known as the White Dragon: a super-racist supervillain whose name is derived from the Ku Klux Klan. This week’s reveal that Peacemaker played a role in his brother’s death is absolutely heartbreaking. For me the blend of emotional punches that come between the off-the-walls insanity of this show are just *chef’s kiss*. James Gunn and the crew behind Peacemaker have really outdone themselves.

Looping back to characters, I have some things to say about Vigilante. First: It’ll be okay, budd. You can walk just fine without a pinky toe. I promise. Second: good lord my body was not ready for that prison smackdown scene. It’s wonderful that such a crass show isn’t just 4Chan-esque shock humor. Our loveable psychopath is on the warpath against all crime, including racism. Though, as we learned previously, this warpath included even minor crimes like spray painting graffiti and smoking marijuana. Vigilante treads the finest of lines between a buffoon and a cunning psychopath. In the space of seconds he concocts a plan to enter the prison and kill August that probably would’ve worked. At the same time, this plan comes from Leota Adebayo’s obvious manipulation.

We get more character development between Harcourt and Adebayo, as the latter struggles with her job after choking last week, failing to kill an ex-Secret Service agent outside of the Butterfly-possessed Senator’s home. This week she pulls it together, shooting Judomaster square in the chest (How that 9mm strike to center mass didn’t kill him, I can’t tell you.) much to Peacemaker’s disappointment. It’s still odd that Adebayo doesn’t draw more suspicion from her team than she has. She is Amanda Waller’s daughter, but she’s also wildly inexperienced for the type of work she’s doing, and nobody seems to mind.

Okay, so, the Butterflies? What are they, why are they here? We really don’t know yet. All we’ve got is that they are an alien race that likely arrived on tiny spaceships like the one Peacemaker found in Annie Sturphausen’s apartment. They live inside of human brains, seemingly taking over the person entirely. They can feed on a nectar-like substance through a long, disturbing proboscis that comes out of the host’s mouth, and they have seemingly taken over an immense number of humans on planet Earth. And now, as of the conclusion of The Choad Less Traveled, we know that Clemson Murn, the head of the black ops team that Peacemaker is a part of, is himself a Butterfly. What’s going on? One possible outcome may be hinted at in the show’s intro. You know, the one we all can’t stop watching. Reddit user /u/Sneilg gives us his theory:

“Everyone is missing (I think) the big hint in the opening credits – they’re all dancing completely emotionlessly, just like they’re being puppeteered by Butterflies. James Gunn has even said the dance hints at what’s to come. I think they’ll all end up Butterflied and made to dance just like this. It’s not just a random (awesome) opening sequence, it’s a preview of the season finale.”

While hilarious to imagine, the consequences for the DCEU would be bonkers. What does it mean? If the team fails to stop the Butterflies, will the whole world become possessed by them? How can DC reconcile that with other connected works in the DCEU? Maybe Peacemaker will go the way of Agents of Shield in Marvel lore; some weird purgatory between canon and not canon. Personally I don’t think so, but we’ll have to wait until next Thursday to see.

Peacemaker is available to stream on HBO Max. New episodes air Thursdays at 12:00 AM Pacific time.

Published by Elliot Szaro

Writer and photographer.

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