NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Peacemaker” are present in this review
Peacemaker’s middle chapter syndrome improved a bit during the series’ fifth episode, one that still primarily revolves around team dialogue and character growth, though at least the show’s pacing and excitement has picked up again. “Monkey Dory” sees the team undertake another comical mission, one with a truly outrageous payoff, while Detective Song receives intel that would suggest Auggie is innocent of the crimes he’s been framed for. This, paired with the revelation that Murn is a Butterfly, would appear to lead into the next major threat facing Peacemaker’s eponymous anti-hero and his crew.
One character interaction that comes to a surprising head in this episode is Chris’ apparent animosity toward Economos, after Adebayo tips Chris off that Economos doesn’t like Chris’ disparaging comments, particularly about his beard. Adebayo theorizes (no doubt correctly) that Chris is simply being a dick as a defense mechanism, and that if he simply turns that off and acts like a regular person, he would do a better job of winning friends. I have to say, the bond being formed between Chris and Adebayo is pretty great, especially with Adebayo’s secret mission to frame Chris with a fake diary seemingly hanging over her head. Is Adebayo being Amanda Waller’s daughter something that will eventually drive a wedge between her and Chris, not to mention the rest of the team, once the truth comes out?
Regardless, before that can be sorted out, the team discovers a lead that points them to a nearby bottling factory, where Chris’ late hook-up, Annie Sturphausen supposedly worked. What initially begins as a routine investigation quickly heats up as well, after Chris activates X-Ray Vision in his latest helmet, only to discover that every employee at the factory is a Butterfly. Not only that, but the entire plant seems to be dedicated to preparing the mysterious amber liquid that the Butterflies consume, essentially serving as the Butterflies’ distribution hub for the entire U.S. As Peacemaker previously hinted, there are actually quite a lot of Butterflies all around the DCEU’s Earth at this point! Does this mean that the world is in big trouble, or is something greater at work here?
For now, the show’s protagonists seem to be assuming the worst, something not helped by the Butterflies attacking them on sight. This once again delivers a higher quantity of action for this episode, as Chris and co. must fend off waves of attacking Butterflies with their weapons. In a strange, but delightfully funny twist, the plant is run by a Butterfly-empowered gorilla as well, that being Charlie, the silverback gorilla that the previous episode revealed went missing from the local zoo. As much as this Charlie twist is weirdly true to DC’s multiple intelligent ape villains like Gorilla Grodd and Monsieur Mallah (though Charlie is neither of them), it primarily carries the important revelation that Butterflies aren’t limited to possessing human hosts. Well, more accurately, that’s not made apparent until after Charlie is killed by Economos via chainsaw, a murder method that Adrian keeps lamenting he can never use, and an incident that ultimately confirms Charlie was indeed a Butterfly.
The bloody and hilarious Economos payoff ends up being a great crescendo to Chris and Economos finally burying the hatchet, particularly once Chris discovers that Economos actually likes the same kinds of music that he does. With Chris’ and the team’s emotional walls better starting to come down at this point, even Harcourt can’t help but get swept up in the growing camaraderie. On this note, it’s quite satisfying to have this episode end with Harcourt creating a text group called, “The 11th Street Kids”, in reference to a song that Chris and Economos previously played in the truck on the way to the bottling plant, and adding Chris, Economos, Adebayo, and even Adrian to it. That’s certainly an uplifting turn for the anti-social Harcourt, though Adebayo doesn’t have much time to celebrate yet. Once she plays with Chris’ X-Ray-enabled helmet on a whim, Adebayo accidentally discovers that Murn is a Butterfly, leading to Murn attacking her in the final seconds of this episode!
The core team of Peacemaker seems to be back in top form throughout this episode, and they’re closer than ever to boot! At least, beyond Adebayo accidentally discovering Murn’s dark secret. It’s too bad then that this episode’s subplot surrounding the Evergreen PD is less interesting, namely because it’s another story turn that ends up going in a big circle. This subplot does extend Murn’s influence into the local police though, after Murn installs a mole, new police captain, Caspar Locke, to undermine Song’s and Fitzgibbons’ investigation into the Butterfly affair. Not only is Song’s investigation stopped cold for now, but Auggie revealing to the cops that Chris is actually behind all of Auggie’s supposed crimes also doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at this point. Auggie is simply thrown back in jail in the end, and that’s it. That’s pretty disappointing, though I guess Song being pointed towards Chris represents some forward plot movement, even if Chris and his team still seem to be easily evading the police at this point.
“Monkey Dory” regains a lot of the momentum that Peacemaker lost during its previous episode, on top of providing a nicely cheery payoff for Chris and his team. The Evergreen PD subplot ends up dragging by comparison, though at least it doesn’t heavily feature into this episode’s narrative. Instead, another entertaining and hilarious Butterfly mission gets to take center stage here, one that fully brings the team together in earnest. All it took was Economos taking a chainsaw to a gorilla, apparently. In all seriousness though, it remains amazing to see how effectively Peacemaker can slip some genuine heart into what’s otherwise a proudly absurd premise, even by the standards of DC. On that note, with Adebayo now having found the Butterfly in the team’s midst, the question once again presents itself; Are the Butterflies truly what they seem? Hopefully, there’s more to these mysterious creatures than what we’ve already witnessed so far, or else Adebayo may be about to meet a very unfortunate end!
- Hilarious factory mission
- The team's latest bonding moments
- Adebayo discovering the truth about Murn
- Evergreen PD subplot is less engaging