NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Peacemaker”, including multiple major character deaths, are present in this review
The DC Extended Universe’s Butterfly situation is about to get a whole lot worse, and Adebayo very nearly met an untimely end because of this! Fortunately, Murn is indeed one of the good guys, and apparently, Harcourt and Economos were aware of Murn’s Butterfly state the whole time. This fresh batch of secrets naturally puts a strain on the team that had previously come together remarkably well during their mission to the Butterfly-controlled bottling plant, and that’s before Sophie finally secures the necessary arrest warrant to apprehend Peacemaker, right as Vigilante pays him an unscheduled visit.
There’s a lot happening throughout this episode, and its conclusion in particular nicely tees up the climax for Peacemaker’s debut season over the next two episodes. It’s also apparent that, “Murn After Reading” easily stands as Peacemaker’s best episode to date! This is an incredibly exciting offering, one that keeps the quotient of humour cranked to maximum, while also eventually leading into some truly terrifying new turns for the series’ villains. Not only are the Butterflies a growing danger at this point, but Auggie has also been released from prison at the worst possible time, thanks to Sophie’s recently-secured warrant for Chris’ arrest. This gives Auggie the perfect opportunity to suit up as White Dragon again, in preparation to finally kill his son.
Granted, Auggie doesn’t have much of a presence in this episode, beyond a funny final exchange with Sophie, and the chance to see Robert Patrick finally don that long-teased White Dragon costume, but that’s fine, because the Butterflies and the Evergreen PD more than pick up the slack as obstacles. Following a hilarious show-and-tell scene in Jamil’s daughter’s classroom, wherein Chris tells the kids about his supposed heroic exploits as Peacemaker, both he and Adrian end up being stuck at Chris’ home, right as the Evergreen PD come to arrest Chris. This forces the two to make a hasty getaway with Eagly, in an extended escape sequence that excels on both the humour and action front.
This sequence kicks off a shocking and devastating series of consequences for Chris in particular as well, after an ill-advised fall by Adrian ends up shattering the Butterfly Queen’s jar. Yes, as Murn confirms, Chris had the Butterfly Queen in a jar within his house this whole time, and she’s just found a new host in Sophie! This unfortunately means that the good Detective Song has met her end, and has now been fully possessed by the Butterfly Queen, complete with a fresh body to replace Senator Goff. This is a very unexpected and tragic turn, one that makes Sophie a great surprise villain for Peacemaker, or at least what’s left of her. This twist with Sophie also makes Chris’ and Adrian’s escape feel like a bit of a bittersweet victory, particularly when Locke helps the two anti-heroes get away by murdering several innocent Evergreen PD officers.
Speaking of murdering Evergreen PD officers, there’s a lot more where that came from! In what’s perhaps the coolest, most memorable scene in Peacemaker so far, the Butterfly Queen-possessed Sophie calls a whole fleet of Butterfly ships after returning to the precinct, at which point a whole slew of Butterflies swarm the precinct, violently possessing both the cops and the inmates in the adjacent jail! The Butterflies’ victims also include Locke and Fitzgibbon (Locke wasn’t a Butterfly before?), with this terrifying sequence being perfectly intercut alongside scenes of Auggie suiting up as the White Dragon. Truly, things have never looked worse for this show’s protagonists.
And somehow, it still gets more grim from there! After Locke winds up in possession of the planted diary that Adebayo placed at Chris’ house, he initially tries to hide the phony evidence against Chris, only for the Butterfly-possessed Locke to later use the diary as a means of blaming Chris for all of the victims of the Butterflies. This subsequently prompts every police precinct in the country to target Chris for arrest. The diary’s unforeseen exploitation by the Butterflies is another excellently tragic twist, not only because it confirms the dark design of Amanda Waller setting up Chris to be his team’s ‘fall guy’, thus ensuring that Chris goes back to prison with an extra lengthy sentence after the Butterflies are stopped, but also because Amanda Waller’s agenda has been so perfectly hijacked by a larger threat. Like I said, things could not possibly look worse for Chris right now! Even so, he is given a sliver of hope and encouragement by Harcourt towards the end of this episode, following a surprisingly quiet, but undeniably beautiful scene wherein we learn that Chris can play the piano. At this point, Harcourt finally tells Chris her first name; Emilia. It’s a small thing, but nonetheless further evidence that Chris now has a legitimate bond with Harcourt, one that goes beyond their mission against the Butterflies.
“Murn After Reading” is packed to the gills with fantastic plot twists, perfectly positioning both the Butterflies and Auggie to be more dangerous and seemingly unstoppable than ever! Like I said, this is easily Peacemaker’s best episode to date, a feat that’s all the more impressive when you consider how excellent the rest of this show has been so far! Chris’ team still has a mission even after all of these enemy advantages, one that pits them against the ‘cow’ that exclusively supplies the Butterflies’ food, but Chris having an entire army of cops after him is bound to make that mission extremely difficult, especially when it will inevitably draw more scrutiny toward the rest of his team. Even worse is that Adebayo, now more determined than ever to abandon a life of espionage, will no doubt have to face the fallout of the awful predicament she’s put Chris in with the planted diary.
There are a ton of exciting obstacles being primed for Chris and his team to face from here, leaving Peacemaker in a superb position to ideally capitalize on its two remaining episodes. If this spin-off series can deliver a worthy conclusion to go with its many impressive threats, Peacemaker can officially join The Suicide Squad as one of the best DCEU projects to date, and it’s well on its way to achieving that goal already!
- Chris' and Adrian's hilarious escape from the police
- Terrifying, epic Butterfly invasion sequence
- Amanda Waller's agenda being hijacked by the Butterflies