NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Peacemaker”, including multiple major character deaths, are present in this review
Peacemaker has a series of threats currently pointed at all of its protagonists, and that means that there’s a lot of ground to cover during the season’s penultimate episode. “Stop Dragon My Heart Around” wraps up at least one of these climactic obstacles, namely Auggie Smith/White Dragon and his White Hoods, while predictably leaving the larger threat of the Butterflies for the following season finale. Fortunately, Chris’ decisive confrontation with his father is certainly a memorable one, while Adebayo, Harcourt and Murn separately try to evade the Butterfly-controlled Evergreen PD.
This is a leaner Peacemaker episode than most, one that even falls just shy of the series’ average 40-minute episode runtime. The tradeoff here is that the show’s pacing hits a fever pitch, which makes this episode especially exciting, something that’s all the more rewarding after Auggie’s thugs, as well as Judomaster, eventually target the series’ lead heroes. Yes, Judomaster, while at large for a fair while, has finally decided to exact his revenge on his former captors, at least after beating up some frat boys that had the misfortune of mocking his height. I guess he had to drive to Adebayo’s apartment complex somehow, right?
Adebayo and Harcourt end up having their own dramatic confrontation shortly before Judomaster’s arrival as well, naturally stemming from Adebayo planting the fake diary that incriminates Chris for all of the team’s crimes and Butterfly-related killings. Unsurprisingly, Murn knew about Adebayo’s identity as Amanda Waller’s daughter the whole time to boot, as well as the eventuality that Adebayo would be forced to make Chris the team’s fall guy, but there’s no time to adequately resolve these problems, after two sets of enemies show up. Harcourt ends up battling a still-injured Judomaster in a fistfight at this point, while Murn tries and fails to fend off the Butterflies’ new Evergreen PD hosts. The good news here is that Judomaster is successfully neutralized again, with some help from Adebayo and her taser. The bad news however is that Murn obviously can’t take on an entire army of cops by himself, and he’s eventually shot by Sophie, now the vessel for the Butterfly Queen!
Despite Harcourt and Adebayo attempting to get back to Murn as well, Murn’s Butterfly form is fatally injured by Sophie as much as his human body was, and he unfortunately dies in Harcourt’s hands. It seemed inevitable that Team Peacemaker would sustain at least one major fatality by the end of the season, and Murn paying for the Butterflies’ intervention with his life feels like an especially sad, but fitting turn for the narrative. Through sacrificing himself for his team, Murn was finally able to achieve the redemption he sought, both for his Butterfly self, and his evil human host. Plus, with the Butterflies seemingly being satisfied following Murn’s demise, Adebayo and Harcourt are able to escape, and eventually regroup with their team. Did they just leave the seemingly unconscious Judomaster in the apartment then?
Unfortunately, Chris, Economos and Adrian eventually end up with their hands full in the meantime, after Auggie and his White Hoods use Chris’ helmet to track their location. This forces Chris to confront his father on the way to the Butterflies’ Cow, an event that allows the tragic aftermath of Murn’s death to be effectively balanced with more heightened focus on humour from Chris’ perspective. The messy battle against Auggie and his goons sees a hysterical death fake-out for Adrian, some more vicious Eagly attacks, and a chance to finally see Auggie go all out in the surprisingly mighty White Dragon costume. There’s also an especially inspired ploy that Chris initially tries to use in an effort to escape, namely by attaching his helmet to a wild raccoon, and later acting surprised when the raccoon mauls him for it. As usual, even in the most serious of predicaments for its lead characters, Peacemaker somehow manages to keep the laughs coming!
The fateful final duel between Chris and Auggie also nicely builds off of an episode intro that confirms how Chris’ brother, Keith died so many years ago. This involved Chris and Keith being forced to fight each other as children, with the White Hoods taking bets on them. Chris hitting his brother in the wrong place apparently triggered a seizure during one of these mock melees, resulting in Keith being accidentally killed, and thus setting Chris on his tragic path to becoming Peacemaker. The emotional revelation surrounding exactly how Chris killed his brother later comes to a head when Chris finally stares down his father and beats him senseless in the present, declaring that he’s not his brother’s true killer. This major character moment for Chris might have hit harder if it had a little more room to breathe in the hurried storytelling within this episode though. Chris suddenly owning his family demons appears to come out of nowhere, and that’s distracting. Still, Chris finally putting a bullet in Auggie’s head in the end, thus retaking his agency and setting himself on a new path, makes for a nice conclusion to the Smith family drama, as well as a fittingly humiliating death for the vicious White Dragon.
With Auggie and the White Hoods now being eliminated for good (assuming Auggie doesn’t have any more loyalists poking around), the only issue left for Team Peacemaker is the Butterfly invasion. After one ridiculous trip to the vet later, wherein Eagly is stitched up from the Auggie battle while Adrian debates killing the innocent staff, Harcourt is officially appointed as the team’s new leader, another satisfying character result, and one that can better justify how rushed it feels, considering that time is short for the team. Anyway, from there, Harcourt quickly devises a plan through which to attack the Butterflies’ ‘Cow’ and sole food source, a massive extraterrestrial creature that’s stored under a nearby farm. This exceptionally tees Peacemaker up for its subsequent season finale, one that gives the team a dangerous, likely suicidal mission in the name of saving Earth from aliens, while finally freeing Chris from his family angst, and leaving him and his team freshly amped up for the climactic battle ahead.
“Stop Dragon My Heart Around” sometimes suffers from having to rush through the final stages of the series’ White Dragon battle, but it’s still a sharply funny and action-packed episode overall. There could have been a little more time devoted to Chris finally fully overcoming the dark legacy of his father, but this episode’s other major narrative beats, including Murn being killed by the Butterfly Queen, Harcourt and Adebayo having it out over the planted diary, and Harcourt eventually rallying the team to finally go after the Cow, all succeeded with flying colours, as per usual for this superb series. Despite losing one of their most skilled members, Team Peacemaker’s mission against the Butterflies still needs to be completed, after all. There may only be one mission left before these would-be heroes can finally save the world in earnest, on that note, but it’s no exaggeration to say that it will no doubt be their toughest (and strangest!) task to date!
- Action-packed battles against Judomaster and White Dragon
- Murn's emotional death
- Harcourt stepping in as the team's new leader
- Chris' final confrontation with his father feels a little rushed