TV Review: Peacemaker, 1×3, “Better Goff Dead”

User Rating: 8

Episode three of Peacemaker is one of those episodes that it’s both exciting and confusing at the same time. We finally learn what the Butterflies are and are starting to understand they’re important to the overall story. Vigilante also gets to play a significant part in the first-ever mission the team gets a chance to go on. We also learn Peacemaker has an issue with killing people who don’t deserve it. This adage is explicitly directed toward children who he feels are complete innocents and don’t deserve to die.

There is a pivotal scene where Peacemaker has to choose whether to kill an entire family because they are shown to actually be Butterflies. At that point, he had to make a judgment call about whether or not they deserved to die by his gun. Vigilante ends up shooting most of the family with a sniper rifle, only for him and Peacemaker to get captured after a pretty brutal fight with a bodyguard, Judomaster (Nhut Le). What follows for these two is a torture sequence (Vigilante takes all the torture), leading to what I’m going to call the craziest ending I’ve seen so far.

I like that Peacemaker is all about expecting the unexpected. Given all the big talk that Peacemaker made about killing people (men, women, and children) because it was the right thing to do and he knows no other way, it was interesting to see him feeling conflicted about the act of actually murdering a family presented in front of him.

Jennifer Holland, who plays Emelia Harcourt, gets a chance to step into her own in this episode. Harcourt is one of those characters that work very hard to make sure that everything goes to plan. She inherently knows that Peacemaker is the dynamite in any good mission. He can be effective but also make things go horribly very quickly.

As someone who loves order and structure, Peacemaker is Harcourt’s ultimate foil. It’s great watching Cena and Holland play off each other. The other thing I really loved about this episode was how no one could predict what would happen once the mission started. Every movement the team made was open to some sort of chaos. The realization that the target and his family were all Butterflies was shocking. More shocking than that, Peacemaker allowed Vigilante to be tortured and nearly lose one of his toes. That whole scene was absolutely hilarious because Peacemaker was continually digging a horrible hole for a character who didn’t deserve any pain. Only James Gunn could get away with something so absurd on a consistent basis.

Another moment I loved the most was the entrance into the Butterfly hideout and the fact that the team used sticky dynamite to open the entrance, only for it to explode in their face like a Looney Tunes cartoon. Absolutely fantastic, without a doubt.

There is a vulnerability in this episode of Peacemaker. I just don’t know the best way to get that empathy and emotion extracted from the story we’re being told. This is definitely a solid, funny show, but it needs to get to the point quicker. It took us over three episodes to figure out who or what Butterflies are, and we still don’t know why they’re important. The best thing this show could do for its audience is not drag things out as much as they are. I had fun, but I hope the next episode is stronger.

Peacemaker is now streaming on HBO Max.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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