TV Review: Peacemaker, 1×5, “Monkey Dory”

User Rating: 4

Peacemaker has reached a level of absurdity that most audiences won’t be able to fathom. In this episode, you have Peacemaker and his team infiltrating a facility that creates nectar for the butterflies to feast on. During that time, the entire team is attacked by everyone in the facility because they are all butterflies. All of the individuals in that factory possess the unique strength and agility to take on Peacemaker and the team. Meanwhile, the cops are trying to get to the bottom of the murder Peacemaker’s father, Auggie, has been framed for. Detective Song comes against opposition in the form of her new captain. Song and her partner start to take matters into their own hands to investigate what’s really going on.

There is no telling how audiences are going to feel about this episode. This show jumps the shark by having Peacemaker fight a possessed gorilla. I don’t know how much more off base a show can get end still have the audience’s emotional investment. James Gunn and his team are fiercely trying to get us to continue to operate within the fantasy of this world. The issue is that the more deplorable Peacemaker and his team are, the more the fantasy escapes the audience.

This is by no means John Cena’s fault. As the lead, he is doing everything to make this main character sympathetic despite the horrible decisions he makes as an antihero. What makes matters worse is that every available opportunity to make these characters redeemable, the team wastes time bickering with each other like brothers and sisters who wished their other siblings didn’t exist. There are very few times that this group feels like a family, but after they defeat the gorilla and they’re listening to glam-rock in the van ride back to home base, they feel like a cohesive unit.

I think it says something that we’re five episodes into this series, and the main characters still don’t really feel like a cohesive team. I struggle to know what it would take to get this team to work together to do better for each other and for themselves. I don’t know the sacrifice needed to motivate them to fight for the world. The worst part is I know audiences want to like these characters, and it’s not the actors’ fault. It’s the way the action is set up.

I’m being so critical of this series because I want superheroes with an edge, but I need them to be likable so that I can root for their success. I don’t feel like audiences can be supportive given what they’ve been shown over the past five weeks. HBO Max threw a lot at this TV series because James Gunn was willing to do the bulk of the writing. The concern becomes whether or not the prolific writer-director took on too much too soon. With Adebayo being captured at the episode’s end by Murn, who she learns is a butterfly, I hope this is the slap in the face the team needs to truly be supportive of one another. Time will tell.

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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