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‘Peacemaker’ 1×02 Review: “Best Friends, For Never”

**Spoilers Ahead**

With three episodes of Peacemaker being released simultaneously, fans have been given a chance to get a really good look at what this show is all about. The second episode gave us more of what we saw in the first, albeit with a bit of a different pace. 

Picking up where the first episode left off, we’ve been introduced to the concept of Butterflies. Peacemaker’s (John Cena) ill-fated one night stand ends with an attack from someone appearing to be human with a distinct flavor of animal/alien/something else entirely. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) clearly learned nothing from her first two attempts at putting a team together, and leaves pretty much everyone in the dark except for her appointed deputies. This time, one of those deputies is her daughter Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) who is apparently one of the only ones informed of this team’s true purpose.

The complete incompetence with which this team operates is endearing. With the general foolery that seems to follow this group around everywhere they go, we’re seeing a team develop that is essentially flying blind. They’re being set up for failure at every turn, which may in the future bring them closer together. Their communication even among themselves leaves so much to be desired, and it grounds the show in a way many other DC Extended Universe (DCEU) entries have been missing.

Photo Credit: HBO

This episode gave us more characters to get to know to add to the zany crew. We got to see Annie Chang as Sophie Song, an Evergreen police officer who’s an incredible match for Peacemaker’s super racist father Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick). Her partner Larry (Lochlyn Munro) is your run of the mill cop, but so far seems to have his partner’s back. We also met Adrian Chase/Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), a Peacemaker fanboy who’s just trying to help his idol out. He’s cute and just annoying enough to be endearing.

The music of this episode is used incredibly effectively. In particular, Peacemaker’s crying session to the music of Firehouse (Don’t Treat Me Bad, specifically) was the definition of relatable. Cena’s expressions were phenomenal and his face in general was absolutely perfect for this scene. We all need to break down sometimes. However, seeing a man who is attempting to be the definition of masculinity fall to pieces was oddly satisfying. We’ve all been there, crying it out to our favorite cry music just to feel our emotions.

Photo Credit: HBO

The pacing and stories were slightly more uneven than the premiere episode. The couple in the apartment being tied up by Peacemaker for seeing what they shouldn’t have was really hilarious, and then was dropped abruptly. The relationship between Peacemaker and Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) is complicated to say the least, and they clearly haven’t yet quite found their stride, especially in the workplace. This episode featured continued attempted exposition of the plot of the series, and attempt to see this seemingly ill-fated team get closer together. It didn’t feel as smooth as the first episode, perhaps because we’ve already established the premise but still need to move forward with the story itself.

The ending of this episode left us with a super triggering scene featuring Auggie being racist after being framed for his son’s many shenanigans and sitting in jail. As someone who hasn’t read any comics featuring the White Dragon, I have no idea where this particular story is going. However, it’s clear that he is meant to feature prominently as the series goes on and…yeah, that should be interesting. While the second episode definitely had some highlights, and furthered the story that DC is trying to tell, it was a little more tentative than the first. Hopefully, the pacing can be fixed going forward and will keep fans engaged in a story that has so much potential.

New episodes of Peacemaker air Thursdays on HBO.

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