The finale of the first TV show in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is here. Peacemaker has been an absolutely wild ride from beginning to end. Although not every choice worked along the way, the finale was as much of a wild ride as the series committed to. The opening credits sequence still holds up, and I for one can proudly say I went all 8 episodes never skipping it once.
The team of misfits ultimately did come together in a spectacular way. The way Peacemaker (John Cena) has grown through this series is brilliant storytelling. The choice to show his PTSD as manifesting itself in the form of his abusive, super racist father was a good one. Harcourt was set up as the leader the team needed at this moment, and she more than delivered. The fake out with her death could have been a disaster and yet worked perfectly. Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) has arguably had some of the most significant growth through the season. Her owning up to her actions and forging her own path was nothing less than inspiring. Even Economos (Steve Agee) got his emotional moment in the spotlight, having a deeply heartfelt moment of reflection when faced with a metaphorical gun to his head.
The violence throughout this season has been used incredibly effectively. This episode was no different. The violence this show portrays never feels gratuitous or exploitative. Rather, it feels like an organic part of the story Peacemaker is trying to tell in all of its chaotic anarchy. Even the use of the song from the opening credits serves the story well, and in a way brings everything together for this team.
Unfortunately, not everything about the finale worked. The political commentary felt shoehorned at best, insulting at worst. Although it was great to hear Peacemaker being called out on his proto-fascist, libertarian political views, it doesn’t change the fact that the commentary on those views fell apart. There was no setup for the Butterflies to be a benign force that were simply seeking refuge from an inhospitable home. If anything, to play out this commentary to its logical conclusion, it’s a troubling portrait of those fleeing climate change as violent thieves which is a horrible and inaccurate way to frame a crisis that is affecting us all. Perhaps expecting pointed political commentary about a crisis that we are all in from a superhero show was too much, but still.
It was also disappointing that the Judo Master (Nhut Le) story fell apart. He’s been in and out of the series, and it was hinted that he might have a bigger role in the season finale. This was a character with so much potential, and in a show that gave most of its characters satisfying arcs and conclusions, it was a shame the same didn’t apply to Judo Master.
The Justice League cameo is going to be divisive to say the least. Although there had definitely been lead up to this moment with Peacemaker’s constant disparaging remarks about DC’s flagship team, it still felt like the show was pandering. It didn’t add anything to the story to have Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller in person, with CGI Superman and Wonder Woman. It seemed the only reason to include this moment was to hear Momoa’s profanity.
Before the finale aired, we got word that the series was renewed for season 2. Peacemaker absolutely deserves it. Even if the inaugural finale was a mixed bag, there was plenty to love about it and the season it ended. Peacemaker took the best parts of The Suicide Squad and made it into a fun and engaging series that distilled all of DC’s potential. Hopefully, we will see more DC properties follow suit.
Peacemaker Season 1 is now available to stream on HBO.