Peacemaker Ep. 7 Sets Up an Emotional Finale

Peacemaker Ep. 7 Sets Up an Emotional Finale

BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME

IG@matt.tuck.writer

FB@ The Comic Blog

Peacemaker had its most emotional episode yet as the series heads into next week’s finale. [SPOILER] reached the end of his line, but I am still banking on another major character biting the proverbial dust before it’s over. WARNING: SPOILERS.

THE FIRST TO FALL

As I pointed out in the last blog, someone is getting the ax before Peacemaker wraps its first season. James Gunn is known for his tearful farewells in the final acts of his movies, and the seventh episode, “Stop Dragon My Heart Around,” didn’t hold back.

On the cusp of the season finale, Gunn has killed off one fan-favorite character, Murn. After learning that the notorious coldblooded killer was actually a Butterfly (not to mention the disgusting and violent reality of how the tiny aliens infect a human host’s brain), he is trapped by Goff and the rest of the Butterfly-controlled police force in his hotel room. Not only is he shot, but when he tries to escape in his Butterfly form, Goff crushes him in her hand. There is a brief, teary-eyed goodbye with Harcourt before it’s back to business as usual, which is a recurring problem for Peacemaker’s characters.

The show teased us with other deaths, and we have to know Gunn was having fun watching his fans squirm. At one point, Vigilante appeared to die behind the wheel in the aftermath of standing too close to a grenade (which made very little sense). The harder hitting almost-death scene involved Eagly. Everyone’s favorite avian sidekick dove headfirst into the fight with White Dragon. As the greatest bird in the history of the DCEU defended Peacemaker, Auggie Smith gives Eagly a supercharged, near-fatal backhand. By the end of the episode, both Vigilante and Eagly were back up and running.

ONE VILLAIN DOWN

Hands down, Peacemaker has been the best superhero streaming series in the past year. Gunn has managed to outdo his MCU competition with a combination of wit, charm, and mature action. The next episode will be the key to securing its place among streaming audiences as the first season rolls around.

The emotional stakes are higher than ever. Episode Seven explored Peacemaker’s past, finally giving us the story of what happened to his brother, Keith. Seeing two loving brothers forced to fight for the amusement of what is more or less the DCEU’s Ku Klux Klan helped audiences to better understand Chris Smith. It also gave us more reason than ever to want to see the White Dragon get his comeuppance. 

While the drama was at its peak, the problem with this episode was the timing of the humor. After Peacemaker kills his father, he breaks down, dropping to his knees and sobbing on the pavement. As an audience, we are gripped by the emotionality of the moment. The trouble was that as we’re reeling from Chris’ pain and torment, Vigilante interjects about Peacemaker doing his face exercises. The joke itself was funny, but the placement was poor. We’re not allowed to savor these moments before another irreverent joke is being hurled at us. 

Still, this is the better show among the crowded field of Marvel, DC, and Star Wars offerings over the past year. The real measure will be next week’s entry.

FINISH STRONG

As I have pointed out in regards to The Book of Boba Fett, finishing strong is integral to the overall view of a series. Over the years, there have been plenty of examples that support that theory. Fans of ABC’s Lost will understand the frustration with a great show having a bad ending. After five seasons of mystery, intrigue, and wonderful character development, you could say that Lost lost its way. The sixth season felt rushed, creating more plot holes than proper conclusions to the show’s numerous story threads. The grand finale was literally Jack putting a giant cork in the power of the vanishing island. It left a sour taste in fans’ mouths that plagues the series’ legacy.

Of course, there’s no better example of a show stumbling to the finish line like Game of Thrones. With an absolute epic collapse in its final season, GOT was a brilliant series that tripped on its own feet when the showrunners ran out of source material. Left to their own accords, the series took ill-advised plot turns that saw one of the most sympathetic characters suddenly go on a murderous rampage thanks to some bells ringing. 

Recently, actor Peter Dinklage who played Tyrion Lannister in GOT, remarked in a New York Times interview that fans were only upset about the series’ finale because they “wanted to see the pretty white people ride off into the sunset together.” To that, I present exhibit A: the Night King. Here we had one of the most interesting villains in a show built on fascinating villains. His march into the Seven Kingdoms was marvelously teased and foreshadowed for years. He was by far the most powerful character in the show with a great aesthetic, and as fans, we were ready to see him in action atop his undead dragon. 

And just like that, the Night King gets a cheap death in one of the most disappointing episodes of the eighth season. It was a letdown that should have left a tear in George Lucas’ eye, who has made an art out of prematurely killing his coolest characters. No matter how many pretty people ride off into the sunset together, it doesn’t make up for poor storytelling and execution.

The lasting legacy for GOT is unfortunate. Instead of being remembered as the greatest adult fantasy epic captured on film, it will be remembered as a cautionary tale of how a poor final act can ruin the entire show no matter how great it was.

REDEEMING A BAD SHOW WITH A GOOD ENDING

Audiences have a notoriously short term memory. An average show can seem like a masterpiece of modern cinema with the right ending. Take WandaVision, for example. Truth be told, the first eight episodes were not particularly good. In fact, the first two black-and-white episodes were so bad that many viewers were reluctant to come back for more. That’s not to say there weren’t fans of the hokey, tongue-in-cheek silliness of it all, but what kept audiences tuning in was the mystery and promises of major cameos. 

Famously, WandaVision’s showrunners opted to mislead and troll MCU fans rather than deliver on the promises. Despite the many aspects where WandaVision was lacking, there is a large number of viewers who revere the show as the best Marvel has to yet to offer. Why is that? The ending. It was beautiful and emotional with a lasting impact that overshadowed the massive plot holes. It perfectly captured Wanda Maximoff’s tortured trauma and pain from the loss of her parents to the death of her brother. The tearful goodbye she shared with her children and Vision was gripping and relatable. It was the one time the show didn’t drop the ball, and it paid off huge dividends.

THE END

Ending on a high note will tell the full story for Peacemaker. I said similar things going into The Book of Boba Fett’s finale, and I stand by those thoughts. For all intents and purposes, Boba Fett was bad. Not without its fun and exciting moments, it was overall boring and painfully cliché with many inconsistencies in terms of Star Wars lore. It had the opportunity to break out of the corny mold with a solid finish to the season, but it stumbled there as well. Had BOBF ended on a high note, the story audiences are now telling would be much different.

By no means has Peacemaker been a perfect show. The jokes can be a bit forced at times, and the characters’ choices and reactions can defy all logic. Still, it has hit the most important marks, and Episode Seven expanded on Peacemaker’s childhood trauma, making him a more complete, dynamic character in the process. Gunn has proven his chops with poignant endings for his Guardians of the Galaxy entries as well as The Suicide Squad (Starro’s last words were among the best dialogue in the entire movie). I have faith that he will rise to the task and give us a suitable conclusion.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.


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