'It's Cow Or Never' For Peacemaker To Save The Planet In The Season Finale

It's all led to this. Seven episodes of blood, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids, and we've reached the end of the line for "Peacemaker" season 1. The story of Christopher Smith, A.K.A. Peacemaker, and his merry band of misfits is coming to a close, at least for a little while. Season 2 is already confirmed and on the way, which means fans can enjoy the mayhem of the finale without having to worry about this truly being the end. "Peacemaker" has been a real surprise, taking the least-likable character from writer and director James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" and turning him into someone we can genuinely care about. John Cena's performance and input helped shape the character into someone more complex. The series even retroactively makes the character in "The Suicide Squad" more sympathetic, and sad instead of simply evil. As we head into the finale, however, we'll have to see if Peacemaker has actually learned anything in his time with the members of Project Butterfly, or if he'll revert back to his bad behavior the second the chips are down. 

When we last left our sorta-heroes, Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) and Peacemaker were at odds after he figured out she placed a fake diary in his trailer to frame him for the actions of Project Butterfly. The budding friendship between Peacemaker and Adebayo is the series' heart, so their conflict arising as the team is headed to fight their biggest enemy yet raises the stakes. Peacemaker, Adebayo, Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), John Economos (Steve Agee), Eagly, and Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) are on their way to try and kill the Cow, which provides the only food source for the invading butterflies, and they might not all make it out alive. 

This week's "Peacemaker" answers some of the season's biggest questions, pushes the team to their limit, and as always, has some rockin' jams. It's time to dig into this deliciously demented superhero drama for the last time this season. Let's rock.

SPOILERS for "Peacemaker" episode 8 from here on out!

A quick recap

If Peacemaker has learned any maturity throughout the season, he's not showing it while Adebayo tries to apologize at the beginning of "It's Cow or Never." She tries to explain why she planted the diary and gives a heartfelt apology, but Chris repeatedly blows raspberries/makes fart noises, and Vigilante joins in. The two are clearly furious with one another, though Vigilante thinks the joking around is all in good fun and gets bummed out when he realizes Adebayo and Chris are at odds. He even explains that Chris is his best friend and Adebayo is his fifth-best friend, and he needs them to make up.

Adebayo calls her mother, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), who arranged the entire mission in the first place. She explains just how bad things have gotten and asks if her mom can send in the Justice League for backup. It doesn't look like they're coming, though, so the team sets about figuring out how to infiltrate the barn and kill the Cow. They decide to use the sonic boom helmet that Peacemaker killed the first butterfly with (all the way back in episode one), urging Eagly to drop it on top of the barn. Instead, he drops it off in the woods, and the team is forced to spend some time searching the forest for the lost helmet. 

While Vigilante and Economos look for the helmet and argue about the difference in population sizes between fish and ants, Peacemaker starts seeing visions of his dead father (Robert Patrick.) He pulls out his poison blow-dart and threatens his ghost dad with it, prompting the vision to laugh at him. Peacemaker explains that he knows the vision is fake, which is why he chose the blow-dart instead of his gun. "You're metaphorical, my gun's real, I didn't want the butterflies to hear," he says, showing us that even if he's imagining his freshly-dead pops talking to him, he knows it's not reality. Harcourt witnesses him blowing the dart and asks Peacemaker to kill a guard for her so they can give the uniform to Economos. They convince Economos to infiltrate the barn by pretending to be a butterfly-infested human, as he's the only one without visible injuries or a recognizable face. 

Economos is stopped on the way in by Fitzgibbon (Lochlyn Munro), who wants to know why he's going into the barn. Economos fudges it and stoically says, "Because of this bag," and Fitzgibbon miraculously lets him through. Once inside, he vomits from nerves, which causes Peacemaker to almost vomit back in the woods. Economos then creeps down the stairs, trying to get the helmet as close to the Cow as possible. When he sees the Cow, however, he changes his mind. "Uh-uh, f*** it, no more kaijus," he says as he drops the helmet and runs. (In his defense, the Cow is a horrifying giant worm creature and after Starro, he's a bit emotionally scarred.) 

Fitzgibbon ends up stopping Economos once more, asking him about his beard. Economos gives a long and heartbreaking explanation about the two-toned nature of his beard (more on that later). At this point, one of the white supremacists taken over by a butterfly brings the helmet up from the basement. All hell breaks loose after Adebayo manages to set off the sonic boom, and Peacemaker, Harcourt, and Vigilante get ready to squash some bugs. The series' theme, "Do Ya Wanna Taste It" by Wig Wam, begins to play gloriously as they start shooting, stabbing, and squashing a whole mess of alien invaders. The fight is a lot of fun, but Peacemaker falls through into the cave below, Vigilante is stabbed and falls unconscious, and Harcourt is grievously wounded by a gunshot. The sounds of Wig Wam become distorted and far away as Harcourt begins gurgling on her own blood. 

Adebayo grabs two pistols and starts heading towards Harcourt, prompting Economos to ask why she thinks she can help. "Because I'm made for this s***," she answers, mirroring what her mother and Harcourt have told her about her capability. She goes in and kicks some serious butt, John Wick-ing the baddies with ease. Economos tries to help and trips, breaking his leg. He then crawls all the way across the field to bring Adebayo Peacemaker's helmet. Wearing the helmet, Adebayo goes to rescue Peacemaker, using the tracker in his head from "The Suicide Squad" to pinpoint his location in the rubble. It appears Peacemaker is trapped under something, and we see someone pull him out. Instead of being Adebayo, however, it's Sophie Song/Goff (Annie Chang), and Peacemaker tries to fight her. Adebayo breaks through from the other side of the rubble and activates the human torpedo helmet, which blasts her into a wall, knocking her unconscious in the process. Great try, at least. 

Sophia tells Peacemaker she wants to stop fighting, and for him to follow her. He finally sees the Cow, muttering "Holy cow," to which Sophie softly agrees: "It is." Sophie needs Peacemaker to help her teleport the Cow to safety, as it's a three-person job — and only she and Locke (Christopher Heyerdahl) have survived. Peacemaker asks why he would possibly help her do such a thing, and she finally explains the reasoning behind their takeover: the aliens were not hungry for power, but were afraid that humanity was going to waste all of their natural resources and kill the earth. The butterflies used up their own planet and came to Earth simply looking for a place to live, but when they saw things like anti-science rhetoric and climate change denial, they decided to try to stop humanity from repeating the butterflies' mistakes: 

"We're not doing this for power. We're doing it because we took a vow. Our kind traveled here from a planet that had become unlivable. Your planet had the habitat we needed, water to drink and air to breathe. Your food couldn't sustain us, but that's why we brought her. The Cow would help the last of our people survive for another hundred years. But, not long after we arrived we realized the people of Earth were on the exact same trajectory our people had been, ignoring science in favor of populist leaders who tell you that the fires and the floods and the disease are unrelated to your own actions. Valuing profit over survival. Treating minor inconveniences as assaults on your freedom. And so we made a vow to do anything we could to change your future."

In order to save the planet, and by extension the majority of humanity, the butterflies were willing to do whatever was necessary. Their vow mirrors Peacemaker's in many ways, and Sophie even says the following with a little smile: "You're one of us, Christopher Smith." She goes on to explain that she has gotten to know who he really is in their time together and that she believes that they are truly on the same team:

"Thank you for feeding me and talking to me and showing me kindness. I see who you are and I see your character. I tried telling you yesterday, in the jar. Please, fulfill your calling. Be the Peacemaker. Join us in saving your planet. Whaddaya say?" 

Peacemaker's response? "Activate human torpedo," which launches the just-revived Adebayo straight into the center of the Cow. He then shoots both Sophie and Locke, though we see the Goffbug escape — and Peacemaker lets her go. Adebayo falls out of the Cow's guts but is mostly uninjured, and she and Peacemaker limp back to the surface to reunite with the rest of the team. Peacemaker carries the unconscious Harcourt as they drag themselves away from the rubble, just as some very familiar silhouettes appear in the distance.

"You're late you f***in' d***heads!" Peacemaker shouts at the four members of the Justice League who have arrived at Waller's call — Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Superman. Peacemaker and his crew walk right by, though Chris has to throw in at least one good fish-humping joke at Aquaman's expense. 

The group takes Harcourt to the hospital, where Adebayo and Peacemaker finally have a chance to chat. Peacemaker reveals that Adebayo is his best friend (after Eagly, of course), and she says that she has to go do what's right. We see her dressed professionally and cleaned of blood as she steps in front of a podium, then she proceeds to reveal all of the secrets of Task Force X to the press. She even throws her mother under the bus, and we see Waller watching on TV and swearing. There's a montage of what happens to the crew: Adebayo reunites with her wife and dogs, Economos goes back to work at Belle Reeve, Judomaster (Nhut Le) finds the wreckage of the butterfly compound and cries into his Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Harcourt re-learns how to walk after her spinal injury, and Vigilante and Peacemaker get back to what they love best: blowing stuff up. Goff even returns, landing on Peacemaker's porch.

Things seem to be going out on a high note, but then Chris sees the ghost of his pops sitting on his porch next to him, and he takes a big swig of beer as Eagly drops a possum present. Peacemaker might have killed his dad, but it's clear that Auggie will continue to haunt him.

The sweet

The heart of "Peacemaker" is the relationships between its main characters. Throughout the season, we've watched as this crew of misfits became true friends and a real team, and their ability to finally come together in the finale was deeply satisfying. Chris and Adebayo's chat in the hospital is the perfect way to wrap things up for where these two characters stand with one another, and I look forward to seeing their friendship continue to grow in season 2. 

Chris is terrified that he did the wrong thing in killing the Cow, asking Adebayo, "Did I just kill the world?"

She responds — though it's clear she's still frustrated with him, and their friendship is frayed: "Maybe. Or maybe you just give us a chance to make our own choices instead of our bug overlords. Why did you choose not to help them? Because of your proto-fascist Libertarian idea of freedom?"

This forces Chris to pause, and Cena's performance as he replies is painfully earnest: "Because I knew they'd hurt you and the others if I did." 

For Peacemaker, the decision was no longer about free will or the fate of the planet, but about taking care of the people he loved most. The one thing that could make him break his vow was love. His love for Adebayo, Vigilante, Harcourt, and Economos led him to make the hard choice, and go against everything he thought he believed in. 

Chris and Adebayo make amends, and then he tells her that she's his BFF. She thumps her chest with her fist in response, fighting tears. The friendship has changed her, too.

The spicy

This week was significantly more sad than spicy, though anything said by Ghost Dad Auggie was certain to be unsettling. I would be remiss if I didn't bring up Economos' monologue to Fitzgibbon about his beard, however, as it's another brilliant example of the series playing with people's expectations. Fitzgibbon asks him why the man he's taken over would dye his beard in such a way, and we finally get an answer for Economos' unusually-tinted facial hair:

"He thought it made him look younger and more handsome. He never had a girlfriend, so he thought dying his beard might help. But he was also lazy, and busy with his job, and he wouldn't dye his roots regularly. And when he did he used the cheapest brand because he was incredibly underpaid. Mostly though, he never thought anybody noticed, until recently, when one guy said it to him all the time."

Economos' voice breaks and tears prick his eyes, yet Fitzgibbon's response is cruel: "Humans can be really pathetic."

We see Peacemaker react to hearing what Economos said over the walkie-talkies, and it's clear that he's realized the hurt he's caused. For most of his life, Peacemaker was a bully because it was the only way he knew how to protect himself, but now he's realized that his actions hurt others in turn. He will still have to contend with the possibly literal ghost of his father, but he's no longer content to just be a jerk to everyone. 

Best lines and post-credit sequence

I'm actually getting a little verklempt here ... I'm going to miss collecting the best lines from "Peacemaker" every week. Between Gunn's expertly-crafted dialogue and the improv skills of this cast, there have been some absolute treasures over the past seven weeks. This week's inclusion of Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Ezra Miller's Flash, two members of the actual freaking Justice League, set a new high for the series and Gunn will have to pull out the big guns for season 2. Here are the best lines from this foul-mouthed finale:

  • Adebayo after Vigilante discovers she took her wife's name and announces she's "the girl" in the relationship:

    "We're both girls in the relationship, Adrian, that's what being a lesbian is."

  • Peacemaker shares his theory on Green Arrow:
    "That dude goes to Brony conventions dressed like the back half of Twilight Sparkle with a 4-inch butthole drilled in the back of the costume."
  • Peacemaker explains why he had to wash the guard's clothes in the stream before giving them to Economos:

    "One of the things us warriors seldom talk about is how often people s*** themselves when they die. It's a touch of gray in the white cloud of kicking a**."

  • Harcourt snaps at Peacemaker:
    "Eat my d***, Schwarzzanever."
  • After Peacemaker tells Aquaman to "go f*** another fish," Aquaman and Flash bicker:
    "I'm so f***in' sick of that rumor."

    "It's not a rumor."

    "F*** you Barry."

The finale post-credits sequence is an extended scene with Vigilante claiming that people should explain sarcasm before they use it. His example is telling Economos that he's fat, following up with: "Sarcasm: I haven't noticed you eating more corn chips than any one human should eat and I am not worried you're gonna die. But ... I am worried you're gonna die." Economos at least sees this for the attempt at kindness that it is, however backhanded, and replies, "Thanks." 

All eight episodes of "Peacemaker" are now streaming on HBO Max.