This article contains spoilers for the season one finale of ‘Peacemaker’
The first season of James Gunn’s ‘Peacemaker’, the HBO Max series that follows the travails of the flag-waving, meat-headed DC superhero played by John Cena, came to a somewhat surprising conclusion.
After the series spent the first seven, and the majority of the eighth and final episode, painting all white men as, at best, adolescent buffoons, and at worst, unrepentantly racist and psychopathic Nazis – and all minorities and women as smart, savvy and tough – the show’s climax was downright shocking.
In the final episode, Peacemaker and his band of misfit special agents head to a farm to try to stop a giant alien caterpillar, which is the lone food source for a large population of alien butterflies that are embedding themselves in powerful people on Earth, from being teleported to a safe location –thus ensuring that these butterflies take over the planet.
After a long battle scene, Peacemaker and the lead butterfly named Goff, which has embedded itself in an Asian-American female police officer Sophie (Annie Chang), stop fighting and talk.
Goff pleads with Peacemaker to help the aliens because they left their planet due to global warming, and have come to Earth not seeking conquest, but to save it from the same environmental calamity.
In Goff’s passionate monologue, she rails against climate change deniers and those who “ignore science,” as well as the plethora of Neanderthals that see “minor inconveniences as assaults on their freedom” instead of as a way to save the planet.
Peacemaker ponders Goff’s appeal, and it certainly seems like he’s going to be won over. As a viewer, I was rolling my eyes, as I fully expected Peacemaker to follow the Hollywood blueprint and be redeemed through embracing the fight against climate change, a staple in storytelling in recent years.
But then, much to my surprise, Peacemaker shoots and kills Goff and uses a voice-controlled helmet being worn by Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), a black lesbian on his team, to employ her as a missile that he launches into the giant caterpillar, killing it and ending the alien butterfly threat.
In the aftermath, Peacemaker helps Adebayo out of the caterpillar corpse, then picks up his wounded, hard-nosed feminist compatriot Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and carries her to the hospital, but not before cursing out the Justice League.
At the hospital, as Peacemaker awaits word on Harcourt’s condition, he second-guesses himself and asks Adebayo, “Did I just kill the world?”
Adebayo responds, “Maybe you just gave us a chance to make our own choices instead of our bug overlords.”
She then asks him, “Why did you choose not to help? Because of your proto-fascist, libertarian idea of freedom?”
Peacemaker replies, “Because I knew they’d hurt you and the others if I did [help them].”
In the context of the show, which I often found amusing despite its incessant woke preening regarding the evils of white men and the glories of everybody else, Peacemaker’s ultimate heroism was a stunner.
Equally shocking was the inherent admission from creator Gunn that all the woke preaching in the previous seven episodes was a pose. Peacemaker may have a “proto-fascist, libertarian idea of freedom,” but he wasn’t a bad guy or a racist or misogynist; it was the bevy of snarky minorities and women around him that projected racism and misogyny onto his buffoonish and brutish personality.
The bottom line was that it was Peacemaker, the questionable white guy, who not only saved the day, but revealed himself to be considerably stronger mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically than all of the women and minorities who berated him for his barbarity throughout. And these women, like Adebayo and Harcourt, grew to love Peacemaker for who he is, and no longer hated him for what he wasn’t, and for the reflexive wokeness that he lacked.
In a way, this conclusion paints Peacemaker as the embodiment of the famous Jack Nicholson speech from the film ‘A Few Good Men’, where his Colonel Jessep declares, “You can’t handle the truth!... We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? ... You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know … and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall – you need me on that wall.”
Peacemaker may be an idiot and a jackass, but the woke brigade on the show need him on that wall, as he is not only able, but willing, to do what needs to be done, and those who ridicule him for his prehistoric cultural politics are ultimately grateful for him because only he can keep them safe.
The irony of it all is that it’s uncouth, brutal men like Peacemaker, with their “libertarian ideas of freedom,” who do the nasty, dirty work that creates the protected, safe spaces where the decadence of racial and feminist wokeness can be born and thrive.
‘Peacemaker’ isn’t a perfect series, and Gunn’s writing and directing style can be grating at times, but to his and the show’s credit, he cleverly turned the usual woke politics of entertainment on its head with ‘Peacemaker’s’ conclusion, which was a refreshing change in the suffocatingly uniform cultural politics of Hollywood.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.