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WARNING: Due to this series directly following the events of The Suicide Squad, this page will have unmarked spoilers for that film.

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"I used to think God put me here for a purpose. For peace. And I know I said I didn't care how many people I needed to torture or kill to get it, but... Y'know, lately I'm just thinkin' I'm a fuckin' maniac?"
Peacemaker
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Peacemaker is a superhero comedy series created by James Gunn in 2022, based on the DC Comics (originally Charlton Comics) character of the same name. It is a Spin-Off of The Suicide Squad and the first live-action series set in the DC Extended Universe. The entire first season was written by Gunn, who also directed several episodes.

Narrowly beating death after the incident on Corto Maltese, Christopher Smith/Peacemaker (John Cena) has been recommissioned to undergo more special missions for Task Force X as part of an off-the-books group investigating the Butterflies, mysterious insectoid aliens who have infiltrated Earth. The series also delves into Peacemaker's origins and how they shaped him to become who he is today.

Returning from The Suicide Squad are Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland as Task Force X staffers John Economos and Emilia Harcourt, while new additions to the cast include Danielle Brooks as Leota Adebayo, Robert Patrick as Auggie Smith, Freddie Stroma as Adrian Chase / Vigilante, and Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn.

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The series premiered on HBO Max on January 13, 2022. On February 16, 2022, Cena and Gunn confirmed that HBO Max had ordered a second season.

Has nothing to do with The Peacemaker.

Previews: HBO Max clip, DC Fandome 2021 teaser.


"Do you really wanna, do you really wanna trope that?":

  • Adaptation Deviation: Besides his gender and his martial arts ability, Judomaster has nothing in common with his comics counterpart, looking more like a fusion of T.D.K. (from The Suicide Squad) and Gekko (from PJ Masks).
  • Adaptational Personality Change:
    • The goofy and sexist aspects of Peacemaker's personality are not present in any of his source material. Aside from his modus operandi of killing to maintain peace, he is a totally different character in the series, with his film version being much closer to the comics' depiction.
    • Vigilante's personality is totally different from his comics counterpart. His comics version is an attorney who only kills when he views it necessary, while in the series he is a big Peacemaker fan who is even goofier — and has even less qualms about killing — than Peacemaker himself.
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  • Aliens in Cardiff: For some reason, the Butterflies picked Washington state as their primary base of operations, later making Evergreen their primary location after taking over the entire police department.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Played for comedy when Eagly sticks his head out of the car window and lets his tongue flap in the breeze. Otherwise, Eagly acts more like a cat, bringing Peacemaker dead rodents and getting distracted by playing with a bottlecap.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Vigilante might have been a run-of-the-mill superhero if he didn't believe that committing virtually any and all crimes justifies the brutal murder of the perpetrator.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Peacemaker says you can't housetrain an eagle (not without stealing its soul). You can't housetrain birds. They only have the one sphincter (mammals have two) and can't control when they go. It happens when it happens.
  • Anyone Can Die: Just like in The Suicide Squad, main and supporting characters are killed off with abandon. A good chunk of the supporting cast are all killed and possessed by Butterflies in "Murn After Reading", while the following episode sees the deaths of Murn and Auggie.
  • Artistic License – Biology: During the first episode, Peacemaker gets stabbed in both shoulders by Butterfly!Annie, more than likely severing a few nerves and tendons in the process. Yet, he still has full control over his arms, and manages to get a few good punches in.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Caspar Locke and several members of the Aryan Empire are among those killed and possessed by Butterflies during the attack on the police station.
    • Two guys mock Judomaster's height and appearance, only to get their asses handed to them as soon as they leave the store. Even the clerk gives Judomaster a thumbs up since those guys were such douchebags.
    • Auggie Smith becomes this when he's finally killed by Peacemaker during episode 7. The same goes for his fellow Aryans when they were mowed down by John Economos just moments prior.
    • Deconstructed with the real Clemson Murn. Ik Nobe Llok claims he took control of and thus killed the most horrible human he could find so he wouldn't feel guilty. However, Llok still felt guilty, as taking control of Murn's mind meant he could see that as bad of a person as Murn was, even he had the chance to atone, something Llok took away from him.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Royland Goff—or rather, the butterfly possessing him (and later Sophie Song)—and Auggie Smith, the White Dragon. The former is responsible for the overarching Alien Invasion that provides the major conflict of the show, and the latter is the biggest source of the eponymous character's personal conflicts and obstacles. The ending of episode 6 sees the two of them at their most triumphant in the show's Darkest Hour, with Goff leading an army to take over the entire police station and Auggie deciding to suit up to kill his own son directly. Then, Auggie is killed in the penultimate episode, leaving Goff the sole Big Bad of the first season.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In various battle scenes throughout the series, Economos appears from nowhere to defeat Judomaster and kill a Butterfly-possessed gorilla and Auggie's white supremacist cult.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The lab that Peacemaker's father uses is a "quantum unfolding storage area".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first season ends on a fairly sweet note overall, with Harcourt recovering from her injuries and Adebayo exposing her mother's machinations to the press. However, we also see Judomaster weeping over the death of the butterflies, and the episode ends with Peacemaker sitting with the dying Goff, aware that the two of them were not so different. The final shot has Chris' hallucination of Auggie return, making it clear that he may never recover from his childhood abuse.
  • Black Comedy: The show is packed full of this. It's James Gunn, so that's to be expected, but he really dials it up for this, taking advantage of the show's Villain Protagonist.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Auggie is ultimately killed when Peacemaker shoots him in the head.
  • Brick Joke: Early on in the first season finale, while panicking over the high stakes of the mission, Adebayo timidly suggests that Waller should call the Justice League. At the end of the episode, the League show up, although too late to be of any help.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the trailer, Emilia Harcourt reminds Peacemaker of his previous oath from The Suicide Squad about loving peace, "no matter how many men, women, and children [he] has to kill" to achieve it.
    • At one point in the first episode, Peacemaker recounts the story of how Bloodsport’s father tortured him by locking him in a box filled with rats when he was a child. Auggie thinks it’s hilarious.
  • The Cameo:
    • Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) makes an appearance talking to Adebayo in a video call screen near the end of episode 1, where it’s revealed that she’s her daughter. She also appears near the end of episode 8, this time watching Adebayo reveal Project Butterfly and Task Force X to the world.
    • Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Flash (Ezra Miller) appear in episode 8, when the Justice League arrives too late for the final battle against the Butterflies.
  • Cassandra Gambit: It turns out that Waller was planning to cover up her actions in The Suicide Squad with one of these, using Peacemaker as a fall guy. She tasks her daughter Leota with planting a fake diary in Peacemaker's home appearing to be written by a completely insane right-wing conspiracy theorist. It includes his supposed belief that there was a mind-controlling alien that he killed to protect Earth (Starro). Ultimately, the diary is discovered by a separate mind-controlling alien invasion and used towards their own ends in discrediting Peacemaker.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Played with in the scene where Peacemaker lists off the names of various famous people.
      • In the extended 2-minute version, Peacemaker lists Freddie Stroma and James Gunn, and Economos retorts that those two aren't even real. Freddie Stroma plays Vigilante (who happens to be in the same room that scene) and James Gunn is of course the show's writer and the director of a chunk of episodes.
      • In the version of the scene that actually appears in the episode, Peacemaker lists "the fucking cunts from Riverdale." Lochlyn Munro, who plays Detective Fitzgibbon, was a main cast member on Riverdale for several seasons. The same scene also brings up Optimus Prime - and Cena himself was in their last movie.
    • Vigilante is a fan of Fargo. The first season of that show featured Kevin O'Grady (Officer Johnson) as Sam Hess, while the second season featured Patrick Wilson (Ocean Master) as Lou Solverson, and the third season featured David Thewlis (Ares) as V.M. Varga.
    • A minor one when Peacemaker hears the name "Project Butterfly" and thinks they're up against Mothra. Joe Morton, who plays the father of Victor Stone/Cyborg in the DCEU, also had a role in a Godzilla movie featuring Mothra.
  • Central Theme:
    • Parenthood. Specifically, the dynamic between shitty parents and children that want to be loved and appreciated by them, but are unable to get said love. This is reflected in Chris and Auggie's relationship and the relationship between Adebayo and Waller (even though, as Gunn himself says, their relationship is a lot more nuanced). Both feature different kinds of abusive behavior and parents that want to force their offspring into a role they have never wanted, but whereas Auggie is a racist POS genuinely incapable of loving Chris, Waller may genuinely love her daughter, but is still abusive either way. The story ends with both of them shedding the toxic influence that their parents have held over them through their life and becoming better people in the process.
    • Music as an universal Commonality Connection. Several scenes have different characters overcoming the differences between them and forming emotional bonds over listing to music together. From young Chris rocking out with his brother in a flashback as they listen to their record player, to Peacemaker and Amber, who are otherwise two complete strangers, starting to aggressively flirt when they find that they share a common taste in bands, to the team, who are always squabbling with each other, coming together in an actual display of team spirit and just having fun with each other when they discover that they all quite like Hanoi Rocks.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Flo Crowley was last seen in The Suicide Squad getting away with assaulting Waller, enabling the team to save Corto Maltese. Here, it's shown in the initial recap that she was indeed arrested after assaulting Waller.
  • Character Title: The show is named Peacemaker, after the superhero alias of its main character, whose civilian name is Christopher Smith.
  • The Comically Serious: Everybody during the Dancing Theme is completely stone-faced.
  • Composite Character: Auggie Smith is a combination of Wolfgang Schmidt (Peacemaker's father in the comics) and White Dragon.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. Peacemaker uses the X-Ray Vision function in his helmet to shoot targets through doors and walls before they had the chance to ambush him.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Numerous references to the events of The Suicide Squad are peppered throughout the early episodes, including mentions of Peacemaker’s former teammates Bloodsport, Harley Quinn, and Ratcatcher II. Peacemaker also has a visible scar where Bloodsport shot him.
    • Early in The Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller claims that "in [Peacemaker's] hands, anything is a deadly weapon". When attacked by a Butterfly host, his series of improvised weapons in the apartment is completely ineffective, which requires him to flee and use his sonic boom helmet to win.
    • The second episode reveals that Peacemaker still struggles with guilt over having killed Rick Flag.
    • Fellow DCEU heroes Aquaman and Batman get name-checked in the first episode. The fourth episode includes references to some of Batman’s rogues, including The Joker, the fifth has a reference to Superman, and the sixth has ones to Wonder Woman and The Flash.
    • In the season one finale, Adebayo calls Amanda Waller to try and get the Justice League to back the team up, to no avail. Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash all show up after the battle is over, with cameos by Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller.
    • Upon seeing Starro rampaging through Corto Maltese, Economos calls it a "kaiju." When he sees the gigantic alien "cow" that feeds the Butterflies, Economos mutters "No more kaijus" and flees.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The Butterflies are this to Starro. Both are alien beings capable of controlling humans. However, Starro was happily drifting through space before being forcibly brought to Earth, controlled its victims through a Hive Mind by attaching smaller versions of itself to their faces, was trapped in a lab for most of its time on Earth, escaped, and violently rampaged through the streets before Task Force X put it down. The Butterflies came to Earth willingly, seeking a new home before deciding to conquer it, and are more subtle, intending to take over Earth through a quieter conspiracy, and actually invade their victims' bodies, this being harder to discover unless you catch them eating or have some method of X-ray vision.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In the last few episodes, it's revealed that Butterfly!Annie wasn't an assassin sent to kill Peacemaker. She just happened to have casual sex with him and learned that Task Force X was already targeting their leader when Chris stupidly left the classified mission dossier in her bed.
    • Moreover, the Butterflies' only food source on Earth happens to be stored within an easy drive of Peacemaker's home town.
  • Cute and Psycho: Adrian/Vigilante looks like a nice guy, if a bit of dweeb... until he goes berserk. He admits that he's psychotic, and demolishes four Aryan Brotherhood members in prison in a matter of seconds with some very painful injuries.
  • Dancing Theme: The opening credits where everybody is dancing with very serious faces while "Do Ya Wanna Taste It" by Wig Wam is being played.
  • Darkest Hour: At the end of episode 6. All the team's secrets and mistakes come back to spectacularly bite them in the ass. White Dragon/Auggie Smith is ready to finally kill his own son, "Goff" (the Butterfly) takes over Detective Song, who subsequently has the entire police department and prisoners of Evergreen killed and taken over by the Butterflies, and the diary that Leota planted in Peacemaker's trailer is used as political ammunition by the Butterflies to entirely ruin Peacemaker's reputation among the general public. The following episode sees things get even worse when the Butterflies track down Murn and kill him.
  • Deadly Sparring: A Flashback in "Stop Dragon My Heart Around" shows Auggie Smith having his sons Christopher and Keith fight each other as he and his friends watch. While the boys treat it as just a fun match, a lucky hit from Chris causes Keith to fall backward onto a rock, killing him.
  • Death by Irony: Auggie, the virulently racist leader of a white supremacist organization, is killed when he's shot in the head with a Luger pistol, a weapon famously used by the Nazis.
  • Dented Iron: A downplayed example, but Peacemaker still isn't quite at 100%; injuries from Corto Maltese (namely a clavicle replacement) still flare up whenever he takes a rough spill or even just tries to put on his costume. This happens repeatedly.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: As a consequence of his actions in Corto Maltese, Chris gets his already poor reputation dragged through the mud, is forced to work with a team that (for the most part) hates/distrusts him, and in the middle of the crisis he's forced to kill his own father and is also betrayed by the person he had grown to trust the most, with almost every action he takes spectacularly blowing up in his face. But in the end, he finds people that he can genuinely call "friends", sheds the toxic influence his father held over him his entire life, and is able to move past his jingoistic worldview and asshole tendencies, realizing that he can be a better person and a genuine superhero.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • For all intents and purposes, Peacemaker is still a villain with more than 20 years still left in his sentence. That said, he is shown to be less of a villain than what was shown of him in The Suicide Squad. He agrees to having been killing less white people than he should, does not condone some of his father's more extreme views, is not able to kill Goff's family because of the childrennote  and cries his heart out for having had to kill Rick Flag, who he considered a hero, by order of Amanda Waller in the film.
    • Adrian/Vigilante is a happy-go-lucky cloudcuckoolander sociopath who cheerfully admits he gets a high from killing people over things as minor as graffiti. But he's not a racist (at least not a conscious one — he does call Asian people "Orientals" out of ignorance), and midway through the show he tries to kill Peacemaker's Neo-Nazi asshat of a father and beats the shit out of his white supremacist prison gang while dressing them down about their racism.
    • The overtly religious and toxic father Auggie says rock is "devil music," but apparently did not try to stop Peacemaker and his late brother from listening to it in their childhood despite being aware of it.
  • The Faceless: For the first few episodes, we do not see Vigilante's face. He keeps his mask on even when having sex. Once he gets demasked and his face is revealed, he's usually seen without his mask on.
  • Fake Shemp: When the Justice League arrive too late to help Peacemaker, only Aquaman and the Flash's faces are shown, and they're the only ones that speak. Superman and Wonder Woman don't speak, and their faces are covered in shadow the entire time.
  • Fantastic Livestock: The Butterflies have a giant caterpillar-like creature referred to as a "cow" that produces the nectar that is necessary for them to survive, since they cannot live off of Earth's food.
  • Foregone Conclusion: By the time Peacemaker came out, Jennifer Holland had already been confirmed to reprise her role of Emilia Harcourt in Black Adam, which is set after this show, which detracts from the fakeout in Episode 8 where the show tries to make you think she's died from her injuries in the climactic final battle.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The right-wing InfoWars-esque newscast that Auggie Smith is watching in Episode 1 talks about aliens invading the high echelons of the government and hiding behind human faces. Turns out they're actually right about this.
    • When brought onto Operation Butterfly, Peacemaker notes that Operation Starfish ended up being about a giant alien starfish. He asks if Operation Butterfly is going to involve a giant alien butterfly. This turns out to be completely correct, minus the "giant" part, as Butterflies are people infected with an alien butterfly-esque parasite.
    • Murn is established as a very emotionally flat character, rarely ever expressing any major emotions. In episode 3, we see the infected Goff family all becoming completely emotionless as soon as they enter their house, showing that in their neutral state, butterflies are completely emotionless. The end of episode 4 reveals that Murn is a butterfly himself.
    • Once again, during episode 4, the newscast playing on Auggie Smith's TV mentions that a silverback gorilla named Charlie has disappeared from the Evergreen Zoo. The next episode, it appears at a plant manufacturing the food that Butterflies eat when it tries to kill Peacemaker's team. Its super strength and durability combined with it being able to talk proves that butterflies can apparently infect any kind of creature.
    • A guard at the prison is reading a newspaper with a headline about Charlie's escape.
    • A hint to the Butterflies' plan as explained in the season one finale is foreshadowed by Goff being referred to as a strong proponent of climate change reform, hinting at the Butterflies being a group of well-intentioned extremists trying to save the world... no matter how many men, women, and children they need to kill to do it.
  • Five-Man Band: Murn's team can be described as this:
    • The Leader: Clemson Murn, the leader of the team who is tasked with stopping the alien invasion.
    • The Lancer: Emilia Harcourt, a tough-as-nails black ops agent who takes initiative in leading field operations and keeping others in check.
    • The Big Guy: Peacemaker, the principal field agent and the physically strongest and the most combat-ready member.
    • The Smart Guy: John Economos, who is tasked with providing field support and gathering information.
    • The Chick: Leota Adebayo, who is the member who has the least experience, but also the most emotionally open and friendly to others.
    • Sixth Ranger: Vigilante, who happened to get involved with one of their missions and then was recruited by Murn to keep him from saying too much.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: While it's difficult to spot, during the opening, Judomaster can be spotted at the 43-second mark when he pokes his head out from around the wall behind Economos.
  • Funny Background Event: When Peacemaker is addressing a classroom, the chalkboard behind him announces that the Word of the Day is "moistly." The word "moist" and its derivatives are infamously and memetically hated by certain people online.
  • Heroic Build: John Cena has an extended scene in a an open hospital gown in the first episode, and runs around a lot in nothing but his "tighty-whiteys", showing off his wrestler's build, and often assuming poses that display his bulk as best as possible. The second episode starts with an extended scene of Jennifer Holland showing off her physique in a black bra and panties.
  • Hero Antagonist: Detectives Song and Fitzgibbon are just two cops trying to solve crimes in their area, but that puts them in conflict with our heroes, who are trying to save the world. They graduate to villains when Butterflies take over their brains.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Peacemaker likes to think of himself as this; he insists that he is a superhero while everyone around him recognizes him as a jerk and a murderer (with good reason).
  • Hidden Depths: Peacemaker is revealed to be aware of just how much the world despises him. He also has an affinity for 80s glam rock and European hair metal, and he's quite the accomplished piano player. He not only can tell Economos dyes his beard, but figures out what dyes were used. He also captures the Butterfly inside Senator Goff's head instead of killing it, showing that he doesn't blindly trust his handlers.
  • Just a Flesh Wound: In episode 7, Vigilante gets caught in the blast radius of his own grenade, which shreds his body armor and leaves him so wounded that he briefly passes out shortly thereafter. In episode 8, he's still wearing his shredded and bloody armor, but he seems to feel just fine. The trope is subverted in the end, however, when Vigilante tries to claim that his gunshot wound is nothing serious, only to collapse a moment later.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Peacemaker has an eagle named "Eagly". His team mocks him for this.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Butterfly-Cool Steve is blown into a fine red paste by Peacemaker's sonic boom helmet.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The opening theme sounds happy, but some of the lyrics don't bode well for Peacemaker's intent to become a real hero.
    Blind to what you'll soon become
    The mirror lies, the whole world's wrong
    But you
  • Made of Iron:
    • Zigzagged with the Butterfly hosts. They can shrug off blunt force trauma regardless of the size and weight of the object bludgeoning them, but their bodies still blow apart when hit with things like a point-blank sonic blast or a shotgun blast, though it should be noted that the physical damage their hosts take from 12 gauge buckshot and a .50 BMG rifle are much, much less than what would occur with a normal human.
    • Surprisingly enough, the vinyl records that Peacemaker loots from his Butterfly one night stand are this, as they survive being dropped several times during his escape from the apartment complex.
    • It takes being hit by a car and beaten on the head multiple times with a tire iron for Judomaster to be knocked out (and all this after having fought Vigilante, Peacemaker, and Harcourt).
  • Mauve Shirt: Detectives Song and Fitzgibbon are both semi-major characters for the first half of the show, looking into the murders that keep happening around town. In episode 6, Song is taken over by the butterfly that infested Senator Goff, essentially killing her, and the possessed Song proceeds to call a horde of butterflies in to infest everyone inside the police station, which includes Fitzgibbon, Locke, and all the police officers and prisoners, many of whom were minor characters throughout the season.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Peacemaker's hallucination of Auggie makes an audible clunk sound when he falls into the leaves, and it's then revealed that the missing helmet is under there... but Peacemaker didn't know that at the time. Did he just so happen to hallucinate a clunk in the same spot that the helmet turned out to be, or does the vision of Auggie have physical presence enough to interact with worldly objects?
  • Metaphorgotten: Vigilante tries to quote the "if it walks like a duck" idiom, but he's somehow managed to believe that it means that if something walks like a duck, it's either a duck or a duck in a human costume with a distinctive walk.
  • The Mole: After implicitly having murdered Sophie's superior Captain Miele, Locke takes over her position so that he can hinder Song's investigation into Annie Sturphausen's murder to prevent it from interfering with Project Butterfly.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Cool Steve serves as Auggie's main henchman in the prison, but he doesn't get nearly enough screentime to be The Dragon. He's also killed shortly after Auggie is released when Butterflies swarm the police station and county jail.
  • My Way or the Highway: Peacemaker is given two choices if he does not enter the fight against Project Butterfly: return to Belle Reve to fulfill the rest of his sentence, or, as Murn and a recap point out, have his head blown out by the bomb he still has in his neck.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The appearance of Judomaster in the show is a nod to the fact that both he and Peacemaker were originally published by Charlton Comics before the company’s characters were purchased by DCnote .
    • In another nod to Charlton Comics, the police cars have Charlton County painted on them.
    • Economos mentions obscure Batman supporting character Bat-Mite, and confirms that he does indeed exist in the DCEU. Peacemaker is understandably baffled by this.
    • In the third episode, Peacemaker claims to be creeped out by Doll Man, an obscure member of the Freedom Fighters.
    • When Emilia threatens Vigilante's family in The Stinger of episode 3, he responds by sarcastically telling her she’s a bit late. In the New Teen Titans comics, Vigilante’s origin story involved his wife and kids being killed by The Mafia.
    • Peacemaker's costume has three streaks of blood on it when he puts it on in the hospital. This reflects the three drops of blood on the white dove it had in Pax Americananote .
    • Peacemaker expresses desire for a jetpack, which the character uses in the comics.
    • One of the first weapons Peacemaker and Vigilante use for shooting appliances is a bow and arrow.
    • The fourth episode mentions a past team-up between Peacemaker and the obscure Legion Of Superheroes member Matter-Eater Lad.
    • Among the items shown in Peacemaker's home are an Eclipso dartboard and a Huntress fridge magnet.
    • The abandoned video rental store the team is operating out of has a poster for a movie based on the Privateer (better known as Mark Shaw, a.k.a. Manhunter), a character from the 80s Suicide Squad comics.
    • The fifth episode shows a newspaper clipping from one of Peacemaker's early missions, where he apprehended the Batman villain Kite-Man.
    • The finale has a mention of Green Arrow.
    • The scene where Peacemaker hallucinates his father's ghost when standing near his helmet likely alludes to the fact that in the comics, Christopher Smith believed that his costume's helmet contained the souls of those he killed.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Detective Song is unimpressed by Auggie's cliched racial slurs.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: After Peacemaker has to give his helmet to a cab driver due to only having Corto Maltesean money to pay for the ride, he goes to his father's house to get a new one and is surprised to see a set of special helmets that can give him one special power each, like a full-body forcefield, a sonic boom, underwater breathing and x-ray vision. As expected, some of them — and, obviously, their powers — are used by him throughout the show.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Something of a running theme. Leota, Peacemaker, Economos, Sophie, Vigilante: all take actions with at least decent intentions that just end up making things SO much worse.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Peacemaker walks into his dad's place, the white supremacist is listening to an Alex Jones Expy, "Fact Attack". Not "Info Wars", "Fact Attack".
  • No Endor Holocaust: The ramifications of the Butterflies taking out the entire police force, along with already incarcerated criminals, aren't addressed.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Goff claims that they and Peacemaker are similar, as Goff states that the Butterflies are fighting by any means necessary to make the world a place where they can live, such as by mind-controlling humans to forcibly fix problems such as the climate crisis, just like Peacemaker's stated motive of cherishing peace so much that he're willing to kill for it—and suggests that Chris should join them because their causes align. Peacemaker, however, rejects this, having moved past his initial dogmatic worldview.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: Vigilante's physique becomes much more muscular in scenes where he wears his mask the whole time, because he was played by a different actor before Freddie Stroma was cast 5 episodes into filming.
  • Orifice Invasion: How the Butterflies take over their hosts; this happens to Sophie in the sixth episode.
  • Pink Is Erotic: Downplayed. The intro to the show has the cast dancing to "Do You Wanna Taste It" by Wig Wam, and the dance involves a lot of pelvic thrusts, which activate the pink stage lights. As a character, Peacemaker makes a lot of dirty jokes, unwanted advances towards women, and sexual references.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Peacemaker is on a need-to-know basis when it comes to the mission, and is not told what Project Butterfly is really about. He is almost killed in the first episode because he doesn't know who the opposition are, that they might come after him, or how. Part of this MIGHT be because he didn't even read the dossier, and in fact met the target at a bar immediately after he was given the job. Because he has no idea what the Butterflies are, he rescues the Goff Butterfly instead of killing her, allowing her to later possess Song and call in reinforcements once she escapes.
    • Many of the team's screwups happen because a team member has a "bright idea" and goes through with it without consulting the others, who would have pointed out that it is monumentally stupid.
  • Power Walk: At the end of episode 7, the team does a power walk as they go after the Butterflies. Even Eagly participates.
  • Psycho for Hire: Murn hires Locke to act as his agent within the police department. He's a complete psychopath who executes cops while mocking their cries for mercy.
  • Pun-Based Title: All the episodes. See the Recap section.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Project Butterfly turns out to be an invading race of butterfly-like parasites that burrow into the brains of human hosts and subtly mutate them internally.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Harcourt and Economos have been assigned to the Butterfly detail in part as punishment for betraying Waller in The Suicide Squad. In the finale, Economos gets to return to Belle Reve, as he's earned his position back.
  • Retcon: Batman, who killed villains via his own brutality or his deliberate Bat-Branding in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is established here as being back to his firmly anti-killing ways when Peacemaker says he's a "pussy" and a "jackass" because of that.note 
  • Retired Badass: Auggie Smith is this, being a former soldier with a high-tech arsenal hidden inside a Pocket Dimension in his house.
  • Running Gag:
    • Peacemaker claiming one of his fellow superheroes has a decidedly gross fetish (such as claiming Aquaman has sex with fish or that Superman is into poop), then following that up by insisting it must be true because he read it on the internet, and the internet would never lie to him. Economos claims that the Aquaman rumor is actually true. The finale shows that Aquaman is aware of the rumors, and the Flash likes to tease him about it.
    • Judomaster being put down by one of the less combat-ready members of Peacemaker's group. It happens three times: the first by Economos and the other two by Adebayo.
  • Sacrificial Lion: To show how high the stakes have gotten and to make things look all the more hopeless for the team, the Butterflies track down and kill Murn in the penultimate episode.
  • Self-Deprecation: Among the Long List of people Peacemaker angrily suggests Economos could've framed and gotten thrown in prison in the place of his dad in the outtakes of Episode 5 are James Gunn and Freddie Stroma, the director and writer of the show and Vigilante's actor respectively, with Economos shouting in disbelief that "[James Gunn and Freddie Stroma] aren't even things!"
  • Series Continuity Error: A subtle one. When Auggie tells Peacemaker about one of the special helmets' powers, he refers to it as "sonic blast capabilities", but Peacemaker later says "Activate sonic boom" to use the power.
  • Serious Business:
    • During the Dancing Theme, the whole cast performs the rather ridiculous choreography, with plenty of pelvic thrusts and jerky arm motions, while maintaining stoic expressions. Peacemaker doesn't even stop glowering while breathing heavily in the final pose.
    • Every episode has the cast taking a minute to have a serious conversation about something that doesn't matter. Like the Berenstain Bears or Louis CK's sex abuse.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The opening where everyone — ally and enemy alike — dances with Peacemaker is a nod to James Gunn's other works; Super and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
    • There's a lot of Penny Arcade merchandise that appears throughout the show. Apparently they sent a bunch of stuff over.
    • Leave it to a show like this to include an oddly specific Game Grumps reference. When the team is about to assassinate Goff and his family (all Butterflies), not only have they codenamed the family "The Berenstain Bears", but they keep yelling at a hesitant Peacemaker to "Take the shot!"
    • Despite Judomaster being named that in canon, the team starts referring to him as Cobra Kai.
    • In episode 4, a frustrated Murn derisively compares the team to The Apple Dumpling Gang.
    • Vigilante is apparently a big fan of FX's Fargo.
    • When infiltrating the bottling plant in episode 5, Harcourt and Vigilante are spotted by one of the workers, who alerts his co-workers by pointing towards them and shrieking with eyes and mouth agape, much like the iconic scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).
    • Coverdale Ranch, the location of the "cow" that provides food for the Butterflies, is a nod to Whitesnake's David Coverdale.
    • The two guys who mock Judomaster's height and costume were discussing The Boondock Saints before entering the convenience store.
    • Peacemaker using a shield in Episode 8 is a nod to Captain America, of whom he's a parody of sorts. He even uses the shield to attack — including throwing it in the air and shooting it during the fall to make it hit and kill a Butterfly.
    • In Episode 8, Economos and Vigilante discuss Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, specifically whether they survived the Trope Namer Bolivian Army Ending.
    • In Episode 7, there is a shot of Peacemaker fleeing the Aryans that is shot to match Indiana Jones fleeing the Hovitos in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
    • The idea of large extraterrestrial insects which are referred to as “cows” originates in the H. G. Wells story The First Men in the Moon and its subsequent film adaptations.
  • Skewed Priorities: Twice in Episode 2.
    • Peacemaker is on a desperate run from the police after killing a Butterfly. Yet he still finds time to rob the place of his Butterfly attacker, filling a blanket with vinyl records, CDs, memorabilia and a strange artifact that, some episodes later, is revealed to be a Butterfly spaceship.
    • The couple that is forced by Peacemaker to help him escape. While they are being tied up by him, they find the time to have a veeeeeery loud discussion about their relationship troubles.
    • Vigilante's skewed priorities are a Running Gag due to him being a Cloud Cuckoolander. For example, when interrogating an alien invader, he launches into questions trying to ascertain the alien's favorite color.
  • The Stinger: Each episode, after the credits, we get a slightly longer version of a scene from the episode with either a joke added or a longer version of the joke from the original scene. For example, in the first episode, the stinger is an extended version of the scene where Peacemaker's dad is explaining the different helmets to him. In the stinger, he points to the helmet at the end and tells Peacemaker that all it does is give you scabies, much to Peacemaker's confusion.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • Invoked. For the entirety of the season, the Butterfly situation is handled by a small team of ARGUS agents, with Peacemaker as the only actual costumed superhero on the team. It turns out that Waller intentionally did this so that after the mission was completed, Peacemaker could be framed as a crazed lone gunman who committed the murders without any government backing.
    • The members of the Justice League of America appear in the finale to stop the Butterflies... but arrive right after Peacemaker and his allies have saved the day. Peacemaker promptly curses them out for showing up late.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: During the final battle, Harcourt (who has been long since established as a capable Action Girl) is shot multiple times. Although Harcourt has recovered from numerous beatings without a scratch, she nearly dies from her injuries and requires lengthy physical rehabilitation to recover.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Whenever under his own power, Judomaster is always munching on Flaming Hot Cheetos. It's anyone's guess how he maintains his fit physique with that kind of diet!
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "Do Ya Wanna Taste It" plays over the protagonists' final charge on the farm.
  • The Unsmile: Sophie Song, controlled by a Butterfly, displays an unsettlingly dead-eyed smile, stating that every human host smiles differently, and that whenever a Butterfly changes hosts, it has to relearn how to smile. When the Butterflies take over everyone in the police station and jail, they all start smiling disturbingly, an effect enhanced by the blood covering their faces.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: There seems to be a hint of something between Detectives Song and Fitzgibbon. When Song seems to be gravely injured, Fitzgibbon is overcome with emotion. Later, Goff states while inside Song's head, that Song was "really rather fond" of Fitzgibbon.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: After Peacemaker kills his first Butterfly in a way that attracts the police, Murn tasks Economos with framing someone for Peacemaker's actions, but the problem is that he chose to frame Auggie Smith, Peacemaker's father. This stupid decision ends up causing several problems later on. After Auggie is framed and arrested for the death of Annie Sturphausen, Peacemaker learns about it and goes to the prison to tell his father about it and how he got framed. Auggie plans on telling Detective Song about this, and Leota manipulates Vigilante into going in the prison and killing him. When Vigilante fails and calls Auggie a bad father, Auggie realizes he's connected to his son, and not only does this make him dead-set on talking to Song, but he now believes his own son wants to silence him. After Auggie tells Song what Peacemaker did, Murn has Caspar Locke infiltrate the police department to prevent Auggie from leaving, but this forces Song to go behind Locke's back to get an arrest warrant for Peacemaker. Song frees Auggie from the prison and plans on killing his son because he still believes his son wanted to silence him. But to make things worse, another chain of events leads to Song getting taken over by a Butterfly that Peacemaker kept alive, and she calls in more Butterflies so they can take over the police station and prison and gather the manpower and ammunition to stop Peacemaker and his crew. Economos choosing the wrong person to frame leads to a huge portion of all the troubles the team faces through the season.
  • Vanity License Plate:
    • The license plate of Peacemaker's car on the poster reads "PSS-MKR".
    • The white supremacist car's plate in Episode 7 is "14WRDS".
  • Weaponized Headgear: Peacemaker has different helmets with different unique abilities including x-ray vision, sonic boom, force field, human torpedo and others.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Peacemaker's team do not mesh particularly well, to say the least. They often clash with each other personality-wise, and most of them have secrets they keep from each other. Peacemaker and Adebayo's secrets both come together in a bad way in episode 6. Peacemaker kept the butterfly that was infesting Goff because he distrusted the rest of the team, who refused to tell him what butterflies even were before his first encounter with them, while Adebayo kept her connection with Waller secret from the rest of the team, particularly that Waller tasked her with planting a fake diary in Peacemaker's trailer that would portray him as a crazed psychopath that killed many people because he thought they were infested with aliens (meant to cover up Waller's actions in The Suicide Squad). In episode 6, Peacemaker's butterfly escapes during a raid on his trailer that uncovers the planted diary and infests Song, who was conducting the raid. Song then uses a swarm of butterflies to take over the entire police station, and they use the diary to make Peacemaker public enemy number one.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Peacemaker’s desire to earn his father’s approval is touched upon. It is complicated by the fact that he knows that his father is an evil person, and he should not want the approval of someone like that.
    • There's also Leota's working relationship with her mother Amanda Waller, wanting to do a good job on the team to earn her respect.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The final episode reveals that the Butterflies are this. Maybe. The Goff butterfly claims that their species fled a dying planet, and that they are controlling high-ranking humans in order to prevent humanity's extinction from factors such as the climate crisis and populist demagogues making all of Earth's problems worse, hoping to turn Earth into a planet where they and the Butterflies might survive long-term.
  • With Friends Like These...: Peacemaker and Vigilante absolutely have this dynamic. Vigilante claims as early as the first episode that he's Peacemaker's best friend, and the two are shown, more or less, to have Undying Loyalty to the other. This doesn't stop the two bickering with each other at the very least. At worst, Peacemaker cheerfully lets Vigilante get tortured in his place, and Vigilante tries to murder Peacemaker's dad (who, granted, deserves it). Then they go right back to casually bickering with each other about the aforementioned atrocities.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Auggie, indirectly. He used to make his sons fight each other, and hosted a betting pool about which of them would win.
    • The Butterflies as well, given they have no problem killing and taking over the bodies of Goff's children.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: Despite what he says about advancing peace no matter how many men, women, and children he needs to kill to get it, Peacemaker can't bring himself to kill a kid. It's left somewhat unclear if this was always something he would have struggled with when push came to shovenote , or if it's brought about by a crisis of conscience he's been suffering since having to kill Rick Flag in Corto Maltese.
  • Writer on Board: Goff gives a speech to Peacemaker about how humanity is willfully leading itself to destruction: refusing to acknowledge the science on climate change, focusing on short-term economic gains over survival of the species, and seeing "minor inconveniences" as an attack on their freedom. All of these are common stereotypes of American conservatives. Showrunner James Gunn famously holds progressive political views.

Blind to what you’ll soon become,
The mirror lies, the whole world’s wrong, but you…
Dancin’ with your blinkers on!
Throw your dog the invisible bone!
Eagly: *squawk*
 
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Peacemaker's List

Peacemaker goes off on John Economos for putting his father in jail, giving him a long list of people that he believes should've been thrown in jail instead. This consists of mainly celebrities like Arianna Grande, Brad Pitt, Bill Cosby and Eugene Levy, including some dead ones like Amy Winehouse and Elvis Presley...and then fictional characters like Optimus Prime, Shipwreck and the Cast of Riverdale.

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