Peacemaker season 1, episode 7 review: Stop Dragon My Heart Around

Peacemaker. Photograph by Katie Yu/HBO Max
Peacemaker. Photograph by Katie Yu/HBO Max /

“I saw an Eagle hug a human… If you don’t want to believe in miracles that’s on you” Spoilers for Peacemaker season 1, episode 7 follow. 

Conflicting ideologies and questioning our upbringing and valuing bloodlines

Innocent blood was spilled but turns out the sacrifice was the moment needed to set events into motion, but in the end, Peacemaker had to face the demons of his past to travel into the future.

Here is everything that went down in Peacemaker season 1, episode 7 “Stop Dragon My Heart Around”

Broken Sweet Dreams 

The penultimate episode of Peacemaker left the audience gasping for air and begging for more, with the direction and screenplay, at times, giving the impression that everything that transpired over those 42 mins could have easily taken place in a satisfying finale.

Episode 7 started slow but impactful by beginning with a flashback that peeled back the flaws of an unreliable narrator in the presence and mindset of Chris Smith by showing us what truly happened to his brother. Though one thing to note is how the inclusion of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” clarifies why the song holds significance to the series, primarily after it was performed with such grace and elegance by John Cena during the last episode.

Through this intro we learn that the song was the lynchpin between the Smith brothers, even though they grew up under the thumb of their father, Auggie Smith, which diluted their innocence. The manipulation of his kids’ juvenile nature in the seduction of false ideals is relayed to the children as exercise-building activities. The dynamic between every character involved in the flashbacks sets the tone for the episode, as we see Auggie (Robert Patrick) channeling disdain towards his son Chris which builds into the main focus of tension throughout “Stop Dragon My Heart Around”.

However, when the story transitions to the present to where Chris Smith (John Cena) is on the run with Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), this is the moment where the raw humanity of James Gunn’s screenplay takes center stage as we see a poignant reflection of identity, with Chris struggling to discard the past to step into the future.

Smith is standing over a sink struggling to keep his emotions in check while remembering the painful truth of his past even though the friend who values his purpose and ideology the most is standing right outside. As soon as the dry tone of sorrow dribbles away, we see Smith put on his hardened persona to maintain face and announce that he wants to finish the mission and kill the butterflies – even though his father is after him as well. I feel the inclusion of Auggie Smith hunting his son is symbolic of the past trying to tether Cena’s character to his diabolic roots.

Soldiers Code: Mercy v Cold Blood 

There have been a lot of secrets since Peacemaker started, but one of them really reached their boiling point in this episode, as Harcourt found out that the fake diary Leota planted for Amanda Waller was now in the possession of the Butterflies. Even though it was going to be used to set Chris up to take the fall for the actions of the team at one point, Leota pleads to Harcourt she’s not made out for this lifestyle, and the only reason she took the job is that her mother offered her this one.

I enjoyed this dynamic of questioning lifestyles that were reflective of parental control and trying to break free from the objections of parental obedience. Throughout the progression of the episode, it felt like a team member would be left behind, or death would be the motive to get everyone together. And…

Murn’s last stand

Sadly the sacrifice of this episode was Murn, who caused a diversion to allow Harcourt and Leota to get away and find Peacemaker and the rest of the team so that they could kill “the cow,” which during this moment of the episode is clearly a MacGuffin to carry along the butterfly storyline thread, which is running parallel to Smith and his Father.

Once again, Murn went out guns blazing, taking a few of the Butterflies but not before declaring his love and respect for Harcourt and the rest of the team, confirming that humanity is worth saving. One thing of notice is that the Butterflies came off as emotionless and calculating, somewhat reminiscent of Terminators.

They executed Murn and then just left, allowing for a moment of innocence to manifest towards Harcourt, when she found Murn in his Butterfly form, slowly dying, reaffirming that she is human and can yield emotions.

Father V Son: Conflicts of parental upbringing and lineage

The moment that everyone had been waiting for throughout Peacemaker‘s first season finally finally arrived, and it did not disappoint. In a matter of a few minutes, we got a Raiders Of The Lost Ark scene-by-scene recreation, a challenge of morals, and conflicting ideologies.

The fight between Smith and his father was an excellent display of good vs. evil. It was fantastic hearing Cena channel all of his emotions at once, with Chris allowing every hint of fear and sorrow from the season up to this point to come to the surface. However, on the outside, it’s just Smith declaring his independence by admitting he was a fool for listening to his father. He never followed his conscience; instead, he tried to please his father for every accolade he had accomplished, even though his father saw him as a waste of life, genuinely severing the bond of parental guidance.

The screenplay from Gunn evokes empathy, with the Emmy-worthy performance from John Cena working in tandem with it to highlight the pure anger and heartbreak that Smith is feeling. His hands begin to shake, and all the sins and fear and pain are starting to rise to the surface, only for him to pull the trigger, and then he realizes he’s alone. Gunn then zooms the camera in on the bloody and broken Chris Smith, trying to adjust to a world without that corrupt parental figure he sadly looked up to. The fear of knowing the only person he thinks he has left in this world is Eagly (who was wounded by Auggie), which frightens him to his core, symbolizing he is truly alone.

Even though unbeknownst to him, he is a decent person once he strips away the bravado and constant charisma. His story inspires others, especially in the eyes of Vigilante and Adebayo, which could symbolize his redemption as the series progresses towards its finale.

Peacemaker season 1 is currently streaming on HBO Max.

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What did you think of Peacemaker season 1, episode 7? Let us know in the comments below!