Peacemaker season 1, episode 8 review: It’s Cow or Never

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

Fulfill your calling, Be The Peacemaker…” Spoilers for Peacemaker season 1, episode 8 follow. 

The story finally came to a close, Peacemaker found his path in life, and the future is bright for this chapter of the DCEU.

A battle for the soul of humanity was in motion and the team knew it was going to be now or never.

Here is everything that went down in Peacemaker season 1, episode 8, the season finale, “It’s Cow or Never.”

The rally for war

A finale is always tough to get right in terms of story, arcs, performance, screenplay, and then get it all appropriately executed to sew up every plot point. Still, it’s clear that James Gunn put his heart and 110 percent into the closing chapter of Peacemaker season 1. The screenplay was epic, full of drama, star-studded cameos, and brilliant performances from the entire cast.

The finale kicks off with the team struggling for ideas to break through the defense of the Butterflies. But when it all seems lost, Peacemaker begins to think that his best friend and tether to the world Eagly could help them out. This leads to our lovable comedic relief, Vigilante, played with finesse as always by Freddie Stroma, continues to shine by cracking a few jokes, dropping hints about other characters from DC Comics lore which haven’t yet appeared on the silver screen – such as Green Arrow.

However, the comedic tone does fade away for a few moments after we get confessional meetups between Harcourt and Adebayo discussing future aspirations and how to finish this mission – a mission that has been one misstep after another. It seems both characters, and indeed the rest of the team, are growing weary and concerned about the reality that, if they fail, this is the end for all of humanity.

Meanwhile, Peacemaker continues to struggle with internal battles over his father’s presence in his life and Cena continues to juggle his fourth-wall-breaking comedy genius with Chris’ war-driven persona well.

The invisible battle

One element that stood out in “It’s Cow or Never” was John Economos stepping up and showing the team his worth as he went undercover behind enemy lines to drop Peacemaker’s sonic boom helmet next to the “Cow”. This leads to a brilliant confessional commentary moment from the character, in which Agee shines, as Economos reveals his deepest insecurities in the most unlikely of circumstances (when questioned by a Butterfly), opening up about what he doesn’t like about his life while the team listened on comms.

It was a completion of his arc and the fact that it came up when Economos, who felt useless from episode 1, was playing an imperative role in the mission was ultimately a pivotal factor in bringing his arc the mission to a close.

I also need to give props to actor Lochlyn Munro because he was emotionless and downright scary while finishing the exchange, declaring that humanity is pathetic after such a raw human moment.

Now or Never 

The team rushes out onto the battlefield in pure James Gunn fashion as the show’s main intro song, “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” by Wig Wam, now reinforces a fantastically choreographed battle. It was great to see Harcourt, Peacemaker, Vigilante in action, and the showdown didn’t disappoint. Everyone had a part to play, and the iconic Gunn insanity was on full display, from mindless action and buckets of blood, to characters realizing they are human and that the team could bite the bullet any time.

Another fantastic creative choice? How the theme song slowly decreases and the moodiness of it is heightened when Harcourt is slowly bleeding out while a rouge Butterfly tries taking her over. Thankfully, she is saved by Adebayo – who finally acknowledges that she was made for fieldwork. Once again, two more narrative arcs came to a close, conveying a full circle of commitment in bringing these characters’ stories to an end (for this season, of course).

Be the Peacemaker 

In the final act of the story, it became clear that every angle of the story was preparing to draw toa close, and the puzzle was becoming more and more complete.

We learned that the Butterflies came from an unliveable planet that reflected some of the damage occurring to ours. However, Goff(Annie Chang), the Butterfly that Peacemaker himself couldn’t destroy back in episode three (symbolic of the mistakes that occurred during the series), now stood before Smith declaring they are the same because of the vow to achieve peace.

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Peacemaker. Photograph by Katie Yu/HBO Max /

Smith stands motionless through the commentary-fueled monologue disclosing that the world we reside in is slowly eroding. In their justification to save humanity and co-exist, the Butterflies thought that subjugation was the correct call, disposing of the significance of free will while mirroring the false pursuit of peace – which is a dream and mission in the eyes of Smith.

In my opinion, this scene was when Peacemaker’s arc had come full circle because the vow he made was slowly boiling to the surface. Cena’s body language as Peacemaker stared at Goff blank and ridden with fear, reinforced the character’s change of ideals – something that was teased in brief little moments throughout season 1.

Smith finally understood that his dream would never be achievable, and it’s purely fictitious to think that it could be. He knew that he can’t wipe away the bloodstains on his hands from the mistake taking of his brother’s life, silencing Rick Flag during The Suicide Squad and extinguish the flame of his odious upbringing. Moreover, he understood in that moment that the child begging for peace as he prayed to the heavens above is finally put to slumber, no longer plaguing his conscience. And it leaves our protagonist with the notion that his life is now in the choices of his making.

Peacemaker was an experience like no other, and I genuinely mean that. Never have I witnessed a series that came off so satirical and downright insane, but at the same time possessed so much heart. The season was remarkable by peeling back the layers of human flaws societal misconceptions and leaving the finished product with a question of understanding yourself and knowing that the invisible battle wages on, our lives are free to be weaved by our choices, not driven by the will of others. I have nothing other than praise for everyone involved and the truth of knowing John Cena was born to play this role. Seriously, give that man his Emmy now!

James Gunn has created a masterpiece, and we expect it to reach even greater heights now that season 2 is officially in the works.

Peacemaker season 1 is officially streaming on HBO Max.

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What did you think of Peacemaker season 1, episode 8? Let us know in the comments below!