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Peacemaker Episode 3 Ending Explained

If you're like us, by the end of the first set of "Peacemaker" episodes, you love the series so much you don't care how many hours you have to spend binging to watch everything available. In one night, we already have a whole three episodes of the series to talk about. We're about to delve into the events of Episode 3, but we also have explainers for Episode 1 ("A Whole New Whirled") and Episode 2 ("Best Friends For Never") available.

The third episode of "Peacemaker" is where things really start moving in regards to Project Butterfly. By the end of the third episode, "Peacemaker" has given audiences a decent sampling to feel out the ebb and flow of the series, in addition to a few teases about the remaining five episode of the first season. With our first glimpses at Butterfly Goff and Judomaster (Nhut Le), we can finally start to have a small understanding of the threat posed by the tiny alien species.

Here's a quick explainer about where Episode 3 ("Better Goff Dead") leaves things at the end of the third hour of the series.

Vigilante's love for Peacemaker isn't entirely reciprocated

Episode 3 puts the deadly capabilities of Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) on display for the first time. Following Peacemaker's (John Cena) struggles to pull the trigger at the home of Senator Royland Goff, Vigilante takes control of the mission by executing three of the four targets. After Peacemaker and Vigilante are captured by Goff, Vigilante is unmasked (triggering ridiculous facial exercises) and tortured (triggering even more ridiculous screaming). Unfortunately for Vigilante, Peacemaker refuses to give up any information, even going so far as to tell Goff, "Give it all you got!" Vigilante is visibly shocked when Peacemaker refuses to spare him any torture and appears genuinely hurt at Peacemaker's lack of empathy for him. Given Peacemaker's prior actions, what could possibly make Vigilante surprised by Peacemaker's unflinching response? 

Vigilante's behavior in the first two episodes show that he is operating under the delusion that he is Peacemaker's best friend. Upon his return to Evergreen, Peacemaker discovers a plethora of rambling voicemails from Vigilante that suggest a dedicated, but also decidedly one-sided friendship. When the team meets up at Fennel Fields for a briefing, Vigilante excitedly stares at Peacemaker from across the restaurant and later does a not-so-private dance outside to celebrate Peacemaker's return to the area. In Episode 2, Vigilante visits Peacemaker at his trailer and refers to himself as Peacemaker's best friend, a suggestion which the contract killer quickly refutes.

Peacemaker's lack of action in Episode 3 and Vigilante's partial loss of a pinky toe could be a bit of a sore spot between the two going forward.

John Economos is very proud to take down Judomaster

To quote Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) of "Spider-Man: Homecoming", most people would probably agree that John Economos (Steve Agee) seems like a "guy in the chair." However, Episode 3 forces Economos to quite literally jump out of his chair and face a threat directly. As Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), Leota (Danielle Brooks), and Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) move in on the house where Peacemaker and Vigilante are held hostage by a Butterfly, Economos realizes that Judomaster is escaping in a vehicle. While he initially panics and screams obscenities, Dye-Beard (as Peacemaker calls him) ultimately rises to the occasion, crashing the team's van directly into Judomaster's car and later pummeling the talented martial artist with a tire iron. "Economos, motherf***er," Economos says, just before dancing over a beaten and exhausted Judomaster. "Kiai!"

Earlier in the episode, Judomaster shouts the same phrase as he attacks Peacemaker, Vigilante and Harcourt. Hearing the term over the radio, Leota inquires, "What's 'Kiai?'" While Economos may not have known the correct pronunciation of the Berenstain Bears, he appears to be somewhat familiar with martial arts, telling Leota, "It means convergence of energy." While there's nothing in his comic book history that suggests Economos could be hiding expert martial arts skills, the end of the episode makes us all unsure of what else the "guy in the chair" could be capable of.

What is Project Butterfly?

As Peacemaker gains the upper-hand against Senator Goff, he says, "Peace out, motherf***er" and fires a single shotgun blast into Goff's face. In most cases, this would mean the end of Goff's character, but not on "Peacemaker." As Peacemaker and Vigilante prepare to reunite with the rest of the team upstairs, the two notice a small creature crawling out of the face of the late senator. As the creature takes to the sky with a flapping of its wings, Peacemaker knowingly remarks, "Oh, Project Butterfly," just before the episode ends with a tease that "suspected butterflies" are all over the world. 

Episode 3's reveal of the literal butterfly inside Senator Goff's head is a major clue to the entire mission at large, a subject about which Peacemaker actually knows frighteningly little. Is the goal to kill all butterflies or just the ones Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) says? When Peacemaker gives Murn intel that proves that the seemingly happy family of four is actually entirely composed of Butterflies, the task force captain quickly relays orders to kill them all. Does this mean all Butterflies are as dangerous as the woman who attacks Peacemaker in Episode 1?

Given everything we've learned about the group so far, it seems fairly obvious that literally anyone, even people we think we know, could secretly be a butterfly. 

A post-credits scene suggests Vigilante's family members suffered untimely deaths

Many of the post-credits scenes in "Peacemaker" work as extended versions of scenes from the episode that just finished airing. Episode 3's post-credits sequence takes us back to the moment when Vigilante reveals himself behind the bushes outside the home of Senator Goff. As Harcourt prepares for the possibility that Vigilante could ruin the entire mission, she issues a menacing threat. 

"If you f*** up this mission, I will kill your f***ing family," Harcourt says, triggering laughs from Vigilante. Despite Harcourt's best efforts, Vigilante doesn't seem to have much of a reason to care about such a threat. "Ok," Vigilante replies, holding back more laughs. "A little late for that... You guys got beer?"

While Vigilante doesn't outright explain what happened to his family, he certainly doesn't seem worried by the threat or mournful of the evident loss of his immediate relatives. Considering this character's particular proclivity for violence, it doesn't seem like a big stretch to guess that he might even be the one responsible for their deaths. 

In the "Vigilante" comic series, Adrian Chase takes on the Vigilante persona after his wife and children are murdered by the mob (via Fandom). While it's possible this series is simply alluding to the original character's comic history, we think it's more likely this character has an intensely more absurd background. In Episode 2, Vigilante admits to Peacemaker that, in prior years, he would have killed him for smoking marijuana. Perhaps Vigilante's family members simply chose a bad time to jaywalk? 

New episodes of "Peacemaker" drop on HBO Max every Thursday.