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Peacemaker Episode 4 Ending Explained

Fans of James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" were surely excited with last week's release of nearly three more hours worth of content focused on John Cena's Peacemaker character. Inside of only two nights, "Peacemaker" has already offered fans well over double the amount of screen time the character received in "The Suicide Squad." 

While the first season of Gunn's "Peacemaker" will ultimately be comprised of a whole eight episodes, HBO Max is releasing only a single episode a week for the remainder of the first season's run. Episode 4 ("The Choad Less Traveled") features some of the biggest reveals in the series so far, with more insight into Peacemaker's origin story, interesting directions for White Dragon (Robert Patrick) and Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), the shocking exposure of Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) as a butterfly, and so much more. 

Here's a quick explainer about where this episode leaves things at the end of the series's fourth hour.

Peacemaker is haunted by his past

Towards the end of Episode 4, Peacemaker has a heart-to-heart with Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) in the same bar where the two not-so-accidentally rendezvoused in Episode 1. After noting that Leota (Danielle Brooks) seems well aware of his difficult upbringing, Peacemaker inquires about his file. While she is initially reluctant to discuss it with him, Harcourt eventually admits that Peacemaker's file says that White Dragon trained him to kill from a very young age and that Peacemaker was involved in his own brother's mysterious death. Peacemaker is clearly disturbed that his "friends" have such intimate knowledge of one of his worst memories. 

Returning home, Peacemaker lights up a bong (which he even shares with Goff the Butterfly) and dances while "House of Pain" by Faster Pussycat (via YouTube) plays in his trailer. Sadly, the music appears to be a limited comfort to the emotionally scarred superhero. A series of flashbacks show a mullet-wearing White Dragon forcing a young Peacemaker to kill a man tied to a chair. As Peacemaker also remembers killing Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) in "The Suicide Squad," he collapses to the ground, where Eagly and Goff study him. Here, he mourns the loss of his brother many decades earlier. 

In the 1988 four-issue comic book series that inspired parts of the TV series, Peacemaker's backstory is quite different, but there are also some definite commonalities. Though the comic Peacemaker's father is a former Nazi commandant of a concentration camp, instead of a U.S.-born white supremacist extremist, his failure to adequately act as a father to Peacemaker also haunts Peacemaker's life on a daily basis, just as White Dragon's poor parenting does in this episode.

Leota makes an interesting discovery

Episode 4 is where we see Leota's natural ability as an intelligence officer shine. Because White Dragon has become such a haunting force in Peacemaker's life, Leota subtly suggests that Vigilante murder the white supremacist leader. Her skill at manipulating Vigilante to do her bidding is markedly reminiscent of that of her mother, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). However, Leota's skills go well beyond the manipulation of a psychopath like Vigilante.

Upon returning to the team's headquarters, Leota and Peacemaker discover that Judomaster (Nhut Le) has escaped, incapacitated John Economos (Steve Agee), and is on the run. Peacemaker engages Judomaster in a fight, but the martial arts master is suddenly gunned down by Leota. While Leota is unable to pull the trigger on a former Secret Service agent in Episode 3, the lectures from Harcourt would appear to be making a difference in her willingness to kill. We have to imagine her mother would be pleased by this development, but it's not even Leota's most important moment of the episode.

As the episode comes to a close, Leota is seen working late at the team headquarters, when she suddenly recognizes the logo of a bottling company named "Glan Tai" on a bulletin board from the home of Senator Royland Goff. Searching through the contents of Annie Sturphausen's purse, she finds an access card for the same business, surely a discovery that will help the team in their mission. While Leota has repeatedly shown a reluctance to dedicate her life to the dangerous world of clandestine operations, she certainly seems capable of excelling at the job. Just as Leota's mother says in the pilot episode, spy work appears to be her "god-given, natural talent."

White Dragon is a racist monster, but he's no fool

James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" proved that heroes can come in all different types of shapes, sizes, colors, and species. "Peacemaker," on the other hand, is proving that the same can be true of villains as well. For obvious reasons, many depictions of racists and bigots tend to emphasize simple-minded, ignorant and abundantly stupid people. Episode 4 is making something else clear too: However vile and hateful Peacemaker's father may be, White Dragon is no fool. Early on in the episode, Peacemaker retrieves a number of helmets built by his father (many of which are sure to come in handy in the next four episodes) and explains to Vigilante that his father's "closet" is actually a "quantum unfolding storage area" which "leads to a dimensional nodule outside of normal space." Just as Vigilante notes, it turns out White Dragon is "pretty brainy for a racist."

Later, after succumbing to Leota's manipulation, Vigilante attempts to goad White Dragon into attacking him. Though his fellow white supremacists follow the bait hook, line and sinker, White Dragon quickly sees through the ploy and insists that he talk with Detective Sophie Song (Annie Chang). While he has previously made his hatred for his son abundantly clear, White Dragon's next moves are sure to even further complicate their relationship. We have to imagine that his army of white supremacists aren't going to take too kindly to Vigilante's attempt to murder him, especially given his supposition that Peacemaker orchestrated it.

Murn is a butterfly?!?

Around the same time that Vigilante is released from prison, Murn sits in his apartment watching the laughing gas scene from "Lethal Weapon 4" (via YouTube). However, the task force captain appears entirely emotionless at the humorous scene, with the expression on his face notably similar to those of the dearly departed Goff family from Episode 3. Instead of feasting on a bowl of popcorn, Murn is revealed to be eating the same viscous amber fluid found at the home of the Butterflies, via a purple trunk in his mouth. 

The revelation that Murn is actually a Butterfly is certainly surprising, but it also makes a lot of sense in the context of previous events. In Episode 3, Murn admits to Economos that he is saddened by the things he has done in the past, but doesn't go into detail about how he came to be remorseful and also doesn't appear to be overly emotional about it. Oddly, he notes that it is the first time he's ever shared a feeling with anyone, a claim that Economos dismisses as absurd. 

Later, when Peacemaker describes the purple trunks coming out of the mouths of the Goff family, Murn doesn't hesitate in delivering an order to assassinate the senator, his wife and their two children. Early in Episode 4, Murn responds to Peacemaker's hypothetical question of if he ever had a father by stating, "I did. I wasn't created in a petri dish." While Murn's exact paternal origins remain a mystery at this point, a petri dish no longer sounds as unlikely as it did before.

If it walks like a duck

Every episode of "Peacemaker" ends with a post-credits scene that expands on another scene from the episode that just finished airing. Episode 4 ends with a return to White Dragon's quantum unfolding storage area, where Peacemaker argues with Vigilante over the troubling connection between Peacemaker's mission and his father's overt racism. 

In the original scene, Peacemaker is angry when Vigilante proclaims that something that walks like a duck is either a genuine duck or "a duck wearing some type of human costume." Peacemaker insists that couldn't work, noting, "The sizes are completely incompatible!" Though Murn and the rest of the human-inhabiting butterflies would obviously beg to differ, Peacemaker seems quite sure that such an idea is absolutely ridiculous. 

While he points this out in the original scene, he goes on at length about it in the extended edition. "Vigilante, you've had a lot of f***ing stupid ideas, but a duck in a human costume, that's the stupidest idea you've ever f***ing had and it's offensive to me because I have a soul," Peacemaker says. This definitely seems like a wink-wink moment from Gunn in regards to butterflies doing exactly what Peacemaker most confidently says ducks cannot.

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