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Vigilante's Worst Moments From Peacemaker Season 1

The ruthless crimefighter Adrian Chase — who knocks the pants off of evil under the alias "Vigilante" — first appears in "New Teen Titans Annual" #2, published in 1983. Interesting as that may be, it doesn't actually matter here because the version of Adrian who appears in HBO Max's gargantuan hit series "Peacemaker" has very little in common with his comic book counterpart. 

In "Peacemaker" — a television sequel to director James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" — the Earth is beset by a secret invasion of parasitic aliens known as butterflies. It's up to an A.R.G.U.S. spinoff contingent known as Project Butterfly to eradicate the intruders, an assignment complicated by the butterflies' ability to crawl into people's skulls, take over their brains, and use their effectively dead bodies as host puppets. 

When we meet Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), he comes across as a mix between a fanboy and sidekick. Like Peacemaker (John Cena), Vigilante is a take-no-prisoners, morally ambiguous, '80s-style grimdark superhero. Obviously, he considers Peacemaker his best friend forever — or "BFF," for short — because of course they should be friends, right? They do the same job. 

Unfortunately, Vigilante's off-beat personality and excess of enthusiasm tends to rub folks the wrong way. Peacemaker barely tolerates him, and when he first comes across Project Butterfly, he's only allowed to tag along after the gang notices he's a staggeringly efficient killing machine. But is Vigilante really just a heartless maniac? Let's examine his worst moments to find out.     

Leaving countless messages on Peacemaker's voicemail while he's in prison

In "Peacemaker," we hear Vigilante's voice well before we know what he looks like or what his whole deal is. 

After a stint in prison, a fateful black ops deployment to Corto Maltese, a resulting tenure in the hospital, and a really awkward Lyft ride home, Chris Smith — aka Peacemaker — finally returns to his totally boss bachelor pad. Unfortunately, his homecoming is spoiled by the discovery that his father, Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick), neglected to cancel his cell phone plan. 

Not only does Peacemaker owe the phone company for literal years of service he couldn't use, his voicemail box is stuffed with inane messages from Vigilante. Apparently, it took a little while before Vigilante noticed Peacemaker had been sent to prison, rendering him unavailable to chat, hang out, or partake in merciless assaults on probable criminals.   

Part of Vigilante's vocation as a lower-tier Dark Knight detective entails tracking down people and information, right? He really shouldn't have had to call more than once or twice before using alternative methods for discerning Peacemaker's whereabouts. Vigilante didn't need to leave so many messages, and he definitely didn't need to openly discuss illegal activities on a voicemail box the phone company would happily hand over to the authorities if asked to do so. Not so smooth this time, Vigilante. 

Assassinating the 'wife and children' of Senator Goff

Moral relativity is one of the central themes of "Peacemaker." At one point or another, most of the major characters make a questionable choice in the interest of what they perceive as the greater good. Peacemaker's definitive line from "The Suicide Squad" — "I cherish peace with all my heart; I don't care how many men, women, and children I need to kill to get it" — resonates throughout pretty much the whole series. 

However, when the rubber hits the road, Peacemaker isn't as cool with shooting kids in the face as he initially claims. Charged with pulling the trigger on the butterfly-possessed corpses of Senator Royland Goff (Antonio Cupo), his wife, and two young children, Peacemaker finds himself emotionally incapable of completing the gig. 

Observing Peacemaker wobbling, Vigilante asks his pal to move over for a sec, picks up the sniper rifle, and casually blasts 3/4th of the family around a dinner table to "h"-"e"-double hockey sticks. Then Judomaster (Nhut Le) kicks him in the face before he can off the senator.     

Let's keep in mind Vigilante doesn't kill Senator Goff's wife and children — he kills the butterflies who murdered the actual humans sometime earlier. In one sense, Vigilante is avenging their deaths. On a purely superficial level, he shoots a family in their heads and barely flinches. Even the typically stone-faced Agent Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) seems a little disturbed. 

Failing to kill Auggie Smith

Peacemaker's father, August "Auggie" Smith — aka the fascist militia leader known as the White Dragon — is one of the most instantly detestable villains to come along in comic book-based media in a while. Played by cross-generational character actor Robert Patrick, Auggie's relentless emotionally abusive behavior towards Chris, his only living son, makes him a loathsome individual all on its own. Toss the fact that Auggie's a malignant bigot onto his pile of faults, and voila — you've got a big bad everyone hopes eventually catches a bullet in his forehead.

Auggie's death would certainly make life easier for Project Butterfly in Episode 4, "The Choad Less Traveled." After some subtle nudging from Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), Vigilante gets himself locked in the same prison where Auggie's being held on (miraculously bogus) murder charges, with the intention of shuffling the White Dragon off the mortal coil. While Vigilante manages to hilariously mock and brutally clobber a handful of flunkies, he tips Auggie off to his bloody plan by muttering, "You're a bad dad." Once Auggie realizes he's been targeted for assassination, he offers the police more information on his son to protect himself. 

After Harcourt bails Vigilante out, he sadly confesses, "I think I might've made things worse." This theory turns out to be accurate.  

Being terrible at keeping his identity secret

In fairness, we don't think most folks look at humble Fennel Fields busboy Adrian Chase — with his humiliating apron and pieces of flair — and think, "Oh, this guy definitely moonlights as one of his universe's answers to frickin' Walter Kovacs." All Adrian Chase really has to do to keep his alter ego a secret is be himself ... and as it turns out, being himself is not one of Vigilante's most impressive talents. 

Granted, Vigilante can't do anything about Goff removing his mask in Episode 3, "Better Goff Dead." However, by neglecting to disguise his voice or foot injury, he instantly gives himself away to Adebayo in Episode 4. The rest of Project Butterfly learn his true face and name when they decide to pull him out of jail, as Harcourt astutely observes, "Wasn't he our busboy at Fennel Fields?" 

By the end of Season 1, a whole bunch of cops and Nazis have seen Vigilante without his mask. All those people die under unrelated circumstances, but still — Vigilante does not kill it at all when it comes to keeping his identity under wraps.  

Wanting to kill someone with a chainsaw but never getting to do so

Contrary to what we've seen in numerous films and television shows, chainsaws do not make effective murder weapons. They're extremely loud, and they're unwieldy and difficult to manage. Sure, they're perfect for when you need to hack off a few branches or cut down a tree, but actual combat scenarios demand a far less glamorous arsenal. However, there are no actual combat scenarios in the totally fictional "Peacemaker." Since chainsaws make lots of noise and make blood fly everywhere, they're ideal for Hollywood actors to swing around when they're pretending to fight bad aliens.

In Episode 5, "Monkey Dory," Vigilante is overjoyed to discover a chainsaw in Project Butterfly's van. Sadly, Harcourt won't let him bring it along on their mission. In the moment, this seems like an entirely reasonable request on Harcourt's part, seeing as how they're only running reconnaissance on an apparently harmless bottling factory. Of course, this leaves Vigilante feeling bummed out, as he says, "I'm never ever going to kill someone with a f*****g chainsaw. It's so not fair."

As it turns out, the bottling factory is positively loaded with butterflies, and the chainsaw ends up coming in handy. Tragically, Vigilante is not the person who gets to kill someone with it. Instead, it's John Economos (Steve Agee), who saves the day by going all Leatherface on a possessed gorilla. And Vigilante's semi-jealous reaction is ... kinda troubling. Of course, this makes us wonder — when it became obvious the bottling factory was a butterfly headquarters, why didn't Vigilante run back to the van, pick up the chainsaw, and get to work hacking and slashing? Way to fail, Vigilante. 

Indirectly causing the death of Detective Sophie Song

When it comes to talking about the behavior of characters in "Peacemaker," "worst" is an especially subjective adjective. Here, we're using it to define Vigilante's most disturbing, anti-social behavior, as well as instances of mere hapless incompetency ... that happen to have disastrous results.

For example, his fall from a tree in Episode 6, "Murn After Reading," results in the jar containing the butterfly "Goff" shattering. Finally free of her glass prison, Goff rushes into the mouth of Detective Sophie Song (Annie Chang), killing her horribly and setting off a chain of events that brings about the deaths of dozens, maybe even hundreds, of other people. 

Granted, many of those people are Nazis, and some of them are corrupt cops, but there are certainly some completely innocent people mixed in with Goff's wholesale massacre at the episode's conclusion. Detective Sophie and her partner, Larry Fitzgibbon (Lochlyn Munro), for instance, seem okay.  

While he didn't do it on purpose — and he doesn't deserve to be blamed directly for the subsequent carnage (killing all those people is definitely Goff's idea) — technically, falling out of a tree is the worst thing Vigilante has ever done. Judging his actions purely in terms of their consequences, being a bad climber and not paying attention to his branch stability leads to much more death than any of the deliberate murders we see Vigilante commit or hear him talk about committing.

Destroying Peacemaker's phone

Like the other members of Project Butterfly, Vigilante's got his share of personality defects, and that's great. The various quirks and foibles of Peacemaker and his supporting cast typically make their adventures more entertaining. 

Nevertheless, the fact remains that Vigilante tends to get ahead of himself. For example, he assumes a greater degree of familiarity with Peacemaker than Peacemaker seems entirely comfortable with. He implies his trigger-happy attitude might've led to the semi-accidental murder of an innocent person or innocent people, and he definitely should've waited an extra moment before throwing Peacemaker's phone out the window of a moving car. 

During their escape from the police raid on Peacemaker's trailer, Vigilante sees Peacemaker is about to call Harcourt. Supposing that the cops might already be tracking the device, Vigilante bites Peacemaker's arm, yanks his phone away, and flings it out the window. An understandably irate Peacemaker informs his pal that the current pile of plastic and circuitry on the shoulder of the road was previously a secure phone that couldn't be tracked.

"Oh. My bad, then. Sorry dude," says Vigilante. "That was a pretty big f*** up on my part." Boy, was it ever!  

Peeing with his pants all the way down in public

Look, we're not here to shame anyone for what kind of personal rituals they partake in before, during, or after going to the bathroom. We're merely suggesting that we should be able to expect each other to follow a reasonable set of etiquette protocols when nature calls and a private restroom is not accessible.  

For instance, if you've really got to pee in the middle of the day, you know you're not in an isolated vicinity, and you typically pee standing up, you should keep your pants on while draining your bladder. Vigilante does not support this notion because he is a monster.  

In Episode 7, "Stop Dragon My Heart Around," Peacemaker, Eagly, Vigilante, and John Economos stop by the side of the road, and Vigilante leaves the group for a moment to relieve himself in the woods. The White Dragon's henchmen catch Peacemaker by surprise, and Economos correctly realizes they needs Vigilante's assistance. To avoid the Nazi line of sight, Economos drops to his hands and knees and crawls over to Vigilante — only to be met with Vigilante's bare bottom. 

"I can't pee when clothes are touching my butt," explains Adrian. Has he ever tried to pee when clothes are touching his butt? If so, how hard has he tried? Because just about everyone else who pees standing up seems to manage without a problem. 

Kidnapping and threatening a veterinary clinic staff

In perhaps the most traumatic moment on the series thus far, Eagly is injured during Peacemaker's final showdown with the White Dragon. Fortuitously, the incident occurs in fairly close proximity to a veterinary clinic staffed by a Dr. Hurwitz (Haig Sutherland) and two nurses (Sarah Corrigan and Philippe Collins), who quickly stitch the noble bird of prey back to health. 

After it looks like Eagly's going to be okay, Vigilante announces that he must execute Eagly's saviors. Peacemaker and Vigilante are currently the focus of a massive police manhunt, and at this point, the three animal medical professionals have seen their faces and know all the other basic stuff about them. But thanks to some rational convincing from Harcourt and Economos, Vigilante agrees to simply tie up the veterinary staff. The situation doesn't get as bad as it could've gotten, but it still reflects poorly on Vigilante. 

Let's say your friend's dog gets very sick. You and your friend go to the vet, and the vet cures your friend's dog. Even if the police were after you, would your first instinct be to shoot the vet? If so, go read or watch some other website. Here at Looper, we're thoroughly opposed to murdering veterinarians under any circumstances.