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Emilia's Worst Moments From Peacemaker Season 1

With the positive critical response to the first season of "Peacemaker," director and writer James Gunn has proved he's one of the very best at adapting comic books for both the big and small screens. Already successful operating in the MCU with "Guardians of the Galaxy" and in the DCEU with "The Suicide Squad," Gunn put together a spinoff for HBO Max that's somehow just as lurid and extreme as his movies, but also has the depth and emotional complexity that the best TV can offer. John Cena's oafish Peacemaker turns out to have hidden depths, as do all the members of the black ops team that recruits him during the events of the show. Emilia Harcourt, who played only a minor part in "The Suicide Squad," is the team member who has the most satisfying journey in Season 1, from a weary, battle-hardened NSA operative to a member of Peacemaker's unofficial family.

With a freewheeling, wacky tone, "Peacemaker" requires at least one no-nonsense character around at many moments for the humor to be effective. Actress Jennifer Holland makes the most of the role, letting Emilia's exasperation and impatience with the rest of her misfit group shine through, and as a result has the most abrasive presence of the main cast. She softens eventually, but it takes a lot of tough love to save the world sometimes. These are Emilia's worst moments from "Peacemaker" Season 1.

Calls dibs on Adebayo's desk

One of the delights of "Peacemaker" is that it focuses on the actual logistics of a secret black ops mission. It takes them actual time to drive places, they have to work to stay ahead of local authorities, and have to deal with a temporary, less-than-ideal abandoned office space as a base of operations. When the team first arrives, Harcourt immediately establishes a playground-like hierarchy by pulling rank on Leota Adebayo's choice of desk: "Hey new girl, get your [stuff] off there."

It's a small moment, but one that's very telling. Harcourt clearly chooses not to use Adebayo's name, which she likely knows, and boots her off the "only desk with sun" even though it's pretty unlikely they'll be spending a lot of time actually sitting at desks doing busywork, given the type of mission they're on. It marks the beginning of her general impatience with others, and penchant for insulting nicknames — although calling Peacemaker "Schwarze-never" in the finale is a pretty good burn. Harcourt and Adebayo would eventually become a little closer, although mostly from battling alien invaders together in lieu of Emilia making any sort of real interpersonal effort. 

Won't reveal her first name

While the end of Season 1 drops hints that Emilia has softened her outlook on Peacemaker a little bit, she's absolutely more than justified in rejecting his advances in the first episode, and rightly calls out his "stalkery" behavior in following her to the bar. But in the early part of their relationship, she refuses to tell him her first name, which is pretty rude. It also reinforces a huge and uncomfortable power imbalance, as she's read Peacemaker's file and knows not only his first name, but his entire history.

It's pretty obnoxious not to even tell your name to someone when you know all about the tragic childhood accident where he caused his own brother's death. And while she eventually bonds with Chris Smith a little bit and lets the "Emilia" cat out of the bag, it's after weeks of treating him solely as a government killing machine, and not a person.

Breaks a man's fingers

In a turn of events wholly predictable as soon as we see her at a bar, Harcourt puts off a would-be suitor by insulting his breath, which is fair game. But when his friend comes barging up to curse her out for it, Harcourt immediately jumps to applying her extensive combat training to defuse the situation — with a bit of what's popularly known by any standard as "excessive force." She disables the angry bar patron by swiftly punching him in the throat, collapsing the back of his knee, and pinning him down with his fingers over-extended.

For effect, she twists even further and loudly breaks at least a couple of the dumb slob's digits, scaring off the rest of his group. It's inarguably a badass moment, and very effective at putting an end to the threat. But during an all-important, off-book mission to save the world, breaking bones at the first sign of trouble doesn't seem like the best way to lay low. It also immediately made Peacemaker's crush on her even bigger, leading her to be even more annoyed with him. All in all, Emilia Harcourt's ruthlessness might not go as far as even a smidgen of tact.

Uncool with Eagly in her car

Peacemaker's sidekick and "best friend" Eagly is the MVP of the "Peacemaker" show. He's adorable, he brings his friends small dead rodents when they're feeling sad, and he even gives hugs! He's charming for any pet, and bald eagles are a symbol of national pride to boot. At multiples points he disables armed bad guys and bails out our heroes out of trouble. Who couldn't love Eagly?

But within seconds of Eagly escaping a hail of bullets to jump into her car's backseat with Peacemaker, Emilia asks "That thing's not gonna [poop] in my car, is it?" In the first place, that very same car just got riddled with police bullets, so a little bit of eagle droppings seems pretty inconsequential. As a secret government operative on an unofficial mission, it seems pretty unlikely she's driving her own personal vehicle anyway, so Emilia is truly being petty here. It nearly ruins the mood after the team has helped Peacemaker pull off a ridiculous and narrow escape from the authorities. Luckily, they break into laughter anyway, and Emilia begrudgingly cracks a slight smile.

Calls Economos a coward

Despite bringing vital computer skills to the team, no one is picked on more than Steve Agee's John Economos. Peacemaker in particular needles him about dyeing his beard, but Emilia Harcourt might be the rudest to Economos when she blithely dismisses the possibility that he betrayed the team. In the second episode, after Peacemaker is attacked by a butterfly well before they should even be aware that the task force exists, our heroes are quite naturally wondering if someone is feeding them information.

Emilia thinks aloud as she dismisses possibilities one by one: Peacemaker wouldn't set himself up to get killed, Murn is the one that told everyone about the butterflies to begin with, and she knows she didn't betray the team herself. So it must be Leota Adebayo, the newest member of the team. She discounts Economos as a candidate right away, which he initially thanks her for, but then she adds, "He's too much of a [much ruder word than 'coward'] to betray us." It's a wholly unnecessary comment that cuts her colleague to the core, when she could have just praised his sense of loyalty.

Executes an innocent bodyguard

As we learned from the absurd death count in "The Suicide Squad," there's going to be a ton of collateral damage when saving the world from massive supernatural threats. Peacemaker himself frequently repeats the motto, "I cherish peace with all my heart: I don't care how many men, women, and children I need to kill to get it." But all of the other A.R.G.U.S. operatives, especially the ones who aren't being forced to work for the agency by a bomb planted in their necks, have to define when and how the loss of life incidental to the mission is necessary. In the third episode of "Peacemaker," Emilia Harcourt makes it clear how far she's willing to go.

As they're ambushing a United States Senator who's secretly being controlled by the invading alien "butterflies," Adebayo has the Senator's bodyguard at gun point, and he sure seems like an innocent bystander. Since the butterflies take over a human host and have access to all of their memories, it's entirely likely that this guard had no clue he wasn't doing his normal job, protecting an elected official. Emilia, growing impatient with Adebayo, pulls the trigger herself and kills the man rather than leave a witness of any kind to their off-books mission. It establishes her as a ruthless killer, and more like Peacemaker than she's willing to admit.

Has harsh advice for Adebayo after she shoots someone

One of Emilia's best moments, when she makes a rare attempt to comfort a teammate after a stressful experience, is also inadvertently one of her worst. Leota Adebayo, despite being Amanda Waller's daughter, has not seen a lot of combat action before the events of "Peacemaker," and is badly shaken after she shoots Judomaster in the chest. Emilia pulls up a chair next to her and goes through the motions of offering emotional support, but is too cold to not just brusquely respond with the truth to Adebayo's questions. She tells her that Judomaster is "probably" going to die, and when Adebayo asks if killing ever gets any easier, Emilia says flatly, "No, it doesn't."

It's a harsh moment made harsher because of Emilia's lack of tact or subtlety. She tries to save it, by adding that it's better to feel remorse because it means you're not a cold, calculating killing machine "like Amanda Waller." But of course, unbeknownst to Emilia, Amanda Waller is Adebayo's mother, so that sentiment makes the whole moment even more depressing. As with all of the trained killers in "Peacemaker," Emilia's bedside manner leaves something to be desired.

Turns off Peacemaker's music

One of the most unapologetically awesome and unique elements of "Peacemaker" is its glam-rock soundtrack, heavy on big hair metal bands and wall-of-sound bangers. The opening titles are set to "Do You Wanna Taste It?" by Norwegian throwback band Wig Wam, but the series digs up deep cuts from the '80s heyday of the genre with bands like the Quireboys and Kix. Just like his use of pop hits breathed new life into the MCU in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies, James Gunn gives "Peacemaker" a real sense of personality by making the show's music taste overlap with Peacemaker's.

Emilia Harcourt, of course, doesn't miss the chance to rain on this parade, as is her habit. In the fifth episode, on the way to investigate the bottling plant where the butterflies' mysterious yellow liquid comes from, Peacemaker tries to pump up the team by playing Sister Sin's aptly titled "Fight Song." Emilia can only bear it for about 30 seconds before she switches it off and proclaims, "That's enough!" 

Sits on the knowledge that Murn is a butterfly

At the beginning of the sixth episode, it's revealed that Murn has secretly been a butterfly all along, when Adebayo accidentally sees him while wearing Peacemaker's X-Ray vision helmet. In the very next moment, it's revealed that Emilia already knew, and chose not to tell the rest of the team. Apparently, Murn is the only good butterfly, one that objected to the plan to take over humanity, and Emilia chooses to trust him. She makes the solo decision to believe an animated corpse with a small, alien insect inside his brain. It's quite a leap of faith, which is in a way a big deal for Emilia.

But it's unknown to her whether any superiors in A.R.G.U.S. know that Murn's a butterfly, and trusting him is a decision upon which the fate of the world literally rests. Ragtag though they are, this is really a moment when she should have consulted the rest of the team, instead of being complicit in deceiving them. Emilia's good in a fight, and she ultimately has (arguably) the right instinct to trust Murn, but in all situations she chooses to distance herself from other people, no matter what the stakes are. 

Doubts Eagly's abilities at the barn

Before the big showdown at the barn in the "Peacemaker" finale, the team strategizes a way to get a sonic boom helmet over to the barn undetected. Peacemaker's anti-gravity helmet unfortunately gets set off accidentally and floats away, but they have an unofficial team member than can fly: Eagly. Despite disabling a few bad guys here and there, Eagly has spent most of the series serving as comic relief, but this is finally his big moment. Everyone rallies around the idea as they try to get Eagly to understand what he has to do.

Everyone, that is, except for spoilsport Emilia Harcourt. "No way can an eagle understand what you're saying," she says, ruining the triumphant mood. Does she turn out to be right when Eagly overshoots the barn by a half mile and the team has to waste time searching for the helmet in the woods? Sure, but that's no reason not to be a team player when you're not coming up with any better ideas. Maybe Eagly would have gotten it right if he couldn't sense that the "mean, blonde woman" didn't believe in him.

Discounts Economos's existence

Although it's somewhat understandable not to carefully watch what you say when you're in the midst of a hectic mission to destroy a giant intergalactic space cow and save the planet, Harcourt lets fly a remark during the "Peacemaker" finale that reveals she still doesn't really consider John Economos a fighter, or even a presence to keep in mind. As she, Peacemaker, and Vigilante prepare to head to the butterflies' secret barn to begin a last-ditch assault, Adebayo offers to help. Emilia declines the offer, saying "We need you to stay here, Ads. If something happens to us you're the only hope."

The camera immediately pans to an exasperated Economos, who's enormously insulted once again. After weeks of providing vital support to the team, taking punches, surviving car crashes, and even saving the entire team by killing a bear with a chainsaw, he apparently just doesn't even warrant mentioning. It's also immediately after he posed as a butterfly-controlled policeman to sneak Peacemaker's sonic boom helmet into the barn, which disabled the teleportation devices. On future missions, Emilia Harcourt really needs to learn how to appreciate and not underestimate her operational support staff.