After running out of episodes of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City to binge — the season is continuing, but we caught up and now find ourselves restricted to one episode a week like commoners — Chloe and I have moved on to our next television obsession: HBO Max’s Peacemaker.
It should come as little surprise to anyone who knows either of us that we both loved The Suicide Squad last year; nevertheless, I know that I went into Peacemaker with no small amount of nervousness. Sure, the character had been entertaining enough in the movie, but did I really want to watch him be at the center of a show for eight hours? Was there really enough there for the series to be anything other than a bunch of meathead jokes made to diminishing returns, over and over?
The answer for both questions, as anyone who’s seen the show is already aware, was a resounding “yes.” I’ve been consistently surprised by the heart the show has, and the way in which it wants to examine what’s going on underneath Peacemaker’s annoying, none-more-bro shield (as well as others, but predominantly its title character, understandably); I’ve also been impressed by the kindness shown by the series when it calls him out as a bully and asks us to have sympathy for the reasons he is a bully at the same time.
The empathy at the center of Peacemaker was, of course, one of my favorite things about The Suicide Squad, as well as something I really love about another HBO Max/DC show, Doom Patrol. I know that snarky one-liners and far, far too many character in one story are the in-thing for Marvel right now — which is to say, the actually popular superhero movies and TV shows — but, the more I think about it, the more I realize that what I want out of my superhero stories in 2022 is that feeling of empathy and kindness towards those that deserve it. Isn’t that superhuman enough for you all, dammit?