This article contains Peacemaker spoilers.
The Peacemaker finale had at least two more scenes that we’ve added to the long list of “I can’t believe they filmed that” shots this show pulled off. It also made a huge change in the status quo for the DCEU’s clandestine services.
After Peacemaker, Vigilante, and the gang successfully blew up the cow WITHOUT resorting to using the Scabies Helmet, Adebayo held a press conference to set the record straight. She counteracted the butterflies’ accusations against Peacemaker, and in the process exposed her mother, Amanda Waller, and the entire Task Force X operation to the entire world.
If you’re thinking “that probably won’t end well for the team,” you’re right! There’s some comics history to the Suicide Squad being outed, and none of it’s good.
Senator Joseph Cray was a real piece of work. The fake legislator, created by John Ostrander and Luke McDonnell in their classic Suicide Squad run in the late 1980s, was in trouble for steering government contracts in exchange for bribes. So he decided to try and weasel his way out of it using the Suicide Squad. First, he tried to get Derek Tolliver, the team’s liaison with the National Security Council installed above Waller, so Tolliver would answer to him. When that didn’t work, he dangled his classified knowledge of Task Force X over Waller, threatening to expose the team.
Rick Flag decided to solve this problem himself, heading off to murder Cray and Tolliver before the team could be exposed. Waller had been trying to deal with it before Flag went lone wolf, so she sent the team to stop him. Eventually Flag managed to kill Tolliver, but before he could get Cray, Flag was stopped by Deadshot, and the team ended up exposed anyway.
THE JANUS DIRECTIVE
The exposure of Task Force X leads almost directly into the big crossover of the Ostrander/Kim Yale/McDonnell era of Suicide Squad: “The Janus Directive.” This was a crossover between all of DC’s clandestine services at the time – Checkmate (led by, among others, Harvey Bullock and the Doom Patrol’s Negative Woman); Waller’s Task Force X; Sarge Steel and King Faraday’s Central Bureau of Intelligence; the self-explanatory Project Peacemaker; Force of July, a group of patriotic-themed superheroes led by Major Victory; and Captain Atom handlers Project Atom.
Waller, running the Squad through a proxy after its exposure and a subsequent public relations-fueled face turn, began to get more erratic, sending the Squad on missions that appeared to have no nexus to United States national security interests, but were entirely personal. This set all of the other clandestine services against them, and we get a good eight or nine issues of deep state warfare.
Turns out Waller hadn’t actually gone rogue, though. She found a plot by Kobra (a terrorist group of religious fanatics – think AIM if they were led by Serpentor) to replace her, cause trouble that world governments would need to focus on, and leave Kobra free to commence the Kali Yuga, a global catastrophe that they believed would underpants gnome them into power. Waller was trying to flush out any traitors in on the game.
PEACEMAKER SEASON 2
Sounds like a pretty strong basis for the new next season of Peacemaker, doesn’t it?
The DCEU’s clandestine side is extremely undeveloped to this point. We know Task Force X is part of ARGUS, but besides them, we only know of the services that exist in the real world – the FBI, CIA, NSC, etc. DC Comics has a lush, completely bananapants gang of spies, feds, and paramilitaries. And honestly, television might just be the place to introduce this.
The other argument for drawing from “The Janus Directive” for season 2 is the perspective shift. Peacemaker was a player in the original story, but the point of view character was very much Waller. Seeing this event through Chris’ eyes would be a fascinating shift and entry point into all of this craziness.
Based on how good season one of Peacemaker was, whatever we get in the next one should be good. But this might be the best possible option.