'Peacemaker' Episode 3 Recap: John Cena's Supervillain Embarks On Project Butterfly

After Peacemaker's surprise encounter with a Butterfly in Episode 1 and escaping custody in Episode 2, he joins his team for their first mission in Episode 3.

The supervillain, whose real name is Christopher Smith (John Cena), may not know what Butterflies are but he's curious to find out, and the third episode opens with him confessing to Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) that he's worried they'll be homunculi.

Peacemaker, Adebayo, Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) and John Economos (Steve Agee) are preparing to embark on their first Project Butterfly mission, and their target is U.S. Senator Royland Goff.

Heading out on Project Butterfly

While packing up their gear Peacemaker and the team discover Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) hiding nearby, with the crime-fighting criminal telling his "best friend" that he was just looking out for him.

Harcourt tells Vigilante to scram but before he does so he tells Peacemaker that he should remember none of his team members will be as good a friend as he is, although he suggests Smith be friendly with Adebayo to stave off rumors he's a racist.

The team head out to Goff's home for a stakeout and Adebayo and Murn tell Smith of the task at hand: He has to kill the senator and his whole family, children included, because they are suspected Butterflies.

Peacemaker takes issue with murdering Goff's young children, even if he thinks one looks like a "butt baby", but since his motto is that he will get peace no matter who he has to kill —man, woman, or child— to get it he concedes.

Stakeout at Goff's house

When they arrive at Goff's residence, everyone gets ready for the mission, with Murn and Economos setting up cameras and Harcourt and Peacemaker setting up their sniper post.

Peacemaker is upset that his gun doesn't have a dove of peace on the side and is forced to draw it on with a sharpie, while Murn and Economos discuss emotions and the former's lack of them.

Come nightfall everyone is in position and the Goff family arrive at home right on cue though Peacemaker can't get a shot because of their two bodyguards, one of which is Judomaster (Nhut Le).

Smith fails to kill Goff but Harcourt tells the group that the whole family are likely Butterflies because of how their demeanor changed the moment they were away from their bodyguards.

Later in the night, Harcourt's suspicions are confirmed when Goff and his family unveil serpent-like tongues to drink a mysterious goop, which Murn says it means they are all Butterflies.

He tells Peacemaker to take the shot and kill them all but he's unable to pull the trigger, whether this is out of fear or a sense of guilt is unclear, and Vigilante (who turned up unannounced) replaces the supervillain at the rifle and kills 3 of 4 Butterflies before Judomaster arrives.

Vigilante and Peacemaker get kidnapped

Judomaster, despite his short stature, proves to be an incredible fighter and easily fends off Peacemaker, Vigilante and Harcourt.

Harcourt gets knocked out and Judomaster defeats both remaining supervillains, who pass out and wake up tied to chairs in an underground lair.

When he wakes up, Peacemaker embarks on a war of words with Judomaster and the pair trade insults before Goff, the only surviving Butterfly, arrives and sends the martial arts expert off to warn someone he knows.

Goff attaches electrodes to Vigilante's private parts so he can get Peacemaker to talk, electrocuting his friend to try and push him to reveal what he knows about Butterflies and how he knows it.

Peacemaker, ever the staunch soldier, doesn't give up any information, which is a shame for Vigilante who then has to suffer as Goff tries to cut off his pinky toe.

While this torture is taking place, Murn, Adebayo and a revived Harcourt try to find the pair and discover a mysterious alien door blocking their way into the entrance of the underground lair.

Murn sets off an explosion and gets caught in the blast when he checks why it isn't working, but somehow manages to survive the ordeal unscathed.

The truth about Project Butterfly is revealed

The explosion gave Peacemaker the opening he needed to escape from his bonds and attack Goff, fighting him off before shooting him in the head.

While this is happening, Economos discovers Judomaster is leaving the compound and uses his van to take out the martial artist by ramming into his car.

The crash doesn't take out Judomaster, though, and Economos is forced to beat him over the head with a crow bar to knock him out completely, an act he takes great pride in as the tech guy.

Murn, Harcourt and Adebayo tell Peacemaker and Vigilante they're on their way and as they sit in the lair an alien butterfly comes out of Goff's head, revealing the truth: Project Butterfly is, literally, about stopping alien butterflies.

The episode ends with the shocking reveal that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of suspected Butterflies around the world, meaning Peacemaker has his work cut out for him.

The first three episodes of Peacemaker are out now, and the series will air weekly every Thursday on HBO Max.

John Cena as Peacemaker in "Peacemaker" Episode 3, the HBO Max show's first three episodes were released on Thursday, January 13. HBO Max