"Better Goff Dead" is the third episode of the HBO Max series based on the DC Comics character Peacemaker. It also serves as the series premiere and aired on January 13, 2022 as part of a three episode premiere along with A Whole New Whirled and Best Friends, For Never respectively.
On their first official mission to assassinate suspected “butterflies,” Economos and Murn bond, and Peacemaker and Harcourt reach an understanding. But the whole job goes sideways with the arrival of Judomaster.
The task force finds out that their current mission includes assassinating a State Senator, the titular Goff, by the end of the day. Goff is a butterfly and a climate change advocate. During the briefing, Leota accidentally flips to a photo of her wife’s vagina, since she has sent her away on Harcourt’s recommendation. Thus, they are practicing new forms of intimacy. Unfortunately,the team doesn’t know whether or not his entire family are butterflies, in which case Chris will have to kill them all, including two children. But they do know that he has a very short bodyguard named Judomaster. Murn still doesn’t trust Chris enough to tell him what a butterfly actually is, but he does expect him and Harcourt to take up position and shoot a man and possibly his wife and children with a sniper rifle. All in the name of peace.
Eventually, Goff and his family turn up, but their frolicking outside is obscured by a hulking bodyguard, meaning Chris can’t get a shot. When they head inside, the pretense of a happy family is dropped and they all walk zombie-like past one of the windows, leading Harcourt to assume that the entire family are butterflies.
Either way, they have to wait for a clear shot, which allows time for some minor bonding between Chris and Harcourt, and eventually the arrival of Vigilante, who has been following Chris around. As it turns out, even though everyone thinks he’s ridiculous, Vigilante arrives in the nick of time. As Chris and Harcourt continue to surveil the family, they pour yellow goo into bowls and then start drinking it through purple suckers that emerge from their mouths. Murn orders Chris to kill them all immediately, but he can’t bring himself to shoot the kids, so Vigilante takes over and cheerily shoots all of them except Goff himself. Before he can take that shot he’s interrupted by Judomaster. He easily takes out Harcourt, Vigilante, and Peacemaker by himself. The latter two are taken inside by Judomaster and Goff, while Harcourt, is unconscious nearby, is accosted by another of Goff’s bodyguards. Leota interrupts them, but she can’t pull the trigger, so Harcourt does so instead.
While Vigilante and Peacemaker are being held captive in the basement, Murn, Leota, and Harcourt try to find them. The trio takes a brief tour through the house where Goff’s family is still laying dead on the floor. In the time it takes them to find the hidden door, Goff has despatched Judomaster to report what happened to his superiors. An unmasked Vigilante, tries in vain to preserve his identity by constantly pulling faces. Goff then goes onto attach electrical clips to Vigilante's genitals. Peacemaker for his part says that he won’t break under torture, least of all under someone else’s torture, but Vigilante really goes through the wringer.
Elsewhere in the house, Murn is delayed by a door, which is locked with a keypad containing the same glyphs as the miniature flying saucer that he has to blow through using an experimental explosive device. It goes off in Murn’s face, but the explosion buys Peacemaker enough time to free himself, fight Goff, and eventually blow a hole in his face with a shotgun.
Economos for his part t-bones an escaping Judomaster and is forced to hesitantly beat him to death with a tire iron.
With Vigilante and Peacemaker looking on, an alien-looking butterfly claws its way out of the remains of Goff’s face and begins to fly up and out of the cave. Upon seeing the weird creature, Peacemaker finally figures out what Project: Butterfly means.
Back in the van, the computer inside the van, begins to flash red with the coordinates of all the suspected butterflies seemingly spreading all across the world.
Cast and characters
- John Cena as Christopher Smith/Peacemaker
- Danielle Brooks as Leota Adebayo
- Freddie Stroma as Adrian Chase/Vigilante
- Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn
- Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt
- Steve Agee as John Economos
- Robert Patrick as August "Auggie" Smith/White Dragon
- Nhut Le as Judomaster
- Antonio Cupo as Senator Royland Goff
- Dee Bradley Baker voices Eagly
- Sage Brocklebank as Bodyguard
- Natalia Safran as Mrs. Goff
- Jackson Ferguson as Goff Child #1
- Juliette Ferguson as Goff Child #2