(Spoiler Policy Regarding the Comics: Preacher recaps will steer clear of comic spoilers in the main text, but for comic readers or those interested in learning more, there’s a “Comic Issues” section at the bottom that deals with specifics. As always, be respectful of fellow fans and avoid spoilers in the comments).
And we’re off to the races in Preacher‘s second episode, “See,” with the introduction of a mysterious cowboy entering into the city — appropriately named Ratwater — in 1881. We’ll touch upon this a bit more in the comic spoilers section, but this is a great way to establish some of the stranger aspects of the series from the get go that haven’t been brought to the forefront yet. Preacher’s cinematography is something I wanted to jump right into though, using the Ratwater segment as a springboard as it’s simply top notch. Numerous times throughout this episode, I noted the similarities that this series has to Breaking Bad with establishing shots and camera angles (Editor’s Comment: Of note, Preacher is also filmed at Albuquerque Studios). It works really well for the series and brings the audience in along for the twisted ride, but still managing to make it feel real along the way.
Jesse continues to attempt to walk the path of the straight and narrow, sticking with his “flock,” and baptizing a number of them in front of the church during his introduction. Of course, as with most things in Jesse’s life, things go to pot when Tulip arrives and asks that she be baptized as well, in humorous fashion. If anyone was the standout star of this episode, it’s Ruth Negga’s Tulip, as her big grin is reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat, promising to drag Jesse into a Wonderland of crime and depravity. Obviously, there’s a clear chemistry between Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga, who also happen to be dating in the real world. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Amazing Spider-Man series with Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, to bring things back into the realm of comic books. Jesse Custer has many devils on his shoulder in the series, but as it stands with this episode, Tulip’s is the loudest of them all.
Cassidy, of course, is another one, as the hard-drinking Irish vampire continues to drip with charisma, always playing things up for a laugh. When Gilgun was originally announced to play “good ole Cass,” fans of the series knew this was the perfect choice, and that prediction still stands here. When Cass and Jesse are knocking a few back in the church after a long day, having a conversation about Cassidy’s situation along with drinking a particularly horrible concoction created by the vampire, it’s hard not to rally behind the bromance. When Jess passes out, Cassidy unfortunately shows another side of himself as he picks Custer’s wallet and hightails it, leaving an opening for the mysterious investigators to chant some strange songs to try to free the entity residing in the preacher. Ultimately, Cassidy manages to return and has quite the drag-out fight between the curious pair.
Preacher, if nothing else, manages to ratchet up the insanity in the comics and luckily, that spirit is brought here with the fight scene in the church. Cassidy beats one of the investigators to death with a bible, tears out his achilles tendon with his teeth, and cuts off an arm with a chainsaw that slowly makes its way toward an unconscious Jesse. While not having the choreography of, say, Daredevil, it’s still brutal fisticuffs to be sure, and makes for entertaining, albeit morbid, television. This is of course assisted by Gilgun’s humorous barbs throughout the fight, and subsequent attempt to bury the dead pair only to run right into the sun waiting for him. The problems of an Irish vampire are many.
We’re also given our first introduction here to Jackie Earl Haley as Odin Quincannon, the owner of the meat packing company that seems linked to every aspect of Annville. Again, the Breaking Bad comparisons feel apt thanks in part to the humorous scenes of Odin asking a couple to simply sign away their house, immediately following it up with bulldozing the residence into the ground. What little we see of Quincannon here elicits some curiosity as he drifts in mid conversation while talking about “butchers” specifically. On the other side of town, Emily continues to act as an angel on the shoulder of Jesse but runs a little cold when all’s said and done. I understand her purpose and creation from not having been around in the comics, to offer Jesse a semblance of normalcy before the madness really hits the fan, though she doesn’t stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the cast. In fact, the other angel on Jesse’s shoulder comes in the form of poor Eugene, dubbed “Arseface” by Cassidy when he first lays eyes on him.
Arseface is pathetic and lovable, as you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastard. He’s constantly taking hits in life, though he never gives up his sunny disposition on things. The chat with Jesse about whether he had changed after receiving his baptism was innocent and tragic at the same time. Custer’s dark side, however, ultimately wins out the day despite Arseface’s influence, as Jesse takes his rage out on a partitioner of his church who had been stalking a girl on the bus he drove. With the power inside him resurfacing once again, Jesse tells the disturbed man to forget the girl entirely, which he does as he screams into the night, “What did you do to my brain??” A bit on the nose, sure, but it works here all the same.
Ultimately the episode lays out a ton of questions, but not much in the way of answers, which works to reel audiences in, let’s just hope in the coming weeks we get an ample amount from both sides. The series continues to be extremely solid and the cast is firing on all cylinders fairly early, which is a feat unto itself.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
– Cassidy’s drink is made up of air conditioner sludge, liquid he got from the back of the coffee machine, and hard liquor, which has to be one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard of.
– The take on the mysterious investigators is a good one, and vastly different from the comics for the record. Seeing them pop up immediately following their own deaths, and being buried, is sure to leave folks with a ton of questions.
– Settler – “Do you agree that this is paradise.”
Cowboy – “It ain’t.”
– Arseface – “You washed my sins away Preacher! I’m saved!”
– Tulip – “Thanks for getting me all wet.”
– Cassidy – “I’m running dangerously low on drugs!”
– Cassidy – “Walking the world with a face like an arsehole!”
– Tulip – “Jesus take your wheel?”
– Jesse – “I like the Big Lebowski.”
– Cassidy – “Get away from him ya filthy little gobshites!”
COMIC ISSUES (AKA Spoiler Town)
– It’s the “Saint of Killers”!! In all honesty, considering we hadn’t heard any casting announcements prior to the series about such a major character, I almost thought they weren’t going to have him in the show at all. Adding a big bushy beard to him is an interesting choice, so I’m wondering if he’ll look exactly the same once he arrives in the present or more of a gaunt, deathly figure as he did in the books sans beard.
– Sheriff Root actually caring for Eugene/Arseface is a different approach, though he was so extreme in one direction in the book that humanizing him a bit more works for the TV series.
– Genesis swirling around inside of Jesse with two warring “colors” is clearly a reference to his origin as the offspring of an angel and a demon.
– I think they’re setting up Cassidy really superbly here, portraying him as your best friend while seemingly always waiting for the tides to turn in his favor and leave you out to dry if need be.
– Tulip’s origins are once again changed a bit here, and her talk of a “job” is something new for the series, should be interesting to see what she’s referring to. Perhaps the killing of her “hitman boss” that leads them right into the hands of Angelville?