(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).
Preacher needed a win. Over the past several weeks, the show, while still solid, seemed to have stalled, falling under a serious case of decompression as the story seemed to take its time revealing anything of importance. But then, as if the showrunners and producers heard the audience’s desperate please, they delivered “Sundowner,” which is arguably the best episode of the first season so far. Beyond delivering things like Genesis’ origin and the horrifying extent of Jesse’s power, it also has its own fight scene that ranks up there with Daredevil’s famous hallway scene. The folks who put together the hotel brawl during this latest installment deserve serious kudos.
As for the specifics: Deblanc and Fiore attempt to convince Mr. Custer that he needs to relinquish the power inside of him. Obviously confused, Jesse manages to use the power of “Genesis” to have the angels explain to him everything about the force inside of him, including its origin. Genesis is the result of an angel and a demon having a forbidden love affair near the border of heaven and hell. Touted as a being who may be more powerful than the All Mighty, Genesis has become something of a necessity for the forces of Heaven to reclaim and is seen as embarrassment to both factions of the afterlife. As Jesse reels from this new revelation, the trio are interrupted by what appears to be a soccer mom who manages to pound both Deblanc and Fiore to the ground. Frightened beyond a shadow of a doubt, the pair reveal to Jesse that heaven has unleashed a “Seraphim” upon them, an unkillable angelic terminator that won’t stop until its mission is fulfilled.
In the best part of the episode, and perhaps the series as a whole, Jesse, Deblanc, and Fiore attempt to stop the Seraphim, who constantly comes back to life whenever it is killed. The twist of this being that Deblanc and Fiore also come back to life whenever they are killed, so as the three immortals begin killing one another, they are just as quickly brought back to life while still leaving their former bodies dead on the floor. This scene is brilliant, and praise has to go to the director of this episode who decides to set the placement of the fight in the hotel room with the camera panning back through a hole made in the hotel room wall. It’s a hilarious yet ingenuous scene, and it perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Preacher while creating something entirely new for the television series that didn’t make an appearance in the comics.
As the battle becomes more and more heated, Fiore, in one humorous instant, is forced to kill a wounded Deblanc in order for him to pop back unharmed, Cassidy walks into the scene and joins the tussle, finally managing to restrain the Seraphim. A new problem arises in that the corpses of the old bodies of Deblanc, Fiore, and the Seraphim are now strewn across the hotel room. Thus begins the angels, Jesse, and Cassidy hacking up the bodies and disposing of them before Custer throws up his hands and forces the angels to “stay away from him” using Genesis’ power. Following this, Cassidy and Jesse have a great bonding session as the two sit in their underwear, waiting for their clothes to dry after attempting to wash off the endless amount of gore that had hit them prior. It’s a fantastic wrap up to the previous brawl while also giving us more insight into both of the characters, as their “bromance” strengthens.
Meanwhile, Tulip confronts Emily, clearly noticing the suburban mother’s infatuation with the good reverend Custer. While Emily’s added role into the series was always something of a question, as it seemed to do little more than stall the story, her presence here as a foil for Tulip in which to calm her is well-placed. Tulip, clearly regretting her previous night with Cassidy, decides that perhaps the best way to reach Jesse is to become more like Emily and help her with her chores for the church. (This is of course after Tulip marches into Emily’s house and breaks one of her children’s “art things.”) When Jesse’s former flame meets him at the church, she also runs into Cassidy who is quite smitten with her. Realizing, however, that she is still infatuated with the Preacher (with some absolutely fantastic acting from Joseph Gilgun) the Irish vampire’s heart breaks.
Even with all of this, the star of the hour may very well be poor Eugene, a.k.a. Arseface. An aspect of Arseface’s life that was not explored in the books were his school days, and here, we’re given a refreshing look into how he operates on a daily basis. When Eugene is simply addressed by a fellow student, almost on reflex he recoils and apologizes for nothing. There have been a lot of tragic moments with Arseface so far, but this hit me the hardest, and helped demonstrate poor Eugene’s personality in a two second exchange. During school, Arseface is included into a group of friends and Eugene is rightfully suspicious at first. As you await for the other shoe to drop — and believe you me, it does later on — Arseface hangs out with his new friends and is even given a fireworks display in a water basin, and you can’t help but feel the wonder exuding from this poor creature. Ian Colletti has simply done an amazing job bringing Arseface to the screen, especially considering his dialogue is constantly muffled through a layer of makeup.
That shoe drop I mentioned earlier? When it hits, boy does it ever hit hard. Jesse, flying high on his own power, has a confrontation with Eugene, as Arseface believes that his forgiveness from Tracy’s mother wasn’t earned. Eugene is right of course, as Jesse used his power to cause Mrs. Loche to grant Arseface redemption, and the discussion between the two becomes more and more heated. This honestly made for some riveting television as Custer begins to almost lose himself, telling Arseface that he’s going to make the entire town “see the light” with Genesis’ help. Obviously, Eugene begins realizing that Jesse is going off the deep end at this point and begs the Preacher to take a step back and think about what he’s doing. In the most shocking reveal of the night, Jesse, in his blind rage, uses the word and tells Arseface to “go to Hell”! Custer turns around to find that Eugene has in fact done that and has disappeared from the church entirely.
“Sundowner” is the strongest episode of Preacher so far, taking the spirit of the comics while managing to find new and unique ways to move the plot along. Whereas the previous episodes seemed to take their time and simmer on plot revelations, this latest episode delivers them fast and furious along with a combination of excellent acting chops from all parties involved. If you wanted to sell any friends on this series, this is the episode to show them.
Rating: ★★★★★ Excellent
– The mayor subplot with Quincannon was probably the weakest aspect of the episode, but still managed to make for some spine-chilling stuff, as Odin makes it look like his victims died in a car wreck.
– Deblanc: “Do you have your keys?”
– Fiore: “It’s probably just the towels…it isn’t.”
– Jesse: “SHE’S GOT AN AXE!”
– Cassidy: “You know what this reminds me of?”
Jesse: “Shut up Cassidy!”
Cassidy: “Fair enough.”
– Cassidy: “Genesis? Like the band?? What a terrible name!”
– Arseface: “I don’t want to be forgiven.”
COMIC ISSUES (Spoiler Town)
– Ok, so Arseface absolutely does NOT go to hell in the comics, which is honestly something I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see the resolution of. Is this perhaps how Saint of Killers is introduced to the present?
– The Seraphim never come to Earth in this fashion in the comics, though one does eventually make an appearance when it’s captured by the grail (with a much different appearance of course)
– When angels die in the comics, they stay dead, which should be interesting to see how this applies to the television series moving forward.