To start, fully expect there to be a ton of information in this week’s “Comic Issues” section of this write up, as this episode of Preacher makes, to me, the most drastic changes from the comic we’ve seen so to date. Now, this isn’t to necessarily say that differences from the source material are a bad thing, heck the battle with the angels in last week’s episode, along with the inadvertent banishing of Eugene to the fiery depths of Hell, were both events that hadn’t happened in the books yet managed to be the standouts of said installment. Preacher as a series seems to have a rather nebulous case of “bi-polar disorder”—one episode will be great, and then the next episode will fall once again into the chasm of mediocrity, as this latest installment “He Gone” unfortunately does. I can understand the need for decompression when you’re dealing with a comic series that only had 60 or so issues to its name, but you need to wrap people up in the preliminary first season, and “He Gone” is a case of failure on this front.
Following last week’s conclusion, Jesse has mistakenly used his powers to send Arseface to hell. Rather than being immediately horrified at the actions he took, Custer instead decides to deny that anything has happened at all and somehow thinks Eugene was able to simply teleport from his sight. I know the series has a lot of supernatural elements that Jesse has been introduced to so far, but thinking Arseface could simply vanish was a stretch. The episode then decides to intermittently remind the audience that, yes Eugene is in fact in hell as if we’re as clueless as Jesse on this one. Showing Arseface’s empty room seems like filler rather than any sort of plot progression. This also applies to Tulip and her drunk uncle as we’re given a brief sequence of Tulip simply chasing some kids who stole her relative’s pants. Again, we as an audience are extremely familiar with Tulip’s relationship with her uncle, or lack thereof, and this does nothing to cement any new information for us outside of eating more episode time.
The Annville Church, luckily for Jesse, is still booming as crowds continue to amass thanks to his sermons in relation to Quincannon. With the focus on Custer, we’re then shown pieces of his childhood wherein he was getting into trouble with a young Tulip on a seemingly regular basis. With little to no family to speak of, Tulip comes to live with Jesse and his father, setting up the future relationship between the two. Unfortunately, Jesse’s father decides that Tulip’s influence isn’t a good thing for his young son and contacts Social Services to pick her up. In his rage, Jesse prays for his father’s death and lo and behold, his wish is eventually granted as two intruders break into their church, steal Jesse and his dad, and shoot the preacher in the head. This scene promises interesting things for future of the series and hopefully they’ll delve into these mysterious characters in Season 2.
Back to the present, Jesse begins to come to the realization that he did in fact send Eugene to Hell, thanks to Cassidy’s eyewitness report. Good old Cass is still trying to balance his newfound friendship with Custer and his feelings for Tulip, which makes for an eventual awkward dinner scene between the three of them along with the milquetoast Emily, who works as the only character who feels like we should be rooting for, minus Cassidy’s amazing charm brought to life by Joseph Gilgun, and it’s a shame because there’s simply nothing to her. She has a crush on Jesse Custer and acts as something of an outlet for crazy characters like Tulip and Cassidy, but you don’t feel anything for her predicament and her normalcy is all she has going on. Again, I get the reason why her character exists—to create another love triangle outside of Jesse, Tulip, and Cass—but it just isn’t strong enough to warrant screentime.
The two strongest parts of the episode itself involve Cassidy (shocker I know) and Odin Quincannon. The latter works in that Odin presents a great twist here by seemingly not having been affected by Jesse’s “Word” and demanding the deed to Custer’s land. This also means that Quincannon, of his own sound mind and body, had taken a shotgun to the rival company in the past and that goes a long way towards showing just how terrifying the guy is. On the other side of things, Cassidy’s chewing out of Jesse was well deserved as Custer has desperately needed a talking down to since reveling in the powers of Genesis. In quite the dramatic fashion, Cass makes Jesse understand the repercussions of what he’s done by revealing his vampiric nature in its fully glory. Before this, we’re also given insight into what happened to Eugene’s face in that he had taken a gun to Tracy, the comatose girl, and then tried to kill himself. Finally, our latest installment ends with Quincannon and company marching toward the church as Jesse desperately tries to bring Arseface back to Earth.
This episode was a slog for the most part and unfortunately goes a long way into making so many of the characters seem almost irredeemable. We have plenty of shows where our protagonists are anti-heroes or even straight up villains, but you need them to also be interesting, and I couldn’t help but feel bored which, for a show like Preacher, is a cardinal sin.
– The mascot walking around in full dog costume while walking his (or her) own dog was so downright bizarre and out of nowhere that it got a chuckle out of me.
Principal – “Donny Skank lost a nipple!”
Cassidy – “Godfather wedding busy.”
Tulip – “Who does he think pretty much shits sunshine?”
Tulip – “I’m gonna lick your eyeball!”
Cassidy – “Your God, if he even exists, is nothing more than a muffet who smells his own farts!”
Tulip – “That’s a real good question, dick.”
COMIC ISSUES (AKA Spoiler Town)
– OK! LET’S GET TO IT! The change they made here to Arseface’s character is the worst thing that they’ve done, as a fan of the source material. A lot of the changes to the series I could understand and get behind, but having Eugene’s suicide attempt be linked to his attempted murder of a fellow classmate because she simply wouldn’t go on a date with him destroys your ability to sympathize with him as a character. In the comics, Arseface is pathetic and is led to attempt suicide based on his best friend’s coercion along with his love of Kurt Cobain. Taking this into account, you feel bad for him throughout the comics, every time he mumbles words out you can’t help but feel sympathy. Now, with this linked to Eugene’s origin, how on earth can you feel sorry from him? I just don’t understand the logic. Maybe it’ll be revealed later on that he didn’t try to kill Tracy, but for now…YIKES.
– Hey It’s T.C. and Jody! Two of the most despicable villains in Preacher’s run make their first appearance here, albeit with their faces covered ala Herr Starr from earlier. Even Jody’s shirt is the same as the comics!
– Nice John Wayne reference. I sort of figured that the ghost of John Wayne wasn’t going to make an appearance in the television show, simply because of how weird it is, but an easter egg here and there is nice.