(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, as a comic series, was an interesting duck insomuch as it managed to balance out the insanity of events turned up to an 11 at any given time with more quiet, subdued, and even introspective musings along the way. While this episode attempts to follow suit, venturing to explore a little more backstory with Jesse and Tulip, it also tends to stumble a bit in its delivery. This isn’t to say that the episode is a complete wash as the characters are still chugging along and the chemistry among the cast still makes for some interesting television, but this episode tended to bank too much on the idea of treading old, familiar ground.
Our episode begins with Tulip finding herself in Houston, talking with an unknown woman about the whereabouts of a man named “Carlos”, who had apparently been responsible for leaving both herself and Jesse at the scene of a crime they had perpetrated. While the episode does manage to give us some kernels of interest through brief flashbacks of Tulip and Jesse, it fell into the trap of offering too little. In the premiere episode, I compared the series to ABC’s Lost, which set up a slew of mysteries that would be revealed over time. While that sometimes worked for Lost, it’s a slippery slope when it comes to how much information you should be giving the audience in certain situations. At what point do you start losing people to the overwhelming weight of mysteries without losing them entirely? Luckily, Preacher doesn’t completely fall into this chasm, but it’s already getting dangerously close.
Tulip is hellbent on finding Carlos, revealing that enacting revenge on him is the “job” she was looking to employ Jesse for. Another issue with the episode, which spins out of this revenge plot, is the scene of Tulip being pulled over by the highway patrolmen. Ultimately, it doesn’t give us too much new information about Tulip and seems like a scene written to eat up time that could have easily been pushed aside. I think it was a tad difficult to convey tension here knowing this is a character who was able to build a homemade bazooka that used metal army men as ammunition, but I digress. Jesse encountering Tulip later in the episode leads him to a confrontation the episode had been building to, but it seemed to drain the charm from our heroine as she tries the blunt-force approach to convince Preacher to go with her and act on the information she’s discovered.
On the other side of the spectrum, Jesse’s devil on his shoulder, Cassidy, manages to be a delight to watch on screen. Encountering the Preacher as Jesse struggles with his newfound power and helping him discover exactly what it can do by acting as guinea pig was hilarious to see, including Cassidy revealing his love for Justin Bieber (and after saying The Big Lebowski was overrated no less!). The Irish vampire bromance with Jesse is one of the shining lights of the series thanks to great chemistry between the two. Cassidy raises the obvious question of what is possible for someone with the ability to give compelling instructions to people by using “the Word;” this is an interesting angle to explore, later in the episode and even continuing on this season. Cassidy is able to supply even more humor when encountering the fully loaded duo whom he had killed in the previous episode, believing them to actually be clones from the government in a humorous swerve.
Ultimately, the main confrontation in the episode takes place between Donny, the abusive husband whose arm Jesse broke in the pilot episode, and Preacher. This latest installment spends a good deal of time reinforcing the idea that Donny is mad at Jesse and is suffering from humiliation in all aspects of his life. Remember the treaded ground statement I made earlier, this is primarily the origin of that as we already knew that Donny had a bone to pick with Jesse and the recurring scenes of Donny being made light of by Quincannon and even a bus full of children felt repetitive. To be fair, the final result of Donny confronting Jesse in the gas station bathroom, out of nowhere as it was, made for a terrifying example of what the Preacher can do with his new power. Jesse ultimately decides to let Donny go after forcing him to put his own gun into his mouth, and takes this as a sign that he should leave “Carlos to God” as well.
This episode was definitely the weakest of the three installments we’ve seen so far but it’s still solid television. Preacher is still so fresh in the game that it’s still feeling out its trajectory, so hopefully we can get more outstanding episodes as we move through its first season.
Rating: ★★★ Good
– Root’s story about the old man selling pretzels who killed two children was certainly disturbing, but it seemed a little out of nowhere, all things considered.
– Sheriff Root: “This world…”
– Kids: “It’s bunny man!”
– Cassidy: “This is my ‘I’m on it’ outfit.”
– Cassidy: “I like Justin Bieber…SHITE!”
– Cassidy: “It’s the least likely scenario, but you’re a Jedi.”
-Quincannon: “Right hand man with no right hand.”
– Tulip: “Well you look like shit but that’s becoming more and more regular.’
– Cassidy: “I killed you! How did you do that?….Clones.”
– Jesse: “We leave him to God.”
COMIC ISSUES (AKA SPOILER TOWN):
– The Grail! The giant organization that’s the cause of so many of the problems in Jesse’s life in the comic book is alluded to here with the “Grail Industries” remark by Tulip. Of course, this also gives way to…
– Herr Star! Effectively the “Darth Vader” of Preacher, it’s clear that the man sitting at the “Snuff Film Festival” is Starr, white suit and all. I think its safe to say that Starr will most likely appear in the show’s second season, as they probably have yet to cast him considering they did a good job of keeping his face hidden here.
– I wish that they almost had kept the premise of the show a little more hidden from the outset since when the pair of angels say that they’re from “Heaven” to Cassidy, this could have left audiences wondering if they were referring to some odd government organization. Considering we know that Jesse will be searching for God as the series moves forward, its safe to say there’s no confusion here.
– Somewhat amazed we didn’t get any more scenes of Saint of Killers here since that seems like a thread they’d continue exploring from the last episode. This show must seem SO confusing to people who don’t know anything about the original property.