Call and Response

[For Preacher “Finish the Song” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Call and Response. It is the day the entire town has been waiting for, as Jesse tries to follow through on his promise to get answers from Heaven.

First of all, I must say that I found Preacher on the whole this season to be highly entertaining. I think stylistically it brought something to the table that most shows don’t these days. I think it took some bold chances in the storytelling and really relied on a slow build to get people engaged in the universe they were building. The action sequences were amazing; with some of the best fight choreography and cinematography I’ve seen outside of say Daredevil on Netflix. And above all else, the chemistry and performances of the three principal characters was just fantastic. Dominic Cooper as Jesse, Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy and Ruth Negga as Tulip (oh Tulip!) were just so charismatic that it was hard to look away any time they were on screen together.

That said, from a storytelling perspective, the finale was kind of a waste. Don’t get me wrong, like the season on a whole, the episode itself had its moments, and it was entertaining enough for me to be engaged throughout, but the ending also had me questioning the point of the season altogether.

Jesse finally gets his moment at the church to fulfill his promise from episode 8 to call down GOD himself in front of his entire congregation (and the town of Annville). The whole scene was actually really funny and sort of encapsulated the absurdity of Preacher perfectly. My fiancé, who has never watched the show before, was sitting on the couch next to me during that scene and just had so many questions about what the hell was going on. At first the GOD character looked so fake that I wasn’t sure what was happening, but given how Preacher has operated for most of the season, I thought for a second that it’s entirely possible that in the Preacher universe GOD would have a fake white beard and seem a little off. But after some questions from the crowd we come to find (with the help of Genesis) that this was in fact an imposter and the GOD is in fact missing.

With the knowledge of GOD being missing, the townsfolk begin behaving as you’d expect a town of God-fearing people to behave. They went insane. But thankfully they only had to endure that for a short time as the Methane plant that fuels the town ended up building up too much pressure, setting off an explosion that destroyed the entire town, and killing all the characters that we were forced to endure in between scenes with Jesse/Tulip/Cassidy (poor Emily).

Thankfully the Big 3 were at a diner outside of town planning their next move while the poor townsfolk of Annville, Texas were meeting their smelly end. Jesse sets them off on a road trip across the US to “Find GOD”, and thus sets up season 2 quite nicely.

Now don’t get me wrong; as I’ve said before, the Big 3 are really what makes Preacher the show so great, so I’m excited at the idea of next season being basically a road trip with them hunting down the real G.O.D. I also think the “Carlos” storyline may show up again, but this time with Cassidy playing the role of Carlos. As we learned in the finale, Carlos was once Jesse and Tulip’s partner, and during a bank robbery he let one of the guards loose and fled, causing Jesse to kill the guard and Tulip to miscarry.

When they confronted Carlos about it, he said he did it because “you just looked so happy”. I thought they did a pretty sloppy job of really conveying that in the few scenes we saw, but I can totally understand the idea of feeling like a third wheel and feeling more and more resentment as your two best friends/accomplices are also in love with one another. Given that we know Cassidy has feelings for Tulip, and the look he gave the two of them as they kissed from the back of the car, I wouldn’t be surprised if this became a bigger issue in the future.

But back to the destruction of Annville, what was the point of us learning about Odin Quincannon, Emily, Eugene and the rest of the town over an entire season if you were just going to kill them all off anyway? The main things that ended up mattering in the end were:

  1. Jesse getting Genesis
  2. Jesse understanding Genesis and learning how to use it
  3. The Angels trying to get Genesis back
  4. Jesse finding out GOD is missing
  5. Jesse getting Tulip and Cassidy to come on a road trip with him to track down GOD

You could’ve accomplished 1-5 in the first five episodes and then spent the second half of the season on the road. Instead I got countless boring scenes with Donnie and Emily. It’s almost as if Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg needed to prove to AMC they could get a fan base first before AMC would be willing to invest more money into the production of the show (because obviously a show set on the road would be way more expensive then centering it in a single location).

Nevertheless I like the fact that the season ended basically how the comic begins, with the three central characters embarking on a road trip adventure. And I still felt like the finale, along with the season on a whole, was entertaining enough to engage me throughout and ignore some of the sloppy storytelling.

All in all, I’d give the season a B+, and I’m really looking forward to where they take this show in the next season.

-Osyp Lebedowicz

Finish the Song

[For Preacher “Finish the Song” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Finish the Song. Jesse is on the run while those around him face life-altering decisions. The Cowboy returns to Ratwater to exact his revenge.

“I love my horse, I love my wife, and I love my little girl. And as for Jesus . . . he can join us all in Hell”
–The Butcher of Gettysburg

Preacher really is gearing up for one hell of a finale [pun intended].

Last week’s episode was spent primarily around the confrontation between Odin Quincannon and Jesse, and I found it very entertaining because the entire standoff was so absurd and had so many funny moments that I found it a delightful departure episode. This week’s episode “Finish the Song” however, while maybe not as entertaining, was a lot more substantial and I found it to be a way more effective episode overall given how much it built off of prior episodes and set up next week’s finale.


The episode began with the Butcher of Gettysburg™ getting his revenge on the preacher and the rest of the townspeople of Ratwater, Texas for killing his horse, causing him to get back home too late with the medicine to save his daughter and wife from dying. The quote I reference above is what starts out the surreal action sequence we’ve grown to love from Preacher, but it’s also surprisingly telling given what we learn later in the episode. This storyline appeared briefly in three prior episodes, and while I enjoyed the cool Western visuals and how they executed the scenes, I was never clear how they would fit the Ratwater storyline into the overall Preacher universe. I couldn’t have imagined them doing a better job of integrating it than what they did.

Last week when the Angels left Jesse in the lurch, I assumed they were just done with trying to capture Genesis and would return to Heaven and ask for forgiveness. Instead they spend the first half of the episode buying shuttle tickets to Hell. In a great reference to Breaking Bad (a show the episode’s director Michael Slovis worked on), the shuttle to Hell actually picks the Angels up at the same stop where Walter White was picked up when he was on the run at the end of the best episode of BB, “Ozymandias”.

Later in the episode, we return to Ratwater where we are shown fragments of the “Butcher of Gettysburg” storyline over and over again, until we finally see the Angels revealed in front of the Butcher and the title card “HELL”. I always imagined Hell was in fact in Texas, but it was both a great reveal and a way for the writers to draw that World into the greater world of Jesse and the gang. The Angels offer the Butcher a chance to break free of the cycle of death and dry air if they agree to kill the Preacher for them.


Jesse spent the episode on the run eating pancakes and drinking wine with homeless people, while Emily was recruited by Tulip to watch Cassidy for her while she went to track down Carlos. The Emily storyline has been kind of frustrating for me, as they really didn’t flesh out that character much over the season or give me any reason to really care about her. This week made her even worse in my eyes, as she offers up her boyfriend, the Mayor, as a snack to help revive Cassidy. Now clearly anyone who describes their boyfriend as “the guy with the ginger goatee, khaki pants, and average height” is probably not head over heels in love, but I also don’t think the guy is so awful that I’d be willing to just send him to his death. They made Emily seem like an average single mother whose only back story was she had a crush on Jesse, and now suddenly we’re supposed to believe that not only can she just accept that vampires exist quite easily, but she can immediately flip a switch and become a ruthless killer with little remorse. I found that part frustrating, but she’s always been a sore spot for me so overall it didn’t ruin the entire episode for me.

I was glad that Jesse and Cassidy had their moment, and were able to reconcile and reignite their bond by burying the mayor’s body. I also like Jesse finally admitting his feelings (albeit over the phone) to Tulip, because I think when they’re together the show is just way better. Unfortunately, Tulip never heard Jesse’s message (never tell someone you love them over voicemail, just keep calling until they pick up obv), so the last we see of her is standing over Carlos with a hammer. Now I’m not sure exactly what sparked Tulip to track Carlos down now, since she’s been biding her time for a while now, but I assumed it was to bring Carlos back to Cassidy and kill two birds with one stone. Now that Cassidy has been revived by the Mayor’s blood, It’ll be interesting to see what happens if Tulip returns to town with Carlos tied up in her trunk.

Overall I thought this episode did two things very well.

  1. It set up next week nicely, as we’ll likely see a big showdown with Jesse at Church on Sunday
  2. We finally understand how the Butcher storyline plays into the greater picture

I’m psyched to see how they end this great first season!

-Osyp Lebedowicz

El Valero

[For Preacher “El Valero” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
El Valero. In a fierce gun battle Jesse faces off against Quincannon and the Meat Men to protect his church, while Tulip tries to save a friend.

“Genesis, the greatest power ever known, and you’ve had all this time right there at the tip of your tongue… and what good have you done with it?”

Jesse makes a stand.

Tulip gets a dog.

And Cassidy… Well, Cassidy in all likelihood ate said dog.

My favorite episodes of Preacher this season have been the ones where the core three (Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip) are all interacting with one another. Their chemistry is so good and their performances (Tulip in particular) really make the show something special. However I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this episode given how none of the core three was actually in a scene together throughout the entire episode.

Last week we discovered that not only did Jesse’s influence on Quincannon not have the desired effect, but he feels he won their bet and now owns the church and the surrounding property. We see Quincannon’s forces march towards the church as that episode closes. This week’s episode opens in Vail in the 80’s, and gives us some unique insight into the painful (and gruesome) past of Odin Quincannon. We discover that his entire family died during a tragic funicular accident which led to the scene we saw in a prior episode where he confronts Jesse’s father about his faith and how he should denounce his God. We also learn that Odin butchered the bodies of his dead family in order show Jesse’s father that “Meat is Meat”. Preacher has gone to extremes before in previous episodes, but this scene was probably the height of their insanity considering Odin was literally holding the intestines of his daughter just to prove a point.

The rest of the episode was somewhat surreal as the siege on the church took on an absurd tone as Jesse was picking off Quincannon’s men one by one and the town started to gather to watch the spectacle like it was some Civil War reenactment (Donnie dressed like a confederate soldier didn’t help).

Side note: the scene where all the men are cheering when they see Clyde survived the fire bomb attack was priceless. The music swells and it feels like a triumphant sequence until you see Clyde is actually walking back with his penis in hand.

Meanwhile Jesse was having an existential crisis inside the church at the same time he was shooting off men’s penises. Jesse was still devastated from exiling Eugene to Hell, and he pleaded to God to bring him back, screaming “Come back Eugene”. Suddenly the floor boards open up and we see a hand in the dirt. Jesse pulls the body up and we find its Eugene, come back from Hell. I was skeptical that it was really Eugene; I mean if you were in Hell for a couple of days I’d imagine you’d be somewhat traumatized beyond being just a little thirsty. I thought it was probably a dream, but in fact Eugene was merely a vision spawned from Jesse’s guilt.

Another failed assault by Quincannon leads Jesse to make a demand to bring the angels to the church.

The angels arrive and Jesse agrees to return Genesis if they help bring Eugene back from Hell, which they agree to. After they successfully pull Genesis from Jesse through sing song, they back out of the deal.

Unfortunately for them, Genesis bursts from the coffee can once again and surges into Jesse. Rather than try again, they Angels seem dejected and just give up altogether.

Ultimately Jesse’s stand against Quincannon is foiled by none other than Donnie, who cleverly manages to neutralize Jesse’s power by deafening himself.

Quinncannon confronts Jesse in the church and makes him sign over the land to appease the God of Meat. Jesse manages to convince Odin to give him until Sunday so he can make one last sermon. Claiming that he was going to make God speak to the town, and if he couldn’t, he’d give Odin what his father refused, he’d renounce God.

Then there was Tulip’s storyline.

Tulip didn’t do much this episode, other than adopt a dog. For much of the episode she’s basically playing with the dog and caring for it. I wasn’t really sure the point of it all other than maybe she was looking for some companionship with Jesse turning cold to her and Cassidy missing. However the real twist came at the end when she basically locks the dog in a room and then we hear sounds that I’m pretty sure are a certain Irish vampire regenerating himself at the expense of poor Brusky.

Next week will be the show’s penultimate episode, so if it’s anything like Game of Thrones it will likely be the best one to date. I imagine they’ll have a huge scene at Sunday sermon and the finale will likely set up season 2. All in all I thought this week’s episode was a bounce back episode, as I felt last week’s show was a little weak. Hopefully they continue to build towards a spectacular finale.

-Osyp Lebedowicz

South Will Rise Again

[For Preacher “South Will Rise Again” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
South Will Rise Again. After his stunt with Quinncannon, Jesse is Annville’s newest rock star; and Tulip and Cassidy connect. Meanwhile, the Cowboy makes a tragic decision.

“The Preacher has powers…”

This episode was directed by Executive Producer Michael Slovis, who also did some great work on Breaking Bad. So it’s not surprising that this episode was probably the most structurally sound episode of the series so far.

Halfway through the season is usually when a show needs to really start honing in on its direction and start the heading down the runway towards the finale. In the “South Will Rise Again”, they helped build off the momentum of last week’s episode, while also bringing a little more light onto some other storylines, and further tying together some of the supporting cast.

Last week Jesse came to grips with his power and put a plan into place to use it. He made a bet with Quinncannon to get him to show up to Sunday service, knowing he had an ace up his sleeve. By converting the town’s most powerful curmudgeon, he not only would gain a powerful ally in his quest to “save” the town, but he’d also inspire his congregation, and the rest of Annville, into his abilities as a “preacher”.

His plan seemed to have worked. Not only did Quinncannon apparently see the light, but word of the service spread around town, and Jesse became a local celebrity (a veritable Dr. Phil). It was cool seeing Jesse finally own his newfound powers; however it was obvious that he was flying too close to the sun. In the last episode, it looked like Jesse would be very calculated with his powers, perhaps understanding that compelling someone to do good isn’t the same as helping them understand why doing good was correct. But in this episode we see that Jesse really doesn’t understand the scope or weight of his actions, seemingly using them on trivial things like convincing a man to “be patient”. In retrospect I can understand Jesse not realizing how dangerous this could be. From his perspective he probably just thinks he’s making people see the light. He isn’t aware, like we are, that his “suggestions” can actually have devastating consequences (like in episode 1 when a former member of his congregation literally rips his heart out in front of his mother because Jesse said to “share his heart with her”).

Despite things seemingly going well for Jesse, the final ten minutes of the episode contain two scenes that change all that. The first being with Quinncannon and his meeting with the mayor and the clean energy outfit out of Austin. Throughout the episode we are led to believe that Jesse’s suggestion of “serve God” has taken hold of him, and Jackie Earl Haley does a great job turning around the tenor of the character into a charming and delightful man who realizes the error of his ways. However the meeting quickly turns Tarantino-esque as Quinncannon pulls out a shotgun and mows everyone down. Now it’s not clear, but you get the sense that Quinncannon didn’t just resort to his old ways, because even before the suggestion it’s not like we were given any indication he was a homicidal maniac. In fact, the calm in which he performed the act suggested that he still felt he was “serving God” somehow, and this is yet another devastating repercussion of Jesse’s gift.

The second scene was between Jesse and the two angels, how with the help of Sheriff Root, tracked Jesse down in the diner. While he seemed skeptical at first, it was clear to Jesse at the end that these two knew more than he did about his own powers. And more importantly, that the “gift” he believed was God speaking through him, was in fact, something else. It’ll be interesting to see how Jesse behaves now: Will he continue to believe that this was not some accident, but rather God’s will and he has to remain true to his purpose? Or will this discovery, along with some other repercussions of his suggestions coming to light, send him on a downward spiral back to his old violent ways?

I know Tulip will likely be rooting for the latter, as we finally got a glimpse to her real feelings for Jesse in this episode. It was obvious that she and Jesse had a relationship in the past, and that she still cared for him, but when she talked to Cassidy about her “boyfriend” it was very poignant. However given how she keeps referencing Carlos, and how she wants revenge for what he did, I wonder how much of her is actually in love with Jesse as opposed to just wanting him to have the same vengeful feelings she does. Perhaps she’s just resentful that Jesse can seemingly move on from that betrayal so easily and find peace, without her. Either way, Cassidy wants Tulip, Tulip wants Jesse, and Jesse wants to save the world.

A few more key thoughts:

  • Much like episode 2, this episode opens with the unnamed cowboy riding into Ratwater, although this time we’re given a little bit more back story. We learn that he fought in Gettysburg, and he didn’t get back in time with the medicine and the girl and woman who dispatched him in the first place died. I still don’t know what his purpose is in the grand scheme of things, but the next time we see him I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be getting his kill on
  • Poor Donnie. He’s had his arm broken, has an unrewarding job at Quincannon Meat & Power, and he can’t even take a sick day because his wife threatens to sleep with one of his co-workers if he doesn’t get out of bed. On the plus side, he’s starting to piece together that Jesse has powers
  • Speaking of poor souls, what about Arseface? Some kids broke into his room and left a shotgun with a message “Finish the Job” (and I have to say, that’s a pretty expensive prank considering shotguns aren’t cheap). Then his dad not only ruins the omelet he made for him, but agrees that he probably should kill himself! Jesse improved his day by roughly 10% by forcing the mother of coma girl to forgive and hug him, but still, rough week

-Osyp Lebedowicz

Monster Swamp

[For Preacher “Monster Swamp” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Monster Swamp. Jesse makes Quinncannon a bet he can’t refuse; and Cassidy works to fend off the angels. Meanwhile, Tulip tries to bring justice to Annville.

Las week’s episode got me a little nervous about the future of this show. The first two episodes of the show did a great job of introducing us to the main characters, getting us invested in their storylines, and setting up the thematic style of the show. That’s exactly what you want from a new show. However, once you get to episode three, you’re hoping for a little more focus on the primary storylines and some additional development of the supporting characters. Unfortunately we didn’t really get that last week, which got me concerned and afraid they would just keep introducing weird characters and rely on gonzo action sequences to get us to tune back in.

Fortunately, this week felt much more structured and got me invested in characters other than Cassidy and Tulip.

“Monster Swamp” opened up with a really crazy sequence that was straight out of a John Carpenter movie, with a woman running around town in her underwear being chased by a pickup truck with flood lights (and as we all know, anyone who drives a pickup truck with flood lights is clearly a creep). At first I thought this might be a standalone episode, like what The X-Files used to do, where they’d take a break from the primary storylines and focus on a story that would be resolved that week. I even brought up the info on the episode in the guide and fully expected to see “Preacher uses his powers to catch a serial killer who is terrorizing Annville.” However you quickly come to realize that this isn’t a serial killer scenario as much as an ill-advised paintball game being played by the men of QM&C that ends disastrously for one of the prostitutes from the local brothel.

The sequence serves two functions:

  1. It helps show how much power Odin Quinncannon hand his employees have in Annville
  2. It gets Tulip angry which leads to an important sequence in the brothel with her and Cassidy

Much of the episode was really as much about the past as it was about the present. As Jesse comes to grips with his powers and how he feels best to use them, we start to get flashbacks of Jesse’s past, and in particlar, his father and how he acted as a preacher. Jesse’s dad was clearly an authoritarian figure, but also one who took his job as town savior very seriously. The flashbacks also gave us a little more insight into Odin Quinncannon, and what his role was in the town and how he clearly had a relationship with Jesse and his father.

Four episodes in, here are the main points we’ve learned about Odin Quinncannon (played masterfully by Jackie Earl Haley):

  • He’s a powerful man in Annville
  • He hates clean energy
  • He has no problem urinating in briefcases
  • He enjoys listening to animals being slaughtered
  • He loves Q’Bert

Through the flashbacks we also learn that Jesse’s father tried to “save” Quinn back in the day but couldn’t, claiming that “Some people just can’t be saved.” Jesse realizes that if he can do what his father can’t, it would inspire his congregation, and even the town, and he could finally leverage his powers into something truly good.

On the other side of town, fueled by rage over how the men of QM&C recklessly killed (even if by accident) her friend Lacey, Tulip attacks a man in the brothel she believes to be the man responsible. However it turns out it’s actually Cassidy who falls out the window, seemingly very injured. Tulip soon discovers that Cassidy is not a normal guy and Cassidy discovers (like the rest of us) that Tulip is super cute and awesome. We’ll see how that plays out next episode, but I’m glad the vampire secret is out of the bag with at least one of the core three.

Similar to last week, there wasn’t a really amazing action sequence like there were in episodes one and two. But unlike last week, I think this episode was much more structured and grounded in helping us understand what Jesse’s objective is and what fueled that. It also helped flesh out some of the supporting characters (Quinncannon and Emily), and helped bond two of the core three (Tulip and Cassidy), so overall I’m pleased with how things went down.

Some other thoughts:

  • The two angels here to collect Jesse’s powers into a coffee can don’t appear to be authorized to be here by the powers above
  • They also have a phone that allows them to speak to their bosses in heaven, which was surprising because I didn’t expect God to still have a land line
  • Emily is sweet and I’m glad to see that she had a sex buddy (even if it was the wimpy mayor of Annville

–Osyp Lebedowicz

The Possibilities

[For Preacher “The Possibilities” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
The Possibilities. Cassidy helps Jesse explore his newfound power and Tulip tries to convince him to seek revenge.

Three episodes into Preacher and I’m still getting most of what I liked about the pilot; great visual style and strong acting performance. However, episode 3 did get me a little concerned with how they’re pacing some of the storylines.

The primary arc was around Jesse continuing to understand the powers he discovered he had at the end of last week’s episode, and while he seemed to come to a conclusion towards the end of how he could use them, we really didn’t get there in a way that seemed organic. He spent most of the episode brooding, and when he finally revealed them to Cassidy, there wasn’t much time spent on what it meant, or how he should use them. There also wasn’t a great action sequence in this episode like we had in the prior two, so it would’ve been cool if maybe Jesse spent more time walking around town testing out his powers.

The second arc was around Tulip and followed up on the map she killed a man for in the pilot (he ended up with a stalk of corn in his skull, so it better have been worth it). Tulip is by far my favorite character on the show now (maybe on TV in general), so I’m glad they gave her a little extra screen time and went over her backstory a little. But the main problem for me so far is they keep introducing new characters and history without really giving us a sense for what drives these characters in the first place. Tulip basically risked her life getting a map just so she could trade it to a woman named Denise, who works for a man in a white suit who likes snuff films, for the location of a guy named Carlos who presumably screwed her and Jesse over years ago. Phew.

All of this just seemed a little rushed to me. I wish they spent this episode, and maybe the next, just focusing more on Tulip and Jesse’s relationship and helping us understand what they mean to each other and how their history is impacting each differently. Tulip appears to be driven by revenge, while Jesse wants redemption, but they barely spent any time helping us to understand why. I’m optimistic this will happen soon, and we won’t be left to guess why Jesse shot an armed guard (and had got rid of such a sweet mullet).

Overall the episode still kept me engaged and I’m glad that the show runners are starting to shed some light on a few things (i.e. the men who we Cassidy battled with a chainsaw last week appear to be employees of Heaven Inc. and are looking to return what’s in Jesse back to its rightful owner), I’m just hoping they figure out the pacing of the storylines for both Jesse and Tulip, because everything else really is window dressing.

A few thoughts:

  • We got to see two victims of Jesse’s violent streak (the pedophile bus driver and Donnie) continue to be impacted by Jesse, but this time by his newfound powers of persuasion.
  • Cassidy didn’t get to do much this episode but bury bodies, but we did get to see him make a deal with the Heaven’s gate agents, which will hopefully keep them off Jesse’s back for now
  • Quinn Quincannon made another appearance, and we learned that he loves the dulcet sounds of animals being slaughtered (and he doesn’t think much of Donnie)
  • The white suited man in Houston was clearly the red herring of the episode, but honestly, I just hope we see more snuff film festival posters
  • Cassidy finally addressed Emily’s clear infatuation with Jesse, which she skillfully dodged
  • W. Earl Brown (who I loved from Deadwood) got a chance to deliver a strong monologue at the onset of the episode, but didn’t do much after that

–Osyp Lebedowicz

[For Preacher “See” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
See. Jesse tries to be a “good preacher,” unaware that a mysterious duo is after him. Meanwhile we meet the enigmatic Cowboy.

Before we get into it, I want to emphasize that these recaps will be focused on the show itself, and not so much on how it adapts the comic book. So for those of you who’ve never read the book, don’t worry, each episode will be taken at face value.

“What if this is the me God wants?”
– Eugene (aka Arseface)

Preacher had a solid sophomore effort in episode 2, keeping up with the cool visuals and continuing to try and build up the core three of Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy. So far Preacher hasn’t cared too much about explaining itself very much, trusting that the visuals, intriguing characters, and suspenseful plot twists will hold the audience until the inevitable (hopefully) payoff. Similar to the Pilot, the show opens in a location totally distinct from where the majority of action of the rest of the episode takes place. Last week it was in outer space, while this week it was in a western prairie in 1881 (brought to you by the awesome title cards that are a delightful touch). There are a handful of scenes centered around a bedridden sick girl, her caretaker, and a shadowy, quiet figure who’s sent on a mission (presumably to help the sick girl). I got the sense that most of the scenes were just an excuse for Rogen & Goldberg (who directed this episode along with the Pilot) to have some cool western visuals and a sick score similar to something you’d see in a Sergio Leone film. We’re not really given any insight into what these scenes have to do with the show in the broader sense, except for a slight call back later in the show to the town of Ratwater, which is the town the shadowy figures rides through and we get a glimpse of a tree full of dismembered and disfigured Native Americans. (Please note: while Ratwater sounds like a town in New Jersey, I believe it’s likely located somewhere in Texas).

The rest of the episode is mostly focused on Jesse (THE titular “Preacher”) and him going about trying to be the Ppreacher he promised his congregation he’d be at the end of the Pilot. Tulip and Cassidy have their moments as well (including a sweet chainsaw fight that’s comparable to the airplane fight Cassidy got into in the Pilot), but the focus was really on Jesse and him reconciling how he thinks he should be acting versus what his inner urges are telling him to do. He baptizes his flock, he sits bedside with a girl who was kicked in the head by a horse, and he even tries to recruit more church members in front of a supermarket. All the while, he’s chided by Tulip as well as his inner demons to take a different course of action. This was most evident when he takes the confession of a bus driving pedophile. Jesse can tell that, while this man hasn’t done anything yet other than have sick thoughts about a girl on his school bus, he could be headed down a dangerous path. At first Jesse seems to just take the confession and move on, but the constant site of the school bus driving by is a haunting reminder of what could happen, and his impotence at stopping it. It finally took a conversation with Eugene (who we learned became disfigured when he tried to kill himself with a shotgun) to open Jesse’s eyes to what he needed to do. Eugene was talking about himself when he asked, “what if this is the me God wants?”, but Jesse asked that question of himself. Was it really wrong for him to ignore what his body was telling him to do if God placed these urges in him? So Jesse breaks into the pedophile’s house, and in true Preacher fashion, baptizes him in scalding water.

The other key thing about that scene was that we got another glimpse of Jesse’s new found ability of persuasion. As he was dunking the pedophile into the bathtub, Jesse keeps repeating “You will forget her!” When his voice gets deeper, we know that the power of persuasion is kicking in, and suddenly, so does Jesse. He can sense something big just happened, and when the creepy bus driver can’t remember anything, Jesse realizes what he can do. The episode ends with him sitting bedside of the unconscious girl and whispers… “Open your eyes!”

A few other things:

  • Cassidy had yet another sweet fight scene, this time in the church between the two mystery men who were outside the church at the end of the pilot. It involved a chainsaw and was very Sam Raimi-esque in its choreography
  • Line of the Week: “Thanks for getting me all wet” – Tulip after getting baptized
  • The mystery men Cassidy killed in the church clearly are in the know about this mystery space force that has possessed the preacher and attempted to get it out of him with a coffee can and some lullabies. This show can feel like a David Lynch movie at times
  • The Great Jackie Earl Haley made an appearance as the head of the Quincannon Meat & Power Company. His whole seen was typical for the show as it felt mundane and surreal all at the same time. Similar to other things so far, the show hasn’t really explained what their relevance is to the broader story, but its compelling nonetheless

—Osyp Lebedowicz

Preacher "Pilot"

[For Preacher “Pilot” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Pilot. Jesse’s past slowly catches up to him and he struggles to escape it; a mysterious entity arrives on Earth, causing a wave of destruction.

“What kind of Preacher are you?”

AMC needed some help. After losing both Breaking Bad and Mad Men the last few years, they really didn’t have much in the prestige drama pipeline. So instead, they doubled down on their graphic novel fetish with both Fear the Walking Dead and Preacher. Fear the Walking Dead is basically an excuse for them to start off from scratch with their most successful brand and try and squeeze some more juice out of the zombies they’ve been living off of for the past 6 years.

Preacher on the other hand is something different.

Preacher was the brain child of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, and it initially launched in the 90’s. It’s a comic all about a hard drinking preacher with a tragic past who’s imbued with powers from some cosmic source and uses them to fight for redemption. He’s also friends with a vampire. So clearly this is the type of fanboy source material Hollywood thought they could work with, but it took them a while to figure out how to make it work (which is usually code for Kevin Smith was involved at some point). Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg stepped in as executive producers (they also directed the first episode) and being their first foray into television, they enlisted the help of Sam Catlin as their show runner, who was a producer and writer on Breaking Bad. The three of them have managed to create one of the best pilots for a show I have ever seen (maybe right behind Lost). In a pilot you usually want to be able to introduce the core characters as well as imprint your visual style on the audience, and they managed to do both very well.

The show opens in space, as we have a POV shot of some force travelling towards Earth and eventually busting through the doors of a church in Africa and colliding with a priest mid-sermon. At first it appears as though the force might provide the priest with some sort of power, but instead he explodes in a bloody mess among his congregation. This trend continues throughout the episode, as we see this force travel to different churches throughout the world and causing similar havoc. We also see two unidentified men appear at each site investigating the incidents.

The rest of the episode is spent introducing us to the three main characters. The preacher himself, Jesse Custer (played by Domenic Cooper, aka young Tony Stark’s father), is introduced to us giving a piss poor sermon in a church in Texas. We come to learn that this is his father’s church and he’s returned (after presumably doing some very sketchy things) to take it over after his father’s passing. Rogen and Goldberg do a good job of showing how Jesse is conflicted about being a preacher, in that he clearly wants to help people, but he just doesn’t know how to go about doing it. He goes through the motions, he listens, and tries and give advice, but he also realizes that it’s somewhat hypocritical to preach forgiveness and understanding given his past. Now, we’re not given much information about what he did prior to landing back home in Annville, Texas, but there are some scenes in particular that give you a hint. One scene involves him confronting a father of one of his parishioners he knows is beating both his wife and son. He takes a beating from him, and tries his best to avoid violence, but he eventually succumbs and does what he clearly does better than preaching, and that’s kicking ass. So now we’re made aware of what an actual bad ass Jesse Custer really is, because for most of the episode he was just a sad sack who drank a lot.

The second (and best) character introduction was of Tulip, played by Ruth Negga. We first see Tulip fighting with a man in the back seat of a car that’s plowing through a corn field. This is really the first scene where we see Rogen and Goldberg’s visual style really stand up and grab our attention. The fight sequence was fantastic, and they managed to use the space really well, similar to how the fight choreography is done in any great Korean movie you see (which we all know has the best fight scenes). She manages to kill the guy and then stop the car in front of a farmhouse where she’s greeted by two kids. She enlists them to help her build a homemade bazooka, then sends them down into the storm cellar as she finishes off whoever else is chasing her. They used a great technique where you don’t actually see the action, but rather the kid’s reaction to the sounds that are happening outside. It’s a great way to save money, but it also builds suspense and just a cool way to convey the action in a concise way. This introduction was great because we learn two very important things 1) Tulip is a bad ass and 2) she stole something very important/valuable from some very bad people. This sets her off on her trajectory right away, which eventually leads her back to her home town of Annanville to meet up with her old friend Jesse.

The third main character introduction was of Cassidy (played by Joseph Gilgun). Now some may say his introduction was actually the best, and I won’t fault you for that as it was pretty great. We meet Cassidy on a private jet drinking and telling a story to some men. Now, Cassidy is wearing a flight attendant’s vest and everyone is laughing, so you can’t tell right off the bat who he is or what’s going on. However after a few seconds Cassidy notices the plan is flying in a different direction than expected and that’s when all hell breaks loose. The men he was chatting up start pulling weapons from every section of the plane and a brutal brawls takes place. Similar to Jesse and Tulip, Cassidy can clearly fight and makes short work of his attackers. He also pops a bottle off in one of their chest cavities and starts drinking their blood. That and his concern for the sunrise clearly indicate that he was a vampire, but if you weren’t positive, he proceeds to jump off the plane without a parachute as the plane just so happened to be flying over Texas.

Both Tulip and Cassidy happen to meet up with Jesse and key moments when we learn a little about his past. Tulip tries and enlist him into whatever job she’s working, which lets you know that she was part of his (likely) criminal past and probably what he’s trying to seek redemption for. She clearly knows Jesse really well, and indicates that he’s wearing a mask of a preacher and not his true self. These words ring true later in his scuffle in the bar where he’s also introduced to Cassidy, who helps him out during the fight. The two end up in the same jail cell after the fight to which Cassidy asks, “What kind of Preacher are you?” That will be the question that Jesse will struggle with the whole series, and one that I don’t think he really understands yet.

The show then comes full circle, as the cosmic force we saw at the beginning of the episode comes plowing through Jesse’s church at night and slams into him, throwing him against the wall in the process. He awakes three days later, right before his Sunday morning sermon. He was planning on leaving town after succumbing to violence and being thrown in jail, but suddenly he feels differently. He gives an impassioned sermon about being “the preacher his congregation deserves” and vows to be better. Then the episode ends with the same two men who were investigating the other church incidents landing outside Jesse’s church.

The pilot really did a great job of both creating a rich and vibrant world, as well as outlining all of the journeys and challenges these characters are going to have to face in the episodes ahead. I’m not sure if the show will be able to keep up with the quality of the pilot, but I’m certainly going to watch and see.

Osyp Lebedowicz