Various elements of the episode will be discussed in this review, so beware spoilers. And watch the episode before you read on, lest you face the wrath of the almighty. Or Cassidy…
Even with the boosted episode count for this season, we’re diving towards the end of Preacher’s second series, and it’s starting to look like we know something of the end game this time around. To wit: after failing to persuade Jesse to replace the “moron” messiah in a coup, Herr Starr and his still-faithful Grail colleagues are returning to the plan to end him. Before we get to that point, though, there’s a fair amount to wade through and not all of it was entertaining. Flashing back to Custer’s younger days was at least paid off at the end, as it’s revealed that his family has an even darker side than his father’s story suggested. To whit: his grandmother, Marie L’Angello, who appears to be hewing close to her comicbook history as a religious nut who murders her son-in-law and tortures her grandson until he agrees to fully embrace the word of God and life as a minister.
Knitting that to Herr Starr’s own treatment of the Preacher – playing the prayers and confessions that Heaven has recorded from him over the years – proved to be one of the better choices of the week’s narrative. Even if it was mostly a set up for A) Jesse telling Starr to shove the tapes where the sun doesn’t shine and B) the fanatic’s resulting decision to send the Saint after Custer.
We revisited Jesse’s search for God (sigh), which fortunately actually had a twist this week – that the weird dog suited guy from early in the season might actually have been God in plain sight.
In Jesse/Tulip/Cassidy interaction news, the pendulum annoyingly swung between the trio appearing to set their differences aside and head out on a holiday and yet more tension between them. While it’s believable that Featherstone’s (as Jenny) seeds of distrust could be sprouting in Tulip’s mind, spinning the conversations back to the usual arguments was mostly an exercise in frustration. Yes, Jesse is now effectively separated from his support system, which will have an impact down the line, but the arguments themselves felt like the characters going in the same old circles.
Cassidy was barely present during them, distracted by his latest interaction with Denis, who now has a cute puppy. But while some of their plot line has worked, it just doesn’t ever quite seem enough for someone as talented as Joe Gilgun to chew on. We did enjoy Tulip’s little side trip, a mission to destroy the Saint’s guns with a visit to the local illegal smelting outfit. Sadly for her, guns that have been through hell can cope with temperatures that can melt the armour from tanks.
In Hell, Eugene risked being found out as the person who doesn’t belong there, and Hitler helped him escape. But not before we paid another, longer visit to the Fuhrer’s personal hell in a sideline story that has yet to really pay off. Surely everyone realised that Hitler started to turn after the many frustrations and rejections heaped upon him in that scene, and did we really need to watch it all again? Hopefully that will be paid off in some way other than a “look what we can say about Hitler” fashion. Especially when you have the services of Noah Taylor at your disposal – he can do so much more. Perhaps once Eugene is out of hell, his story can start to carry more weight.
Another mixed episode, one that was brightened by Herr Starr’s bone-dry wit and some actual further development of the tortured central character. All we have to wonder now is whether Preacher will pull the same trick as last year and ditch everything (beyond the search for God) it has been establishing. We’d like to see the Grail stick around, at least…
Highlight: Jesse’s backstory.
Lowlight: More circular chatter from the main trio.
Kill of the week: No deaths this week.
MVP: “Jenny” for her decisive use of blackmail at the smelting shop.
Random thought: The new insight into Jesse opens up an interesting angle on his story. Will we get to meet more of his family?
Airing on AMC Monday nights in the US, Preacher is available weekly on Amazon Prime Tuesdays in the UK.