Season One, Episode Two — “See”
By Jarrod Jones. Two episodes in, and Preacher already appears to be settling into itself.
That level of immediate comfort isn’t necessarily a strange thing for a brand-new television series, especially one adapted from a well-regarded Vertigo comic book. Take a look at Preacher‘s brother-in-law series Lucifer, and you’ll discover that the Fox melodrama quickly gelled into a weekly “whodunit” procedural, where each new week brought new mysteries for Lucifer Morningstar and his detective bestie Chloe to solve, all while a major arc weaved in and out until the season finale demanded its disparate plot threads got tied up nice and easy. Law & Order but with a smattering of revisionist scripture.
Preacher isn’t far removed from the “case-of-the-week” banality you’d find on Lucifer. Early impressions tell us that the first half of its premiere season is going to saddle itself with a new member of Jesse Custer’s congregation getting up to all kinds of no-good. This week’s evidence? A school bus driver pops up out of nowhere to confess his obsession with one of his adolescent passengers. If that sickens you, imagine what that does to Jesse. Inevitability occurs. The first half of this season’s arc sees Jesse finding his groove with this brand new superpower — The Word of God, presented as Preacher‘s weekly gimmick.
However, for those of us who crave a few shocks with their blasphemy, Preacher is your huckleberry. There are definitely a few surprises to be found this week: those two oddly stiff assassin types appear to be a hell of a lot more than they seem after a run-in with Cassidy that literally bathes Jesse’s Annville parish in blood. Meanwhile, Tulip gets really aggressive about this top-secret “job” of hers. I’m not going through with it without you, she tells Jesse, which already presents a problem for the show — now everyone has to sit around and wait for Mr. Custer to get his head in the game in order for Preacher to get a move on.
I can’t help but think how nicely things would be progressing had “Pilot” begun in that diner…
WHAT WORKED: Me guesstimating where the hell the Saint of Killers was hiding in the pilot got answered right quick in Episode Two. Though any hopes that “See” would be a Saint origin episode got dashed once the more-effective-than-it-should-be title card threw itself across the screen. The Ratwater subplot will likely unfold more slowly, which works primarily because we’re given time to soak it in all of its nuances. Example: it’s already apparent that Annville is now resting on top of whatever Ratwater used to be, tying this mysterious rider ever closer to the fate of Jesse Custer. (Watching Cassidy dig a grave under that hangin’ tree definitely put goosebumps on my arm.)
WHAT DIDN’T: I don’t know what kind of show Rogen, Goldberg and Catlin are hoping to make here, but watching Jesse walk about with a goddamned casserole ain’t what I’m tuning for. For whatever reason, these dudes are choosing to contemporize Preacher by juxtaposing Jesse Custer’s hard-assed Man (of Faith) in Black look against the commonalities of backcountry minutiae. Is it supposed to be funny to see Jesse walk around town in oven mitts? Or just sad?
Tulip and Jesse have always brought a bit of kink into their downtime (devoted readers know how they couldn’t drive ten successive miles down a stretch of road without pulling over for a romp in the sun). And it appears that Preacher is trying real hard-like to make sure the viewers know it too by having Tulip’s Thing This Week be an act of sensual kidnapping. Who knows how many episodes will pass before Jesse finally gives into Tulip’s wiles (an otherwise excellent flip of the couple’s canonical sexual tension), but right now? With a taser burn still stinging on the side of his head? Jesse’d be right to run for the hills, because this Tulip is downright nuts.
Is Arseface destined to always be Preacher‘s moral compass? A line from Eugene Root: “But, Preacher, what if this is the me that God wants? No matter how hard I try it’s just… I stay the same. I’m always the same. You get what I mean, Preacher?” Cue the music. Zoom in on a morally compromised Jesse Custer, who just so happens to be sawing away at the chains his felonious intended just put on him. Yeah, Jesse says. Yeah, I do, which *nods overtly* there’s no way he couldn’t, Eugene. Let’s hope Preacher stops playing to the back of the room sooner than later.
“You don’t, like, have a key, or something?” – Eugene Root, who is never not adorable.
BEST MOMENT: Jesse and Cass have a drink. Last week kicked off this beautiful friendship, and now we get to sit back and enjoy the bromance. “I like havin’ you here,” Jesse says to his new Irish pal, and Cassidy’s big ol’ expressive eyes go wide as saucers. And then the drinking commences. If you want your audience invested in this show, putting these two clowns together for a bit of chatty back-and-forth is certainly one way to do it.
EPISODE’S MVP: Cassidy. Joe Gilgun is damn-near an international treasure.
GONE TO TEXAS:
– All Saints Says: Jesus, Free With Purchase.
– How many grown-ass adults in Annville can there possibly be who are in a dire need of baptism? Apparently, half of Jesse’s congregation don’t know the touch of the Lord just yet.
– Who taught you how to fight? Cassidy asks Jesse, who all of a sudden gets super-cagey. You really don’t want to know the answer to that, Cass.
– We actually find out quite a bit about our boys with their late-night drinkin’ binge: Cassidy is on the run from a group of vampire… “wanna-bes?” (I’m loathe to admit Joe Gilgun’s accent can get tough to follow at times.) I just hope Preacher ain’t cherry-pickin’ the best bits from the comics and throwing it all into the first season. This isn’t Gotham. (I hope.)
– Maybe I spoke too soon: there’s Odin Quincannon, as played by Watchmen vet Jackie Earle Haley. My dorky brain is so hard-wired to this book, I thought, “He ain’t supposed to be here until Season Seven,” which, isn’t that adorable. (Odin first appeared in Preacher #42.)
– Jesse and Cass have a little disagreement about The Big Lebowski, which is along the lines of the comic book boys who swear Laurel and Hardy is more enjoyable than Charlie Chaplin. A gleeful, contemporized, and unsophisticated bit of pop culture back and forth that is decidedly Preacher.
7 out of 10
Next: “The Possibilities”, soon.
Before: “Pilot”, here.