I’m back from vacation, and here to give you two Preacher reviews for the price of one!
Last Sunday’s episode picks up exactly where Sundowner left off, with Jesse having sent Eugene to Hell with Genesis. Jesse is shocked at first, but he seems to suck it up soon after. The camera pans up, and we see that Cassidy witnessed the whole thing from the balcony.
Despite their argument, Jesse seems to take Eugene’s words to heart during service and decides not to use Genesis to force the people of Annville to serve God. Sheriff Root asks if anyone has seen Eugene as he’s leaving, which obviously gets to Jesse.
The scene transitions to Mr. Quidcannon sitting in his office listening to cows being slaughtered.
After the titles we come to a flashback of Jesse and Tulip at school. The pair got into a vicious fight with some kids who were making fun of the latter. Apparently she bit off Donny Schenck’s nipple for calling her trash.
John goes to take Jesse home, but they end up taking Tulip with them, as her mom is in jail and her uncle Walter is drunk. At the house that night, Jesse prays and thanks God for helping his dad always do the right thing. This is juxtaposed with a scene of John turning the lights out in the living room as Tulip sleeps on the couch.
In the present day, Tulip runs barefoot down some alleyways to catch up with some kids who stole her uncle’s pants. Walter is passed out on the front step. He tries to get him in the house but he’s out cold. Tulip lights up a cigarette as people on the street pass by and judge them.
At the church, Jesse reads down his full schedule. Emily says it’s hard to believe, but Jesse tells her they’re just getting started. It then cuts to Eugene’s empty room.
Cassidy confronts Jesse about what happened to Eugene in the kitchen at the church, though he’s very vague about it at first. He says that he’s not judging him for what he did and wants to know how he can help. Jesse acts like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about at first, which clearly shocks Cass. He does begin to tell him something, but Emily shows up and Jesse goes off to conduct bible study.
Tulip then comes in and tells Cass that she’s making dinner that night. Cass asks what happened to getting out of Annville and going after Carlos, and she says that plan is on hold for the time being. Cass then says that he didn’t tell Jesse that they had sex, which Tulip says is good because he’d probably kill him for that. Cass begins trying to pick holes in her boyfriend story, pointing out that if she and Jesse were dating she wouldn’t have slept with him.
Tulip shoots back by pointing out that he and Jesse don’t actually know each other, despite the fact that they’re “best friends”. She starts by asking whether he’s actually told Jesse that he’s a vampire, and immediately says that she knows he hasn’t really, because Jesse wouldn’t be okay with it. She then points out that he doesn’t even know who Jesse’s favorite movie star is. She dares him to tell Jesse what he is, to see what he does. Cass says that he knows something about Jesse that she doesn’t and vaguely alludes to Genesis.
After another commercial break we come to another flashback. Tulip and Jesse wrestle in the church dining room. John comes in and tells them to do the dishes. Jesse asks Tulip to get more dish soap out of the closet, and as she’s returning to the kitchen she sees John on the phone with someone. We can’t hear what he’s saying. That night, Tulip crawls into Jesse’s bed and makes him say their special words, “’til the end of the world”. The next day, child services show up and take Tulip away. Jesse asks his dad why he did that, and he says that, “she’s an O’Hare. There’s always gonna be trouble.” That night, Jesse prays for god to take care of Tulip, and send his dad to hell.
In the modern day, we see some of the church members rehearsing for a play about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah for Jesse. He tells them that the actors should be more scared, since it is a story about the apocalypse, or else no one will care.
Mr. Qudicannon shows up and speaks to Jesse about how his business is dying. He brings up the deal they made in episode 4 and produces a deed for Jesse’s land. Jesse is shocked because, the deal was that if Quidcannon didn’t leave a Christian, then Jesse would hand the land over, and he ordered Odin to serve God. Of course, Jesse has yet to pick up on the exact words clause in Genesis’s powers, and failed to specify which god Odin was supposed to serve. Jesse refuses to hand the church over, and Odin says that he’ll be back.
Emily comes outside while Cass is smoking. He reminds her that she said he could do it as long as he’s outside. She then says that there are things about Jesse that she doesn’t know that would “surprise” her. Cass agrees, but says that that’s true of everyone. He says that Jesse is a good guy. Emily tells him that dinner is done.
At the dinner table, Cass yaps on about Coen Brothers films, and he and Emily and Tulip discuss Tulip’s food. She points out that Jesse is being strangely quiet, and demands to know why things are so awkward. Sherriff Root shows up and asks if any of them have seen Eugene. Jesse almost gets caught in his lie when he says he hasn’t seen him, but Emily points out that she sent Eugene in to see him. She covers and says he left afterward. I’m wondering why Jesse didn’t just say that Eugene left after they talked in the first place to avoid that… But Hugo leaves, and Jesse walks him out.
Cass and Jesse talk about Eugene again, after the former hits the latter in the face with a fire extinguisher. Jesse tells him that what happened to Eugene was an accident. Cass asks again how he can help, and Jesse starts talking about repairs. Cass points out that he’s just sent an innocent kid to Hell and he’s acting like nothing even happened.
Jesse says that Eugene isn’t that innocent, and we finally learn what happened between him and Tracy Loach. She was the most popular girl in school, and Eugene asked her out. She rejected him, and he shot her in the head before turning the gun on himself. Yikes is an understatement. Suddenly, Mrs. Loach’s murderous rampage in episode 5 doesn’t seem so irrational.
But Cass’s claims that Genesis is starting to mess with Jesse’s head devolve into an argument about whether this is really part of God’s grand plan, hearkening back to their drunk conversation in episode 2. Honestly, I’m a hundred percent with Cass on this. Jesse has been told explicitly that Genesis has nothing to do with God or his will by literal angels, and yet he is still acting like every use of his power is God’s doing, rather than his own. He is, essentially, absolving himself of sending Eugene to Hell, along with any other messed up stuff he does with Genesis. That’s scary, and this situation could easily spin even further out of control.
This scene ends with Jesse saying that if God wants to send another soul into the fire, “what can [he] do, but stand by and watch him burn”? Cass says that he’s no innocent either, and then steps into the sunlight, asking Jesse if he’ll stand by and watch him burn as well.
After the last commercial break Jesse rushes back inside and sits down at the dinner table without talking. Emily and Tulip both ask where Cassidy is. Jesse asks them if they knew what Cass “was”. Tulip gets mad at him for screwing Cass over just because he doesn’t meet his standards, and mockingly says his father would be proud. Jesse angrily says that she doesn’t know anything about standards because she’s an O’Hare, and asks what she’s even doing there. She calls him a dick and leaves.
After a moment of awkward silence, Emily tells Jesse that she’s always believed in him. He says that was stupid of her and tells her to go home.
We cut to the last flashback, which has John waking Jesse up and telling him to hide underneath the bed. Some mysterious strangers come into the house and beat John before pulling Jesse out from under the bed and taking both of them outside. We now have the context for the blurry flashback of Jesse’s promise to be one of the good guys from the pilot. Jesse tells his dad that he prayed for this before they shoot him.
The episode ends with Jesse frantically trying to dig a hole in the church floor while using Genesis to command Eugene to come back. Meanwhile, the Quidcannon Meat & Power guys descend on the church with guns, machetes, and a bulldozer.
I really liked this episode, guys. There were so many good things. It’s another episode that effectively uses flashbacks to establish the interactions in the modern day scenes, and this one does it twice over – it further explains Jesse’s guilt over what happened to Eugene and why he doesn’t want to blame himself, while also giving us some much needed background on his relationship with Tulip.
I’m surprised at how well Tulip was used to contextualize Cass’s relationship with Jesse. Their respective relationships with Jesse are put in juxtaposition with each other for a moment to benefit Cass’s character arc. Usually I would be against this, but Tulip is such a well established character that she obviously isn’t just a tool. This scene also works as development of their relationship.
I’m also surprised at the class commentary that we got in this episode with the attitudes toward Tulip’s family. I expected that classism might be touched on, considering the setting, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to center on a poor black character. The racism implications are there as well, and both are dealt with pretty well. I’m pleasantly surprised at how this turned out.
And that’s not even everything. The revelations about Eugene and Tracy lend some ugly complexity to his character and while clarifying the town’s attitude toward him. Despite this, Eugene’s disappearance hangs over Jesse, and the episode, like a specter, no matter how hard Jesse tried to pretend to ignore it. We see Jesse reach full false prophet mode with the lengths he goes to to justify his use of Genesis and assuage his guilt. And the cinematography was great. This might be my favorite episode from the season so far.
This episode begins with a flashback to what looks like the 80s, where the extended Quidcannon family is on a skiing trip. Apparently, Odin missed it for work. They take a photo, and then the cable car they’re riding plummets down the mountainside.
We then cut to Odin sitting at his desk as a recording of his phone call to John Custer plays over the scene. The camera dollies back to reveal several crates labeled “human remains”, and a cow. We jump forward to that night, as John comes to the office and asks a blood-covered Quidcannon what he’s done. Odin says he’s been conducting an “experiment”, which can’t mean anything good. John tells him to let God help him through this tragedy. Odin says that maybe God can help him answer a question; he holds up two sets of intestines, and asks which is the cow’s, and which belongs to his daughter. He tells John that he needs to denounce God in church on Sunday, because there’s no soul or spirit in their bodies, “it’s just meat”. John leaves, and it is revealed that this is what Jesse saw in the last flashback of episode 4.
After the title screen, we come to the modern day, where the QM&P boys, or the Quidcannon Qrew, as I like to call them, bust into the church looking for Jesse, who has seemingly disappeared. He proceeds to beat all their asses and sends them running back to Mr. Quidcannon and the others without their weapons. Donny demands to know if Preacher said anything to them, trying to glean whether he used Genesis, but the guys say he beat them the old fashioned way. We’re shown that Jesse is ridiculously drunk shortly after this, which makes it all the more amazing.
But Jesse is in the church drinking his way through a bottle of whiskey, trying to get God to bring Eugene back. He promises never to use Genesis again if he does. And… it works! Jesse hears something, and sees Eugene trying to climb out of the hole in the floor. He wonders if Jesse is actually really, because “they” try to trick you. He also stops Jesse from calling his dad, because he wants Jesse to get him a glass of water first. When Jesse returns from the kitchen, Eugene seems to be gone, but he’s just in a different pew.
Eugene goes through three glasses as the sun comes up. Jesse finally asks him how he got back. Eugene says he heard Jesse’s “voice thing” call him, so he dug his way out of Hell with his bare hands. His line about it not being that far gives me chills every time I watch this. Jesse asks what it’s like, and Eugene says its crowded. Jesse asks whether he could see other people, and begins to ask about his father, but Eugene says he doesn’t want to talk about this anymore.
Outside, Mr. Quidcannon gives the Qrew a pep talk about the food court he’ll put in his new packing plant, but only once they’re able to get Jesse out of the church. Back inside, Jesse gets off of the phone with Sheriff Root. He tells Eugene that he was right about how using Genesis to make people do things in the name of God is cheating. He says that he should probably give Genesis back, and Eugene asks if he means to the “guys from the motel”. Jesse continues on, saying that he knows he can’t be trusted with the power. He then realizes that he never told Eugene about the guys from the motel, and realizes that he’s not really there. This is solidified by the full glass of water sitting on the pew.
After the commercial break we see Tulip getting a dog named Brewski. We then see Emily absently blow-drying her hair when Miles comes over. She learns from him that Mr. Quidcannon is trying to knock down the church. We see how she chafes at her relationship with Miles, culminating in her yelling him when he tries to drive her to the church, though she asks him to take her kids to school after. He says he will, but then feeds her son expired milk.
Back at the church, Donny leads the second charge against the church, which doesn’t even get near as close now that Jesse has a gun. He then throws a Molotov cocktail full of anointing oil at the bulldozer, and shoots Clive’s penis off. Sherriff Root shows up to get Eugene and asks what’s going on. Quidcannon says that Jesse’s lost his mind. Hugo asks whether Jesse wants anything. Jesse tells them to bring him the “agents” over the loudspeaker. Hugo calls Fiore and DeBlanc down to the church.
Outside, the Ouidcannon Qrew waits for the “agents” to deal with things. Hugo tells Odin that he doesn’t know what he’d do without Eugene. Odin says he’d figure it out. Hugo asks how they came to argue over holy ground, and Odin, of course, says that that’s a lie.
Jesse tells DeBlanc and Fiore what happened and asks if they can help him and Eugene. The angels don’t react when Eugene says hello to them, further cementing the fact that he’s a mental projection of some kind. Jesse lies and says no one else knows about what happened. He asks if it’s possible to bring someone back from Hell. DeBlanc says no, but Fiore says yes. They tell him that it’s very difficult, and DeBlanc says that no one is getting out of Hell until he gives Genesis back.
Outside, Emily and Miles watch as Clive is taken away by the ambulance. Emily tries to hand wave what Jesse’s done as him trying to protect his land, which isn’t wrong. Miles explains that Quidcannon building this new plant is necessary to help the town get back on its feet. He draws the line in the sand and says that they need to choose between the fantasy of Jesse as the nice preacher in the little church, or the reality of his criminality. He leaves Emily speechless after telling her she needs more milk.
We see a brief scene of Tulip playing fetch with Brewski before going back to the church, where the angels prepare to sing Genesis out of Jesse. Jesse is clearly stalling as he wonders why Genesis chose him, and the angels are having none of it. DeBlanc actually asks Jesse what good he’s done, if God wants him to have it to use for good. That gets him to shut up.
Outside, more and more people show up to watch the showdown at the church. Quidcannon calls for another assault and explains what they have to do, highlighting how stupid dangerous it is against someone with Jesse’s skills and positioning. Donny decides to take matters into his own hands, so he sticks his head in his trunk and shoots his gun. I know how that sounds, just hold on.
In the church, the angels are in the process of singing Genesis out of Jesse. Fiore says that Jesse is resisting, and DeBlanc reminds him that he is “just a speck of dust passing through the glory of creation”. That is a hell of a burn. Jesse relaxes and they continue with the song. It actually works! They get Genesis into the coffee tin and prepare to leave.
Jesse asks what about Eugene, and the angels act like they don’t even know what he’s talking about. Not!Eugene reminds Jesse that they said it was possible, but they tell him that they never said they would do it. He begins wondering what kind of angels they are, that they won’t help Eugene when he needs it. DeBlanc says that they don’t know how to, Jesse demands that they tell him who does. Genesis comes busting out of the coffee tin and merges with Jesse again.
Fiore says that they have to use their other option. I’m assuming this means the chainsaw. Jesse tells them to try again, but DeBlanc says there is no more trying. Jesse then realizes that not!Eugene is gone.
After the last commercial break we see Jesse in the church trying to withstand the final charge from the Qrew, as the people of Annville watch on from the lawn. Jesse is still doing pretty well despite being drunk again. However, Donny gets the best of him when he sneaks in through the back. Jesse tries to make him put the gun down with Genesis, but Donny’s gone and blown his eardrums out.
Quidcannon is able to corner Jesse with the deed after that. Jesse wonders what happened when he told Odin to serve god, and Odin says that he is – the God of Meat. Jesse laughs and says that this is crazy. Odin counters that following a god that’s silent is moreso. Jesse signs the deed, but asks for one more Sunday, so he can bring God to the town, since bringing the town to God hasn’t been working.
Tulip cuddles with Brewski before taking him to a room at the end of a dark hall. She hugs him, and then sends him inside. We hear as Cassidy eats him. Before she goes down the hall, she curses Jesse for making her do it.
Jesse is taken away from the church in Sherriff Root’s cruiser. Outside, people shout questions and ask him to save them. Miles puts his arm around Emily as the car drives off.
The last scene is a man running into a room as alarms go off. We see him push some buttons on a large machine, and watch as the pressure gauge begins to go down. This is the second time we’ve seen a scene like this, and I’m still not sure what it means.
I’m still jazzed by He Gone, but this episode was still very, very good. Last week we saw Jesse reach his lowest point, so now we’re watching what should be the beginning of the upswing. I was worried that it was happening too fast, seeing how Jesse backtracked on his “what can I do?” attitude regarding Eugene after one day, but the fact that not!Eugene was, well, not Eugene, kind of softened this. After the reveal, it became clear that he existed to help Jesse work through the issue, and the scenes with the angels showed that Jesse is still clinging to the whole “god’s plan” thing.
This episode did an excellent job of fleshing out how Quidcannon lost his faith, to horrifying effect. It also brought Emily and Miles’s relationship to a head. I find this one intriguing, because it had the potential to turn out in a very “nice guy” way, with the show suggesting that Emily owes Miles something because he does all this stuff for her, but she doesn’t ask for most of it and they don’t make us feel too sorry for Miles when she rejects him. If anything, they portray him as not taking the hint.
Lastly, though she was only in it for three scenes, and he wasn’t there at all, this episode continues to build on Tulip and Cassidy’s relationship, showing the lengths that Tulip is willing to go to help him. This is sort of a reverse of the previous episode, where she was used to contextualize Cass’s relationship with Jesse – this time, Cass’s injuries are used to show her humanity, again. And I love that this one happens almost completely outside of Jesse, though it’s his actions (or possible lack thereof) that got them into this situation in the first place.
These last two episodes show Jesse facing the consequences, and the limitations, of his powers. I’m excited to see how this changes things, especially now that we’re in the homestretch. And what’s this about Jesse bringing God to earth? Can he do that? I can’t wait to find out.
Images courtesy of AMC