“What’s inside of you isn’t God” – DeBlanc
“The South Will Rise Again” represents the halfway point in Preacher’s (mostly) excellent first season, and although we get some delicious curve balls, this episode felt like the show was spinning its wheels a bit.
The episode certainly starts with a bang, or several bangs. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen the Cowboy (the Saint of Killers to you comic lovers), and tonight’s cold open was just as compelling as the first one. The Wild West was a brutal place, and as the Cowboy tries to get medicine for his daughter, he’s beset by violence from all sides. He finally returns home to find his wife and daughter are crow food. Cue the Terminator-ish montage of him arming himself for war. Crash to credits. As with the first Cowboy scene, the production value here was balls-on, from the crazy music to the western feel. Saint of Killers mini-series anyone?
As the episode proper opens, we’re clued in on some more of the back story of Eugene a.k.a Arseface. Turns out Arseface has been dealing with the ugly side of Annville, as the townsfolk have been encouraging him to “finish the job” he started with the shotgun that gave him an ass on his face. As it turns out, Arseface had a hand putting Tracy in the coma she finds herself in. Enter Jesse. Jesse, feeling for Eugene, steps in and forced Tracy’s mom to forgive Eugene for whatever it was he did. It’s a relatively creepy scene with Jesse thinking he’s doing the right thing, not knowing how wrong he is. This show has nailed quite a few things from the comic very well, and the characterization of Arseface might be the best of all of them. He’s so sad, and we (and Jesse) sympathize.
Speaking of Jesse, he’s adopted a new swagger as a result of his God like powers. Jesse has been basking in the glow of newfound popularity, and is using the Word willy-nilly on the people of Annville. Drunk with power, Jesse is subverting people’s free will so they will do what he thinks is best for them. Sounds great, right? But, as Uncle Ben taught us – with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, Jesse seems to be using his power with no understanding of the consequences. Hell, he doesn’t seem to care that there are consequences. And, predictably (for anyone not named Jesse Custer) the episode closes with the creepily chipper Odin Quincannon opening fire on a bunch of people he sees as competition. The road to hell is paved with the best intentions, right Jesse?
Tulip and Cassidy also have some great moments this week. They have a comically casual conversation about Cassidy being a vampire. Tulip handles this news with great aplomb. “Sleep in a coffin?”…”Not if I can help it.” – and she throws Cassidy a roll in the hay, but it all feels very been there, done that for these two. Tulip wants Jesse to revert to his former life. Cassidy wants a good time. Ruth Negga and Joseph Gilgun both do an incredible job playing these characters, but due to the television show going at a much slower pace than its comic counterpart, they are both left stuck in the mud here. We get it. Let’s move on.
But Tulip’s feelings about Jesse are valid ones. She thinks knows what kind of man he really is, and it’s looking like she’s right, no? Yes, he’s claiming to have changed. But he’s sidestepping progress earned to bend people to do his will. After all, he’s been imbued with the Word of God, hasn’t he? Turns out…not. The Angelic Assassins Fiore and DeBlanc finally have a long overdue sitdown with Jesse, where they clue our Preacher in on a few things. We’re angels. We know Cassidy. And oh yeah, that’s not the Word of God in you. It’s something else. Duh duh duuuuuuuuuh!
It was a solid, if a little exasperating episode of Preacher. By this point, we know that Jesse’s actions – as well intended as they seem to be – are going to come back to haunt him, and I’d like for the haunting to start soon. I’d also like the show to give Cassidy and Tulip a little more to do than bone each other to pass the time. On the flip side, we finally got some progress on Jesse’s power that is sure to throw him for a loop. Certainly looking forward to seeing how it plays out next week.
3 Arsefaces out of 5
- The Angels spending most of the episode too scared to answer the Bat-phone was kinda funny, but also kinda deflating. I was looking forward to that. It sort of rendered the tension earned at the end of last week moot.
- Could Jackie Earle Haley be better? No. This version of Odin, after Jesse has used his power on him, is somehow creepier than the first version. Rorshach rules.
- The sign at the brothel was priceless: “Thousands of beautiful women and three fat ones.”