“God may not make mistakes, but people are bloody famous for it!” – Cassidy
Over the last few weeks, people have been asking for Preacher to pick up the pace a bit. I don’t mind the slowed down version of the comic that the show is, but I understand the criticism. After this week, business has damn sure picked up.
“Sundowner”, named for the ramshackle hotel that Fire and DeBlanc are occupying, starts with a bang. Jesse and the Angels finally have their long-awaited sit-down, and the revelations come a-flyin. The Angels tell Jesse the power inside him is not God. Instead, it is a living entity – the product of a coupling between and Angel and a Demon in the middle of the never-ending battle between Heaven and Hell. Ohhhhhhh-kay. Oh, and this entity has a name: Genesis.
Jesse: “So you’re saying Genesis is some sort of demon-baby?”
Fiore: “If by baby you mean the most powerful entity ever known, the singular force that could shift the balance of power, threaten all of creation then, yeah, it’s a baby.”
Jesse is naturally, a little skeptical. He might need a push to be convinced this is the truth. Luckily, at that moment an unassuming blonde walks in and out of the diner, drawing the attention of the Angels. Turns out she is one of the Seraphim, and she’s after Jesse. The Angels and Jesse flee back to the Sundowner, followed by the T-1000, and what transpires a carnival of gore that takes the church battle from episode 2 and multiplies it by 100. The trio of angels pretty much kill each other over and over, creating an absolute mess of discarded corpses. Jesse manages not to die, or use the Word (as instructed by the angels pre-fight), and Cassidy shows up mid fight for some inexplicable reason, just adding to the wonderful absurdity of this fight. It’s revealed that Angels must completely expire to reincarnate , so their aim is to maim (I rhymed!) the Seraph, so she can’t keep coming back.
They eventually subdue her, and a chainsaw is involved, because obviously. They must love Evil Dead at Preacher headquarters. After the battle, the Angels want Jesse to surrender Genesis, but he’s not down with that. He’d rather know why he was chosen, and decides to keep it. The Angels warn him that is not what God wants.
Jesse: “So if I’m wrong and God wants Genesis back, he can come and take it.”
Alrighty then. Your move, God. Jesse is convinced he was given this power to save people, and plans to start with Annville. While all this is transpiring, Eugene, aka Arseface has been having revelations of his own. When he learns what Jesse plans to do with his gift, he’s against the idea. Good ol’ Arseface has come to believe everything is a choice. Jesse, conversely, believes what he’s aiming to do is the will of God. Eugene says he’s had a change of heart about being forgiven by Jessica’s mother last week. He tells Jesse – if you force someone to forgive, its cheating. Their argument escalates, with Eugene telling Jesse he is wrong to take away the town’s free will. As the argument peaks, Jesse snaps: “Go to Hell!” And he does. Instantly. Vanishes.
It’s a disturbing moment, somehow more disturbing than all of the violence because of the sudden-ness and sadness of the moment. Whether this will throw Jesse off his plan to inflict his will on the town remains to be seen. Poor Arseface.
The major shortcoming this week once again is that Tulip is left with the short straw. She isn’t given much to do besides confront Emily and trade veiled barbs that translate pretty much to: stay away from my man. It’s unfortunate that such a gifted actress and a great character is relegated to this. We just have to hope Tulip’s best moments are coming as she get drawn closer into Jesse’s story.
But overall, this was one of the strongest hours of Preacher to date. From a production standpoint, it was a virtuoso job by director Guillermo Navarro, who is Guillermo Del Toro’s longtime director of photography. The influence is felt in this episode, as its shot wonderfully – especially the fight at the Sundowner. This was a very satisfying episode on all fronts – not only was there plenty of the usual absurd violence and dark comedy, there are some real moments of emotional resonance. The plot line was advanced more than the usual pace, and we’re left with some nice things to look forward to next week.
4.5 our of 5 Arsefaces
- After Jesse tells the Angels he’s keeping Genesis and orders the Angels to leave him alone, Fiore says – “There’s always the other option.” Saint of Killers perhaps?
- Cassidy finds out about Jesse and Tulip’s past relationship. Should make for some interesting conversations down the road.
- While cleaning blood and guts off their bodies and comparing ink, Cassidy asks Jesse where he got the skull tattoo on his back and Jesse says “a mean old lady”. Could this be the first mention of his psychotic Grandma that comic lovers know all to well? I hope so.