Preacher: Monster Swamp

"Serve God!"

Honestly, I thought this episode was more than a little boring.

What happens?

Jesse acts smug as he continues to work his godly Purple Man magic on people who upset him. Cassidy acts as the middle man for Fiore and DeBlanc, but soon continues his lifestyle of plentiful drugs and women. Tulip continues getting steamed about things she's unable to shoot, blow up or beat to death. It's pretty much the same with these characters; the one with the most life in their performance is Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy.

Speaking of Cassidy, I suppose it's becoming abundantly clear that our friendly neighborhood vampire isn't just partaking in sex and drugs for kicks. He's a total addict, likely trying to numb himself to the dreadful vampire blues. Doesn't mean we can't still laugh when he tries to shamelessly pin his vices on Jesse when asking the angels for money.

Cassidy's hedonism leads to the best part of the episode, which was his introduction to Tulip. Outraged over a local hooker whose accidental but horribly undignified death was swept under the rug by Quincannon and his goons, Tulip gets an itch to beat one of them up and ends up beating Cassidy half to death by mistake. It leads to an amusing scene in which Tulip is racing to get the fatally wounded Cassidy to the hospital, freaking out that she could have killed the wrong man and deeply regretting it. Cassidy seems to enjoy her worrying over him, and he even guilts a kiss out of her since he's "dying" in her arms. And upon arriving at the hospital, Tulip becomes, I believe, the first main character to find out that Cassidy is a bloodsucking vampire.

Jesse spends the whole episode flashing back to memories of his days as a boy helping his father when he was Annville's preacher. We find out that Jesse and Tulip (or, at least, this version of Tulip) have known each other since they were children. John Custer whips Jesse in front of his friends when he catches him trying to smoke a cigarette. And Jesse learns that "some people just can't be saved" when his father takes him to QM&P headquarters to meet with Odin Quincannon. Neither we nor Jesse see what takes place during the meeting, but it obviously doesn't go well.

In the present, we find out that Jesse and Quincannon know each other well; I mean, you'd have to be somewhat close to help the guy with the huge model of the Alamo in his office. Despite their apparent mutual interest in building models or whatever, the relationship between the two is clearly a cold one. Whatever went down between Quincannon and John Custer in the past left an impression on Jesse, who decides to make an example of Odin.

This is the most coverage we've gotten of Odin Quincannon so far, a solemn character but one whose few words and actions say a lot. We get a few more scenes depicting his ruthlessness, but what gets more focus is his bullheaded nature. This is fully displayed when he casually dismisses the death of the girl who fell into one of the sinkholes on his land, and proceeds to literally piss all over the Green Acre Group deal Mayor Miles proposed in the hopes of saving Annville. This stubbornness is the main reason Jesse decides to use Quincannon to display his own willpower. After giving a rather brutally honest sermon to his congregation, he uses his compelling voice on Quincannon, commanding him to "serve God." Odin, of course, agrees wholeheartedly and is now a servant of God.

While it is clearly another haunting display of Jesse's ability to rob people of their own free will, this final scene might have even more worrying implications. What I mean is, it might also be another instance of Jesse not fully comprehending his power. When Jesse tells Odin to "serve God," he probably thinks Odin's going to serve god the way he (Jesse) would. But think about it, what does serving God mean for a man like Odin, who doesn't seem to give a damn about human life and spends his time listening to animals being slaughtered? Will he be a do-gooder, born-again Christian, or will he turn into some sort of religious extremist and apply that mindset to his corrupt empire? Like everything else, it's up in the air.

The same as the angels; I forgot about them. They sit around their room at the Sundowner Motel waiting for a phone call from heaven. Seriously. Fiore continues acting strange or awkward; he doesn't seem to be handling the human world too well. At the end of the episode, their phone rings at last. Since they admit to Cassidy earlier that they are low-tier angels and that their mission was not at all sanctioned by their superiors, neither Fiore or DeBlanc are eager to answer the call. Though, the plot (and I, as a viewer) demands that they do.

Bits and Pieces:

On second thought, Quincannon may not be totally inhuman. In one shot, we see Odin playing Q*bert on his old-school computer and what looks like a Christmas photo of him and his family smiling happily.

* We find out that Tulip's mother was one of the prostitutes at the Toadvine Roadhouse.

* We also find out that Emily and Mayor Miles are friends with benefits. Emily tells him outright that she's never going to fall in love with him, though, since her heart clearly belongs to Jesse. However, the preacher is still oblivious to her affection for him -- the scene where she thought he was about to kiss her was hilarious. It seems that, even though he values her, Jesse simply isn't attracted to the idea of getting together with Emily and settling down with her and her children. That would be far too normal.

* A general tone of weirdness and confusion seems to be running steadily throughout this whole season. I believe there are only two episodes left. Hopefully they can offer up some much needed clarity for viewers in that time.

* Ms. Oatlash bringing out a crate for Quincannon to stand on in full view of everyone was a funny moment.

* Sheriff Root's impressed eyebrow arch during Jesse's scathing sermon was also funny.


Jesse: Is that an apple-pipe?
Cassidy: Yeah, but that's not what this is about.

Jesse: Did something happen to the van?
Cassidy: Yeah, that was the clone people. That was the second time I killed them.
Jesse: Right. And what were you smoking?
Cassidy: Attic insulation, mostly. But look, that's not what this is about, you know?

Cassidy: Look padre, I'm tryin' to tell you. This thing you've got inside you, people, they're gonna want that.
Jesse: And I'm gonna give it to them. Nice outfit, by the way.
Oh shut up, Jesse. I love Cassidy's daylight outfit, the Clint Eastwood poncho and the Asian conical hat. This week he also added black and white pajama pants to the ensemble.

Quincannon: Thank y'all for comin' out today. Uh, there's some lessons to be learned. Um... First, you boys need to watch your roughhousin', 'cause this is what can happen. And ladies, if you're gonna be out here in the middle of the night you need to watch where you walkin'... (end speech)
This felt like a darkly comedic exaggeration of the way some real-life authority figures in various institutions barely acknowledge the horrific tragedies brought about by those under their authority. The QM&P employees didn't get so much as a slap on the wrist from Sheriff Root.

Jesse: I could make you come to church.
Quincannon: ... That wouldn't be very Christian of you.

While it set up a few developments for the next episode, it didn't feel like there was much going on in this episode. And I wasn't a fan of the cold open this week. Two out of four stolen ashtrays.


Henrik Bennetter said...

As always, great review!

I like what the show is doing with it's source material (and I've just now started re-reading the comic). It'll be fun and interesting to see where the TV-series will take us.
I think this also means that I have a lot more patience with the show. Even though I can recognize the fact that this episode was "boring" - I didn't really think it was.
Not amazing either, but it worked.

Also, a lot of fun reading this review - especially considering your thoughts about Odin Quincannon - now that I've just seen the episode that followed this one.

Anyhoo. It's probably way too slow for the average viewer, here's hoping they pick up the pace a bit, and also explain (to us who don't already know) what the flashbacks to the old west are about.

Many thanks for your reviews Logan. Please keep doing them!

Michal Dvorak said...

It was boring, wasn't it? I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that. I'm starting to worry about this show. The first episode was promising, but now it's starting to remind me of Torchwood season 4. You take the insanity of the original and you keep padding it with filler crap until it overwhelms everything else. Are there really just two episodes left? I thought the slow pace was because they need to stretch the story over a long season. If the season is just six episodes, then I see no excuse for it.

Logan Cox said...

Henrik, thank you. I'm glad to know you're enjoying my reviews. Billie informed me that they've renewed Preacher for a second season. So there'll be more to come. Maybe this is just like the first season of Game of Thrones; a big prelude before the ball really gets rolling story-wise.

Michal, my love for the source material compels me to stick with it, even if I encounter flaws or develop misgivings about where it's going. And like I said above, the show's already been given a second season, which will apparently be longer. I don't mind the few episodes though, since the first seasons of Breaking Bad and TWD also had fewer episodes in their firsts. We've seen how successful those shows have become.

mazephoenix said...

Thanks for the review. You are right, Gilgun is as ever a delight. Not feeling either Tulip or Jesse wwhich is bad. Their epic love from the comics just isn't there. The slow pace is a problem. Hopefully it will find its way.