Preacher: Sundowner

"God may not make mistakes, but people are bloody famous for it!"

This was something of a major episode.

We got a bloody hilarious opening scene. The show's theme of faith cast in doubt comes to a big dramatic head. Our hero does something deplorable, and we may have just lost one of the show's most striking and endearing characters.

Sundowner won me over right away by providing some much needed clarity in the very first scene. Using his power, Jesse forces DeBlanc and Fiore to reveal the origin of the power and the force inside of him. Well, turns out the infantile entity that landed in the preacher in the first episode is called Genesis. It was originally the product of a forbidden sexual encounter between an angel of heaven and a demon from hell. This coupling was considered, by both sides, to be a severe violation and its end-result an unholy abomination. The two angels are the entity's official "custodians."

The answers are then abruptly cut off when another Seraphim angel shows up (in the visage of a cute church lady) to throw a wrench in Fiore and DeBlanc's plans. This leads to the show's most outrageous fight yet, taking place when Jesse, Fiore and DeBlanc return to the Sundowner motel room and the three are attacked by the newly-arrived angel. This scene demonstrates how you can take a good idea and expand upon it beautifully. The idea being the angels' habit of popping right back into existence almost immediately after their human forms are killed, leaving their old corpses behind. This makes for a delightful spectacle as the angels clash in a small motel room, perpetually killing and resurrecting each other with Jesse fighting for his life in the middle.

Eventually Cassidy enters the scene and helps bring this prolonged, supernatural bloodbath to an end. With the other angel alive and incapacitated, DeBlanc and Fiore try once again to get Genesis back from Jesse. And Jesse once again stubbornly refuses. Unsatisfied with what he has learned, the preacher still believes he's on a mission from God to save Annville, that this power came to him for a reason.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Jesse, this Genesis has already caused a lot of chaos. And the more he relies on its power, the more distant he becomes from the people closest to him. Tulip and Emily barely know him anymore. He ignores the concerned warnings of his friend, Cassidy. The flawed guidance he offers Mayor Miles has no effect, leading Miles to go along with covering up Odin Quincannon's murder of the four Green Acre Group environmentalists. Finally, he has a major falling out with Eugene "Arseface" Root, the one person who believed in Jesse most of all since the pilot episode.

Last episode, Jesse sought for improve Eugene's situation both at home and in public by using his power to force Mrs. Loach to completely forgive him for... whatever it was Eugene did to the Loach family. Though he's happy that people are no longer treating him like a monster, he recognizes how wrong it was for Jesse to just wipe the slate clean like that and wants him to take it back. Jesse, at this point, loses all patience with Eugene. He's more eager to take command of the entire town using his voice and a newly-installed horn loudspeaker, and receives Eugene and his doubts with anger and disgust. A heated argument ensues in which Eugene calls out the preacher, telling him that what he is doing is a sin... and Jesse screams at Eugene to "go to Hell!" And he does. He uses the word and sends him straight there.

So AMC has evidently taken the Walter White/Rick Grimes route with Preacher, focusing on a protagonist who constantly flirts with the dark side. Jesse's comic counterpart is capable of being malicious and arrogant, but it's usually inflicted on the particularly evil people who are pretty much asking for it. AMC's Jesse seems to be going mad with power. He's still clinging to the idea that the angel-demon baby Genesis was bestowed upon him as part of God's will, and he's dead-set on using the power to "save" Annville. The episode makes it clear, though, that Jesse is really doing this for his own personal reasons: to fulfill a promise he made. I assume this refers to the time he swore to his about-to-be-shot-in-the-head dad that he would "be one of the good guys." If that's the case, he just failed. Big time.

Bits and Pieces:

* Tulip and Emily spend most of the episode together. Their meeting is at first highly confrontational, due to their mutual love for Jesse Custer, but they soon soften and get to know one another. We find out that Tulip once had a child, but no longer.

* Cassidy finds out Tulip is Jesse's Tulip, leaving him in a sadly precarious situation as the woman he loves happens to be in love with his best friend.

* When Cassidy observes the skull-star tattoo on Jesse's back, Jesse states that a mean old lady gave it to him.

* Seraphim Angels are obsessed with control, order, and peace.

* DeBlanc calls the Angel cloning process "reinvigoration."

* Fiore hints at another way they could reacquire Genesis, but DeBlanc shuts him down as soon as he suggests it. Uh oh.

* According to Jesse, the cause of the flickering lights we've seen here and there is "just Annville."

* They really did a good job of misleading me, in regards to Eugene. I thought for sure he was going to be victimized when those other boys led him into that drainage hole. When it turned out they were just showing him a beautiful firework display, I thought he was safe. Then they send him to HELL! I guess the fireworks and the black hole were meant as foreshadowing his fate. If Hell is anything like it was in the comics, Arseface is in for a world of hurt.

Quotes:

Jesse: I'm trying to figure out what's going on here.
DeBlanc: We've told you what's going on.
Jesse. No, you have not. Not much, anyway.
Ain't that the truth?

Jesse: So you're telling me this Genesis is some sort of Angel... Demon... Baby?
DeBlanc: If by "baby" you mean the most powerful entity ever known, the singular force that could shift the balance of power and threaten all of creation, then yeah, it's a baby.

Cassidy: Clones! Bloody clones!

Cassidy: Ahh jaysis, what did you do?
Fiore: ... I disarticulated her.

DeBlanc: God does not want this!
Jesse: How do you know? Like you said, you're just custodians.
Fiore: And you're just a person! A sinful human being!
Jesse: True... So if I'm wrong and God wants it back, he can come and take it. 'Til then, I still have a job to do. Sorry about the mess.

Tulip: STAY! AWAY! FROM MY BOYFRIEND!
I'm very glad this wasn't all there was to that encounter.

Emily: You just broke my kid's art thing! So... yeah, nice job.

Cassidy: What are you gonna do about it?
Jesse: About what?
Cassidy: About Genesis. Honestly, I mean, what a terrible name. It's just awful.

Cassidy: I doubt everything and everyone, all the time. It's the only way to live.

Jesse: Either you and God are saying the exact same thing... Either that or you're not hearing God at all.

Eugene: It's cheating.

Eugene: You can't make people see the light, preacher.
Jesse: Oh, yes I can!
Eugene: But you shouldn't. People need to choose. That's the whole point.

This felt like a pretty big episode. The beginning and ending alone make it one of the best so far. Four out of four massacred motel rooms.

2 comments:

mazephoenix said...

I liked Tulip here, and that's a first. She's better away from Jesse.
I hope Jesse tries to rescue Eugene, because that was just cold.
The show is better now, and improving steadily.

Henrik Bennetter said...

I'd assume the other way to get Genesis is the one they almost did early on in the series - involving a chain-saw...?