Preacher: On the Road

"I hope you do find him, preacher. You. Will. Shit yourself."

Preacher picks up from where we left off, with the outset of Jesse Custer's epic Search For God. We are thrust right back into the show's manic rhythm, and it wants you to know how good it is to be back.

This episode opens with Cassidy ranting about companies putting circumcised foreskin into women's face cream. Then a grainy car chase straight out of a '70s B-movie ensues. Then we get a darkly hilarious reintroduction to Jesse and Cassidy's supernatural abilities. Finally, there is an insanely chaotic, warlike gun battle between the police and the Saint of Killers. I mean, Tulip has to siphon gas into her car through a cop's bloody intestine just so they can get away. This show is nuts.

The Saint of Killers relentlessly pursues the preacher, indiscriminately slaying anyone who gets in his way. Despite seeing this new enemy firsthand, Jesse remains undeterred in his quest, confident that he'll be able to deal with it.

This may have been a mistake. At the end of the episode, while he's out having a smoke under the stars -- as Jesse Custer is wont to do -- the Saint shows up and Jesse's godlike power apparently does nothing to stop him. Of course, this likely is not the end of Jesse. There must be a catch. That gun aficionados meeting at the Relax Inn motel is a Saint of Killers massacre just waiting to happen.

Earlier, Jesse visits Mike, a religious scholar, fellow preacher and family friend of the Custers. Despite his bizarre Black Snake Moan style of ministering, Mike proves to be a bit of a no-nonsense kind of guy. But after witnessing the power of Genesis, he gives Jesse the name of a woman, Tammy, who claims to have seen God. After Jesse and friends leave, the Saint arrives and Mike kills himself to avoid his interrogation.

The three anti-heroes go to She She's strip club to meet Tammy, who runs the place. Jesse and Tulip question Tammy, while Cassidy goes and gets a lap-dance. Tammy did see God, but is reluctant to share too much about him. She freaks out when Jesse and Tulip openly decide how they're going to force the information out of her. Cassidy cuts the meeting short inadvertently after his lap-dance goes wrong and he ends up accidentally firing the bouncer's gun and shooting Tammy through the wall. She dies, and the only real information they got was that God really likes jazz.

Before the ending showdown, we get some bittersweetness. The sweet comes at the motel, when Jesse and Tulip make wildly passionate love, preceded by a deliciously cheesy scene of Tulip locking herself in the bathroom and compelling Jesse to smash through the door to get to her. We get the bitter when the scene transitions to Cassidy, alone in the next room, listening. We are reminded that Cassidy is still conflicted about having ignorantly slept with Jesse's girl, which is further complicated by the fact that he's fallen in love with Tulip himself. Tulip warns Cassidy that Jesse will hurt him bad if he ever finds out. Cassidy might have the most complex feelings out of the three, and he knows it.

The most fascinating conflict, though, is Genesis and how Jesse chooses to use it. Jesse and Tulip discuss the morality behind using the Word of God to make people do things against their will. Jesse is constantly tempted to use it, despite knowing how dangerous its power is. Tulip thinks its wrong to mess with people's minds like that, and would rather just deal with problems the old fashioned way: guns or fisticuffs. It's a surprisingly unique, ongoing debate.

I'm liking the overall direction of the show at the moment. Hopefully it keeps this pace up throughout Season 2.

Bits and Pieces:

* Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg continue to do a fantastic job as directors.

* The show really knows how to portray the power of Genesis, especially with those cops at the start. The lead trooper being forced to empty his can of mace onto his crotch was pretty rough, but I found the one who was simply made to sing the Yellow Rose of Texas even more unsettling. Especially when the bullets started flying and he just kept singing, even after catching a bullet in the face. It's also eerily reminiscent of what the Saint of Killers did in Finish the Song.

* Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy are still unaware of what happened to Annville at the end of last episode. I guess it makes sense. They aren't big TV watchers, internet surfers, or smart phone addicts. Like their '90s comic counterparts, they spend a lot of time in the car listening to music. It's just a matter of time before they find out, though.

* Glenn Morshower, the actor who plays the short-lived character Mike, had a recurring role as Wayne Lowry in Bloodline. Just something I noticed. I was also pleasantly surprised when I recently watched The Infiltrator with Bryan Cranston, and realized Joseph Gilgun (Cassidy) had a small role in that movie.

* Tulip and Cassidy look at a scrapbook featuring a photo of Jesse and his parents. We learn of Jesse's deceased mother, Christina L'Angelle, and her side of the family. Jesse is clearly not fond of the L'Angelles.

* This show makes great use of AMC's trademark stylized quality. How else would we get a beautiful little moment like the one where Cassidy notices he was shot, then pulls a state trooper's badge out of his gut. Then a cat crawls between his legs and starts lapping at the bloody badge... Then Cassidy eats the cat.

Quotes:

Tulip: Maybe we just showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time. This is Texas. They practically grow dumb-ass crazy down here.

Tulip: You don't know him like I do.
Cassidy: I know that he's saved my life more than once, alright? And I know that he tries to do the right thing, more than most people do.
Tulip: Sure, Jesse's got sides to him. The good side, the fun side, the boring bible side, but... He's got a whole other side. The deep-down side.
Cassidy: I know all about sides. I've got tons of 'em. I might just be the most many-sided person you've ever met.

Mike: Are you kids high right now?
Tulip: No.
Cassidy: Not in a covered cage kind of a way, we're not.

Mike: Did you ever consider that if the good lord's gone missing, maybe he's got a reason?
Jesse: Yeah, and I want to hear it. Maybe he has a good reason. Maybe he's in trouble, maybe something went wrong.
Mike: Maybe he needs help.
Jesse: And maybe we can help him. If I don't like his reason, if I find out he's left us here all alone to pick up his mess, I'm gonna hold that son of a bitch to account.

Watching this episode got me excited for the show all over again. Four out four policeman's intestines.

4 comments:

jencat said...

Not to spoil the first ten minutes of this ep, but I'm still delighted that the 'Come On Eileen' scene turned out to be even more awesome than the trailer promised... I mean, there's the brilliance of them all doing terrible carpool karaoke, but it turned out to be soundtracking an actual 70s car chase. Which turns out to be a blissfully dumb car chase because yes, Tulip can drive like hell but THEY HAVE NO GAS. Aaaand then it segues again into ultraviolent horror territory - and honestly, we've already seen that side of Jesse that Tulip keeps talking about - he's pretty damn sadistic and doesn't seem to care about how much damage he inflicts on anyone. Was anyone else wincing every time he used Genesis and apparently not remembering the horror show of the commands in season one? Jesse used to kind of care about people!! And when Tulip is the person telling you to dial it down a bit... take a hint.

I love this show, I really do (even more so than American Gods, which it has nicely replaced), and if they cut back on the small furry animal death rate, it would be perfect. It just... totally squicks me knowing that every cute pet that shows up is automatically toast?

Logan Cox said...

"Blissfully dumb" is a good way to describe that car chase. They clearly aren't even driving that fast. It's definitely a hokey little moment.

And I wince every time too. It's just instant mind-rape. Since they're keeping the fate of Annville hidden from him, I get the feeling that the show is building towards Jesse having some kind of revelation about what a carelessly destructive asshole he's become. Or, at least, I hope so.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Great fun, but.
I don't quite approve of what they've done with The saint of killers on the show versus the comic.
How he just started shooting all the cops...it's not in his nature. Or, if it WAS in his nature - he would just shoot everybody he comes across. No questions asked.
Also. Why stop to interrogate someone (rip their tongue out), if he doesn't have to because he'll just follow The word anyway?
I just don't think it fits his character from the comic or the show.

All this aside - the TV-show is a greatly absurd, weird, wonderful vehicle.
I loving (almost) every minute of it.

Logan Cox said...

I'm not sure. I remember the Saint as being pretty indiscriminate in the comics. But yeah, he's usually the type to give a badass warning before he starts shooting. The difference must be this Saint's hatred for preachers, which might be why he just goes in guns blazing.

I give him a bit of a pass because, so far, he's one of the few characters who I think MOST resembles his comic counterpart. Hopefully, the rest of the cast gets there this season.