Preacher: Viktor

"Welcome to Hell, Eugene."

This episode explores two subjects I normally avoid: Hell and Hitler.

I'm very glad that they've decided to expand upon the atmosphere of Hell in this show. It's not the more generic pit of fire, darkness, blood and torment that we saw in the comics. Here it's treated like an actual underfunded maximum security prison, albeit the supernatural kind. According to Superintendent Mallory, who I can only assume is a demon, Hell has become overpopulated. This is why the damned are now confined to special cells that simulate their own personal Hells, as seen with the Saint of Killers, Eugene Root and now Adolf Hitler. The Hell simulators are all malfunctioning, which is implied to be a result of the Saint of Killers being released.

Arseface and Adolf

Eugene learns that his rosy, nice guy attitude won't fly in Hell, where being evil is apparently mandatory. Strange, I thought it was supposed to be the ultimate punishment for being evil. But anyway, he's warned that acting out of line will get him thrown into The Hole, which is apparently way worse than the Hell simulators. I'm guessing it's like the Hell version of solitary confinement.

We should talk about Hitler as well, since he is now one of the main characters. Eugene catches a glimpse of the worst day of the Adolf's life, his Hell: when he was an aspiring artist in Munich of 1919. He's meeting a woman he likes for lunch, who encourages his art. I can only assume this is the moment before his dream of being a great artist comes to an end and his fantasy of world domination begins. The scene implies that Hitler's hatred of Jews and communists in Germany is already lurking just beneath the surface of his hopeless romantic persona.

We're given an interesting moral dilemma, a version of Hitler that has apparently been broken by Hell, crippled by his human vulnerabilities, and almost poetically reduced to being the punching bag of an average American bully named Tyler. On the one hand, we might feel like applauding when Tyler and the prison inmates get a self-righteous licks in on Hitler. On the other hand, we see how quickly justly smashing the face of Nazi tyranny devolves into a fascist mob mentality that disregards their own monstrousness and the hypocrisy therein.

We are reminded that life is not always painted in black and white. Eugene seems to acknowledge this moral gray area in the end, when he doesn't intervene and instead takes part in the stomping of Hitler to conform to Hell's rules. Though he really is a good person, he does what he must to survive; I wonder if Hitler won't have any hard feelings or if this puts an end to the beautiful friendship that seemed to be beginning between he and Eugene.

Attempting to humanize Adolf Hitler, arguably the most infamous historical villain in living memory, is a ballsy move. It could easily go wrong, but so far I'm liking it.

Tulip and Viktor

The episode actually starts where the last one ended, with Tulip giving herself up to Viktor's goons. They bring her to Viktor's compound, where the gangster tries to decide what to do with her. We're given the sense that Tulip was once very close to all of these people. She tries to interact with several people in the house, but they all ignore her or treat her with disdain; Viktor's young daughter even spits in Tulip's face and hopes he murders her.

Eventually, she gets a hold of a gun and holds Viktor at gunpoint. She doesn't kill him or hurt him, but demands that he allow her to leave. It's no use, since she gets overpowered by his men.

For an episode titled Viktor, I thought Viktor might be a more central character, but not really.

Jesse and Cassidy

Jesse meets Cassidy at Denis's apartment, and the devotes his time in this episode to running down another lead in his Search For God. He ignores Tulip's absence, assuming she's mad at him. He also tells Cassidy what he learned about The Grail, who have begun surveilling the apartment.

Cassidy sees the actor who impersonated God in an infomercial about Hurricane Katrina victims, sending them off in a new direction. They hunt down the God actor's agent, eventually obtaining his audition tape for the role of God. Jesse and Cassidy watch the audition video where, after proving he is perfect for the part, the actor is shot and killed so that he will go to Heaven and impersonate God up there, as we saw last season. It seems as though The Grail was behind this as well. They're taking dramatic steps to try to cover up God's disappearance.

After spending the whole episode worrying about Tulip, Cassidy finally breaks down and tells Jesse that she might be in danger. In response, Jesse immediately drops everything to go to her rescue. He uses Genesis to breeze through Viktor's mansion and slays his best henchman in another cool single-shot fight scene.

It ends with Jesse attacking Viktor, only for Tulip to reveal that Viktor is not her boss. He's her husband. She's got some explaining to do. And we see that Jesse's impulsive use of Genesis once again spells trouble, as the Saint of Killers has arrived in New Orleans.

Bits and Pieces:

* The Frankie Muniz cameo was most unexpected. Haven't seen that guy in awhile.

* Noah Taylor has actually played Adolf Hitler before, in a movie called Max. It was the pre-Nazi, wannabe-artist Hitler there as well.

* The best part of the episode might have been Cassidy trying to bribe the acting agent with the false promise of getting a client a role on Game of Thrones, and the subtle yet epic leitmotif when he brings it up. And the guy actually buys into it.

* Pat, the dapper torture technician who worked for Viktor, was kind of awesome, in a creepy way. He actually put up a good fight against Jesse, who is usually able to demolish multiple guys in seconds. I'm kind of bummed they didn't keep him around for another episode. Hell of a fight scene to go out on, though. I loved that he made himself immune to Jesse's power by putting on his headphones and listening to "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel.

Quotes:

Tyler: We were just having some fun.
Hitler: Yeah, but now zhe fun iz over.
Tyler: What if it isn't over, Mein Fuhrer? What if the fun's just beginning? What are we gonna do about that then, huh?
Nothing, I guess.

Superintendent Mallory: I've been reviewing your Hell. You seem like a nice young man. Sweet, kind, loyal.
Eugene: Thank you.
Superintendent Mallory: That kind of behavior will not be tolerated here, do you understand?
Eugene: Yes, ma'am.
Superintendent Mallory: This is Hell. Act accordingly. We'll be watching.

Pat the Torturer: Happens sometimes, the heart gives out. It's an art, not a science.

Three out of four weaponized foosball bars.

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