Preacher: Holes

"Bite me. Bite me. Bite me..."

The slow-paced format of AMC shows really does not work for this story and these characters.

This was a bit of a problem last season as well, but I let it slide due to the fact that it enhanced the sense of mystery they were building throughout for those who came into the series knowing nothing. However, now it just feels like a lot of beating around the bush. For a show that started out having no intention of being labelled as boring, it's starting to drift down that tedious road. This is a story jam-packed with fun characters and mad creativity. So why is so little happening?

For instance, we return to Eugene in Hell and basically retread the same ground from last time. Eugene can't be caught acting nice in Hell or he'll go into the Hole. He gets caught acting nice in Hell, and goes into the Hole. The Hole is only slightly more torturous than the regular Hell simulators. Eugene relives his worst memory, only this time he kisses Tracy and she embraces him... then it turns out she's already given herself to "God," aka Jesse Custer, the man who sent Eugene to Hell. This time, Eugene is driven to shoot himself after watching the preacher and Tracy get it on in front of him. It is slightly worse to be sure, but really not that much different. I'm starting to think the people running Hell seriously lack imagination.

Eugene is still a sympathetic character, but the most interesting figure in this arc is undoubtedly Hitler. He seems to have some long-term plan of escape that he wants Eugene to be a part of, even if he is responsible for getting him put in the Hole. And his Hell is still a mystery.

Speaking of retreading the same ground, Jesse Custer continues pursuing the flimsiest of leads in his no-longer-that-epic search for God. I get the feeling that the tediousness of his search is probably intentional. Jesse spends this episode sitting on his hands waiting for some Dork Docs to enhance the image of the Fake God audition disc. After they find nothing, he gets pissed and leaves. As they shred the disc, we see it has a Grail Industries label on it. One, how did he not see that written plainly on the disc? Two, why would The Grail go through all the trouble of filing the serial number off their murder weapon and ensuring nothing that could incriminate them was on that video only to leave their freaking logo on the disc? So not only is it boring, it's stupid.

Tulip's random activity of the week consists of buying Denis a new refrigerator and then mudding over all the bullet holes that the Saint of Killers bullet left in the now vacant apartments. I guess she's still traumatized by whatever the Saint of Killer's touch did to her. Featherstone and Hoover, The Grail's operatives in New Orleans, are set-up in the last apartment down the hall from Denis's, keeping a close eye on Jesse. They nearly get discovered by Tulip, but Featherstone puts on a good disguise and Tulip is too preoccupied with thoughts of getting shot while wearing a bulletproof vest.

Despite being the main characters, neither Jesse or Tulip are very likable or engaging. They're at their best when they are around Cassidy, who is inexplicably the most likable and engaging character.

He's the one dealing with real conflict in this episode. "Holes" opens in 1946, as Cassidy looks down on his newborn son, Denis, promising to be the best dad ever... as he softly sings a raunchy tavern song and drinks from a flask. In the present, he watches as Denis withers away from disease and old age, and struggles to decide what to do with his old son. Denis only wants one thing from his deadbeat father, to be made a vampire and saved from his sad, painful death. Cassidy knows the potential downsides of being a vampire intimately well, and Seamus, the friend he contacts for advice, urges him not to do it.

But Cassidy's feelings are mixed, because he knows he failed to be a good father like he said. He was never there for his son, and this is his last chance to do something that (maybe) is good for him. It appears he's made his decision when we arrive at the episode's bookends, as Cassidy slowly approaches Denis, singing the song he sang to him after he was born. Unfortunately, I'm betting this was a bad idea. Cassidy doesn't even really know what kind of person his son is; he can't even speak his language. Turning Denis into a vampire could have dire consequences.

Joseph Gilgun really does a great job as Cassidy. The song he sings is called "Charlotte the Harlot." It isn't a clean song at all, but he makes it sound like the sweetest lullaby in the beginning, and then makes it hauntingly intense at the very end. This wasn't a great episode, but I loved that ending.

Bits and Pieces:

* While the Hell storyline might be wearing a bit thin, I did enjoy all the macabre little details. A vending machine that doesn't work, and a TV that displays nothing but a burning fire on every channel. Prisoners forced to shoot hoops with a deflated basketball and use duct-tape as toilet paper.

* "Closing Time" is Eugene's happy song, apparently.

* How did Tulip not notice what Featherstone and Hoover were doing while she was filling the hole on the other side of their wall? And how did they not notice her doing that?

* Also, just how many wigs does Featherstone have handy?

* I believe this is the first time we ever hear Cassidy's first name: Proinsias.

Quotes:

Tyler: Well, I'm the one who doesn't belong here, because I didn't kill anybody.
Hell prisoner: You raped four women.
Tyler: Date-rape. There's a difference.
Hell prisoner: "No" means no.
Tyler: None of them said "no" to the date, did they? Ask my dad's lawyer.
Wow.

Cassidy: I used to love the beach. When I was a boy, me ma used to take us to the beach, me and me brother, every summer. Every other stupid git was down on his knees in church, but we'd have the run of the place. I loved it. Christ, I can't remember the last time I was at the beach.
Tulip: Yup, me neither. And I hate the beach.
Cassidy: Then there's the boredom. You've heard every joke. The drugs barely work. And then everyone you ever cared about or loved just dies. Except you.
Tulip: ... Yeah, that sucks.

A bit more nitpicky than usual this week. Two out of four holes in the wall.

2 comments:

Genkitty said...

I've never seen the comics, so I'm spitballing here. I'm thinking that the horror of The Hole(TM) is not that it shows *a* different scenario...but that each loop is a *new* scenario. In 'Normal Hell' it's the same moment again and again and again and eventually one has to develop a sort of mental callus. But in The Hole, it's different and new each time so there's no way to numb yourself against it. Like I said, this is a pure guess. :)

Logan Cox said...

Genkitty, your guess is as good as mine. Because we don't see this much of Hell in the comics (and what little of it we do see isn't portrayed this way at all). In the comics, Hell basically looks the way people normally imagine it, Dante's Inferno style.