Preacher: On Your Knees

"I'm here to kill a man."

There certainly were a few bows that were taken in this episode.

The Saint of Killers is back. After his armored truck prison was recovered from the bottom of a lake by Grail Industries, Hoover was eventually able to strike a deal with this cowboy out of Hell. At first, it looks as if they've given him the freedom to take out Jesse Custer and his friends.

It's a shame too, since it seemed like our trio was finally starting to be friends again. But their drinking session is quickly interrupted when the Saint comes for Jesse. I was surprised to see our three hardcore heroes finally put up a fight against this unstoppable force. Unfortunately, even without his guns and saber, the Saint cannot be matched. He beats them all into submission, turning the tables and forcing Jesse down on his knees. The Saint finally has the preacher right where he wants him.

The Saint of Killers might be my favorite character on this show, even above Cassidy and Herr Starr (who actually meet in this episode). The show did a superior job of introducing him last season. And they've managed to continue playing up the relentless lethality he's meant to exude. Every time he appears, the tension rises like a shark for blood. Hell, his story in this episode about the professional scalper he killed might be the best moment of this entire season so far. Despite being a surreal, larger than life, supernatural figure, the Saint is representative of a raw, ruthless and undeniably real period in American history. He comes from a savage time, one we haven't grown as far apart from as we believe.

For an immortal, indestructible killing machine, the Saint is a rather sympathetic character too. He was a bad man who tried to change his ways, to be a man of peace who loved his wife and daughter. As we see here, he was once even willing to bend his knees before a preacher and be baptized. But this goodness he strived to nurture was tread on by the viciousness of his world, as we knew already. His desire to do the right thing ultimately meant that the people he loved were taken from him, and he gave in to his darkness, making him what he is now.

Still, as awesome as he is, there's a lot of mystery surrounding the Saint right now. Since he apparently knows he'll never get to be with his wife and daughter in Heaven, it seems like he mainly just wants revenge against Jesse for humiliating him and trapping at the bottom of swamp lake. He's robbed of this when the Grail betrays him to the forces of Hell. Superintendent Mallory and her demon agents appear on Earth to bring the Saint back to his Hell simulator, threatening to make his family take his place if he refuses. The Saint doesn't seem too worried about returning to Hell, though. I seriously doubt he'll be there for long. Let's hope we see him get his meeting with Satan.

Speaking of Hell, Eugene and Hitler's descent into the Hole was less intriguing than I imagined. Instead of an awesome mish-mash of the worst nightmares of two completely different men, what we end up getting is Eugene achieving catharsis by confronting his vain high school crush Tracy Loach, his domineering father Sheriff Hugo Root (who appears with an arseface of his own), and a summer camp mascot who apparently molested Eugene as a boy. By overcoming these insecurities, Eugene and Hitler are able to break free from the Hole's simulator and work their way through Hell's ventilation system. Kind of lame.

Anyway, thanks to the Grail, Jesse narrowly avoids getting scalped by the Saint. However, they seize this opportunity to bring the wounded Tulip and Cassidy to Herr Starr, who reveals Jesse's interactions with him and tries convincing them that they are holding Jesse back from his special potential. It appears to have worked, since Tulip and Cassidy ask Jesse what he really needs them for. His lack of answer prompts him to give in and accept the role offered to him by the Grail. It ends with Herr Starr getting down on his knees to bow down to Jesse Custer, the new Messiah.

Of course, I sincerely doubt this is the end for our dynamic trio. That Grail surveillance camera that just got dislodged in Denis's apartment will probably alert Jesse's friends, helping them discover how the Grail has been manipulating them for half this season. Once again, it appears as if the finale will center around a great big fall-out.

Bits and Pieces:

* Hoover was making highlights inside of what looked like a book of schematics. Not sure what exactly it is he's studying.

* I'm also not sure why Jesse's power didn't work on the Saint this time. Did the Saint use Denis's little music box to muffle the sound or was Jesse's power just experiencing another glitch? It got rendered kind of moot after the Saint punched Jesse in the throat, disabling his voice for their big fight.

* The bus that takes you to Hell's gateway is called Distant Vistas.

Quotes:

Featherstone: This is worse than waterboarding.

Jesse: Well, go ahead. But then you're never gonna see Heaven.
Saint of Killers: Like you said, the things I've done, I was never gonna anyway.
Jesse: There's no such thing as never. Any man can change himself.
Saint of Killers: I tried to. But it's a lie.

Herr Starr: Thank you both for coming. I'll dive right in, while you take a moment to adjust and acclimate yourselves. My name is Herr Starr--
Cassidy: My god, you're unattractive. I'm sorry, I just saw his face, and had the thought and said it out loud... I mean, it's hypnotic, isn't it? Like a school bus crash, I just can't take my eyes off of it.

The Pope: God is gone, but his promise still remains. The promise that when all seems most lost, his son will return to save us. Jesus -- or a reasonable approximation thereof -- is coming. You need not doubt or fear much longer. All you need do is get ready.

Saint of Killers: Tell Satan I want a word.
Superintendent Mallory: He'll want a word with you as well.

Four out of four scalping knives.

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