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Preacher: Damsels


The title is very appropriate.

The three main plotlines running through this episode all involve damsels in distress. The kind who have a talent for subverting what we and the heroes would normally expect from damsels in distress.

We are reintroduced to Eugene Root, a happy-go-lucky teenager who finds himself hopelessly friend-zoned by Tracey Loach, the brain-dead girl from last season. We were told Eugene shot her and then himself out of jealousy. Here, we learn that is not entirely true. Tracey turns out to be the Laura Palmer of Annville, and tries to kill herself because her boyfriend cheated on her. Eugene talks her out of it, burning her long suicide note, and letting her cry on his shoulder. He saved her. Then he kissed her... which grosses Tracey out so much that she attempts suicide again. Eugene tries to stop her at the last second, blowing off the top of her head with a shotgun, rendering her a vegetable.

Then we see Eugene's embarrassingly tragic last moments as he is trapped in the locked room, with Mrs. Loach outside threatening to call his dad; you know, the borderline-insane cop? Panicking and seeing no way out of being blamed for what happened to Tracey, Eugene turns her shotgun on himself. Even that goes wrong, the result being his, well, arse-face.

Obviously, this was the worst day of Eugene's life. And we see it repeat. Over and over again, in a maddening supercut. Like the Saint of Killers, Eugene is forced to relive the most devastating time in his life on an endless loop. Something goes wrong, though. The loop stops and all the cell doors in Hell open. Eugene meets Adolf Hitler.

Okay then. Moving on.

The second damsel is Tulip, I guess. Upon arriving in New Orleans, she tries to keep out of sight, lest her former boss Viktor finds out she is in town. Cassidy takes her to the home of one of his former friends, a grim old Frenchman named Denis, where the three will be crashing while in New Orleans; all we know about Denis is that he likes watching The Three Stooges in French and that he is not amused by Cassidy. Tulip runs into someone she knows before getting there, putting her on edge. She eventually leaves, deciding to confront the problem head-on without Jesse or Cassidy. She appears to allow herself to be captured by Viktor's gang. So she is a damsel in distress... but by choice. Hmm...

While that's going on, Jesse is forced to continue his search alone. He goes from bar to bar asking if anyone has seen God, basically humiliating himself for half the episode.

After a long, fruitless search, Jesse is eventually pointed in the direction of a gorgeous torch singer named Lara, who knows something about God. She eludes Jesse, only to be attacked and abducted by men in white masks and suits. Jesse manages to coolly beat them all down and save the girl. She informs him of the Grail, what she refers to as a "super-secret, crypto-religious, fascist organization with designs on total world domination." The Grail is interested in finding God too, as well as killing anyone else who may know something about him.

Despite the romance vibe between them, Jesse sends her off to avoid danger. But Lara is not what she seems. She's actually Featherstone, an operative working for the Grail, and the bartender who led Jesse to her turns out to be her Grail partner, Hoover. They're another memorable duo from the comics. Featherstone's torch singer damsel act was evidently just a ruse to gain more intelligence on Jesse. It worked too, since Jesse totally fell for her subterfuge and ended up telling her about his power; though, to be fair, I bought into her act as well. Sigh... Dames!

I'm glad they've finally brought in the Grail, which is kind of a running thing throughout Preacher. Even better, we are introduced to the character who is pretty much the series' main antagonist: Herr Starr, one of the Grail's most esteemed members. We met him briefly last season while he was enjoying a snuff film, but now we've seen his face and it looks like he's finally going to enter the picture. While certainly not as dangerous as the Saint, Starr is a very scary dude. I can't wait to see how far they'll go with him. The actor playing him is credited in the main cast, so I assume they aren't going to kill him prematurely like Odin Quincannon.

Bits and Pieces:

* Love the jazzy new opening titles.

* This show gives the writers and directors a lot of freedom to flex their stylistic muscles. I laughed out loud when Jesse's hopeless search became a bleary neon bar sign montage. Total cliche, splendidly done. Love it!

* I found the "God Dog" thing to be more disturbing than funny, like The Gimp from Pulp Fiction. It even matches up with it being found at the bottom of the first random place they walked into.

* Tracey Loach was an oddball. She was a beauty queen, the most accomplished student at school, and beloved by everyone, but was also a shallow, promiscuous, hypocritical moron. This was a good reminder of what a shit town Annville was. Still, I don't think there's ever been a more darkly hilarious depiction of teen suicide.

* Tulip seems incapable of telling Jesse convincing lies whenever she needs to run off and do something without Jesse knowing. Maybe she feels guilty, and secretly wants him to follow her by telling bad lies. It doesn't really matter, since Jesse always believes her no matter how flimsy her excuses are. I guess she's just such a quirky character that he simply accepts whatever she says.

* We get a lot of nods to Jesse's mysterious past, which has got me very excited. He doesn't like swamps, "it's a family thing." Then near the end, he is stunned to see a creepy poster for Angelville, some kind of haunted bayou nonsense. The poster features the same skull-star symbol that Jesse has tattooed on his back.


Eugene: (reading Tracey's suicide note) "For Tucker, I leave a list of all the guys I've had great sex with so you can be jealous for all eternity: Greg, Houston, Cody H, Cody D," ... Cody D?
Tracey: It was just anal, so I'll still get into heaven.
Said right before she attempts suicide.

Bar patron: A preacher looking for God, that's a joke!

Jesse: Did you call me just to breathe down the phone?
Tulip: No! I just wanted to say... stuff.
Jesse: Well, you ain't saying any stuff.
Tulip: Well, you ain't saying any stuff either!
Jesse: I've gotta go.
Tulip: Fine. Go find your god then, preacher.

Three out of four half-eaten bags of peanut M&Ms.


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