Preacher Brings the Villains Together for Some Light Violence

first_imgStay on target We’re going to be learning a lot about Jesse’s past this season on Preacher. Back when Jesse was a student at Angelville High, he had all sorts coming to him for favor from Madame L’Angelle. Including a pedophile teacher who needs to keep a student quiet. Jesse provides the teacher a spell to dissolve the student’s supposed infatuation with him, on the condition that he makes all his payments on time. You can guess what happens next. He doesn’t, and Jesse and his brothers run the man down, beat up to a pulp and suck out his soul. It’s an important scene that lets us know exactly what danger our three heroes are in. It tells us what kind of witch Madame L’Angelle is, and how she lives so long. Plus, we get to see a pedophile die painfully. So it’s a win all around.In the present, Tulip is back alive, but the group dynamic is different. Cassidy hasn’t forgiven Jesse for his selfish actions in New Orleans. Or for almost getting Tulip permanently killed. As Jesse tries to see how Tulip’s doing, Cassidy answers are curt, annoyed sentences. Tulip doesn’t remember anything about her time in the afterlife, not even her encounter with Dog God. They do figure out that Starr and his crew were manipulating all three of them for the entire duration of their NOLA stay. Jesse doesn’t want to go after them yet, though. Herr Starr still has his soul, meaning The Word no longer works. Jesse makes a call to set up a meeting.Pip Torrens as Herr Starr (Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)We didn’t see him at all during the premiere, so it’s only right that the second episode catches us up with Starr. When Jesse gets hold of him, he’s shooting up a Hare Krishna temple. The Krishna’s fight back a lot better than you’d expect. Turns out there’s a lot of room for guns under those robes. This is the kind of violence we want from Preacher. Starr and his henchmen engage in a massive, bloody, slowed down gunfight while catchy upbeat pop music plays over the carnage. Starr is still the funny, awful fascist villain he was last season. As illustrated by the moment he runs out of ammo, lets out an annoyed sigh and gets his hands on another pistol. By taking it from his own henchmen and shooting him in the head so the bullet also hits one of the Krishnas. It’s that balance of horrific and funny that only this show really nails. Of course, Starr wins in the end. When the Krishnas’ leader refuses to swear fealty to Humperdoo, Starr kills him.Back in Angelville, Tulip is starting to remember her encounter with God. At least it’s coming to her in flashes. Still no memory of what He told her to do, but she’s seeing visions. He’s not the only one she’s seeing, though. While shooting beer cans in the back yard, she sees a familiar figure in the bushes. It’s Featherstone, the woman who spent all of last season tricking and manipulating her. Tulip, as you might imagine, is not too happy to see her. She is happy to beat the stuffing out of her, though. And hey, Hoover’s here too. With the L’Angelle’s help, Tulip, Jesse and Cassidy march Hoover and Featherstone into the swamp to kill them with an organ grinder.Lara Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery) and Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) (Photo by Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)That turns out to be a ruse, though. While Featherstone awaits her gory death, Hoover seemingly escapes. Jesse takes Featherstone into the woods and lets her go too. It turns out he just needed them to get a message to Starr. Nothing’s changed, he says. The Messiah still needs Starr. We know he’s not being entirely honest with them, though. He needs his soul back, and to get it, he needs to play nice with The Grail. He explains all of that to Tulip, along with his plan to kill the L’Angelles and The Grail once he has his power back. Tulip’s still pissed that Jesse let Featherstone go, but the promise of violence makes her go along with this stupid, stupid plan. Even as Jesse lays it out, you know it’s not going to work. TV Jesse is kind of a dumbass.That violence isn’t far away either. Last week’s premiere was a great way to ease us into the season. It set a manageable pace for the rest of Season Three to follow. It was smart, managing our expectations so we’re not disappointed again when the TV series doesn’t deliver quite the breakneck lunacy of the Preacher comics. This second episode was much more of a crowd-pleaser, with the action, dark comedy and violence this show originally lured us in with. It’s one way to avoid the second episode slump. Tulip and Cassidy get the L’Angelles out of the house by starting a gunfight with another voodoo game. A gunfight that involves a toy car bomb, a weaponized goat and a grenade launcher. Because bullets would be too conventional at this point.Jeremy Childs as Jody, Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare (Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)Meanwhile, Jesse meets up with Herr Starr in the L’Angelle house while everyone’s distracted. For a second, it looked like he was going to get his soul back already. Starr appears to give it to him, and for a brief moment, it seems like Jesse has The Word back. But no. This show doesn’t move that fast. The “soul” was a placebo. The real deal is in Starr’s van. Jesse, now that he’s lost all leverage, agrees to follow Starr back to the van for his soul. He nearly gets it back, but Tulip, thinking he already has it, shoots up some faceless Grail henchmen. The van speeds away, leaving Jesse still powerless. We all knew Preacher wasn’t going to give Jesse his soul back this early. That’s just not how this show works. Besides, the Angelville arc is so important in the comics, there’s no way we won’t spend the entire season here. Especially when the show has barely established what kind of villain Madame L’Angelle is.That’s the big frustration so far this season. It spends a lot of time telling us how powerful and scary Madame L’Angelle is, and not nearly enough time showing us. Now that Tulip is alive, why doesn’t Jesse just leave? Because she’s scary. Why? Because he tells us he is. The opening scene shows us that she hunts down people who don’t pay their debts, but the show doesn’t give us a satisfying reason why Jesse wouldn’t be able to evade her. Just like he’s done his entire adult life. It starts to at the end. Once Madame L’Angelle figures out what Jesse was trying to pull, she starts twisting an object in her hands, which crushes Jesse’s throat. So she can voodoo kill Jesse if he tries to welch on her. That’s a reason he can’t just leave, I guess. The scene passes by without much gravitas though. It’s not treated with the horror or danger it needs. I want this show to horrify or disturb me, and so far this season hasn’t done much of either.Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga (Photo via AMC)The final shot almost makes up for it though. It at least lets us know what the consequences of defying Jesse’s grandmother looks like. Jesse, having been choked into subservience, is sent to work in the basement. There, he sees the molester-teacher from the beginning. He’s been turned into a soulless zombie. It’s a haunting image to end the episode on, and I wish the episode had more of it to contrast the comedy. It did build some eager anticipation for next week. Madame L’Angelle is at least a little more threatening now, even if the rest of the clan is still flat comic relief. (Are we actually supposed to be intimidated by Jody? I can’t tell.)Rather than a second-episode slump, which affects a lot of shows, we got one that was more fun, if less consequential than the premiere. By the end, the characters are largely in the same place they were when it started. Jesse still doesn’t have a soul, and the trio still hates each other. Which, by the way, I hope they get over soon. This fractured dynamic can be interesting, but it’s taking the wind out of the series’ sails right now. The fast, witty dialog and action is weighed down by everyone sulking at each other the whole time. Hopefully, the season moves the story along soon. At only 10 episodes, it’s not like it has a ton of time to stall. On the bright side, this episode put our two main villains in the same place, which is exciting. We’ll be waiting a while for L’Angelle and Starr to be in the same room, but something’s bound to pop off when it happens. And hopefully we do, at some point, see Herr Starr eat his own dick. Come on Preacher, you can’t set that up and leave us hanging all season.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. 11 Forgotten Vertigo Comics That Would Make Awesome TV ShowsThe Greatest Romances in Comic Book History last_img

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