Various elements of the episode will be discussed in this review, so beware spoilers. And watch the episode before you read on, lest you face the wrath of the almighty. Or Cassidy...
Nice switch-up here. It's revealed that the "Danny" Tulip has been talking about as her information source for the crime she wants an unwilling Jesse's help with is "Danni" (Julie Dretzin). There's a trade to be made – the document Tulip acquired in the pilot makes reference to "Grail Industries", which could be a tip towards the secret organisation known as The Grail in the comic books. We also see the first of the flashbacks for the episode, revealing the big dark secret that soured things between Custer and Tulip.
Fiore and DeBlanc
The deadpan style of Anatol Yusef and Tom Brooke as the two agents works well, given how they're usually involved in abject chaos as they try to retrieve Genesis from Jesse and fall afoul of Cassidy (another flashback, this much shorter in time to their bloody first encounter with the vampire, reminds us of what happened last time, though it's not exactly subtle). At last we start to learn more about them, though, so that's something. And we don't just mean how they're able to keep coming back from the dead.
Early in the episode, it's more about the fallout from the Preacher's recent actions – we see that Tracy Loach has indeed opened her eyes, but remains comatose, just weirdly sitting and staring. A lesson for Jesse: maybe don't try to be so literal next time? And then there's Donnie, still injured and seeing ramifications from his beat-down at the hands of Custer. Talking of Donnie, his attempt to explain away his S&M relationship with his wife to son Chris comes across as awkward and weird and still doesn't really make it feel like an actual, consenting relationship. Then there's a chance to check in with Linus, who has indeed forgotten all about the object of his unnatural urges. And he finally starts trying to come to grips with his new "gift", though he's still got some way to go on that front. The flashbacks return (briefly) to show more of what happened during Jesse and Tulip's fateful last criminal endeavour. Our takeaway? MULLET!
Yet more chances for Joseph Gilgun to be funny, playing up Cassidy's laziness and light fingers. He can also effortlessly play the quieter moments, such as the chat with Jesse when he finds the Preacher prone after his discovery of his new power. But even better than that is another tussle with Fiore and DeBlanc, where he learns something new about both them and what's inside Jesse. Could Cassidy actually turn on his new BFF? We wouldn't put it past him.
That early scene with Danni gave Ruth Negga a new note to play with Tulip – one of sorrow, anger and remembrance, but elsewhere it's business as usual with Miss O'Hare. Attempting to charm her way out of something? Check. Being sneaky? Check. Trying to convince Jesse he needs to help her get revenge on the criminal associate who double crossed them both? The details of her demand are becoming clearer, though the plot needs to develop on that front.
Another relatively sedate episode, which does point to how the show will be going forward. Things should ramp up now that Jesse's starting to grasp what has happened to him – and Dominic Cooper plays the clash of darkness and light within himself with a light touch that never strays into melodrama. Mostly what you have here is a lot of plot lines snaking along at their own pace and slowly starting to intertwine. It's only the second episode after the pilot, so we're still in set-up mode, but the set-up is fun so far. And the series (aside from one or two exceptions) is largely avoiding the trap of repeating the pilot's beats, preferring to let the story unfold naturally. We might wish for more of the craziness distilled from the comic book, but in the brief glimpses we get it seems we're in for more down the line and more of the powerful forces in the town (and far outside it) converge.
Highlight: Donnie Vs. Jesse. Poor, stupid Donnie.
Lowlight: That mullet from the flashback. It was a nightmare of a hairdo.
Kill of the week: Fiore and DeBlanc. Again. Death by van. But they're a persistent pair.
Quote of the week: "I killed you. How'd you do that? Clones..." - Cassidy, trying to figure out Fiore and DeBlanc's secret. Keep guessing, mate.
MVP: Tulip, for her scene with the cop.
Random thought: Is there a reason Cassidy has "123456" tattooed on his chest?
Airing on AMC Sunday nights in the US, Preacher is available weekly on Amazon Prime Mondays in the UK