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...
Before we start the episode review proper, in case you missed the news, Preacher has been renewed! A 13-episode second season will be on screens next year.
The prologue began back in the post Civil War era, where Graham McTavish's Cowboy (he's still not the Saint Of Killers yet) arrived in Ratwater to buy medicine for his daughter. Naturally, it does not go well, leading to him beaten up and having his horse shot out from under him. If there's one issue we have (besides the poor horse), it's that this guy feels like he already could have become the Saint, without the lashings of brutal and then tragic backstory. It's still chilling to see him strap on his guns and prepare to head out, though.
Fully embracing his newfound power (if not completely understanding the ramifications of it) works wonders for Jesse Custer this week – he's less dour, more confident and comes alive as he starts using, or rather misusing the ability to turn people to his will. Lucy Griffiths' Emily is sidelined a little once again, but she does at least get in a few good shots, questioning (rightly, as it will later turn out) Jesse's interaction with Odin Quincannon last week. Through her and others, the episode delves into how people perceive Jesse. Some know of his dodgy past (hilarious conjured up by a frustrated Tulip, who spins a yarn involving a Komodo dragon). There's relief to be had at the end for people frustrated about Jesse's lack of knowledge as Fiore and DeBlanc finally decide to go to him directly, which you rather think angels would have done in the first place. Talking of...
Fiore and DeBlanc
A lot of their material this week is the comic one-act (strictly two) play of the angels deciding what to say to their bosses upstairs in heaven now that the phone is ringing. It's intriguing to learn that Fiore is seen as the sweet one, but you can sort of see it – DeBlanc always comes across as a little pushier. The meat, though, is in them finally confronting Jesse directly in a conversation you would imagine will continue next week. Will they have to do something dramatic to convince him that what he carries is truly that powerful? After all, the coffee can really doesn't seem to cut it – there are moments where subtlety isn't helpful. Tom Brooke and Anatol Yusef remain the low-key delights of the series, and now we're intrigued to see how they play the boys going forward given that they're finally being less mysterious.
As we mentioned, Tulip gets in a few good passive aggressive (most aggressive) shots at the preacher this week. The shocker, though, is her sudden bond with Cassidy that goes from them meeting last week to car sex now. It's ripe with both comic potential, and they make a good team, and the chance to detonate a plot time bomb down the line when Jesse inevitably finds out. How will that play out? Will he just accept it, given what he knows about them, or will sour everything? The one downside to the fun chat between the two is Tulip being forced to spew exposition yet again – not sure we needed the flashback to Carlos and the car. Thank goodness, then, that she also has that fun moment of breaking into Emily's house to ask about Jesse - while the poor woman is trying to use the loo.
Cassidy has a chance to show his sweeter side in his interactions with Tulip, and Joe Gilgun mostly sells his sudden interest in her. Well, his interest in her as a woman, at least, since Cassidy appears to show interest in almost anyone female he finds attractive. And in case you were wondering, Cassidy's feelings towards Tulip do indeed come from the comics, just further down the line in the plot. Given how far the show diverges from the source, it's not a huge surprise.
Also in the Not A Big Surprise category: sneaky ol' Odin was faking his conversion! Or at least it only worked for so long. We vote the former. This is why they hired Jackie Earle Haley! (Well, that and the fact he's a good actor). Seeing Odin go all Clint Eastwood on the Green Acre people was not as shocking as it might have been (bet a lot of you figured that God-happy Odin was a cover), but it's still entertaining to see Quincannon be Quincannon. Woe betide anyone who crosses him!
With South Will Rise (Jamie Anne Allman as Donnie Schenck's wife Betsey wins the Title In Dialogue prize this week as she tries to convince her cowed husband to behave more like the man she knew and less like one of the heifers he used to slaughter) starts to turn the plot wheels a little more quickly, which will no doubt please those worried that it's just going to be Jesse sitting around in town dishing out orders. The other townsfolk's stories continue to move at a snail's pace (especially Eugene's) but we're getting more layers for everybody. As per usual, it's Cassidy and Tulip who provide the main entertainment, even if the idea of Jesse's two closest chums hooking up has the air of a plot beat waiting to happen.
Highlight: Tulip and Cassidy's chat about his particular vampirism.
Lowlight: Did we need yet more evidence that people dislike Eugene? This is one horse deader than the cowboy's.
Kill of the week: The unlucky Green Acres folk, who picked the wrong meat-packing stalwart to cross.
Quote of the week: "It's a 2,000-year-old symbol of hypocrisy, slavery and oppression, but it won't burn me face off" – Cassidy on whether crosses affect him.
MVP: Fiore, for his worries about what to say on the phone.
Random thought: Who else wants a prequel series of Jesse and Tulip's wild days, Better Call Saul-style?
Airing on AMC Sunday nights in the US, Preacher is available weekly on Amazon Prime Mondays in the UK.