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...
If last week's episode represented Preacher letting its worst tendencies get the better of it, Sokosha finds the show back on a much more even keel. And though there is the creeping realisation that the series is needing to cycle through its leads in terms of spotlight (well, Tulip and Cassidy at least, with the latter given more to do this week while Tulip mostly cooks and is threatened), there's a much better balance of drama and madness. And the ticking clock thriller element, while a well-worn narrative trick, was deployed effectively, one or two quibbles aside.
The early sequence showing the unnamed technician for Soul Happy Go Go (because of course that's what a Japanese company dealing in souls calls itself) at first seemed to be a random little scene, or potentially a spin-off from the Grail (that lot were conspicuously absent once again), but quickly tied into the main plot. Boundaries between fantasy and reality are always flexible on this show, but the sheer mundane reality of soul donation was conceived and used well.
It was also good to see the chemistry of the main trio starting to recover, particularly after last week's depressing anti-love montage. Named pancakes! Banter! Jesse trying to explain what he was up to with that lounge singer! (Okay, so there was your mention of someone from the Grail, bingo card holders). The domestic bliss and the continued search for God were interrupted by the Saint finally tracking our heroes down – his killing spree actually worked this time, and the tightening tension gripped like a vice.
Of course, our heroes had some warning, so they'd vamoosed, headed to the library to research the gun-toting enemy. And what luck! They were able to find out what they needed, with a book on tape, no less. Another contrivance, to be sure, but the sort of fun spin on that twist that Preacher does so well. Gotta love a montage that also squeezes in actual pages from the comic. Tying the two elements of this week together – souls and family – the plot wove nearly seamlessly, while we also got to watch Jesse attempt to blow open an armoured car. Amusingly, the show continues to play with scenarios where the Word of God doesn't work for our smug hero. And do most of the voodoo shops in New Orleans sell souls? We'll have to go and see when we visit next time.
While Hell was referenced, Eugene was not, but he and Hitler weren't missed this week. Instead, Graham McTavish got to do a little more as the Saint beyond shooting people and demanding the whereabouts of the Preacher. The show managed to make the idea of the Saint taking a deal workable, whereas some series might have struggled with seemingly shutting down the big threat halfway through the season. Doubt he's gone for good, but now the focus can be on the search for the Almighty and how the Grail factors into that.
A big improvement this week, even if it did nothing to further the hunt for God. A thrilling little bottle episode that gave Cassidy something to do (even if it did end up with him needing to re-grow fingers – ouch!), and even some real emotional underpinning via the revelation that Denis is his son. Preacher needs to move things along in the coming weeks, but this was a fine way to spend an hour in the show's company.
Highlight: The exposition montage for the Saint. Love that cheesy romance novel, Love's Every Salvation, and we're hoping Graham McTavish got a print of it to keep.
Lowlight: The pure coincidence of the truck being right where Jesse needed it smacked of slightly lazy plotting.
Kill of the week: There are several, again the work of the Saint. His striding into an apartment with a sword was a moment Quentin Tarantino would enjoy.
MVP: McTavish, for digging deep into the Saint again.
Random thought: Title trivia klaxon! Sokosha in Japanese means "armoured car". Bet you thought it was going to refer to a soul, right?
Airing on AMC Monday nights in the US, Preacher is available weekly on Amazon Prime Tuesdays in the UK.