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'Preacher' Finally and Proudly Waves Its Freak Flag

By Brian Richards | Preacher | July 4, 2016 |

By Brian Richards | Preacher | July 4, 2016 |

The Story So Far:

Remember last week, when I said that many of us have gotten to the point where we’re all watching Preacher like this…


…when we’d all much prefer watching Preacher like this?


Well, the opening ten minutes of this week’s episode pretty much turned me into Happy Dancing Ron Swanson, because they were good. So damn good.

Jesse (and the audience members who haven’t read any of the original comics) finally finds out what it is that he’s carrying inside his body (Genesis, which is the end result of a soldier from Heaven and a soldier from Hell defying all orders from The Powers That Be and having sex, which is still less disturbing than Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift coupling up), Fiore and DeBlanc are given something to do besides sit around and collect dust like the furniture in their motel room, all three of them being hunted by a Seraph who looks like an evil and pissed-off version of Samantha Bee, and we get a fight sequence so bloody, so violent, so prolonged, and so much fun to watch, all that was missing was Roddy Piper running into the room with sunglasses in hand and yelling, “Put the glasses on! PUT ‘EM ON!”

JESSE - After surviving the Battle Without Honor or Humanity at the Sundowner Motel, Jesse still has no intention of giving Genesis back to Fiore and DeBlanc, despite their repeated proclamations that Genesis is not the voice of God and that it’s just a mistake. He’s convinced that Genesis was given to him for a reason, and that reason is to connect a loudspeaker to the outside of the church and use it to spread The Word all over Annville and save their souls by making them all serve God because he says so. You know, like what he did to Odin Quincannon, and we all saw how wonderfully that turned out.

TULIP - Still sitting around and checking our watches waiting for her to be given more interesting things to do besides pining over Jesse (again), barging into Emily’s home and threatening her to stay away from Jesse, and then bonding with her immediately after by telling her stories about her time in California and helping her run errands for the church. (I will admit, though, that her anecdote of slashing Elizabeth Taylor’s tires for being ‘a super-shitty tipper’ did make me chuckle)

CASSIDY - After coming across the Attack of the Clones at the Sundowner Hotel and doing his part to help out, only to make things worse (which seems to be something Cassidy specializes in), he once again tries to convince Jesse to hand Genesis over to Fiore and DeBlanc, with no success. He also runs into with Tulip while she’s dropping off supplies at the church, only to find out that she and Jesse are exes, and it’s hard to tell whether he’s upset about the fact that they were once an item, that Tulip’s ex just happens to be his new best friend, or the fact that he’s in love with Tulip (or so he says) and clearly wants her for himself.

FIORE & DEBLANC - After surviving their battle with Evil Samantha Bee and disposing of her, and then being told by Jesse that he won’t be returning Genesis to them, they appear to be strongly considering Option C (Option A being their nursery rhyme and Option B being their chainsaw) in order to get it back. And I’m pretty sure that option C starts with “S” and ends with “Aint Of Killers.”

EUGENE a.k.a. ARSEFACE - Eugene, not quite knowing how to respond to kids at school being nice to him and not subjecting him to constant beatings and verbal harassment (especially when those kids are the brother of comatose girl Tracy Loach and his friends), tells Jesse that not only is he undeserving of forgiveness, but he wants him to undo whatever he did to make Mrs. Loach stop hating him. This only confuses and infuriates Jesse, who doesn’t understand what Eugene wants and why he keeps coming to him, and also makes him even more determined to go forward with his sermon where he plans on using The Word to “save this damn town.” Eugene tells Jesse that making people serve God instead of allowing them to choose for themselves is wrong and it’s a sin. Jesse, who is growing more and more furious over Eugene repeatedly telling him this, finally uses The Word on Eugene and tells him to go to Hell. And he does.

We don’t see it happen (which means that we don’t get to see the Not-Death Eaters from Ghost show up to drag him away as if he’s Tony Goldwyn or Alison Lohman. And if you’re reading that second name and going, “Who?”, just click here), we just hear some demonic growling before Jesse slowly turns around and sees that Eugene is gone. If ever there was a moment deserving of Jesse being hit with the “What The Hell, Hero?” TV Trope, this is most definitely it.

ODIN QUINCANNON’S WEEKLY MOMENT OF WEIRDNESS - Odin doesn’t make an appearance in this episode, but we do get to see Mayor Person still dealing with his shotgun-toting moment of weirdness from last week, in that he covers up Odin’s murder of the CEO and Vice Presidents of Green Acre Group by burning their bodies and blaming their deaths on a fiery car accident.

TO SUM IT ALL UP - In the opening scene alone, Preacher gave me exactly what I’ve been wanting from the show for the last three weeks: it gave us answers that push the story forward and cleared up any possible confusion, it gave us plenty of action, black comedy, over-the-top “Did that really just happen?” violence, and most importantly: it really made me want to see what happens next. All of this has been missing from too many of the episodes this season (and we only have four episodes left), and it makes me even more upset that Preacher didn’t step its game up much sooner than this to be more like the series that many of us have been waiting for all these years.

Of course, once the story turned its attention back to Annville, things weren’t nearly as interesting (and again, Tulip is a highly dangerous criminal with a temper that would make Joe Pesci in Goodfellas take several steps backwards when she’s not blasting helicopters out of the sky with homemade rocket launchers. I’m sure we can find more interesting things for her to do onscreen than look angry and pine for Jesse all the damn time) and although the scenes with Eugene and his friends were really nice and I’m glad it didn’t go the predictable route of the kids pretending to be nice and then beating Eugene up once they all got out of school, when you find yourself nodding your head in agreement as Cassidy wonders aloud why Jesse is still here and not taking this show on the road, it’s just another sign that either Annville needs to get a lot more interesting if the show intends on being here past Season 1, or Jesse and company need to get out of town already so we can focus on everything else that grabs our attention (Genesis, and what happens when forces beyond their control or understanding come after them and cross their paths because of it).

Jesse seemed to be channeling Jon Bernthal as Shane on The Walking Dead way too much when lashing out at Eugene in the final scene, and I can only chalk up this sudden heel turn to what Genesis is doing to him and how he’s being affected by it (one of its parents is half-demon, after all). And the sooner that Arseface is somehow retrieved from Hell and Jesse is made to feel like an asshole for sending him there, the sooner we can stop asking ourselves, “So…why are we supposed to like and care about Jesse again?”

The next four episodes have no direct competition to distract anyone or make them forget that the show is still airing (no Game Of Thrones, no NBA Finals, no BET Awards and most importantly…no Game Of Thrones), so here’s hoping that Preacher continues to realize that moving the story at a glacial pace where very little happens is so not the way to go, and that letting the show raise its freak flag high in the air and wave it proudly (like it did tonight) is what we all really want to see.