SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't yet watched this week's episode of Preacher, then turn back now! This contains spoilers and key plot points.
Brand new comic book adaptation Preacher returned to our screens this week - and with a lot to live up to after last week's intense pilot. Having packed in introductions to the main characters, setting, and a little teaser for some of the supernatural elements in the first ep, 'See' was a little less intense. The pace slowed slightly, but just to build tension. The second episode expands on our existing characters, especially that mysterious pair who were teased in the pilot, and added a fan-favorite from the comics. Once again, it was an episode to leave viewers hungry for more.
A New Face
Once again, our opening scene does not take place in Annville. This time, it's not even in the present day. Instead, 'See' begins in 1881, as a child lies dying (at least, very ill) in a small cabin. Her mother (we assume) croons to her, and sends her father (again, we assume he's her father) away for medicine. She tells him that it will only take a few days, and to come back to them. Heading out across the wild West, he meets a wagon train, where we learn that not only is he a very quiet man, and not a happy one. He heads out again, alone, and we last see him as he reaches a town called Ratwater.
Comic fans will recognize the rugged cowboy who sets out across the desert as the Saint of Killers... but we won't go into too much detail about who that is. This is a very different approach to the Saint, too. In the comics, we only learn of his history long after he appears, but it seems that Preacher will be giving us the Saint's history upfront. It's only a tease so far, but we know that there is plenty more to look forward to in this story.
Jesse's Good Works
Last week, we saw Jesse promise to be a better Preacher to the town of Annville, and it seems that he is starting with baptisms. In front of the church, he has a line of churchgoers waiting to be dunked and have their sins washed away. And then there is Tulip.
Still attempting to get Jesse to work a mysterious job with her, she appears at the baptism to proclaim her sins... but we all know that whatever sins Tulip has committed, she's hardly repentant. Her scene with Jesse is brimming with sexual tension and double entendre, and it is an absolute pleasure to watch. There's also a hint that Emily might have something of a crush on the Preacher herself, as she seems less-than-thrilled about Tulip's presence.
She is, however, thrilled at Jesse's new enthusiasm. As well as getting a cappuccino maker for the church, she's planning meet and greets, canvassing, home visits - all to help Jesse do his good work. Later, we see the two canvassing outside a supermarket, showing the Jesse is making good on all his promises.
Man On The Run
Cassidy, still stuck living in the church attic, is attempting to leave from the get go. At first, he tries to extort some money from Emily, as an "advance". In typical Cass style, of course, he has to try a sob story about his Granny's anal polyps (lovely), before pointing out that he is running "dangerously low on drugs". Shockingly, Emily isn't willing to help him out.
Cass and Jesse, meanwhile, are becoming fast friends. Late at night, they sit up in the church, drinking stolen communion wine and talking. Despite the fact that Cass is deeply cynical, and the two have their differences, they seem to find solace in their common ground.
Through their conversation, we learn that it wasn't Jesse's father who taught him how to fight, although Jesse isn't about to open up about his past any more than he has to. Cass, meanwhile, is utterly upfront about himself - but as a "119 year old vampire, currently on the run from a group of vampire hunters who keep tracking me down", Jesse doesn't take him entirely seriously.
Friendship aside, Cass is able to trick Jesse into drinking something that knocks him out - allowing Cassidy to swipe his keys and wallet, and take off. It seems that Cass is free at last.
Tulip steals the show again this week. She's charming, sarcastic, smart... and very, very persistent. After her performance at the baptism, she steals Jesse's truck steering wheel (and asks if Jesus took it!) to get his attention. She's obviously not buying his new devotion to his church, and is not about to let him turn her down.
He's not the only man she's got in her crosshairs, either. At the local brothel, she's busy beating all the boys at poker, and she seems right at home. So at home, in fact, that she borrows a room... and uses it to store a kidnapped Jesse! After luring him out of his car and cracking him over the head, Tulip chains him by the ankle before popping out in a creepy gasmask. Part of that wonderful sense of humor. It's not all laughs, though. Tulip reveals that the map she stole is for "Danny" (someone that they both know), and that she is going to trade it for some information, that will lead to this job she wants to do with Jesse. She also gets a little dark - and tells him that she knows who he really is. He's the guy who broke Donnie's arm. And he's the guy who is going to do a job with her.
Fans of the comic are still waiting for Eugene to pick up his "Areseface" moniker, but we came close this week! Cassidy got his first glimpse at the young man, and had a particularly strong (and hilarious) reaction. We also got to learn the very basics of his story, when Cassidy asks Jesse about Eugene. All we hear is that Eugene attempted suicide, although it seems that there is more to that story. As Eugene and Sheriff Root are leaving the church, a group of men call out "murderer" at them - which isn't something you would usually hear about an attempted suicide.
This Week's Parishoners
Last week, we saw Jesse deal with a parishioner who was having trouble with his overbearing mother - and it did not end well for anyone involved. This week, the issue is with the local school bus driver, who confesses to Jesse that he is having "urges" about one of his young passengers. And, as if that wasn't disturbing enough, he seems utterly unconcerned about it. He seems more bothered about getting officially forgiven and making sure that Jesse can't tell anyone than anything else.
The second family Jesse focuses on this week is the Loach family. After an accident (we don't know exactly what happened), Tracy is left in a coma, with a massive head injury. Although Jesse does his best to try and comfort Tracy's mother, she has clearly lost hope - and Jesse's words mean nothing.
Another comic book name makes his appearance this week - Odin Quincannon. It's a brief appearance, as he brings a truck full of workers to a small home in order to pressure the owners into signing it over to his company. Not only does he get what he wants, but he literally bulldozes them into it - the instant that they sign, their last stick of furniture is lifted out by the men, and their house is knocked over.
Up until now, we have caught glimpses of Quincannon Meat and Packing, but this was our first look at the man himself. Although it's hard to tell exactly what kind of man he is from just this simple scene, the way his drifts off when talking about the butchers is enough to give comic book readers chills. This little scene also gives us a reminder that although Donnie's arm might be broken, he is still a violent, frightening human.
Who Are Those Guys?
Last week, we saw two men who appeared to be tracking the "comet" across the world. This week, we get to know a little more about the teabag-munching pair. (Which sounds like a dirty phrase worthy of Cassidy, but is quite literal!) Holed up in a motel outside of town, they are continuing to be strange and awkward (this time with a frightened motel maid).
They head out to the church, seemingly ready to extract whatever it was that got inside of Jesse - which looks like a red force and a black force doing... something. With Jesse already passed out (thanks Cassidy) the two set up a machine, and place a can on top of the Preacher. We're not sure quite what to expect, but it's not this... the creepiest lullaby ever sung. Whatever this is supposed to do (lure the thing out?) it doesn't work, and the two are about to take a slightly more drastic (and chainsaw-centric) approach when Cass comes back...
Violence For Everyone!
We thought that Cass was gone for good, but he's back, and he's not thrilled to see two men with a chainsaw standing over his new friend. He's even less thrilled when they shoot him.
Of course, as a 119 year old vampire, a little thing like being shot isn't going to keep Cass down, and we are treated to Cassidy's second glorious massacre. He battles the two strangers with relative ease, despite his guts spilling out, taking one down with broken glass and a bible, and the other with his own chainsaw. A chainsaw that is still on, and manages to get very close to killing Jesse all on its own, before Cass saves him. Like a good friend, he even chops up the bodies and cleans up the mess before Jesse wakes up - but he isn't able to bury them right away, because the sun has already come up.
Jesse might have missed all the blood and gore in the church, but he does some damage of his own. After Tulip gets in his head, and Eugene comes to tell him that no matter how hard he tries, he can't change, Jesse goes out to fix a problem. He breaks into the bus driver's house, and proceeds to "baptise" him again. Only this time, it starts with a punch to the face, and involves a bath full of scalding hot water. He tells the driver to forget her. Over and over again, until he booms it out with that echoing voice we heard last week - and the driver immediately forgets everything. He doesn't even know what Preacher is talking about - and it freaks Jesse out.
The Final Twist
Despite the fact that Cass brutally murdered the two strangers, one of the final scenes this week is the two of them looking very much alive and well - clearly, there are some more inhuman elements at work here! Preacher, meanwhile, seems to have started to grasp his power - and heads back to the Loach house to see if he can use this new ability to do some good. The episode ends as he commands Tracy to open her eyes.
Questions We Want Answered
Fans of the comics will probably have a good idea of the answers to these, but newcomers to the story of Jesse Custer will still be wondering... (Please keep the comments spoiler-free!)
- Who is the cowboy? Comic fans know exactly who the Saint of Killers is, but for newcomers to the series, this is going to be a big question mark - and it looks like we are going to be drip-fed the answer.
- What is this new information? At first, it seemed like Tulip's 'job' was simple - go find whatever it is on the map. Now, things are getting a little more complicated - who is Danny? Why does he want the map? What's the information Tulip will get in return?
- What's Eugene's Story? Although we now know that Eugene attempted suicide, why did the other men call him a murderer?
- What's Quincannon up to? Although we just met him this week, Quincannon is one creepy dude, and it looks like he's up to something... but what?
- How are those two not dead? Again, comic fans will know the answer to this one, but everyone else is wondering how the two strangers are still alive. Are they vampires too? They've been out in the sun, so presumably not. They claim to work for the government, but unless the government has got a weapon X-style healing factor in their back pocket, it doesn't explain the miracle regenerating limbs!
What's Next? Season 1, Episode 3 'The Possibilities'
Next week, it looks like Jesse has finally figured out just what happened to him when he was knocked out in the pilot - and is having a lot of fun with the possibilities! Something has changed with Tracy, and Jesse might start to get a reputation as a miracle worker - although other than Tracy, he just seems to be using it to mess with Cass! Tulip, meanwhile, is still attempting to convince Jesse to work with her, and he is still resisting. And the strangers? Are packing heat, and after Jesse.
You can catch Preacher on AMC Sunday evenings.