Following the overwhelmingly positive response to the Preacher premiere, episode 2, "See", promised to deliver the goods once again (and features yet another killer track by Johnny Cash). Let's take a look at the what went down, and bring to light some the most important moments, with an eye on how all the craziness will play out going forward.
Let the water hold me down...
Jesse follows up his impassioned speech in the Preacher pilot with a baptism-fest with his parishioners, using a washtub for the ritual. Everyone comes through the spiritual car wash, including Eugene (AKA Arseface), who seems genuinely moved by the experience. Just when Jesse is feeling good about himself, up walks Tulip, the little Devil on his shoulder, asking to be baptized. He asks all the right questions of Tulip, but when he dunks her, she playfully grins at Jesse, then says, 'Thanks for getting me all wet'. That minx!
The chemistry between Jesse and Tulip is palpable and fun: one of the highlights of the show so far.
Jesse gets taken aside by Linus, the school bus driver for Annville, who confesses that he's having VERY impure thoughts (but no action) about a little girl who rides his bus every day. Jesse does his best to counsel and dissuade Linus, who only wants forgiveness. Jesse does the boilerplate religion thing, and Linus feels almost vindicated. My guess is that this will come to a head pretty soon, since Jesse is clearly struggling with the good/bad in himself. Can a person 'change', really? And can they change through sheer force of will? Arseface comes to Jesse after the baptism, ruefully admitting that nothing has changed. Linus won't change because of a few platitudes from a preacher. And Tulip keeps telling Jesse that his true self will emerge eventually: that he is a 'bad, bad man', and sooner or later he will go to the dark side again.
Words do matter
This is, of course, juxtaposed with the new power inside Jesse - the ability to bend others to his will through just his words. Early in the ep he yells at a barking dog to 'be quiet!' and it does in an instant. Later in the ep he confronts Linus about the urges he feels, and uses his powers to make him 'forget' about the girl (which he does). As Jesse learns more about this power, I'm sure some serious weirdness will ensue.
Texas Chainsaw Redux
Ok, enough of the analysis, let's get to the action! Jesse and Cassidy are busy getting sh*t-faced in the church, with Cassidy's own concoction: rubbing alcohol, coffee-machine descaler, "shit dripping out of the air conditioner."
Nice! This knocks Jesse out cold, and leaves him vulnerable to the baddies Fiore and DeBlanc, who want to take the 'entity', or whatever the hell it is, out of Jesse.
They have a trunk full of weirdness, including a coffee can that they place on Jesse's stomach. They crank some crazy music box thingy, and begin to sing a lullaby which is supposed to exorcise the entity from Jesse. Does it work - eh, not so much. So, it's on to Plan B. What's Plan B? A friggin' CHAINSAW, that's what!
But before they can pull off the 'cut the Preacher in half' trick, in comes Cass to the rescue! The hilarious part is that Cass thinks that they are the 'vampire hunters' from his past, in search of him: while in reality, they have NO idea who Cass is! What follows is an insane, high energy fight to the death between Cass and the two baddies.
Guns and knives are in play, including Cass beating one of the men to death WITH A BIBLE! The way the show plays around with religion and its tropes and rituals is very refreshing to me: nothing is safe or sacred. Cass eventually cuts the bad guy's arm off while he's still holding the chainsaw, and then the saw creeps it's way along the floor towards the unconsious Jesse. Cass slips on the bloody floor, but he gets to the chainsaw just in time to save Jesse. Oh, I found the fight you guys - see for yourself!
I'm LOVING the fight scenes in this show! Best thing going right now on the TV box! How can you beat gun-fu, knife-fu, bible-fu, and chainsaw-fu, ALL in ONE scene?? Awesome!
A cascade of new characters and scenarios were introduced in 'See' as well, expanding the world of Annville. One of those is a mysterious cowboy in the year 1881, who goes off on a mission to get medicine for his sick daughter.
He comes across a family of settlers taking a rest from their travels, and a discussion about religion tells us that the mystery man isn't into baby Jesus very much. The scene ends with him entering the 'Towne of Ratwater', riding past a tree filled with corpses, hung from the tree, many of them scalped.
This is very reminiscent of the Breaking Bad cold opens, where a weird, seemingly incongruous scene is gradually woven into the story-line. No surprise, since one of the showrunners is Sam Catlin of Breaking Bad. That gimmick served 'BB' well, so I'm sure it will be satisfying in 'Preacher' as well.
Another character with a rather obtuse introduction is Odin Quincannon, who is played by the wonderfully creepy Jackie Earle Haley.
Seems Odin is a rather nasty fellow who owns the local meat processing concern in Annville. We see him as he pays off an elderly Mexican couple for their house and land, presumably so he can use the land to raise more cattle for the slaughterhouse. Once the payment is made, the house is razed to the ground literally SECONDS later. Odin's crew looks like a bunch of hoods, so my guess is that their boss is up to no good.
Wake up Call
Earlier in the ep, Jesse visits the Loach family, whose daughter is comatose from a fall while horseback riding.
He tries his best to comfort the mother, but she shows Jesse the gigantic dent in the back of her daughter's head, and is basically down on God and everything Jesse stands for. He goes away, dejected, but after his tete a tete with Linus, he goes back to the Loach house. He concentrates, and using his 'entity' voice, commands her to open her eyes.
The ep leaves us hanging - so we'll have to see if she does in fact wake up. But considering that she has about half of her ol' brain matter missing, who knows what she will be like if she does wake up. This presents a big problem for Jesse: one of his 'commands' has already resulted in a man literally cutting his heart out in front of his own mother. Jesse will have to wield his power judiciously, or chaos will follow. But maybe chaos is what we want, right? I know I do!
Cass chopped up the baddies and buried them in their own trunk, but at the end of the ep the sheriff is talking to some people in his office, and they cut only to see... wait for it... Fiore and DeBlanc - ALIVE! WTF? Are they immortal? Are they doppelgangers? Ok, my head hurts now!
Jesse comes out to find the steering wheel of his truck missing. Tulip pulls aside and asks, 'Did Jesus take your wheel?' Priceless!
Overall, this one was a little disjointed, but still thoroughly enjoyable. The seemingly random intros of the Cowboy and Odin will pay off soon I'm sure. I don't have a problem with the 'slow burn' approach to storytelling, so I have faith that it will all be gangbusters as we go along. Keep watching!