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.
Last week, we saw Jesse truly embracing his power - and got a little bit concerned that he might be getting carried away with it. This week pretty much confirms that, with Jesse strutting around town using the Word of God left, right, and center. Last week we were also treated to a lot of character backstory, whereas this week's episode focuses primarily on modern-day Annville - but with someone else's backstory fleshed out instead.
Events are picking up speed now that we're at the halfway point, and while things seemed to be going well for Jesse, we know that a storm is brewing for the super-powered Preacher...
We first visited Ratwater and the Old West back in episode 2, where we saw a silent cowboy headed into town for some medicine. This week, it's time to see a little more of his story. In town, he gives the drugist the order, and is told that he has to wait for morning to pick it up. Like any good cowboy, he decides that as he's unable to find a room for the night, he'll spend it sitting in the saloon.
While there, we meet another Preacher - the original religious man of Ratwater, who seems to have more in common with the old Jesse Custer than the new improved version. The Preacher recognizes the cowboy, but we don't know why. We also see that the Wild West was named that for a reason - as a family who comes to the town meets a gruesome fate: the father killed, and the mother raped while the son is forced to watch.
The cowboy simply ignores this, and walks away in the morning to take his medication home - but as he passes the family who he met on the road, he realizes that he can't leave them to the same fate, and turns back for town. There, the family turns out to be just fine, and the cowboy gets into a brawl for nothing. To make everything worse, the Preacher realizes how he knows the cowboy. They were on opposite sides at Gettysberg. In revenge, the Preacher shoots his horse - leaving him to walk home.
Of course, the cowboy takes too long, having to make his journey on foot - and by the time he arrives at his homestead with the medicine, it's to find carrion birds eating his dead wife and child. He doesn't cry, or scream, or give up. Instead, our nameless cowboy arms himself, and heads back out again - and it seems that Ratwater's Preacher will be his target.
The Sheriff Snaps
Back in Annville, something creepy is happening... again. But this time, it's in Sheriff Root's backyard. At least, he thinks it is, as the Sheriff investigates after hearing a noise. For a moment, it seems like the Angels' talk of an escaped fugitive has just gone to his head, and there was nothing there. That is, until Eugene heads upstairs and sees that someone has been in his room - and left him a shotgun and a spray-painted note telling him to finish the job.
Later, Eugene is trying to be helpful, and makes his dad an omlette... but it's not enough. The sheriff flips out, smashing the plate against the wall and telling Eugene that maybe he should just finish the job. There is a moment of shocked silence, before Eugene leaves - as his father stares at the table. It's a brutal moment, and one that is hard to watch, even in a show that prides itself on gore.
Jesse The Rock Star
Things are going far better for Jesse, who is the new town celebrity after his miraculous conversion of Odin Quincannon at his last church service. Emily isn't thrilled about it though - when Jesse reveals that he bet Quincannon his father's land to come to church, she's rightly furious. However, before she can lay into Jesse's new smug self, some enthusiastic teens ask for his help to talk about the bible (a scene that some viewers might find less realistic than angels and superpowers...). Emily is trying to express her concern, but Jesse is high on his success and feeling invincible.
Cassidy, meanwhile, is fully recovered from being pushed out of a window and gives Tulip the low-down on modern vampirism. Both characters are remarkably blase about the situation, though - Cass has clearly been through this before, while Tulip is simply the kind of badass who is more than capable of grasping supernatural beings in a whorehouse. Other than sunlight and blood helping him heal, Cass dismisses most of the vampire legends, and reassures her that he doesn't kill anyone who doesn't deserve it.
Cass, meanwhile, is still on the hunt for more drugs (just in case we'd forgotten that he's a raging drug addict), and hits on Tulip while he's at it. Cass is hardly subtle, and Tulip turns him down, but in doing so - she reveals a little something about her and Jesse. Not only does she refer to him as her boyfriend, but says that she's just waiting for him to get bored of his job so that they can leave. It's rare to see Tulip being so vulnerable - even if vulnerability comes out as anger in her. She tells Cass abut Carlos, and is still planning to go get him - and when she does, Carlos isn't going to be particularly happy about it. Cass, meanwhile, is planting some doubts in Tulip's head about Jesse. (Not that he knows he's talking about Jesse, of course!)
Donnie Schenck is still dealing with his run-ins with Preacher - refusing to go to work, claiming to be sick. His wife, meanwhile, is having none of it, and tells him to get his ass out of bed and get back to his job. She doesn't realize that Donnie is reacting to more than just being beaten in a bar-fight - but to having Preacher over-ride his free will and threaten his life. He's absolutely terrified.
The Phone Just Keeps Ringing
Last week's episode saw the angels' heaven-phone start ringing, and now the boys are freaking out. As the phone keeps ringing, the two are trying to figure out what to say - that there has been a massive security breach, but they've got it under control. We also finally get to put a name to one of these angelic faces - Fiore. After a full episode of the phone ringing, however, when they finally decide what to say - it stops.
A Changed Man
Donnie has returned to work, and is watching in shock as Odin Quincannon smilingly apologizes to the mayor for his behavior. He apologizes for everything - and then sets up a meeting with the GreenAcre group - the very same people whose ideas he hated only a few days ago.
Donnie, meanwhile, realizes what has happened, and that Jesse commanded Odin to do something. Odin revealed that Jesse told him to "serve God", and that he will from now on. At lunch with his wife, he finally reveals to her what happened with Jesse - that he has a power, that he forced Donnie to put a gun in his mouth, and that he is afraid. Donnie breaks down, as his wife wonders just what is going on - we don't know if she believes her husband, but she's definitely concerned... and tells him that sooner or later, Preacher will get what he deserves - which sounds pretty prophetic.
Tulip On The Warpath
After her talk with Cassidy, Tulip is on the hunt for Jesse, and finds him at the Flavor Station, talking to his fawning constituents. He's using his power to seemingly fix their problems, so Tulip brings him one. She talks about the "bad boy" that she loves - obviously talking about Jesse, and telling people about all the kinds of things that he used to do. Tulip is trying to turn people against Jesse - and accuses him of denying who he is.
However, Jesse doesn't disagree with her. Instead, he tells her that he's changed. Truly changed. And he challenges her to change too - but Tulip isn't happy about this new, "good" Jesse Custer. But their conversation is interrupted as the waitress tells him, and everyone else that "something" is outside for him - something named Eugene.
I Need Your Help, Preacher
Jesse is just helping everyone today - and Eugene is the next to ask. He says that he knows everyone hates him, and refers to Tracy Loach again. But he's not asking Jesse for himself - he wants to help his father. Jesse tells him that there is something he can do (and gets a particularly smug look on his face as he does!) - and takes Eugene over to the Loach's house, where he gets a less-than warm reception in the form of Tracy's mother attacking his truck with a baseball bat!
Jesse, however, uses his power to stop her from attacking it, and then to step away from the car. She is still screaming "murderer" at Eugene, and telling him how much she hates him - but she is unable to attack him thanks to Jesse's power. Jesse then uses that power to force Mrs Loach to forgive Eugene, and she hugs him in front of a crowd of stunned onlookers.
It All Goes Wrong
Furious with his speech about doing good, Tulip goes out of her way to prove that she is bad, and she likes it. She robs a pharmacy - to get drugs for Cass. She meets him coming out of a strip club, and sarcastically tells him that they are in love before having disturbingly expressionless sex with him in the back of her car.
Jesse, meanwhile, is getting lazy with his gift - giving out commands as broad as "use your best judgement" when the Sheriff brings over the angels... I mean, the government agents. He quickly realizes that Cassidy has been playing these men, and that they want his power - which isn't good news for Jesse. Nor is the revelation that whatever his power is - it isn't God.
Finally, Odin Quincannon has his meeting with the major and the Green Acre group - and things seem to be going well for a few moments. Brandy is served, everyone is making polite small talk, but then Odin gets things started... by pulling out a shotgun and shooting the GreenAcre people one by one. The mayor stands by, shocked, as he says "we grow or we die", and strolls casually off.
Questions We Want Answered
Who Is The Cowboy? We have now seen Wild West Ratwater-cowboy twice, and it looks like he is not a fan of preachers... but how will this tie in with the rest of the show? Is Ratwater a precursor to Annville? (They do have Ratwater whiskey there...) How is the Ratwater Preacher connected to Jesse Custer?
What is that big dial? About halfway through the show, we see a man in a suit playing with a gauge - one on a wall of buttons and switches. But that's all we get - there's no other info about what on Earth this is!
Can people tell that they are acting against their will? It seems so, because Donnie is not just aware of what happened, but traumatized by it. Mrs Loach also seemed completely aware that she wanted to attack Eugene, but was prevented from doing so. Jesse seems unphased by this possibility, but if he keeps dishing out his commands so freely, his congregants are going to turn on him for forcing them to do things against their will.
- What is Quincannon doing? You would think that it would be difficult to serve God and shoot four people, but apparently Quincannon is capable of that particular contradiction - which makes us wonder what else he's up to!
- What is Jesse's power? This is the big one - what is it inside Jesse? He seemed to think it was God, or God's power, but the angels disagree. However, there are actual angels after it, which suggests that it has something to do with God, in some shape or form.
What's Next? Season One, Episode Six: Sundowner
Next week, we finally get to find out what, exactly, hit Preacher way back in the first episode - and the angels are calling it "a mistake". This might not be the good thing that Preacher first thought it was... especially as the other angels and demons all want it, and someone is seen pointing a gun at Jesse's head. Cassidy talks about a fight, the angels talk about someone calling in reinforcements - all in all, it's about to go down.
Which is awesome! We can't wait to see what happens next week, especially as it looks like another blood-soaked episode is on the way.