Warning this contains spoilers.
Episode 10 is the culmination of Season 2’s efforts to steadily separate the team in order to pose Jesse with his biggest challenge yet. With Denis’ newfound appetites and Tulip’s reliance on a neighbour, would Jesse be better off trying to find God with The Grail?
Even in an episode as progressive and multi-threaded as this, Julie Ann Emery’s Grail agent/duplicitous neighbour act is undoubtedly the standout. Brilliantly switching between the cold, calculating brutality of The Grail, and Tulip’s shy, confidence-inviting neighbour, Emery plays both perfectly – this only adds to how intimidating she is in her true guise, and how believable it is that she could manipulate someone as paranoid and dangerous as Ruth Negga’s traumatised badass.
Also struggling with change is Denis, although struggling isn’t really the right word. Ignoring the advice of his father and his comic piece of translation tech, Denis is succumbing to his bloodthirsty urges far easier than Cassidy ever has. The juxtaposition of Cassidy’s reckless pleasure-seeker with an even more reckless pleasure-seeker is a clever turn on his character, and adds another, more personal, angle to the ever-present sense of foreboding that hangs over Preacher’s every moment.
In a show in which Adolf Hitler is a figure of sympathy and Jesus himself is introduced via an adulterous sex montage, it’s somehow still startling that Preacher can provide unsettling shocks almost every episode. Herr Starr manipulates Jesse into meeting The Grail’s beloved Messiah (The Dirty Little Secret himself, Tyson Ritter) and the inbred grotesquery that may one day lead the planet is almost certainly one of the peaks of blasphemy the show has mounted so far. Upsetting on numerous levels, it’s a powerful trick by Pip Torren’s white-suited facist to convince Jesse to assume the role of Jesus. With no friends, no God, and no options, the idea of Jesse Custer’s morality becoming the standard for humanity is a very sharp double-edged sword.
Having driven a wedge between Tulip and Jesse, and with Cassidy drawing ever-nearer to having to act on Denis’ new cravings, The Grail are getting increasingly closer to controlling the power of Genesis, and Custer is still no closer to finding God. An episode filled with the darkest of humour (and the most expert of guitar playing) proves that even the quieter episodes of Preacher are intelligent, suspenseful, and disgustingly unique.
Preacher Season 2 is available to watch online in the UK exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. New episodes arrive weekly on Tuesdays, within 24 hours of their US broadcast.