Warning this contains spoilers.
Having spent most of Season 2 on the run from superhuman gunslingers, trawling jazz clubs for The Almighty, fighting radicalised holy ninjas, and buddying up with the Fuhrer, Preacher remains comfortably grounded in Episode 5, a retrospective look at Jesse and Tulip’s past.
Having had their issues with Carlos, Jesse and Tulip vowed to quit the criminal life and go straight, leading Tulip to try her hand at real estate and Jesse to slump into apathy. Desperation led to a failed attempt at a family, which expectedly drove Tulip back to her life of crime (and a very powerful partner), and Jesse in the opposite direction, to taking over his father’s church and preaching the word of God. It’s a creative and visual exploration of their relationship, switching between past and present, and finally giving context to Tulip’s sad, distant tone and Jesse’s quiet fury.
Though their backstory itself isn’t overly remarkable, it stills gives Ruth Negga and Dominic Cooper a chance to fill out their wild characters’ in the eyes of the audience. Providing some emotional attachment to the pair as humans, as opposed to Genesis-empowered kick-ass mercenaries, Preacher slides back to being a tale about a search for redemption and the righteous, rather than an orgy of vulgarity with a serious body count.
Grounding the show works well: Jesse’s single use of The Word is important more for his target than the effect, blind-forcing Tulip to leave against her will (reminiscent of his banishing of Eugene to Hell). Filling the gap left by the chaos is raw emotion; Cooper, Negga, and Gilgun give performances driven by hurt, cleverly giving a backdrop to the darkly comic adventure we’re used to.
A lack of progress with the main story is well balanced with a look into the specifics of these relationships, and while the high-octane blasphemy is missed, Preacher does a good job of providing turmoil of a different kind; not least because any future mayhem will be juxtaposed with this episode of emotional attachment and jealous lashing out.
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.