Warning this contains spoilers.
Preacher Season 2’s seventh episode follows each of the protagonists’ individual struggles – Jesse is questioning the loss of his soul, Tulip is haunted by The Saint of Killers, and Cassidy’s father asks to be made immortal – creating a thick, sorrowful mood unlike anything else seen in Preacher. There’s also a floating pig.
Restricted almost exclusively to dark and situational humour, Pig is a sombre instalment of AMC’s deity-driven drama. First-time writer Olivia DuFault produces an episode in which the main cast’s efforts are a depressing venture into their states of mind. Towards the end of the episode, Jesse asks a drunken street-preacher (complete with ‘The End Is Nigh’ sandwich board) for advice, proving to be so desperate to find his God that any direction will do. Tulip goes even further, putting herself in danger in any way possible to try and overcome her near-death experience at the hands of The Saint. It’s a comprehensive journey into their exhausted, crumbling mindsets.
Packed with lost sighs and reactionary drinking, Pig quickly provides an fearsome and flamboyant antidote to the stylised sadness. Pip Torrens (The Force Awakens, Black Mirror) gets a full introduction as new chief-antagonist Herr Starr. Given his full backstory up to this point, we see how Herr Starr went from anti-terrorism to anti-false idol-ism, spectacular white suit and all. His brand of unwavering ruthlessness, total disrespect for authority, and indifference to genital electrocution brings a colourful splash to the episode.
He’s an undoubtedly formidable opponent for Custer and co., and his current mission – dealing with a Vietnemese pig that defies gravity, thus inviting worshippers – holds enough ridiculousness to balance out the surrounding murky contemplation, ensuring that the despondent trio’s feelings are offset by Herr Starr’s dislike for unvalidated parking.
With usual comic relief go-to Cassidy struggling with Denis’ final request, Herr Starr’s ‘WTF’-ery is more necessary than ever. His nipple piercings, penchant for fighting while self-completing, and orgy-centric similes ensure that while he is a suitably scary follow-up to Hell’s greatest murderer, he is a totally different and somehow more terrifying beast altogether.
Pig is an odd episode of Preacher, but a blend of clever writing and excellent direction from Wayne Yip (another of Preacher’s Misfits alumni) produce a stronger connection with the characters, as they feel the weight of their decisions, flawlessly juxtaposed with the creepy brilliance of Torrens’ militaristic new bad guy. A vehemently unique 45 minutes of television, Preacher is making use of the experience of its creators, as well as the edgy style of the up-and-coming crew and top-tier actors, to create a constantly innovative, technically brilliant show that you should never, ever try and explain to your parents.
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.