Warning: This contains spoilers. Not caught up with Preacher? Read our spoiler-free review of Season 3’s opening episodes here.
Setting the majority of Episode 4 in a catacomb of the dead and forgotten, as the undeserving fight to the death for a crowd of cheering locals, Preacher’s third season crafts the perfect metaphor for a trip into Jesse Custer’s past.
Dominic Cooper’s stoic holy man is forced to don his master of ceremonies hat (literally) and regulate a bloodthirsty crowd desperate to see some gritty, gladiatorial brawls. Picture The Greatest Showman but with significantly more vampires, maiming, and Satan. Cooper’s quiet preacher has flown somewhat under the radar this season, allowing his spellbinding hometown and conflicted cohorts to seize the audience’s interest, but in Episode 4, he really grabs the spotlight.
Inhabiting a desperate grey area between friend and foe, Custer does his best to save Cassidy, without letting on, and so does what anyone would do – hack him into pieces and post him far away. Cooper does a spectacular job of carrying the weight of his morbid past – explained via Tulip and Madame Boyd – while juggling the fear, terror, and odd power he commands in The Tombs.
Writer Mark Stegemann (Community, Scrubs) does an expert job of equating Jesse’s talent for commanding a crowd – even a crowd of blood-lusting rednecks – with his sermons and the bestowed powers of Genesis. Following that, he weaves Tulip’s kidnapping of Sabina Boyd (a soothingly calculating Prema Cruz) into the proceedings perfectly, creating a chaotic cocktail of moral conundrums which can often be expected when God takes a leave of absence.
Elsewhere – or more accurately, in Hell – Satan has a plan, a problem, and serious sadism issues. Jackson Douglas (The Walking Dead) plays the Master of the Underworld, whose gold-plated everything, and fiery-skull office suit Preacher’s face-value religious stylings brilliantly, and serve as the ideal setting to reanimate The Saint of Killers, to whom Satan himself promises vengeance – the only currency The Saint deals in. The cartoonish bookends to the episode balance out the real-world grit and human fallacies in between, making sure that while their friendship dramas play out above, something much worse is on the way.
Preacher Season 1 to 3 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 Mondays.