UK TV review: Preacher Season 1, Episode 2
Chris Bryant | On 06, Jun 2016
This is a spoiler-free review.
Less explosive that the opening episode, Episode 2 of Preacher centres on setting a shady, intimidating stage for the unfolding of the fallout from Jesse’s encounter with true good and true evil, as well as his struggle with righteousness. Beginning as he takes a confession from a blasé paedophile, and reminds him that he cannot act on his urges, it’s clear that Jesse is having a few urges of his own. Gritting his teeth and cleaning his fist, Dominic Cooper comfortably displays that in spite of his encounter with supernatural forces, Custer is still trying to walk the right path, as much as it may trouble him.
Episode 2 frames Jesse’s battle with right and wrong well, having him try to use his renewed faith to help the people of the town; taking confession, performing numerous baptisms and refusing to get dragged towards his dark past all show Jesse succeeding to stay in the light. This is cleverly contrasted with a multitude of outside forces. Tulip continues to pressure the Preacher into returning to his violent, outlaw ways – including a kidnapping that can only be described as ‘flirtatious’ – and Cassidy’s presence continues shaking things up around the church. His intentions are understood but his predilection for drink, swearing and saying exactly what he thinks are beginning to make people uneasy. If only they knew.
The ominous duet of supposed government agents Fiore and DeBlanc continue hunting for the supernatural entity that changed Jesse at the end of Episode 1. They manage upwards of three words this time, but their purpose and their metaphysical relentlessness suggest the governing body they work for exists a little higher up than Earthly law enforcement.
Elsewhere, Jackie Earl Haley arrives as Odin, his first act being to absent-mindedly demolish a home. Haley’s brief screen time paints Odin as a powerful businessman, whose goal involves more than acquiring land for farming. Flanked by a menacing motorcade of cohorts, at least one of whom prefers violence to talking, it’s likely that he’ll be seeking out the powerful preacher before long.
Overall, this second instalment ensures the viewer is still connected to Custer’s day-to-day struggles with a disbelieving township, his own sketchy history and more than a few anger issues. Out of his peripheral view, however, it’s clear that several forces are hurtling towards him. With violent agents, imposing businessmen and his own conscience to deal with, Jesse might soon be glad that his only friends are murderers, thieves and psychopaths.
Preacher is available to watch online in the UK exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. Episodes arrive every Monday from 6th June, within 24 hours of their US premiere.
Here be spoilers…
– First of all, let’s deal with the chainsaw fight. There was a chainsaw fight. A 199-year old vampire from Dublin (who’s also a right-handed Sagittarius) murdered two people in a church, with a chainsaw, after rendering a man of God unconscious with some vampire-strength moonshine. Just so we’re all on the same page here, that happened. We’re not entirely sure what to make of it either. Total chaos.
– After every conceivable force pulls him to the dark side, Jesse decides that he can’t be a bystander in the war against evil, and inadvertently discovers his own powers (while assaulting a pedophile, no less). After Episode 1’s bloody last-second reveal, will Jesse begin to use and abuse his powers to move down the path to redemption? We can only hope so.
– Tulip, Odin and his company (Quincannon Meat & Power) and Fiore & DeBlanc may well all have plans and future business with Custer and his merry band of misfits, but it’s more than clear already that Jesse isn’t the type to respond well to pressure.
– 20 points to anyone who noticed showrunner Sam Catlin’s little Breaking Bad nod.
Graphic novel notes
– Those who have read the graphic novels know full well the weight included in the prologue to this episode, as a Civil War-era fighter leaves home, without his trademark pistols, in the hopes of securing a future for his daughter. Another example of how well Preacher does giving equal attention and depth to each of the stories, an unrepentant paedophile may pale in comparison to the wrath of the Almighty, but AMC ensures it’s just as three-dimensional and just as serious.