Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of Preacher! Proceed with caution. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched “See,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
The single biggest difference between Preacher the TV series and Preacher the comic book is made clear in the show’s second episode. “See” finds Jesse continuing to wrestle with his faith, in a crisis made all the more complicated by the presence of the as-yet-unnamed Genesis, whom he now carries inside him. (There’s even a nifty shot of the entity here, residing, like an angry fetus, inside Jesse.) But while the comic’s Jesse learned almost immediately about his new powers, and thereafter took to the road on a literal search for God, his screen incarnation first spends time making a concerted effort to use them to help others.
Whether or not that’s a good idea remains to be seen. In last week’s pilot, Jesse inadvertently used his “Word of God” to compel a man to kill himself in front of his mother. And this week finds him using it three times, each moving him one step closer to understanding his ability. When he uses it to silence the evening wildlife outside his church he suspects something’s amiss, a feeling amplified when he uses it to force a would-be child molester to forget the target of his madness, and, finally, when he uses it to help a local comatose girl, the victim of a horseback riding accident, wake up… Well, that’s for next week. But there’s no doubt that the voice the show’s producers have chosen for God here isn’t that of a benevolent creator, and a lot more like that of a wrathful badass. There’s also the whole question of free will, and whether, by taking it from those he redeems, Jesse is robbing them of their souls. But I’ve no doubt the show will get deeper into that issue as it moves forward.
For now, Jesse’s got more pressing concerns. The heavenly hit men who were introduced last week finally make their move against the Annville holy man, whipping out some creepily archaic equipment to try to force Genesis out of his body. Their rendition of “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”–a lullaby intended to placate a newborn–might be the most demented-sounding children’s song I’ve ever heard. I can’t blame the tyke for not responding to it. Thankfully Cassidy puts a stop to their far cruder “Plan B,” and what results is a fight scene even more over-the-top, with even more delightful improvisation, than his mid-air battle in the pilot. Here, the weaponry includes fangs, knives, guns, a holy Bible, and, of course, a chainsaw, the church aisle march of which plays like something out of Evil Dead II.
Meanwhile, Tulip continues to prove almost as compelling a threat to Jesse. Or at least that’s how he now sees her, tempting him to return to his “bad, bad” ways in order to help her secure a map for a client. As with Jesse, we’re getting to know Tulip a lot more than we did her comic-book counterpart before they set out of their quest. And like the preacher himself, she’s got a world of pain hidden behind her fetching smile. Rather than pray or drink it away, however, she masks it with a sharp wit that provides a welcome balance to Cassidy’s much broader humor.
“See” also introduces two key supporting characters, both of whom will play a larger role in the days ahead: Jackie Earle Haley’s Odin Quinncannon, the most powerful, corrupt figure in Annville, and the owner of Q, M, & P, a slaughterhouse company; and, even more eagerly awaited by comic fans, Graham McTavish’s Saint of Killers. I won’t spoil what’s in store for either gentleman, or what they have in store for Jesse. But suffice it to say, they won’t be making his life any easier.
Preaching to the Choir
— “Silence is as deep as eternity and speech is as shallow as time”
— Like Lucy Griffiths (who starred in Constantine‘s pilot), Jackie Earle Haley previously appeared in another DC adaptation — Zack Snyder’s Watchmen.
— “Thanks for getting me all wet.”
— Given this show’s Tulip, Jesse’s affinity for Cassidy makes even more sense than it did in the comics. Unlike the lady love, Cass is blissfully easy to figure out.
— “He’s walking the earth with a face like an arsehole. He should have tried heroin.”
— “Jesus – Free with Purchase.” I’m gonna miss that marquee when Jesse finally hits the road.
— This week we learn Cassidy is 119 years old. And that he’s got a taste for communion wine.
— “I like The Big Lebowski.” “No. No, that’s a shite film.”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Featured Image: AMC