Rob’s attempt at a truly objective take on a comic adaptation continues, but how long can he preserve his innocence?
Episode 5: South Will Rise Again
In this modern age, true ignorance is a delicate flower, and when you live a life as rampantly disrespectful of spoiler warnings as mine, blooms are getting trampled, that’s life.
So, I inadvertently learned a few things about the Preacher comic this week, and also how some fans of the comic seem to be receiving the show. Specifically, an article I read which primarily served to announce the commissioning of a second season (good news!) also allowed the author to have a bit of a rant about how terrible he thought it was that the characters were still in Annville, and by extension derided the series for being slow, and hoped they get a move on or that at the very least, season one closed with the town erupting in a huge fireball.
Sounds like fun! Is that what happens in the comic? Who fucking knows!?
Anyway to my mind this is where my approach to viewing this series is coming into its own, as viewed on its own merits I am very pleased with the pacing of the show so far. It’s on the deliberate, slow-burning side of things, but it’s in good company there, with Vince Gilligan’s work particularly blazing a trail in that direction over the last few years. And when things do kick off, they tend to in a sudden burst, which is then all the more arresting and exciting for the viewer.
Perhaps if the comic quickly evolves into a road-movie kind of dynamic with Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy traveling hither and yon doing stuff and I had come in expecting that I would be disappointed too? But I find that these days, deviations from the source material mostly happen for a good reason, even if the reason for that reason is ‘TV is awkward and expensive, and sticking to one location makes everything easier’, and I might still be willing to forgive.
Also, while the plot might not exactly have leapt ahead over these episodes, it has really got me under the skin of all that characters, and I feel properly invested in the main players now. This week I really felt for Emily, the long-suffering church organist, who is getting overlooked even more now Jesse is respected more by the town (and reckons his old self into the picture. No way that can last surely?), and to add insult to injury gets harassed by Tulip while on the toilet. Leave her alone you oddballs! She’s the only normal person in the whole damn town!
Also, and without spoiling it directly, it was definitely a bad move for Jesse to use his power to make Quincannon serve God. Totally called it.
One thing I’m really growing to love about this show now is the confidence to string us along with some stuff for ages, call it Stockholm Syndrome, but I’m totally on board with the mysteries. This episode’s cold open is seven minutes of Wild West misery starring Graham Mactavish as ‘The Cowboy’, and it doesn’t relate to the main story AT ALL, except it might be in the same location, but in the 19th century. Possibly. Really looking forward to finding out what the hell that’s all about.
Speaking of explanations, there’s a big one coming right up in…
Episode 6 : Sundowner
The beginning of this episode is the best. Here’s the main points: Those two English guys are definitely angels, other angels are chasing them. They can’t die. No, actually, they can, but then they come back in another body. The rules of this little conceit are then immediately taken to their ludicrous conclusion in a fight scene that reminded me very strongly of some particularly brutal games of Halo I’ve played, when one ends up grappling frantically with the foe in a level filled with multiple copies of your own corpses.
The black humour applied to such fantastical elements is one of the things that keep a show with quite disparate ingredients on an even keel. Cassidy helps hugely with this and we got some more great double act stuff from him and Jesse here, as well as more of the lunatic duo Fiore and Deblanc.
It’s good to have the nature of the power that Jesse has been properly explained finally, as it is right at the top of this episode. Most of it could be inferred from earlier content, but I am a bit oblivious sometimes, and it’s nice to have my suspicions confirmed. I suspect this is also the moment where things are going to start to develop in terms of what the eventual goal of the series as a whole is. This ‘Genesis’ looks to be the thing everyone is fighting over, the question is, what is Jesse going to decide to do with the power it’s given him?
Meanwhile poor old Arseface (I think of him as Eugene, everybody in the show calls him that, despite how he’s credited, must be a fan-placating tactic.) is still grappling with morality, and after seemingly yearning for forgiveness previously now seems to not trust the acceptance Jesse has arranged for him. I’m not entirely sure what he’s supposed to have done, beyond cause that girl to have her head caved in, presumably accidentally otherwise he’d be in jail, so there’s some more background I’m patiently waiting on, but this thread looks like it may be coming to a head very soon, going by how the episode ended, so I may not have to wait long.
The ending to this one was a cracker of a cliffhanger that had me howling at the screen. Not so much for what’s happening next, but because of the mistake that lead to the predicament. In a word, Jesse needs to watch how he phrases things, bearing his powers in mind.
So, after a measured start, things are really hotting up now, with the season’s conclusion rapidly approaching, it seems like anything could happen. I await it eagerly.
Preacher is showing on AMC in the US and streaming on Amazon Prime in the UK