Monkeys Fighting Robots

Welcome home, ‘Lil Jesse.  “Angelville, the season three premiere of Preacher, brings the fun back to TV, along with plenty of blood, blasphemy, and even a few tears.  Preacher Feature is a weekly look into the AMC show Preacher based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. In this column, we will give a breakdown of the events from the previous night’s show, including how they relate to the comics, and speculate as to what’s going on and what might be coming up. This is to say that standard SPOILER rules apply.

Dramatis Personae:

Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper): He was a criminal until a robbery went bad, a preacher until his congregation was killed in a gas explosion, and had the Word of God (the power to force anyone who could hear him to obey his every spoken command) until he gave away part of his soul.

Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga): She was Jesse’s best friend until they became lovers, his partner-in-crime until the aforementioned robbery, and alive until the agent of a worldwide conspiracy shot her to death in the last episode.

Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun): An Irish vampire with severe substance abuse issues, Cassidy, Tulip and Jesse were thick as thieves for much of the first two seasons.  However, Cass’s feelings for Tulip (as well as Jesse starting to believe he was the Messiah) left him hating Jesse at the end of last season.

(That’s all we have room for here, for more information check out our recaps of season two starting here or catch the first two seasons, currently available on Hulu)

Welcome to Angelville

Cass and Jesse Joseph Gilgun and Dominic Cooper

We got a taste of Jesse’s boyhood home, Angelville, last season.  The episode kicks off with a flashback set in the twisted, backwater, former plantation and introduces Jesse’s mother, Christina (Liz McGeever), who is being held there against her will.  Doing the holding is Christina’s own mother Marie, along with Marie’s sadistic henchmen: Jody and TC.

Picking up from last season, Tulip has been shot and killed, and Jesse and Cassidy are rushing her to Marie, who has the ability to resurrect the dead.  Jesse knows there’ll be a terrible price to pay, but there aren’t a lot of options for bringing back the dead these days, so he returns to the scene of his nightmarish childhood.

Growing Up Is Never Easy

In Purgatory Tulip is shown some of her own traumatic childhood.  Her father is a violent felon who is killed in front of her, her mom is a prostitute, and perhaps saddest of all: her favorite candy is Necco Wafers.

Marie sends Jesse out to retrieve something called transpoil from a rival clan with Jody who, as Jesse says, is “the guy who killed my father.”  Obviously there’s some venom between the two but Jody welcomes Jesse back with open arms.  This may sound like a good thing at first, but those arms happen to be soaked in gator blood.

Jeremy Childs as Jody in AMC's Preacher
Looking at this guy, gator blood is probably the best you could hope for.

After violently procuring the transpoil, Jody makes Jesse fight him before turning it over.  Jesse may be tough, but everything he learned about fighting Jody taught him, and there are still lessons to be meted out.  Jody takes some licks, but shrugs them off like they were nothing, and comes out the victor.  He’s about to celebrate by dropping a pick-up truck on Jesse’s head when Marie intervenes.Pre

With the help of the transpoil, Boo Berry cereal, and Joni Mitchell, Gran’ma starts coaxing Tulip back to the land of the living.  On the way back Tulip is met by God (you remember God, right?  The guy in the dog costume from season two) who tells her she is part of His plan.  He orders her to “Get those…” before being cut off when she wakes up in Angelville (the plantation, not a slang term for Heaven).  She’s clearly conflicted when looking between Jesse and Cass, which no doubt presages more trouble to come this season.

From Panels to Screen:

How does the episode differ from the comics?  Well, story-wise, there’s a few major differences:  In the comics Tulip and Jesse were dragged to Angelville together and, when Jesse refused to bow to Marie, she had Jody shoot her dead in front of him.  Tulip was later resurrected by God, not Marie, and sent with a warning to Jesse to stop looking for Him.  As has been the case with the series since day one, the writers have altered the plot but kept the feel of the comics.  Tulip’s past is quite different (though, again, we knew this would be the case – her character is more fully developed in the show than in the books), with her father being a felon killed in a police shoot-out, rather than shot while taking a dump on a hunting trip.  I think this works better to establish the audience’s empathy for this tragic and traumatic event better than in the comics.

Visually, Jody (Jeremy Childs) lines up well with the comics: a tougher-n-Hell redneck sociopath.  TC (Colin Cunningham) didn’t have a lot to offer in his first appearance.  He’s one of the most memorable characters of the comics, but didn’t stand out yet in the show.  Marie was far less decrepit than in Steve Dillon’s illustrations, but Betty Buckley did a great job of making a wheelchair-bound grandmother menacing.  Besides, without resorting to CGI, it’d be pretty hard to top this:

Marie L'Angell Preacher Comic
Come give your Gran’ma a kiss.

Looking Forward:

I know some of you out there are trembling with dread that the writers forgot all about Herr Starr, Hoover, Featherstone and the rest of the Grail, but fear not!  The trailer and other promotional materials feature all of those beloved characters and more, including our first glimpse of All-Father D’Aronique.  Not to mention the lovable Eugene and a certain not-so-lovable dictator.  I can’t wait to see what’s going on in the shot from the opening credits where a “Hilter” gets a taste of working retail in the 21st century.

What did you think of “Angelville”?  What will happen when Starr comes looking for his Messiah?  Will T.C. start getting cozy with some wildlife?  Let us know in the comments.

Josh is a writer and a lover of The Simpsons, Monty Python, The State, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, and Preacher. He spends probably too much time reading and has lately been attempting to eat the occasional vegetable, with limited success.