Preacher Feature: On the Road

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A Word About Spoilers:

Preacher Feature is a weekly analysis of 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 there will be spoilers, both actual and potential.  If you have not yet watched the episode in question or are watching the show without reading the comics and don’t want to have any foreknowledge of what might happen to Jesse and company, then you would do well to stop reading this now.

What You Need to Know:

Preacher is the story of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a preacher with a violent past.  While I can’t recommend enough that you watch the first season, if you don’t have the time, here’s a quick recap: Jesse has lost his faith in God when he gets inhabited by Genesis, an other-worldly being that gives Jesse the power to speak in a voice that forces anyone who hears it to obey his orders.  After receiving this power, Jesse learns that God has left Heaven and, as a result, things are going very wrong in Heaven and on Earth.  Jesse decides it’s his mission to find God and either help Him out or kick His ass, depending on God’s disposition.  With Jesse on this quest are Tulip (Ruth Negga), his former girlfriend and partner-in-crime, who has recently come back into Jesse’s life, and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), an Irish vampire with a love for adventure and mind-altering substances. Chasing after our three heroes is The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), a damned scalp hunter from the 1800’s resurrected by two angels and charged with killing Jesse to prevent the power of Genesis from remaining in the hands of a mortal man.

On The Road

Season two of AMC’s Preacher kicks off with a discussion about what happens to all the foreskins from circumcisions (skin grafts?  face creams?) and a car chase set to Come On Eileen, and if that doesn’t capture the essence of Preacher, I don’t know what does. Side note: if you don’t think that Come On Eileen is one of the greatest songs of all time, you’re lying to yourself and will never find happiness in this life. After our heroes fail to elude the fuzz (kids, make sure you have a full tank of gas whenever you think you might need to initiate a high-speed chase), they are surrounded by cops and Jesse uses Genesis on them to get out of the situation. Unfortunately, at this time The Saint of Killers appears and shoots up the scene, killing all the police officers while Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy narrowly escape.

SoK fuckin die
Sadly, he was right. They did all fuckin’ die

They head to the home of Mike, another preacher and friend of Jesse’s (now mostly deceased) family, for some guidance about where to look for God.  While Jesse is away talking to Mike, Cassidy tells Tulip he feels guilty about their having hooked up (see season one) and suggests they tell Jesse.  Tulip lets Cassidy know that this is a terrible idea, as Jesse is a very violent man and not the type to let something like this go.  The matter is still seemingly up for debate when Jesse and Mike interrupt.  Mike suggests they try She She’s, a local strip club, where one of his parishioners claims to have seen God.  They decide to investigate, but first spend an uncomfortable night crammed in what passes for guest accommodations at Mike’s house.

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Preacher bedfellows
Three is most definitely a crowd

Like most trips to a strip club, things get out of hand quickly.  Tulip narrowly misses finding out that Annville, the town they left at the end of season one, was destroyed in a methane explosion.  Cassidy finds out that this club has a strict “no touching” policy. When the strip club proprietress, Tammy, doesn’t want to cough up info about why God has been frequenting She She’s (customer confidentiality is key), Jesse wants to use Genesis to make her talk. Tulip lets him know she doesn’t like his using Genesis (she makes a good point – more on this later) and suggests instead that they beat the info out of Tammy (which doesn’t exactly strengthen Tulip’s point).  Eventually, and only after Tammy has been accidentally shot by a bouncer who is trying to rough Cassidy up, they find out that God was at the strip club because he likes jazz (to be clear: ‘jazz’ here refers to the music genre loved by Ryan Gosling, not the name of a stripper).

The trio spends the night in a hotel.  Like any couple reunited and alone together for the first time in years, Jesse and Tulip bang each other’s brains out, much to the chagrin of Cassidy, who still has feelings for Tulip, and whose hotel room is separated from theirs but what appears to be a very thin wall.  After the reunion sex, Jesse goes out for a smoke in the road. Here he is fired on once more by The Saint of Killers (don’t smoke, kids, it’s dangerous) and uses Genesis to command him to stop, only to find out that his power doesn’t seem to work on The Saint.  We’ll find out what happens next tonight when episode two airs on AMC (9 pm Eastern).

preacher smoking

Bottom Line

A great episode from top to bottom, On the Road features the action and humor (and humorous action) we’ve come to expect from Preacher.  While very little of the episode comes directly from the comics (Mike and She She’s are new, the police shootout with The Saint is similar to a scene early in the comics), I would say the show continues to capture the essence of the characters, as well as the overall feel of the books, magnificently.

About Tulip’s Dislike of Genesis

As we mentioned, Tulip is pretty firmly against Jesse using Genesis in any but the direst circumstances.  On top of the Saint of Killers appearing every time Jesse uses Genesis, things don’t work out so well for the folks Jesse uses it on.  Here are a few examples:

  • Jesse tells various cops to fill up Tulip’s car with gas, hold each other’s hands, mace their own balls, and sing The Yellow Rose of Texas.  They are all killed by The Saint.
  • He tells a gas station attendant to “forget they were here”.  Said gas station attendant later has his tongue ripped out by The Saint, who does not appreciate being lied to, even if the liar in question is physically unable to tell the truth.
  • To convince Mike that he really has this power, he commands Mike to “break something”. Mike later kills himself to avoid being forced by the Saint to reveal where Jesse went.

In short, nothing good seems to come from a mortal man using the Word of God.

Easter Eggs/Connections to the Comics

I didn’t notice many, but the one that stuck out the most to me was an aquarium treasure chest behind Jesse’s head in a scene that takes place at Mike’s house.  Fans of the comics may remember that when Jesse was a child being raised by the monstrous L’Angell family, he was punished by being stuck in a coffin rigged with air tubes and thrown into the lake on their property.  This makes me think that we will be seeing more of Jesse’s twisted upbringing in flashbacks this season.

What did you think about the season two debut?  What easter eggs did I miss?  Has last night’s episode helped you to open your heart to Come On Eileen?  Let us know in the comments.