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.
Looking to get caught up? Here’s a link to last week’s article.
When Pigs Fly
Pig takes us to Vietnam, site of a levitating pig, in order to introduce us to Herr Starr: a one-eyed German anti-terrorist agent turned top member of The Grail, and arguably Jesse’s greatest nemesis from the comics (one could argue the case for either Herr Starr or The Saint of Killers). Pip Torrens, who plays Starr, and the writers, did a commendable job of establishing the character of Starr, whom comic fans have been looking forward to seeing in the flesh since last season. Through a series of outrageous flashbacks, we see Starr’s desire for absolute order, his sexual depravity, and his single-mindedness in pursuit of his goals. Competing with a number of other applicants for one spot in the mysterious Grail organization, Starr uses violence, the threat of violence, and “self-consumation” to ensure he stands alone at the end of the trials. Then, after Saltonstall reveals him the true purpose of The Grail (Jesus Christ fathered a child and The Grail preserve the bloodline in order to control the world), he nonchalantly pushes Saltonstall off the balcony and takes his place as the leader of The Grail’s Samson Unit. As for the village in Vietnam? Starr poisons the pig along with every human being in the area to keep this “false prophet” from being worshipped. At the end of the episode, Starr gets a phone call telling him Jesse Custer is the next false prophet to be “investigated”.
“There’s more to the city than bloody jazz and almost getting killed”
Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, the gang has visited the last of the cities 187 jazz bars and still have not found God. They decide to hustle some gun enthusiasts by heading to The Hurt Locker, a bar where patrons bet on whether someone can stand up after getting shot in the chest (while wearing a bullet-proof vest) with handguns of increasing caliber. Tulip and Cassidy pose as boyfriend and girlfriend and Tulip says her boyfriend can take the largest gun they have. After an exchange of ‘I love yous’ (play acting on Tulip’s part, but very real on Cassidy’s), Cassidy lines up to get shot. The bullet tears right through the vest and the crowd (not knowing he’s a vampire and as such is unharmed by such things), freaks out, leaving Jesse and company a pile of money and free access to the bar.
But even such things as these can’t lift the spirits of the group for long. Tulip is still traumatized by her near death at the hands of The Saint and we discover that Denis is dying of congestive heart failure. He tells Cassidy (through an intermediary in the form of a French professor from Tulane) that Cassidy has been a terrible father, but can make it up to him by turning him (Denis) into a vampire. Cassidy staunchly refuses to do so and, upset by the situation, drinks an entire handle of armenac, passes out in the street, and is mistaken for deceased by the operator of New Orlean’s dead cart. Upon waking in a morgue freezer (and not for the first time, we find), he sees a couple grieving over the body of their father and has second thoughts about whether or not to bring Denis into the ranks of the undead.
Tulip, deciding that the only way to get over her nightmares of The Saint is to confront death, goes back The Hurt Locker to get shot in the chest. Jesse talks to a street preacher about the signs of the coming apocalypse and the preacher advises Jesse that selling even a small part of one’s soul is a grave mistake.
Easter Eggs/Connections to the Comics
Starr’s admission to Saltonstall that he was “hoping for something more in the vein of atomic warfare” seems to be a reference to The Grail’s goal in the comic “Preacher Special: One Man’s War”. Their plan is to rig a nuclear war, but have the warheads fail to detonate. They will then show that this “miracle” was performed by their descendant of Christ, so that the populace will accept him as their savior.
The shot of Cassidy chugging (above) is, of course, a nod to John Belushi in Animal House. According to Saltonstall, Belushi was assassinated by The Grail (along with Abraham Lincoln and Charlemagne).
Will Cassidy turn Denis into a vampire? Given his penchant for making bad decisions, I’d say it seems likely. This could bring Les Enfants Du Sang (a group of vampire wannabes from the comics) into play.
“I dreamt about him again and Cassidy’s fingers, falling like french fries on TV.” – Tulip