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.
A Rush of Blood
As “Puzzle Piece” starts, tensions are running high. Jesse’s search for God is not yielding answers and Tulip is clearly still haunted by her near-demise. After an argument, Jesse uses Genesis to command Tulip to sleep.
A team of Grail operatives, equipped with night-vision and with earphones to keep them from hearing Jesse’s commands, attacks the apartment. Cassidy falls on them in the kitchen and occupies most of the team. One breaks off and shoots Denis in his bed, then is beaten up by Jesse who, after removing the agent’s headphones, orders him to kill his friends. The agent reluctantly does so. Before Jesse can question him, he is attacked by Denis, whom we now see has been turned into a vampire by his father, Cassidy.
At a date in a fancy restaurant opened exclusively for his use, Herr Starr confesses that although he is a part of the Grail, perhaps the most powerful organization in the world, he has been feeling disenchanted. Something is missing. His date relates a story of seemingly having it all, but of a missing puzzle piece in her life. Starr confronts Featherstone and Hoover on their failure to eliminate
Starr confronts Featherstone and Hoover on their failure to eliminate Custer and is about to execute them when his gun jams. Showing complete loyalty to the Grail, even unto death, Featherstone fixes the gun and hands it back to Starr, but by this time he has changed his mind about killing them. He orders them to have “Brad” kill Custer and also to procure some prostitutes for a rape fantasy he has in mind.
When Tulip wakes up from her Genesis-induced sleep, she finds a pile of dead Grail agents. Tulip and Jesse have a tense conversation about him using Genesis on her and whether she’s ready to handle the next inevitable attack from the Grail. Tulip says she needs a gun and Jesse evidently disagrees, so she ends up borrowing one from the Grail’s Featherstone, who is still pretending to be their neighbor. Tulip shoots a suspicious, but not Grail-affiliated cleaner. Remember Brad from earlier? It turns out it’s actually B.R.A.D., short for Battle-Ready Remote-Operated Aerial Drone. Basically, the Grail is using a smart bomb to take out Jesse and company.
Speaking of company, the prostitutes hired for Herr Starr show up to his office, but are considerably less female than he had expected. In a scene both uncomfortable and humorous, the three men sodomize Starr while he’s forced face-down on a copy of the file on Jesse Custer. Starr has an epiphany regarding missing puzzle pieces (sodomy is what’s missing from his sexual life and Custer is what’s missing from his plans for world domination) and decides to let Jesse live. Too late to stop the drone completely, it’s is redirected to Harry Connick Jr’s house, making him at least the second celebrity the show has “killed off”, after Tom Cruise in the pilot.
Another Uncomfortable Confrontation
The episode ends with Herr Starr approaching Jesse in a bar and suggesting that he may be able to help Jesse find God.
Easter Eggs/Connections to the Comics
In the comics, the man who shoots Jesse’s father is Jody, a killer devoted to Jesse’s grandmother, Marie. Presumably, it’s Jody in the flashback, though we see only his forearm and not his trademark ponytail.
The whiskey Jesse and Starr drink is called Ratwater and has a silhouette of The Saint of Killers as its logo.
Tulip steps on a loose tile in the bathroom, where Jesse hid weapons belonging to the Saint of Killers.
With four episodes left in the season, will Jesse confront Marie, Jody, and T.C.? It seems likely, with all the hints being dropped so far.
What impact will Jesse using Genesis on Tulip have on their relationship? She’s made clear just how much she dislikes him using it at all, and no doubt sees him using it on her as a violation. Will his “I didn’t know what else to do” reasoning satisfy her?
Herr Starr obviously has plans with Jesse. In the comics, he wants to replace the Grail’s descendant of Christ with Jesse Custer in order to take over the world. Also, I can’t help but notice the similarities between Starr’s offer to Jesse and Hitler’s offer to Eugene. My guess is the writers will tie these together near the end of the season.
“I have a date. Kill them all.” – Herr Starr