After two hyperactive episodes to kick off the series, Preacher settles more into a groove with episode 3, “The Possibilities.” A few questions are answered as Jesse, like a superhero fresh off the spider bite or gamma ray exposure, begins experimenting with his new powers of influence via his thunderous voice and constipated look.
For the first time, we begin the episode with someone other than Jesse: Tulip, in Houston visiting with a woman, Danni (Julie Dretzin), who is passive aggressively asking Tulip to kill her husband. That isn’t what Tulip is there for, and they move on with their exchange. Tulip gives Danni a paper, and Danni reciprocates, and they go about their business. Danni’s business includes visiting a Snuff Film Festival (are these really things? Let’s hope not) in an abandoned warehouse or something, and delivering the paper to a mysterious man in white. And just like that, we’re back in Anneville.
Jesse is using Cassidy as a guinea pig with his new powers, and the two men from opposite sides of the spiritual world are developing an interesting chemistry. The two bounty hunters, Fiore and DeBlanc – who we find out are from heaven, apparently – are back, and they let Cassidy know they aren’t there for him. They need Jesse, and whatever he has inside him. And they want to trap it in a coffee can; pretty low rent for soldiers from God.
We get very little action elsewhere in Anneville. Arseface has one scene and his dad, Sheriff Hugo Root, is lurking in the background of all the unfolding drama. We do get another scene with Jackie Earle Haley’s Odin Quincannon, sitting in his office at Quincannon Meat & Power listening to the horrific sounds of cattle being massacred over a PA system. He berates his right hand man “with no right hand,” Donnie, who subsequently decides to hunt down Jesse and make him pay for the broken arm. But Jesse has decided to go take care of some old business. Finally.
Tulip convinces Jesse to go kill someone who abandoned him on a job back when he was a professional killer; possibly that mysterious snuff-film cinephile from the opening scene? But, wouldn’t you know it, Jesse’s confrontation with Donnie at a gas station makes him rethink the whole thing and return to Anneville. He’s incredibly dedicated to being this “good man,” even though it’s obvious the whole endeavor doesn’t fit him. Tulip isn’t happy about this change of heart to say the least.
After blitzing audiences with chaos and madness and characters on top of characters in the first two episodes, Preacher settles down and actually begins to unpack the story. These are the types of episodes that can make or break a TV show – the confidence of storytelling in the calmer moments are what bridge gaps and build connective tissue between all the madness – and this first “table-setting” episode for Preacher does a few things right. Some things aren’t that interesting yet, namely Odin Quincannon and his whole story. Haley’s spoken merely a line or two thus far, we now very little about him except he’s probably a villain; certainly his arc will kick in somewhere along the way.
As it is right now, when we are away from the hijinks of Jesse and Cassidy (who is absolutely the best part of the series), Preacher tends to lose some energy. Again, once these satellite stories begin developing they will surely become more interesting, but as it stands the narrative thrust goes off the rails when we’re at Arseface’s kitchen table or Quincannon’s slaughterhouse. It was a relief to finally get some answers, though, even if a few more questions were raised. Full steam ahead.