“Genesis? What like the band? Terrible name,” Cassidy says after hearing the name of Jesse’s otherworldly power. After five or so episodes sidestepping the central aspect of the comic’s plot, Preacher gets to finally putting a name on the divine entity that has possessed its titular creature. The aftermath of demon and angel sex backstory is confirmed by DeBlanc and Fiore, while also affirming that Preacher may just have firmly found their footing. After their talk in the diner, Fiore, DeBlanc and Jesse find themselves in a scuffle with another angel sent to get our two “British cowboys” who are here on Earth without permission. The fight in the parking lot and its aftermath at the motel is probably the best moment in Preacher so far, getting more into the groove of the comedic beats necessary to replicate the source material’s style. Yet, there’s plenty of new elements sprinkled in, including a humorous visual gag of The Angels being killed and duplicated numerous times. “Sundowner” director Guillermo Navarro also does such a great job of playing up the various angles that make the idea of the fight so engaging. With the shot through the bullet hole, Preacher manages to balance a dedication to the spirit of the comics, satisfying its probably small budget and finally being humorous.
After this point, Preacher makes a few missteps. Mainly, it’s (shocker) an emphasis on the people of Annville. Namely, Tulip attempting to have a bridge with Emily and our Mayor trying to dispose of the bodies made by Quincannon last week. The latter is especially confusing given the complete absence of Quincannon throughout “Sundowner,” leading to a rather predictable cover up story that could have been revealed in one simple scene and allow for more of a back-and-forth with the two of them. The former could in theory make sense of Tulip came to a natural conclusion about trying to make up for her sins against Emily. Yet, there’s not much of any fun contrast or spark between these two. Tulip seems bored and Emily is her usual stale self leaving their scenes to be the major stall points of Preacher‘s strongest showing. They go for an attempted maternal connection that Tulip even hints at here, but it’s tossed under the rug for Emily to do… Mom things that just don’t illustrate as much more than a boring position for her to fill and kill time in “Sundowner.”
Yet, even Tulip’s story still yields more fruitful potential with an oddly early strike for one of the comic’s storylines; Cassidy getting a bit love struck for Tulip. It’s a storyline I felt was a bit sudden in the comics, yet Preacher has managed to subtly build up the attraction that Cassidy feels for Tulip over his near death experience. The pain on Joe Gilgun‘s face in particular is extremely relatable when he realizes that his connection with Tulip will always fail in the face of her connection with Jesse, taking a potentially conventional position and adding cruel irony on top of it. Of course, none of this is helped by Jesse and Cassidy having a genuine conflict over Jesse’s decision to keep Genesis. Jesse’s ego manages to alienate him not just from the unofficial representatives from Heaven, but even from Cassidy’s hedonistic self. The titular Preacher is getting wrapped up in his own hubris, to the point of even using a megaphone to bring his warped word of God to the masses. It’s likely something that will blow up in Jesse’s face, whether by divine intervention or by his own action coming back to haunt him.
The most saddening element to all this is what happens to poor young Eugene a.k.a Arseface in this week’s Preacher. After being tossed to the side by his own father and most society, we get a glimpse of Eugene sad day-to-day life. His lack of friends in school, people to talk to or any sort of positive reinforcement is briefly alleviated by the presence of some kids sitting next to him and inviting him out for a bit of fireworks play. While oddly appropriate for its Fourth of July weekend release date, it’s also a moment of genuine heartfelt engagement for Arseface, one that makes him realize that he shouldn’t just be given the forgiveness of that mother thanks to Jesse’s powers. Eugene confronts Jesse about it, causing some genuine conflict between our Preacher and Arseface that shows the sparring talents of Dominic Cooper and Ian Colletti as things continue to get heated on an escalating level. This leads to another moment in Preacher that separates it from the source material, where Jesse commands Arseface to “Go To Hell”, causing the young boy to disappear in a buff of smoke. It’s a intriguing cliffhanger that creates a compelling new angle to keep comic fans on edge along with newbies, but one with so much potential that could give us a true glimpse into an under explored element of the comics: Hell. Then again, we’ll have to wait and see if Preacher can keep up its current winning streak.
Rating: (4 / 5)