This review contains spoilers.
1.9 Finish The Song
The Saint of Killers hasn’t been featured very much in the first season of Preacher. He’s been hinted at, he’s been briefly featured in little segments, and we’ve seen the incident that pushes him down the path towards becoming a supernatural monster. Now, he’s finally being moved from his particular slice of the cruel world to the main storyline, courtesy of two of the least-likely characters in the Preacher rogue’s gallery.
This is a show that thrives on surprise, and this week’s episode had two of the biggest shock moments of the entire first season. One of these involves the very same Saint, or the Cowboy, or whatever they end up calling him. We open with his vengeance; he killed 77 men at the Battle of Gettysburg, and now he’s about to add to that total with his Walker Colts and his cavalry saber. After all, this is the town that prevented him from saving the lives of his wife and children, and this is the town that has to suffer his wrath.
As usual, Preacher has a way with violence. While the piano plays and a Chinese man sings, the Saint kills, guns blazing. Men, women, children, young and old, all fall before his guns. The last two to go, fittingly, are the piano player and the singer, who seems to escape punishment only to meet his end via decapitation courtesy of the Saint’s sword. This both opens and closes the episode. Curiously, we revisit that very incident at the end of the episode. Then again. Then again. The again. (It goes on a little too long, but watching the Cowboy riding off and walking home in the same frames works, as does the appearance of two sets of boots at the end of the episode.) The scene is repeated over and over, faster, choppier, blurring together: his wife’s final words, dinner by the fire, the beating in the saloon, his wife and daughter dead, and bloody satisfaction.
Except, it’s not satisfying in the least, and Michael Slovis’s decision to repeat the killing until it loses all emotional impact is part of that. The Saint kills everyone, time and time again, and it gives him nothing in return. Talk about a personal hell, to relieve your worst moments time and time again, to ritualistically repeat every step and misstep and get no relief from your grief. However, there is a reprieve in the form of Fiore and DeBlanc. I thought they were going to Hell to rescue Eugene at Jesse’s behest, and yet they’re there to hire the Cowboy to kill a preacher. Something the Cowboy has proven to be very good at indeed.
Back in the modern day, there’s another issue happening. Cassidy is in dire need of blood, and it has to be the blood of living things, not hospital blood. And Tulip has other things to do besides feed Cassidy guinea pigs and goats. Hence, she gets Emily, sweet freak-out prone Emily, to babysit the vampire, and that’s the episode’s other surprising moment. Inspired by Psycho, Emily makes a tearful call and then locks Miles in Cassidy’s charnal house. The inevitable happens.
It seems strange for Emily to commit such a drastic action, and yet, it seems entirely in character for her. She’s no longer the town’s only good person, and Miles is definitely a scumbag who stood aside and let Quincannon kill a bunch of innocent people, among other things he’s undoubtedly covering up for others in the name of preserving Annville. It frees Emily up from a complication, it helps out a budding friendship in Tulip, and it does a favour for Jesse’s best friend, as the two reunite over Miles’s bloody body in a surprisingly sweet scene from Craig Rosenberg.
It both rights the ship and sets up for the finale episode. Jesse and Cass are back together and Fiore and DeBlanc have just made a deal with the Devil, so to speak. Meanwhile, Jesse is making a deal with God, assuming someone answers the phone now that he’s got an angel hand at his disposal. I’m not sure just how the show is going to finish the first season, but I’m sure that it’s going to be a surprise (and very, very violent).
US Correspondent Ron Hogan is pretty sure that the repetitive hell scene is going to divide viewers pretty fiercely in those that like it and those that don’t. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.