This Preacher review contains spoilers.
Preacher Season 2 Episode 10
I’m just going to ask this up front: When did a “lying junkie vampire” become Preacher‘s moral compass? Seriously, when? Because Jesse’s bare bones assessment of Cassidy in “Dallas” was pretty spot-on. Hell, even Cassidy couldn’t find fault with this bit of character assassination. This isn’t to say that Cassidy is an angel (because he’s not). For a while there, in the middle of this season, it looked like Preacher‘s writers were playing up a possible love triangle, with Cassidy sowing seeds of distrust between Jesse and Tulip like the world’s worst third wheel. But then something changed along the way, a kind of course correction that can only be attributed to Denis’s worsening health. Suddenly, Cassidy only had room in his heart for his neglected, ailing son. And I was fine with that… and still am. Watching Cassidy try to make amends with Denis has been unexpectedly satisfying, especially because it’s allowed some real character growth. By comparison, Jesse and Tulip have remained relatively flat despite some great performances from Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga in “Dallas.” (“Dallas” is still my favorite episode of this season, in case anyone was wondering. You can read that review here.)
Still, one has to wonder if Cassidy has simply become the least morally reprehensible one in the bunch, and therefore the most morally upstanding by default. Because, really, we’ve watched our titular preacher use Genesis’s power to commit numerous atrocities. Take the Grail’s botched raid in “Puzzle Piece” for instance. Jesse, Cassidy, and even Denis seemed to be holding their own against this crack Samson Unit, but Jesse still used the Voice to turn the tide of battle in their favor. One could argue that it’s wrong to use this ultimate Jedi mind trick anytime, whether or not lives are lost. Making someone do anything against their will is never okay—even if said someone is Herr Starr.
Tulip is no innocent either. She’s killed and maimed her fair share of people, and has done so with repeated aplomb. Just because she’s still struggling with some pretty serious PTSD doesn’t suddenly absolve her of her past transgressions. The people she’s killed are still dead. So while we’re meant to root for our main characters’ happiness and success, and while Ruth Negga continues to hit it out of the park every week, we need Tulip to pull her act together in a major way. Otherwise viewers, myself included, are bound to lose interest. Her discovery of the Saint’s weapons is tantalizing, though, and perhaps this will snap Tulip back to her senses right quick. If she can’t trust Jesse (never minding the act that he’s a man of God), who can she trust?
But this discovery is certainly trumped by one of the season’s biggest reveals: The Grail has been keeping watch over Jesus’ 25th great-grandson, the Messiah’s one true heir. On paper, and on any other show, this would be a bombshell revelation. And Jesse is legitimately gob-smacked to suddenly find himself face to face with what he believes is divinity. The fact that Humperdoo is an inbred simpleton isn’t what I find most egregious about this scene. Rather, it’s the notion that Jesse has made it his life’s work to serve the Lord. We know this isn’t true because of “Dallas,” the events of which were only a few years ago. Religion filled a void in Jesse’s life after things fell apart with Tulip; he wasn’t answering the call to preach God’s word.
Jesse likewise recoils at Herr Starr’s suggestion that instead of searching for God, Jesse should become God. Genesis makes him the perfect candidate to assume the mantle of Messiah, as Humperdoo clearly isn’t qualified. But Jesse’s indignation at such blasphemy is ill-founded, given the death and destruction he’s left in his wake. Yes, people can change, but Jesse has yet to become the good person he thinks he is.
Which brings us back to Cassidy, who has been on an unlikely journey of redemption this season. Yet despite his best intentions, it’s quickly become obvious that his life-saving gesture is having negative consequences. Denis is too rough with his hired escort. Perhaps he’s unaware of his own strength or he simply doesn’t care. If it’s the latter, I’m immediately soured on the character, despite having rooted for him for the last several episodes. But this isn’t a matter of Preacher treating assault in a nonchalant a manner, as it first appears. Were the writers to do that, I would immediately sour on the show too. Instead, what we’re seeing is a monster begat by a father’s attempt to save his son, to right wrongs, to give life where only there was sickness. What we’re seeing with Denis is the beginnings of a tragedy. Cassidy knows this, and most likely fears what his son is fast becoming—an unstoppable brute with dangerous, insatiable cravings. His worst fears are confirmed when we see a bloodied but happy Denis strolling home.
Which can only mean Cassidy will have to confront his son by season’s end—and it won’t be pretty. As for the other storylines, Preacher really needs to make us care more about Jesse and Tulip. Their relationship has been anything but idyllic for a while now; they don’t need the Grail’s interference to drive each other away. Hopefully Preacher can maximize these three remaining hours to live up to its full potential. That won’t happen with more episodes like “Dirty Little Secrets.”
Some closing thoughts:
The episode opens on the ultimate one-night stand. Which makes sense, I suppose. You can’t have a second coming without a first one.
Jesse’s time beneath the hood resulted in a trippy travel montage, the likes of which we haven’t really seen on Preacher.
Herr Starr has one of the best lines of the episode: “Are you blind, boy? Would you like to be?”