Preacher Season 2 Episode 7: Pig Review

AMC’s PREACHER continues to riff on the comic while allowing the insanity of the source material to shine through.

This review contains spoilers.

Preacher Season 2 Episode 7

With its newest episode, “Pig,” Preacher the show continues to set itself apart from Preacher the comic, riffing on the source material without ever betraying its gonzo roots. This kind of improvisation is interesting, given how important jazz is in tracking down God. There’s no Happy Happy Soul Go in the comic, no Denis, no drunken street preacher, but that obviously hasn’t stopped AMC from producing some truly inspired characters and situations. These new elements deserve to stand alone as their own irreverent creations, true to themselves in a way that elevates the entire enterprise.

That being said, when the show does hew closer to the source material, we get inspired episodes like “Pig,” which affords viewers their first real onscreen introduction to Pip Torrens as Klaus Helmut Starr. He’s as profane as he is ruthless, and as terrifying as he is uncompromising. Starr doesn’t mince words, saying exactly what he means. His actions are likewise economical. He’s not one to stand on ceremony; he’d just as soon bludgeon a man to death as he would look at him. So it’s no surprise to see Starr quickly rise to the top of The Grail’s arduous selection process, proving his mettle against candidates whose qualifications are still hamstrung by common decency. The Grail isn’t so much looking for the next James Bond as they are the next Bond villain. Pip Torrens crushes the role—he’s the true embodiment of Herr Starr’s hedonistic malevolence.

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And who better than someone like Starr to head up a secret organization tasked with ushering in the next apocalypse? As much as I like the Saint of Killers, Preacher needs a more clever, sophisticated antagonist, and the show now has that in Starr. Now that Jesse is on The Grail’s radar, his problems with the Saint will seem like child’s play compared to what Starr likely has in store for him.

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Which brings us to Tulip, who’s struggling with nightmares and uncharacteristic anxiety since her run-in with the Saint. While Jesse assures her that he’s dealt with the Saint, Tulip is having trouble moving on from nearly dying at the Saint’s hands. And who could blame her—he’s terrifying. Jesse isn’t sympathetic at all about her fears, brushing off her concerns in a way that makes it harder to root for him and his troubles (which happen to be related to the Saint as well). Their continued relationship issues boil down to a serious lack of communication. If they simply talked, they would both quickly understand their problems have nothing to do with each other. In the meantime, Tulip finds unlikely solace in the high-stakes action of the Hurt Locker. By donning a Kevlar vest, she’s able to stare down death on her own terms—taking a bullet without suffering any of the pesky (fatal) side effects. On any other show this would be terribly sad, but Preacher presents this death wish as more of a euphoric eureka moment.

Jesse is oblivious to any of this, of course. He’s still grappling with the missing one percent of his soul that now resides within the Saint. This small part of his soul is now a talisman of sorts, protecting the Saint from being banished outright to Hell. It’s a definite pickle for Jesse, which leads this man of God to find a less traditional one. As much as I love seeing Herr Starr, there’s something about watching Cooper’s interactions with John Ales’s street preacher that really ground this episode in some much-needed reality. This self-described “left-handed alcoholic sinner child of God” is one of the most sensible, level-headed characters in the whole bunch, trucking more in metaphors than actual fire and brimstone. His talk of an impending apocalypse affords people a brief respite from their troubled lives and secret fears. “What is more frightening than who we are, and what we done?” he asks Jesse. To him, a floating pig isn’t a true sign of the apocalypse, it’s men selling their souls for money. Amen to that.

Some closing thoughts:

Another amen for the French professor who steps in to finally bring Cassidy up to speed with what his son has been trying to tell him all along, namely that he’s dying of heart disease. Denis wants what his father has—the key to eternal life—but Cassidy is having none of it. He adamantly refuses what is basically his son’s dying wish. It may not seem like it to Denis, but this is an act of love on Cassidy’s part. Immortality is more of a curse than it is a blessing, and this old vampire would know. It’s Natalie Babbitt’s bittersweet Tuck Everlasting, Preacher-style. In the end, I do wonder if Cassidy will let his son die.

And speaking of Cassidy, he saved Tulip but lost his fingers in “Sokosha” by grabbing the Saint’s sabre. His fingers have regenerated, and so have his knuckle tattoos. Indeed, anytime he’s regenerated, so have his many tattoos.

Did Ales’s street preacher remind anyone else of late author Kurt Vonnegut by way of Daniel Stern? Vonnegut was a cynic by nature, and was by turns wry and hopeful, despite mankind’s many, many failures. The street preacher embodies these same qualities, and at the end of the day, is a true pragmatist. His doom-and-gloom sermons may offer enlightenment, but they pay the bills, too. 

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4.5 out of 5