This Preacher review contains spoilers.
Preacher Season 2 Episode 8
How you feel about this episode’s cliffhanger ending has a lot to do with how you feel about Cassidy’s relationship with his son. When we first met Denis, his exasperation with Cassidy was both immediate and obvious. So it was a little bit of a surprise that Denis would invite Cassidy and his mates into his ramshackle abode. Cassidy seemed to have the run of the place, too, with he and Denis largely staying out of each other’s way.
Denis remained an enigma for several episodes, until the bombshell reveal in “Sokosha” that he’s actually Cassidy’s son. Suddenly, we saw their interactions (or lack thereof) through a whole new lens. Staying with Denis has not been a much-needed reunion between an estranged father and his elderly, ailing son. Rather, it’s a means to an end, with both men remaining largely strangers to one another. They have so little to lose when Denis dies, as they have gained nothing by being together under the same roof. This is a tragedy, something Cassidy is coming to understand now that his son is on death’s doorstep. The one thing Denis wants from his old man is the one thing Cassidy won’t grant him—immortality.
Over the course of Preacher‘s two seasons, we’ve seen a great deal of death and destruction, a lot of which has been meted out by the show’s resident vampire. Cassidy has demonstrated moments of kindness here and there, but for the most part he’s a victim of his own hedonistic impulses. But in “Holes,” we see a more tender, vulnerable side to Cassidy as he does his best to make his elderly son’s last days more comfortable. In other words, witnessing Denis at his worst brings out the best in Cassidy.
I appreciate this moral quagmire Cassidy finds himself in. He doesn’t romanticize immortality—it’s fraught with loneliness, boredom, and existential numbness. Which is why the last seconds of this episode are so effecting. The reprisal of the off-color ditty he sang to Denis in the maternity ward all those decades ago takes on a compelling urgency. Will he save Denis, or won’t he? Had he been a doting father, as he once intended to be, I think he would simply let nature take its course with Denis. But we know the opposite to be true. What might Denis’s quality of life be like now, had he grown up knowing his father? This question is surely coursing through Cassidy’s mind, just as surely as immortality is coursing through his veins.
All of this being said, I realize there’s more to this episode than just Cassidy and Denis. If you don’t care about them, then this episode (and this review) may seem like a waste of time. Aside from Eugene, there isn’t a whole lot happening with Jesse or Tulip. Jesse spends the bulk of the episode sitting around an electronics store. The revelation that The Grail is behind the God audition is meant to be a big twist, when in reality it’s not so surprising. The organization has its hand in everything, which is driven home by the Grail Industries commercial playing on the screens behind Jesse. If anything, Jesse is only chasing down leads in the Mark Harelik murder because there isn’t a lot else for him to do in this episode. He and his storyline are simply going through the motions.
The same could be said of Tulip, who doesn’t care much for Jesse’s “God thing.” The biggest danger she faces in “Holes” is boredom—which leads her to spackle bullet holes. Her run-in with Agent Featherstone, who’s in a room down the hall running surveillance for The Grail, is interesting. There’s no danger to their meeting, though, no menace. It’s just a chance encounter. I could watch Ruth Negga do almost anything, even spackle walls, but I wanted more from her this episode (just as I wanted more from Dominic Cooper).
Then there’s Ian Colletti. It’s not very often I get to say it’s good to be back in Hell and actually mean it, but in Eugene’s case it’s true. He may think he can hide his innate goodness, but not everyone is so easily fooled by his tough-guy act. Hitler, for one, knows better. And you’d think Amy Hill’s superintendent would know better, too, given that she made a point of reviewing Eugene’s memories and found his cruelty lacking. In reality, Eugene believes he actually deserves eternal hellfire. But this is also a person who was never treated well by anyone in Annville (if you recall, he was known publicly as a local freak). Even his own father, Sheriff Root, despised him. For Eugene, this basically boils down to same shit, different Hell.
But there are different levels of Hell, as Eugene finds out in the Hole. We see his worst memory play out, only to take an unexpected turn for the better…only to take a turn for the worse. Ian Colletti shines in this scene, as Eugene’s tearful happiness gives way to wide-eyed terror.
Overall, “Holes” isn’t a bad hour of television, but it could have been much stronger if your interest lies solely in Jesse’s quest for an absentee Father. But if a different immortal, delinquent da is holding your attention (as it is for me), then this is definitely one hell of an episode.
Some closing thoughts:
At one point, Cassidy floats the idea of becoming immortal past Tulip. Is he using her as a sounding board, or does he want someone to help take the edge off his eternal loneliness? He’s fully invested in their conversation (and in her), but she’s more interested in their fancy new refrigerator.
Considering Jesse often uses Genesis for the most trivial things, it must seem like a slap in the face to Cassidy that his friend has suddenly become moral when it comes to how Genesis should or shouldn’t be used. Then again, Denis must feel the same way about constantly being rebuffed by Cassidy.
A buff, tatted-up Eugene? How long has his cell block been in this holding room?? I know this is played for laughs, but Eugene’s transformation doesn’t quite work.