This Preacher review contains spoilers.
Preacher Episode 3
Sure, we can talk about Jesse’s burgeoning powers, and how he chooses to use said powers. We could also discuss the notion that the preacher’s newfound abilities are something that can be exorcised with the help of a coffee can. We could also touch on yet again how great Joseph Gilgun is as Jesse’s best mate, Cassidy. Instead, let’s talk about Tulip, shall we? (And then we can get into the rest of this in a bit.)
Whether she’s cleverly talking her way out of a speeding ticket or browbeating the driver of a beat-up hatchback, Ruth Negga absolutely shines in “The Possibilities.” You could say she’s three for three so far this season. Sure, a lot of credit goes to the writers for crafting a character like Tulip in the first place (with obvious nods to the source material), but Negga fully embodies the character in a way that her magnetism practically jumps off the screen.
We already know Tulip can handle herself without breaking a sweat or batting an eyelash, so beating a speeding ticket should be no problem. But the fun comes from how she’ll do it—will she go for bullets or brains? Ultimately she opts for the non-violent approach with the state trooper who’s pulled her over. Yes, he believes her story of serving overseas in Afghanistan as an Apache gunner, but she weaves her true feelings about Jesse in with her lie. He’s the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to Tulip—and she’s doing her damnedest to get Jesse back on the right path. At least, the path she believes he should be following, and in this case, the right path isn’t the righteous one. This traffic stop is Tulip in a nutshell: she’s resourceful, wily, a great judge of character, and she believes in her heart that the preacher is in desperate need of saving from salvation itself.
The tight close-up on Tulip’s face toward the end of the scene sells the truth of this last point, as does the quiet resignation in Negga’s eyes. It doesn’t matter whether or not the tears Tulip sheds for the trooper are real. She still loves Jesse Custer, whether she likes it or not.
Which brings us to Jesse, who is clearly struggling to make sense of his new powers. In “See,” we saw these powers bring out the best in him by bestowing a minor miracle on the Loach family. But in that same episode, we saw this special ability bring out the preacher’s darker side, too. He might have had noble intentions when he confronted Linus in his home, but tampering with the school bus driver’s mind didn’t sit well with Jesse. Which is why he confesses his secret power to Cassidy, who he still doesn’t know (or at least believe) is a vampire. Cassidy takes the news in stride, all things considered, though he can’t help but consider the possibilities such a power might hold in store for two mates such as themselves.
It’s to Jesse’s credit that he never uses this otherworldly ability to get Tulip off his back. Maybe he senses her motives are pure, if somewhat misguided. Going after Carlos, their partner who abandoned them after a job gone bad, is not a crime, reasons Tulip—it’s justice. And for a little while, Jesse is down with her plan to go after Carlos. And then he runs into Donnie in a grungy gas station bathroom.
One could argue that Donnie Schenck is a character you love to hate. Which is true, thanks mainly to Derek Wilson, who somehow brings a strange vulnerability to the grown bully. Even as he confronts Jesse, we know things won’t end well for Donnie. The horror on his face as he involuntarily does the preacher’s bidding would be comical if not for the barrel of his own gun shoved into his own mouth. There is a moment of tension as we’re left to wonder if a man of God would murder a member of his own congregation. Perhaps this thought crosses Jesse’s mind, too. He’s supposed to be saving lives, not taking them. And he probably shouldn’t be using what he considers a God-given power to break a commandment, either. Who knows how much longer this power will be his to wield, though, given that LeBlanc and Fiore have found an unlikely ally in Cassidy. Time will tell…
Some closing thoughts:
What (or who) is Grail Industries, the creators of the map Tulip hands over to Danni? This show very much likes to tease information, sprinkling intriguing story crumbs throughout every episode. I’m sure we’ll come to know Grail Industries well later in the season. The same goes for the mysterious man in the white suit who receives the map from Danni. Sure, he has a thing for snuff films, but that’s all we know about him—for now.
It’s chilling the way Jackie Earle Haley’s Odin Quincannon casually listens to the sounds of the slaughterhouse floor the way one might listen to soft rock on the radio. It’s equally chilling the way he dismisses the gimpy Donnie out of hand by describing him as a “right-hand man with no right hand.”
More fun pop-culture references in this episode, from Justin Bieber to Jason Bourne to Jedi—all courtesy of Cassidy, who at the ripe old age of 198 should know a thing or two about a thing or two about the world he inhabits.