Things have been kind of crazy, which explains the delay on getting this recap posted. But, come to think of it, things being kind of crazy also applies to the world of Preacher, at least the small corners of it that we’ve seen thus far. Two episodes have ticked by, and there’s been a lot to unpack already. In fact, there was so much information packed into the first episode, that it isn’t surprising that the second episode hit a little bit of a slowdown. After all, the frenetic pace of the first 90 minutes was certainly fun, but would be hard to sustain for a full series run.
That isn’t to say that things didn’t happen in the second episode. Preacher has a lot of information to get out, and a lot of hooks being tossed at the audience right now. It’s probably good that the second episode was a little slower, and served to reinforce what we already knew about the primary characters, rather than taking another quick left turn. Let’s take a moment, and See what the second hour had to show.
The second episode of the series begins in the past. 1881 to be precise. We’re introduced to a family farm, with a sick girl. Her father, or at least we presume, rides out to get her medicine, meet a group of travelers, and pass by a hanging tree on his way to the town of Ratwater. Obviously this is connected to Jesse somehow, and I’m sure that comics readers knew exactly what the scene was revealing, but as someone coming into the show fresh, it was a nice opening that presented a little foreshadowing, and a mystery for how these characters will eventually cause havoc in Jesse Custer’s world.
After the opening, we’re back in present day, and Jesse is continuing his goal to improve the town and his congregations. It’s baptism day, and everyone’s lined up to get their dunking, including Eugene (Arseface), and, in somewhat of a surprise, Tulip. Except Tulip isn’t necessarily looking for a baptism, she’s looking to keep messing with Jesse. Mission accomplished, Tulip. Jesse wants to do what’s right, even if he doesn’t always know how. He interacts with a school bus driver, Linus, who is having lustful thoughts towards one of his passengers. Jesse tries to do his job as the town preacher, but he can’t escape from his own darker past, as every moment where he sees a bus brings him closer to exacting a more physical toll on Linus. His interactions with Eugene and with the family of the comatose girl are better, and more true to who he wants to be, but even those are tested. With Eugene, it’s him telling Jesse that he doesn’t feel different post-baptism, and postulating that he was already exactly who God wanted him to be, good or bad. With the family of Tracy, he looks almost helpless, clearly wanting to help somehow. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
This episode also shows Cassidy really stepping up, in specific with his connection to Jesse. For a man that he barely knows, Cassidy is more than willing to step up and do what he can to keep Jesse safe. A preacher and a vampire may seem like an unnatural fit, but these two characters actually dovetail nicely. Sure, Emily may want to see Cassidy out, assuming he does nothing because he “sleeps all day”, but Jesse, after a brief conversation and learning the truth about Cassidy’s odd hours, is more than willing to keep the vampire around. Good thing, too, with the pair of Fiore and Deblanc lurking nearby, looking for a chance to pounce.
And what about the third of our primary triumvirate, Tulip? Tulip is the one who spins her wheels the most in this episode. We know that she’s got a map of some kind, and that she wants Jesse in on this final job. We know that she’s incredibly crafty, and more than able to take care of herself. However, these are all points we learned in the first episode, too. Sure, the way she teased Jesse post-baptism was funny, and the way she stood up for her Uncle Walter was impressive, but she didn’t move her plot much this time around.
So there was minor movement for who Jesse is, Cassidy reinforced his ties, and Tulip fairly well stood in place. What did happen in the second episode? We got to see a larger interaction from Fiore and Deblanc, as they tried to extract the entity from Jesse. In fact, that entire scene in the church went from deliciously creepy and odd to deliriously bloody and funny. Of course, we know we wouldn’t be done with them after two episodes, given the supernatural nature of the story, but I honestly didn’t expect to get a scene with them so quickly, least of all while Cassidy was busy burying the chest that, presumably, held the pieces of their former appearance. We got a quick glimpse of Odin Quincannon, as we see him wield his power to buy a family out of their home mere moments before the bulldozers roll through. And we got to see a few more glimpses of Jesse tapping into the power that he now possesses.
Oh, that power. We first saw it tapped into, almost certainly unconsciously, in the pilot episode being aimed at Ted. Well, we got to see how that played out, and there’s a fair chance that Jesse commanding the barking dogs to be quiet won’t carry too severe of a stake, but how about the way that he uses it against Linus, and later, Tracy? Linus is someone who clearly as issues, a pedophiliac who hasn’t actually succumbed to his urges as of yet, but is drawing ever closer. Jesse commands him to forget the girl, which will help make the urges towards her go away, but could carry much darker implications. And what about his request to Tracy at the end of the episode, to open her eyes? Jesse’s power means that people will do what he commands when he taps into the ability, but it shouldn’t take too long before Jesse is forced to confront the idea that his wording needs to be clear, and unable to be misconstrued. The situation with Linus may rear its head, but it seems more likely that Jesse will slip, and use his power in a flashier, messier way.
Overall, the second episode felt like a little bit of a pumping of the brakes, but still was a solidly entertaining hour of television. Jesse is clearly trying to not embrace his past, despite Tulip’s advances, but it seems that Eugene may have had the best angle on the reality of the situation, with his postulation about already having been the person he was supposed to be.