Surely Jesse Custer has started to see the error of his ways, right? I mean, after what happened last week with Eugene, clearly our man of the cloth is going to start moving back towards the straight and narrow? After all, the big reason he didn’t want to go with Tulip to chase down Carlos is because he wants to be one of the good guys. Hard to still claim to be a good guy after what he did to close out the last episode.
Just kidding, guys. It’s going to take a lot more than that to make our “hero” think he’s doing anything other than the will of God. Jesse is a character that has exhibited a willingness to let his own hubris take control, and he certainly hasn’t been above blurring the line when it suits his purposes. Just look at the situation with Donnie, which has clearly been building since childhood. You can’t say that Jesse did the “good” thing. Maybe what was right in the situation, but definitely not good. As for Eugene? Well, He Gone, and we get to see the fallout from that.
This episode, much like last week, picked up right where we left off. We’re still in the church, seeing Jesse after he tapped into the power of Genesis to send Eugene to Hell. For a moment, it even looks like Jesse might be remorseful, but a complete change overtakes him, and he goes about the business of setting up for Sunday service. Is this a glimpse of Genesis taking more control of the preacher? Or is Jesse just refusing to let himself feel guilty for his own actions? It seems much more strongly the former.
Over the course of this episode, in fact, Jesse is shown to be fairly unrepentant. The flashbacks to Jesse and Tulip as a child show that he was once more willing to accept where he had stepped off of the path, but the man that he has become is much more set in his ways. This serves him well in his discussion with Odin Quincannon, as Jesse stands up to the powerful business owner, but every other instance showcases Jesse as a man who is so dedicated to saving his own skin than admitting his faults. When Sheriff Root visits during dinner to ask about Eugene, Jesse denies ever seeing him, and even sits sullenly still when a fire breaks out, and everyone scrambles to put it out. He proceeds to tell Cassidy the full story of Eugene and Tracy, and then seems willing to let his friend burn in the sun. He lashes out at Tulip and Emily, pushing them away for even seeming to show any concern, and for the perceived slight of keeping information from him. It isn’t until the end of the episode that we see a moment of remorse, as Jesse pries up the church floor, trying to tap into Genesis in an attempt to get Eugene to “come back”. Is Jesse finally turning over a new leaf, and rededicating himself back to the side of good? Clearly the memory of watching his father killed resonated with him, but it remains to be seen if Jesse can bring himself back, or if he’s already too far gone.
Tulip is a character that has been a bit of a one-note story for a little bit, showcasing how tough and determined she is. While modern-day Tulip still isn’t given a ton of room to grow in this episode, the flashbacks to the two as children help shed some light on her personality, and her dedication to Jesse. Turns out, the Custers took her in when she was a child, because she had nowhere else to go. When she was turned over to the state, all because she was an O’Hare, Jesse tried to chase her down. After all, they did promise each other “till the end of the world”. This finally gives us a reason why Tulip hasn’t just packed up her bags and moved on, after being rebuffed by Jesse at every turn. It’s not necessarily the wisest course of action for her, but she is committed because of the kindness he showed as a child, and the fact that they have revolved around each other for decades. It’s hard to just abandon that kind of a connection, no matter how hard Jesse tries.
Cassidy again is shown as the steadfast one. He argues with Tulip over how much she keeps from Jesse, and even admits that he tried, in a somewhat circular fashion, to tell Jesse the truth about his vampirism. Point of fact, he DID tell Jesse, but the circumstances may not have carried the intended weight into Jesse’s mind. But Cassidy is a man who isn’t going to do anything lightly, and he knows that he needs to get Jesse to believe him. To this end, Cassidy is willing to incinerate himself, to prove to Jesse the truth of his nature. Of course, this is all after Cassidy failed to convince Jesse that Eugene was an innocent who didn’t deserve the punishment set before him, but you have to give credit to Cassidy for being willing to sacrifice everything to get his friend to see the error of his ways. Even though the last scene of Cassidy’s casts doubt about his future, but you know he isn’t going to be gone that easily.
What about the rest of our supporting characters? Well, we had a week away from Fiore and DeBlanc, as they were clearly involved with cleaning up the mess made by the appearance of the seraphim. That gave us the ability to check back in with Sheriff Root and Odin Quincannon. The sheriff is a man who has clearly been conflicted with how to feel about Eugene ever since the incident with Tracy and the shotgun. However, at the bottom of it all, he is a man who still loves his son, and the concern he has for the missing Eugene is palpable. As for Odin, well, it seems pretty obvious that either he was somehow immune to the power of Genesis, or, more likely, that he has taken the command to “serve God” in his own way. He even has a moment where it almost seems that he’s about to confess to Jesse about what he did to the Green Acres people, but instead, his confession was his belief that he turned away from his birthright by crippling his own company, albeit not through any direct action. His speech, and papers of deed transference give Jesse the only real moment of doing the right thing until the end of the episode, but it also sets us up for a confrontation between Jesse and the forces of Quincannon Meat and Power.
So how does the seventh episode of this series resonate? Well, for being our titular hero, Jesse Custer needs to do a lot to redeem himself in the eyes of the people who are closest to him. Cassidy isn’t going to forgive Jesse easily, even if he was eventually extinguished. Tulip seems about ready to give up, and even Emily almost looks as though she’s questioning her continued devotion to this man who has been toying with her emotions. We know that a redemption arc has to come at some point, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see at least one of Jesse’s closest comrades turn on him, at least for a short time. After all, he’s earned at least that.