Previously on Preacher, “See”
Preacher – S1E3 – The Possibilities | Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, W. Earl Brown, Lucy Griffiths, Ian Colletti, Anatol Yusef, Tom Brooke | Writer: Chris Kelly | Director: Scott Winant
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
After a whirlwind of action in the first two episodes, Preacher slowed to a crawl to fill in viewers on the motivations of its leads and establish secret alliances among the unlikeliest characters. “The Possibilities” is the first episode to be directed by someone other than Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and it’s apparent. It’s not a slight on Scott Winant; in fact, he fashions rather evocative scenes involving Quincannon, Custer and Donnie Schenck and most importantly, Preacher’s chief nemesis, Herr Starr.
At the same time, “Possibilities” begins to veer further from Preacher’s source material, creating an entirely new backstory for an already loaded history between Jesse and Tulip. If that wasn’t enough to swallow, Cassidy is heavily involved in the goings-on in Annville. Once more, the foul-mouthed vampire proves that discretion is not his strong suit after Jesse reveals (and demonstrates on his pal in a hilarious segment) the immense power within him. After another literal run-in with Fiore and DeBlanc, the three finally sort things out, share their intel and conspire to release Custer from the burden of his heavenly host.
It’s one thing to alter the ways certain characters meet one another or drastically alter their personalities to make them more accommodating for cable television. However this conspiracy between Cassidy and the Angels seems entirely out of sync. First off, why would a pair of Adelphi want to be associated with a vampire? Secondly, this instance, along with a few others, are justifiable concerns many long-time fans of the comic have about the longevity of the series. All anyone can do is sit and hope these changes to these beloved, hapless degenerates will play out in the long run.
Ironically, like Custer and his personal struggles, we must keep the faith and be assured we’re on the right course.
For most of “Possibilities” it was a build up for the inevitable confrontation between Jesse and Donnie Schenck (Derek Wilson). Through quick snippets of Custer and O’Hare last job, viewers learn another partner named Carlos hauled ass from an alley, leaving the pair with the cold body of a security guard. Naturally, Tulip is all about revenge, and, for a time, Jesse was aboard the hate train as well. It wasn’t until his chance encounter with Donnie, who had been emasculated all episode long by his boss and even his son’s schoolmates, that Custer was able to see the frightening hold his dark side still has over him.
Although a great deal of information was revealed about Tulip and Jesse’s past, DeBlanc and Fiore’s task on earth and more of Root’s perspective on the world, “The Possibilities” was an obscenely slow-paced episode full of pregnant pauses and tedious exposition. The deliberate pacing of the episode inadvertently revealed the damning alterations committed by Rogen, Goldberg, and Catlin. Hopefully the pace quickens once more or many fans could abandon ship, believing such a potentially exciting series that could be unlike anything on television has slackened to the level of The Walking Dead’s languid tempo.
If anyone were to cram the first twelve issues of Ennis’ series (or pick them up for the first time), many readers would likely wonder why the hell the show diverted so far from the comic’s original run. Granted, a lot of the material was not only graphic, but potentially inflammatory. However, many programs have tested the limits of American censors on network television. So why not push Preacher to the bleeding edge on AMC? Instead, we’re viewing Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy loitering in the dullest town in Texas filled with unsavory characters that have, short of Schenck, not delivered anything compelling or remotely engaging. At least not yet.
It’s only been three episodes yet “Possibilities” made it awfully difficult to hold back any feelings of disappointment in the progression of Preacher’s warped narrative. While the essence of the lead characters has been retained, the jumble in story lines and complete revisions of supporting characters has suddenly become an arduous proposition to accept. Preacher shouldn’t be given up by any means. Some of the best shows aren’t fully realized by its audience without multiple viewings, or finally relinquishing their haughty expectations. Now that Preacher’s most dynamic and memorable foils have been introduced in its last two episodes, it’s only a matter of time before the series goes to hell in a hand basket. In other words, damn good TV.
Custer’s path to redemption continues in “Monster Swamp” next Sunday at 9/8c on AMC!
Preacher S1E3 = 7/10