Previously on Preacher, “South Will Rise Again”
Preacher – S1E66 – Sundowner | Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, W. Earl Brown, Lucy Griffiths, Ian Colletti, Anatol Yusef, Tom Brooke | Writer: Nick Towne | Director: Guillermo Navarro
A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
While reaction has been divisive among comic fans and casual viewers about Preacher’s abridged universe, Rogen and Goldberg have pushed through and made a competent series with an impressive lead cast and the promise of a layered mythology to draw upon in future episodes. (With the news that Preacher has been renewed for an extended second season, we’re keeping an eye on which upcoming freshman series may see renewal next.) The complete divergence from its source material aside, this re-imagining of Preacher has faltered in its delivery somewhat after the first two episodes. That is until this week’s installment.
“Sundowner” again reminds Preacher‘s dedicated fans of the frenzied action and capricious plot that made the pilot such a whirlwind of excitement. Now that Jesse knows he isn’t imbued with powers from The Lord but possessed by an entity born out of iniquity, the news doesn’t deter him from accomplishing his goal of “saving” Annville by any means necessary.
For the first four episodes, there was a tinge of uncertainty on how Preacher‘s supporting characters could gain a foothold in the overreaching arc involving its trinity of charismatic fuck-ups. Thanks to some sharp, poignant writing by Nick Towne – paired with the unexampled eye of director Guillermo Navarro – the series’ more eccentric players finally had some solid ground to run on and leave an striking impression. Hell, even the nameless seraphim (Juliana Potter) that spoke nary a word yet kicked all kinds of ass had more pluck than what was seen by a majority of the cast in previous weeks.
Hopefully Towne and Navarro’s contribution to Preacher‘s narrative sticks as the show has finally regained its pace and proclivity for the bizarre. One thing’s for certain: the sudden turn in Custer’s demeanor will ensure that Dominic Cooper will have a lot more meat to chew on as Preacher ramps up the tension in its critical second act.
“Sorry about the mess.”
Firstly, the cold open… if that didn’t leave an impression as to how balls-to-the-wall this show could be week in and week out, nothing else will. Guillermo Navarro’s experience in creating fantastical visuals from the most ridiculous scenes is apparent, given his multiple cinematographic collaborations with Guillermo Del Toro. If the entire episode was limited to the angel’s dingy hotel room, it likely would stay exciting until credits rolled.
Amid the piles of DeBlanc, Fiore, and seraphim assassin corpses, Jesse is given the Cliff Notes version of what has taken residence inside him and what it means for both sides in the ongoing war between Heaven and Hell. The product of a union between an angel and demon, Genesis is unequivocally the most powerful being in all of Creation. The repercussions of using its power on our lowly earthly plane can be immense. Of course, that doesn’t matter to Jesse any. It’s become all too apparent in “Sundowner” that Custer has taken his “calling” to a greater level. As the creature’s custodians hinted, Genesis’ presence more than likely affected Jesse; no human was meant to carry a supreme power and no one above or below is prepared for what may happen to the planet, let alone a dusty West Texas town.
“You’re his Tulip.”
In the meantime, in an ironic turn of events, Tulip and Cassidy have begun their respective journeys towards repentance. O’Hare’s seemingly unstoppable pursuit of Carlos has taken a backseat for the moment, as she’s reconnected with a part of her soul that had been lost to her for some time.
Every week, Ruth Negga has carried Preacher’s signature tone through Tulip’s composure. It’s one thing to have Jesse reject her advances and call for revenge, but to immerse herself in the doldrums of Annville is an entirely different beast. Tulip swept through the streets like a manic hurricane, leaving dust and debris (along with a few bodies) in her wake. She wasn’t wrong in recognizing Emily’s attraction to Custer, but who is she to say who can hang out with Jesse after all the mess she’s gone through herself? Thankfully, both women were given a legitimate chance to become acquainted after perpetuating a rivalry-that-never-was.
The scenes in Emily’s home were a masterful lesson in subtlety by writer Nick Towne, giving both Negga and Lucy Griffiths material that improves upon their characters’ strengths whilst developing upon their faults. Although Emily finally displayed a toughness that had been lacking until now, the softer side of Tulip once again made a rare appearance as it did with the children in the premiere. Part of her motivations can be explained from the conversation she had with Emily; after such a traumatic incident as she endured, it’s understandable why Tulip hides her true self behind an abrasive, no-time-for-bullshit attitude.
As for Cassidy, he’s probably been in far worse pickles that what he has currently gotten himself into. However, this may be the first time in decades that the lonesome vampire has felt genuine regret for his actions. Thanks to their crazy night at the Sundowner Motel, Cassidy and Jesse were able to seal the bonds of friendship with a recounting of their activities – and a few Tarantino movie references thrown here and there. Their conversation takes a surprisingly frank turn due to Cassidy’s concerns about Genesis mucking about in Custer’s brain. It takes an addict to recognize an addict, and Jesse is displaying the signs. While the affable Irishman is about having a good time, the personality Joseph Gilgun has fashioned in this version of Cassidy is far and away more sympathetic and attentive to his new best pal’s needs… in his own, mildly vexatious way.
For all the good Jesse has done and wants to spread throughout Annville, it’s his most enthusiastic supporter that finally calls him on his guff. Eugene Root (Ian Colletti) finally had some semblance of a normal life thanks to preacher’s “suggestion” to the family in “South Will Rise Again”. It’s everything Eugene ever wanted: a place to belong among a close knit group of friends. While no one outside of Cassidy and the angels are in the know, Arseface figured it out on his own pretty damn quick. Unfortunately for Jesse’s biggest fan, Eugene chose the wrong time to voice his concerns. Of all the people in Annville, Root didn’t deserve to suffer the full force of Custer’s wrath. Who needs enemies when you have a friend like Jesse…
Custer’s altered state of mind is not doing himself and his congregation any favors. How much of him is actually in control rather than Genesis remains to be seen. Either way, God is going to going to be in everyone’s lives whether they want Him or not.
Now that Jesse has an inkling about what’s inhabiting his body, the absolute power he wields has begun to corrupt him absolutely. The cold war for the souls – and freedom – of Annville’s residents commences in “He Gone”, Sunday at 9/8c on AMC!
Preacher S1E6 = 9/10