Previously on Preacher, “Sundowner”
Preacher – S1E7 – He Gone | Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, W. Earl Brown, Lucy Griffiths, Ian Colletti, Anatol Yusef, Tom Brooke | Writer: Mary Laws | Director: Michael Morris
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
It’s becoming really hard to like Jesse. Really, really hard.
Genesis can be blamed for only so much of the discord Custer caused in “He Gone”. After an energetic episode in “Sundowner”, Michael Morris kept the pace steady thanks to Dominic Cooper’s blustery portrayal of our conflicted preacher. Try all he might, Custer doesn’t have the chops or the reserve like his old man. Frustrations are mounting in spite of the church’s growing success, leaving Jesse on his lonesome when the wolves come looking for blood.
Most of “He Gone” hearkened to Jesse and Tulip’s blossoming friendship, proving that O’Hare truly loves the boy she once knew. Like most friendships it was full of playful scraps and shared chores but it wouldn’t be Preacher without some kind of profound hardship involved. For a small town like Annville, it’s stuffed to the gills with allegedly disreputable families. Custers. Quincannons. O’Hares. If the last surname makes a rough and tumble clan like the Custers scoff with disdain, Tulip’s kin must have some type of reputation.
It was enough for John Custer to allow child services to take Tulip away from the relative safety of the church, and motivated Jesse to pray for his father’s death. Young Custer had his prayers answered sooner than he realized when an pair of unknown assailants (TC and Jody?) beat John down then blew his brains out. Whether this flashback that’s been seen multiple times this season is a portent for the eventual arrival of Custer’s grandmother (spoilers in the link!) remains to be seen.
Jesse attempted to rationalize his actions by letting Cassidy in on what caused Eugene to resemble the ass end of a warthog and why half of Tracy Loach’s head is missing. It’s a true indictment on young Root’s amazingly troubled life and definitely makes more sense in this version of Preacher than what many viewers believed to be the case, i.e. Eugene’s comic book origins. It does make it harder to relate to Eugene now that we know everyone’s slurs and contemptible behavior is justified (to a degree). However, out of all the characters that have been introduced in Annville, Arseface remains the most pious due to his bona fide desire for repentance.
As for Cassidy, in spite of his heavy drinking, snortin’, shootin’, pill popping, whore mongering, blood draining, God-hating ways, he retains a surprisingly conservative moral compass. No matter what Eugene, Tulip, Odin, or Jesse has done, Cassidy believes everyone deserves a chance to be accepted if they’re truly seeking forgiveness for their misdeeds. They may not be absolved by those they’ve wronged, but at least they bared their soul.
In a way, that’s what Cassidy was intending to accomplish with Custer in his grand revelation. Exposing himself to the sun was a baptism of sorts, a cleansing of his recent transgressions. It also doubled as a stunt, forcing Jesse put his money where his mouth is. If he let Cassidy burn to ash, then it all but assures the man he and the rest of us have only began to know is truly lost to Genesis. If Custer put out the flames, he’s the biggest hypocrite of them all. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait to know whether Cassidy’s sacrifice had any kind of impact on Preacher’s inflated sense of self.
On the other side of town, the other ego-driven miscreant that is Odin Quincannon appears to have shaken off the effects of “goodness” and has returned to the time-honored tradition of staring vacantly in the distance while listening to cows being slaughtered. It seems the massacre of the Green Acre Group wasn’t God’s plan but Odin finally breaking the lure of The Voice with the smooth pump-action of a 12 gauge.
Whether Donnie Schenck’s manic episode in “South Will Rise Again” was responsible for Quincannon’s turnaround or Odin overpowered the command with his own depravity remains unknown. Odin, however, was more than ready to tussle with Jesse for losing his bet.
Technically, Quincannon was saved for half a second and it probably could have lasted longer if Jesse put in some effort. That’s all Eugene asked of him, to actually do good than force his will on others, and Root was instantly cast to eternal torment. It’s only a matter of time before Custer’s hubris and abuse of Genesis’ power brings the entire church down.
Now Annville’s alpha males, the old dog and young pup, are primed and willing to risk the very community they’ve built (on the backs of others, mind you) not for the betterment of the town or its residents, but to appease their destructive egos.
Can Jesse find the strength to finally admit his failings and release Genesis? We’ll see in “El Valero” next Sunday at 9/8c on AMC!
Preacher S1E7 = 8.7/10