Previously on Preacher, “Puzzle Piece”
He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
– Proverbs 20:19
I may be beating a half-decomposed horse by now but damn if the path showrunner Sam Catlin and crew have placed before Jesse is a downright surreal one. The shock and consternation generated by fans for Preacher’s radically divergent first season evaporated into the aether, with most accepting the mishmash of slapstick, absurdism, and social criticism with the source material. For those knowing just how insane things get in the comic series, the prospect of Preacher’s future is mildly optimistic yet remains wholly unknown.
For the time being, all kinds of shit is hitting the fan. Thanks to Jesse’s fruitless jaunt in New Orleans, the gang is in the biggest rut thanks to their idle hands crafting such devilish deeds. As we know, Tulip has been testing her mortality lately which led to her canoodling with “Janey” aka Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery), who in turn has been itching to receive the green light from Starr to kill them all. Worst yet, Cassidy has created a monster by turning Denis (Ronald Guttman), as he’s quickly regressed into a beastly character due to his rampant thirst for blood.
All the while, echoes of the The Saint of Killer’s presence continue to haunt their kitschy hovel and we learn that Jesus was more of a bro than we realize. Holy hell, that cold open! If the use of contemporary vernacular didn’t throw one off, it had to have been the violent reprisal from Christ’s most ardent followers after his baby momma asked to see her child. Without question, it’s been a wild ride this season, but “Dirty Little Secret” certainly takes the cake.
Viewers have gotten used to Preacher’s off-color commentary and crazy-ass optics, however no one could have expected them to throw everything but the communion wafers at Jesse this week. After Herr K. Starr decided Custer may be his constant in a mostly unfulfilling life during “Puzzle Piece”, this week he gave Jesse a personal tour of the Grail’s operations – because why not. Under the guise of cooperation, Starr claimed to be on the same page as Jesse and wants answers about God’s absence in the world. Of course you and I know this is complete bullshit because Starr believes in no one but himself; revealing the scope and influence of The Grail was Klaus’ best shot at getting Genesis with as little resistance as possible.
If there’s anything der Leiter covets on this planet it’s order… having Custer and the power of The Word at his disposal would not only give Herr Starr ultimate power to shape humanity as he desires, but ironically proves that lofty concepts like synchronicity, fate and magical sky-beings play far more into Starr’s life than he cares to admit.
Which is also another reason why Starr may have allowed Custer to experience so much of The Grail’s most treasured secrets. Between the sit-down with The Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury and learning that Christ has sired a heir – and the bloodline has thrived for 25 generations – Jesse’s slowly wavering faith was shot back in the stratosphere. God may not be present at the moment but at least the people in and fellows affiliated with an ancient multinational cabal of doomsday preppers give Custer a bit of hope? True, the Archbishop and Holy Father’s conflicting rumors on why God ditched Heaven didn’t help much, but Jesse was easily hooked on Starr’s lure after the existence of The Boy was “accidentally” revealed.
As I anticipated last week (but didn’t assume would happen this soon), Starr took Custer to Masada, The Grail’s secret headquarters/personal fortress of Christ’s lineage. In short time, Jesse is face-to-face with Jesus’ latest descendant, a severely compromised invalid named Humperdido. In their desperation to appease the Lord and keep the holy bloodline pure, inbreeding had made the children of Christ nothing more than hollow figureheads, bolstered among Grail elite to maintain their power within an increasingly superfluous organization. It was a play that nearly worked on Custer: he actually interacted with living proof that Jesus walked the earth… and looked upon the scion in shame. Like everything else involving religion, the blood of Christ was weaponized and twisted to fit a specific, hard-lined ideal rather than the greater sum of the Judeo-Christian belief system of charity, forgiveness and compassion.
The entire sequence was clearly inspired by the final chapter of “Crusaders” story line in Preacher (definite spoilers within the link), featuring a tenuous partnership between Herr Starr and Custer fueled by their shared disdain for The Grail. In the television universe, Klaus and Jesse recognize The Grail for what it truly is: a saintly veneer wrapped over the old, tired enterprise for world domination. For all its power and supposed connections to Heaven, The Grail is nothing more than an immense corporation with multiple interests and acquisitions. Unlike its competitors that focus solely on our entertainment or the ‘happy’ junk we like to stuff ourselves with, The Grail has cornered all markets by securing the faith of the masses, forming an unholy trinity that nearly assures that absolute, indefinite hold across the planet.
Despite their authority and limitless resources, Jesse sees no merit in joining forces with Starr. Surely this isn’t set in stone given how this show vacillates from one insane scenario to the next. Custer may circle back and form a batshit crazy alliance with the Sacred Executor, leaving every viewer to cry out “What in the shit, Jesse!” followed immediately by “I wonder what’ll happen next?”. But now isn’t that time.
Custer has plenty of air to clear up between himself, Tulip and Cassidy. And from the look on O’Hare’s face near episode’s end, Jesse may have a few new holes to breathe out of, if he’s even welcomed back home.