Previously on Preacher, “Dirty Little Secret”
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
– Proverbs 15:1
After Herr Starr gave Jesse a hare-footed tour showcasing The Grail’s influence and its most precious figurehead last week, Custer had little time to process what he witnessed and how it may have swayed his view on the state of the world. He may have claimed that Starr’s offer to combine efforts in the search for God would never come to pass, but in “Backdoors” a perfect storm was brewing that may ultimately reshape Jesse’s quest for answers from The Almighty.
The episode began with another, far more detailed flashback of Jesse’s formative years under the “care” of his grandmother Marie and her goons T.C. and Jody on the L’Angell property. We’re given a stark view of young Custer’s upbringing, as he’s submerged in the mire of the bayou within an airtight coffin. Whether it had been for hours or even days is anyone’s guess, but what was a certainty is Marie aimed to break down her grandson and accept him into her flock, but only as a L’Angell. After they killed his father and abducted him from a fairly content life in Annville, Jesse defied Marie knowing full well there were no limits to her depravity.
Decades later, Custer is withstanding another similar hardship, this time created by his own hand. The murky depths of the swamp continue to linger in Jesse’s unconscious; being so near to his old haunts exacerbates his anxieties, compelling the preacher to literally drown his problems – namely The Saint of Killers – where they can scratch and claw their way to futility. Unfortunately for all, Jesse’s series of blunders have finally mounted up to a real issues among the group, and whether they should continue their search for God across America.
It turned out Tulip didn’t beat the living hell out of Jesse after she found The Cowboy’s guns under the bathroom floor, yet the two returned to their fractious banter that quickly devolved to a game of “Who’s the bigger liar?”. O’Hare and Custer truly are meant for each other, for all the wrong reasons. There may have been moments when their relationship had a high point but most of their foundation had been laid with bullet casings and the bones of their enemies. They don’t feel alive without throwing themselves in danger and they can’t love without having a massive row every other day.
Discovering The Cowboy’s weapons in the bathroom was the latest straw that broke the camel’s back, and even Cassidy has become tired of Jesse’s reticence. After Jesse suggested the three finally leave New Orleans, he immediately changed his mind because he suddenly developed brainwave: the man-dog nicknamed ‘God’ in “Damsels” may have been the Alpha and Omega Himself in disguise. Having left his friends yet again, Tulip and “Jenny” attempted to melt down the Saint’s guns and saber while Cassidy and Denis’ father-son dynamic took a sinister turn. In both instances, Tulip and Cassidy became suddenly aware of how good they had it not so long ago, when Jesse didn’t overtake so much of their lives.
During the gang’s back and forth, Herr Starr disclosed to Featherstone and Hoover their loyalty to The Grail is an empty gesture. The organization is rotten from the inside due to their “moron” of a Messiah, who Starr wants to replace with Custer. Ever the expert manipulator, Starr executed his early plans to usurp control over The Grail impeccably by shaking the faith of his top New Orleans agents just enough to have them accept his proposal.
As suspected, Klaus’ contrary demeanor toward Jesse in “Dirty Little Secret” served double duty as personal surveillance and the first tier in a laborious mission to flip Custer to their side. Starr’s work continued when Custer returned to the office seeking more answers and countered with recordings of Jesse’s prayers. It was a bold play that didn’t work in Herr Starr’s favor, who pushed Custer to realize his sins are far too great for God to forgive if He ever returned to Heaven. Yet again, it all comes back to Jesse’s confinement on the L’Angell property, when he finally caved and said what Marie wanted: to claim his family name and admit to God that he’s thankful his father is dead.
It was enough to put Jesse over the edge, however his rage had an odd effect on Genesis – in this moment of personal anguish, The Word had weakened in strength.
Meanwhile in Hell, Eugene’s time is running out as each prisoner is being monitored for signs of goodness. Desperate to find a way out, Root – with some assistance from douche-bro Tyler (Justin Prentice) – sought help from Adolf. In spite of their recent differences, Eugene pressed Hitler to reveal the full version of his personal hell. In a modest cafe in 1919, Tyler and Eugene witness a meek Adolf face rejection thrice-fold: from a prominent art gallery owner, the cafe patrons after a disastrous encounter with violent communists, and his girlfriend, disgusted by his inaction. Add the fact that the cafe didn’t want to serve him plum cake afterward and that was all it took to make one of the most reviled despots in history.
Nevertheless, Hitler’s compassion has no bounds, (weirdest sentence ever) as he shared his escape plans with Eugene in the hopes his friend returns to earth. Of course we all know Adolf wouldn’t mind a second chance at life given his deplorable past. Still and all, his passive behavior could remain a well-practiced act that won’t be abandoned until the last possible second when freedom from Hell is assured.