Previously on Preacher, “Backdoors”
Before any of the true madness unfolded, “On Your Knees” successfully completed the first leg of Eugene and Adolf’s bogus journey through the hellscape. Once more confronted with the projection of the intolerable Tracy Loach (Gianna LaPera), Root finally reached deep and found his self-worth during his repeated attempts to escape The Hole. The room wasn’t going to be defeated so easily and manifested the Annville mascot – who once fondled Eugene during a camping trip – along with a twisted version of his father Hugo (W. Earl Brown), both were confidently handled by Eugene. Having nothing left to fear, the young Root and his able companion were all the better prepared for what lies ahead in their break out. Who says you can’t improve as a person whilst trapped in a seemingly endless prison for the damned?
While Eugene developed a backbone during his undeserved incarceration, The Saint of Killers raged for days under the depths of a random bayou. As one recalls, Jesse gave The Cowboy the faintest glimmer of his soul in “Sokosha”, thereby granting Custer power over his immortal pursuer. Surely Jesse didn’t really believe an armored truck dumped in the backwoods of Louisiana would hold the most lethal being in existence indefinitely. The Cowboy would have broken free eventually, but his release was expedited by the ever-watchful eye of The Grail.
All the pieces that were laid out in the third act of “Backdoors” were finally put together: the side mission Herr Starr gave Hoover (Malcolm Barrett) involved the retrieval and flipping of The Saint of Killers into a Grail asset. The holy terror himself needed little motivation to resume his previous mission, but for viewers we’re privvy to the extended origin of The Cowboy and why preachers make him so cross. Interwoven between The Saint’s experiences in Ratwater are his brightest memories with his wife and daughter. An actor cannot live on surliness and disyllabic words alone and thankfully, writers Sam Catlin and Rachel Wagner shone a new light on The Cowboy, providing Graham McTavish the opportunity to show how The Saint regained and lost his humanity all over again.
In the meantime, Cassidy and Tulip are at their wit’s end in the Crescent City. Between Jesse’s mostly fruitless search for God, Denis’ growing bloodlust and the unsettling notion that The Grail is tracking their every move, the group has seen far better days. It’s been a rough outing for Jesse’s pals in the last few episodes and they’re put through the grinder once more, thanks to The Saint of Killer’s sudden return. During the melee, we learned the Grail – supposedly on the side of the angels – formed a temporary accord with Distant Vistas aka Hell’s earthly operation to detain The Cowboy after he subdued Custer. And subdued The Saint of Killers did, as he waxed nostalgic about a former acquaintance’s calling as a scalper and pondering if Jesse’s skin would “sound like a wet sheet” as it’s torn from his skull. Yeesh.
Thankfully for Jesse, all worked according to Starr’s plan: Ms. Mannerling coerced The Cowboy to return to Hell for the sake of his family’s souls, giving Klaus the chance to sit down with Cassidy and Tulip about Custer’s potential. Concurrently, the Pope has begun the next phase of The Grail’s plans by preparing the masses for the arrival of The Messiah. It’s odd, but the end of the series feels awfully near given the abrupt shift in the team’s dynamic. Now that Tulip and Cassidy are filled in on Starr’s plans for Jesse, everyone appears to have conceded to the overwhelming influence of The Grail. The gang has traveled to a casino resort and The Big Easy… and that’s it? After all the frustratingly self-absorbed moments Custer inflicted on his friends about the importance of finding God, he’s going to hang up his boots and assume the mantle of The Alpha and The Omega himself? Not bloody likely!
If anything, this is the calm before the storm, the sea change that brings forth even more chaos upon the world. Though it’s been a bizarrely hilarious ride so far, Preacher has only gotten darker as it showcased humanity’s decline since God went AWOL. Is Jesse the best case scenario for the restoration of faith across the planet? Hell no. Still, as the old saying goes, “better the devil you know”…