Previously on Preacher, “Les Enfants du Sang”
My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
– Job 10:1
It took a good while before we finally caught a whiff on Hitler’s whereabouts this season, and the results were worth the wait. At a nondescript strip mall somewhere in Louisiana, Adolf Hitler – working at a Maxi Grinder under the alias David Hilter – spends his days making bomb-ass subs for the “overweight masses” while secretly composing his new four-year plan to restore his special brand of order to the world. Although this is the first time we’ve seen Noah Taylor this season, what few minutes viewers have of him Taylor makes the best of every second, drawing on Hitler’s proclivity for blustering, impassioned speeches.
During his lunch break with other mall employees, Adolf stood upon his proverbial soapbox once more, ranting yet again about “ze jews” being responsible for everything from inconvenient employee parking, low wages and even America’s overweight epidemic. Initially hesitant to hear him out, Hitler appeared to shake the rust off since he returned topside and espoused in German how the strength of The State and national character should be in harmony for the glory of the people. It would be a more laughable scene if it wasn’t already heavily promoted and declaimed repeatedly by our current administration.
Fortunately, The Saint of Killers (with Arseface in tow) strolled in to collect his dodgy mustachioed bounty and the three made their long walk back to Hell. It appears the subplot involving Eugene, Adolf, and The Cowboy is a slow lead-in to next season’s main arc, perhaps involving a countdown to the apocalypse. Given there are only three episodes left after tonight, very little time can be divided between their journey and Jesse’s progressively manifold scheme to recover his soul and regain the powers of Genesis.
Back at Angelville, Custer is still flying by the seat of his pants and his and Tulip’s lives are only getting messier in the process. Jesse had little time to bereave for Sabina Boyd before Herr Starr and Gran’ma began negotiations for Jesse’s temporary release; aside from their desperate need for Custer, both egomaniacs have more in common than they realize. Obviously Marie and Klaus want to attain the heights of power within their respective spheres, yet their goals hide a simple, fundamental desire.
Say Marie gains all the souls she requires to stay alive/virtually immortal, and Herr Starr eliminates the All Father and becomes the head of The Grail… what then? Starr claimed he wants to press order across the planet and for the moment we know next to nothing about Madame L’Angell’s ambitions, save for her singular craving for souls. No matter their intent, their wacky plans stem indirectly from God’s lack of interest in the universe for at least the last century. For all the horrors they’ve witnessed and personally committed, it’s clear they’ve little regard for God and his immaculate hosts – as both Marie and The Grail have direct lines to Hell itself – until something greater than The Almighty and The Fallen One came along and decided to shack up in Jesse’s brain.
Speaking of the most powerful entity in all of creation, in the midst of Tulip and Featherstone’s always amusing banter, they let slip in front of T.C. the existence of Genesis. Naturally, while given Miss Marie her weekly toenail painting, Thomas Charles asked Gran’ma what “a Genesis” was. Early on, she and Herr Starr came to an accord and not without its share of theatrics. In exchange for Jesse’s services, Starr guaranteed Marie an innumerable amount of souls from The Grail’s private reserve in Japan. Not one to take a carpetbagger at his word, Gran’ma tasked Jody to accompany Tulip and Featherstone on their trip. Now if she had an inkling to what Custer had floating around inside him, Marie certainly wouldn’t had agreed to terms. In fact, it’s odd that she or the others didn’t bring up Herr Starr regarding Jesse as “Messiah” when he opened the door.
Nevertheless, now empowered by this information by the ever-observant T.C., one can bet the entire house that Madame L’Angell will renege on her deal with The Grail and find a means to control her grandson – or attempt to extract Genesis from Jesse and have it all for herself.
Gran’ma will have to wait her turn now that Custer and Starr are bosom buddies yet again. After promises were made during the trip back to Grail New Orleans headquarters, Jesse was assured by Klaus that no matter what happens in the next few hours, he will have the Messiah’s back – and must kill their shared enemy. And like that, before the elevator doors open, Starr put a gun to Custer’s head and presented him to the awaiting All Father. One thing’s for certain: when that fracas in Grail HQ happens, it’s going to be messy.
In New Orleans, Cassidy is getting into the vibe of his new “coven”, espousing tales about the sixties, how to roll the perfect blunt, and why it’s never good to drop acid at concerts featuring Ravi Shankar. In his own way, he’s come to care for his new friends, though they aren’t on the same level as the Enfants look on at Proinsias with reverence. However Cassidy has taken a shine to Lisa (Lucy Faust), his failed-app-date-turned-cult-recruiter. Through her, he experiences the optimism and opportunity of being a vampire; Lisa also educates Cass about Eccarius’ goal of creating sanctuaries for vampires across the world. He doesn’t turn his followers simply to increase the fold but create ambassadors of peace and tolerance.
All of this matches up with Cassidy’s personal dealings with Eccarius, who continues to cater and impress his follow bloodsucker with ornate coffins, lessons on tapping his unused powers, and perhaps most importantly having an ear to lean on (in kitten form). Everything appeared to be roses and absinthe until Hoover (Malcolm Barrett) and his contract vampire killers attempted a twofer by kidnapping Cass and neutralizing Eccarius. Of course, because it’s Hoover, things didn’t turn out as he expected and the vampires formed an even deeper bond than mayhaps any of us viewers realized.
While it’s great that Cassidy has formed an intimate relationship for someone he genuinely care about, considering the violent reveal that occurred in the closing minutes of “Hitler”, in hindsight Eccarius could have been grooming Proinsias into this situation from the start. Much of this version of the character is unlike his comic counterpart: though they share a penchant for the Victorian, the series version has lived among humans for over 300 years and has a mastery over his powers. This rendition is a far cry from the comic version of Eccarius who thrived on the attention of his sycophants and lived the vampire code according to Anne Rice.
What’s surprising is the deep self-loathing Eccarius has deftly obscured from the others, and finally unleashes his violent contempt on the latest turned prospect. For a creature that claims to abhor vampires, it escapes me why he continues to turn people, short of keeping his chattel comfortable and appeased. The lure of immortality is a powerful thing, and being in the presence of the very thing you wish to become is understandably intoxicating. Add a basement to the mix and you’ve a glorified fandom with direct access to one’s ultimate idol. It’s a perfect set-up for a sociopathic predator that wants to keep his activities off the radar.
But what of Eccarius’ “feelings” for Cassidy? Is he able to separate his hatred of vampirekind from his burgeoning love for Proinsias… or is it part of a greater scheme to burn everything down? For a character that’s only been around for an episode and a half, Adam Croasdell has killed it (pun intended) as this dark mystifying figure. He’s been a perfect foil for Joe Gilgun’s mercurial portrayal of Cass, and if he wasn’t a serial killer hidden underneath the lace, Eccarius and Cassidy assuredly would have made an amazingly charming couple.