From chainsaws in church to wrecking motel rooms, Preacher returns to stylized violence that is perfectly, albeit weirdly, combined with gore and fun dialogue. “Sundowner” shoves practicality out the window as Preacher finally steps away from shallow storytelling and deep dives into chaos and real dilemmas.
In the first fifteen minutes, Jesse goes from smug to confused to scared and back to smug again as he learns from DeBlanc and Fiore the truth about what’s inside him. It isn’t God; it’s the byproduct of a union between an angel and a demon, something that Fiore finds utterly deplorable. Finally getting to see Anatol Yusef‘s DeBlanc and Tom Brooke‘s Fiore interact on a major level has been well worth the wait. These two characters have always been weird, but this is the first time that Preacher has given us the chance to see where they’re coming from and allow the audience to choose whether or not we’re on their side.
Their chemistry with Jesse is effortless and the comedic timing is so perfect that it’s easy to forget this is the first real conversation these characters have ever had. While these angels seem inept and everything else, their sass is off the charts.
Jesse: So you’re saying this Genesis is some sort of angel/demon baby?
DeBlanc: If by baby, you mean the most power entity ever known, the singular force that could shift the balance of power, threaten all of creation, then yea. It’s a baby.
This sixth episodes means we’re just past the halfway point in the first season, making it easier for Preacher to focus on deepening the relationships instead of introducing new characters and story lines. Cassidy randomly happens upon the hotel room and walks in on what looks like a scene from a Tarantino film, and picks up a gun to jump right in. Then he and Jesse lounge around the church in their underwear as they wait for their bloody laundry to finish in the wash. These are the kinds of interactions that run counter to everything that is expected after witnessing what they have, yet it comes across as so natural. What else would they be doing after a bloody death match with clones (as Cassidy calls them)?
It’s not just the boys club that solidifies in “Sundowner,” Tulip and Emily come to an understand after an intense exchange. After cornering Emily on the toilet in last week’s “South Will Rise Again,” Tulip barges into her home and demands that she stop fooling around with Jesse. We would have expected Emily to melt into the background after Tulip’s outburst, but she doesn’t. She confronts the unstable woman in her car and what transpires shortly after is a look at sides of both women that have not been seen.
However, Tulip never apologizes for barging in on Emily, which is so wonderfully Tulip that it almost goes unnoticed. They have a civil and downright cordial conversation, Tulip repairs the “kid art thing” that she broke, and after offering to baby sit for Emily, drops a whopper that she once had a kid of her own. Is that what she was referring to back in “The Possibilities” when she called Carlos a “rat bastard, money-stealing, child-killing, life-ruining son of a b—h?” Is the child she’s referring to Jesse’s child?
Emily declines the babysitting offer, and instead, Tulip runs some errands for her before heading to the church to deliver some items. There she runs into Cassidy, who is genuinely happy to see her. Earlier in this episode, he tells Jesse that he fell in love at the hospital, referring to Tulip, but doesn’t go into detail. When all the pieces fall into place about Tulip trying to sway her boyfriend and Jesse’s tulip tattoo, Cassidy seems hurt that he’s in love with Jesse’s girl. After what seemed like uncharacteristic behavior hooking up with Cassidy in her car, I would hate to see Tulip reduced to being an object over which Cassidy and Jesse fight.
But Preacher wouldn’t be what it is without some drama. Now that everyone else’s relationships are solidifying, Eugene’s world is crumbling before him. He doesn’t know how to handle kids at school actually being nice to him and wanting to spend time with him. He furtively lets himself go along with them, but he is clearly uncomfortable just waiting for the other shoe to drop. As usual, he turns to the preacher for help, but Jesse refuses. Eugene asks him to take back what he said because he doesn’t feel like he deserves forgiveness. But by this point in the episode, Jesse’s ego is so large that he thinks Eugene is being ungrateful.
Eugene has been Annville’s punching bag long before we met him in the pilot, but now he’s finally standing up for himself. He tells Jesse that what he’s doing is wrong and that it’s not his job, as a preacher, to force people to do God’s will. He accuses Jesse of cheating, which does not go over well.
Eugene: You can’t make people see the light, Preacher.
Jesse: Oh yes I can.
Eugene: But you shouldn’t. People need to choose. That’s the whole point.
Jesse: Well I’ll choose for them! And unlike you, they won’t complain.
Eugene: OK, that is wrong. That’s a sin.
Jesse: I don’t need to hear sin from you. Someone like you lecturing me on sin… It’s a blessing.
Eugene: This is not a blessing, Preacher! It’s a sin! A wicked and terrible thing! It is and you know it is!
The culmination of Jesse’s fit of rage at Eugene’s perceived ungratefulness is four words that will forever changes the kid’s life. “Go to hell, Eugene!” And he does as commanded by Genesis, whether he wanted to or not.
Preacher has stepped into hyper-interesting territory as Jesse’s ego has condemned Eugene’s soul to eternal damnation. With bigger and more powerful angels now on Earth looking for DeBlanc and Fiore, and Jesse himself spiraling out of control, what’s going to happen to Annville in the wake of one hell of a battle?
Tune in to Preacher next Sunday, July 10th, for “He Gone,” at 9/8c on AMC.
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