Preacher tossed a lot of balls in the air earlier in the season and with “He Gone,” they’re all coming down at the same time. The consequences of Jesse’s words are coming back to haunt him and the fall out is infuriating — rightfully so. But who among those closest to him is ready to call him out on his behavior?
While this episode definitely focuses on Jesse and what the darker side of Genesis is doing to him, the real stand out this week is all the Tulip backstory. She and Jesse have been friends since they were in grade school, even being sent to the principle’s office together (on what was sure to have been more than one occasion). We also get to see Tulip genuinely taking care of her uncle. After grudgingly sitting through Sunday service, we see her running through the streets, jumping fences, and eventually knocking a kid off his bike because he stole her uncle’s pants while he was passed out drunk.
While she has no qualms about the family she has, she still takes it upon herself to be their keeper. Her uncle is an embarrassment, and she knows that. His shame, the shame of her mother having been a prostitute, these are the kinds of burdens she’s carried with her all her life. After a particularly rough couple of days at school when they were younger, Tulip finds herself a guest in the Custer household. She and Jesse are practically inseparable, but even as a child she knew she had to be tougher than most.
After Jesse’s father turns her over to Department of Human Services, Jesse is enraged that his father has separated him from his best friend. He questions why his father would do something like that, and the reply is something to the effect of an O’Hare will always cause trouble. Jesse is so angry that he prays for Tulip’s safety and his father’s death all in the same breath.
Preacher excels at answering one plot question while raising two more in its place. Now that we know where Jesse’s guilt comes from, but what transpired in this town between the Custers and the O’Hares before Jesse and Tulip were born?
Shortly after his prayer, Jesse’s father is killed by two men, one of whom has the same skull and horseshoe tattoo Jesse now wears. A tattoo that was given to him by “a mean old lady.” What could his father possibly have gotten mixed up in that would cause people to murder him in front of his only child, then brand the kid with their mark?
This episode wastes no time showing Jesse’s darker side. Now that the realization has hit him about what has happened to Eugene, he is completely void of any emotion, let alone remorse. How could he just open the doors to church and continue with business as usual instead of trying something, anything, to bring the kid back? Even after he later reveals how Eugene wound up with his “arsefase,” it’s disturbing how comfortable Jesse has gotten in his new, undeserved role of dishing out judgements as he sees fit.
Cassidy is the only person who is willing to confront Jesse about his behavior. Yes, the 109 year old fornicating vampire who is a con-man and an abuser of drugs and alcohol is the only person who will not stand for what Jesse has become. He saw what happened to Eugene, and was upset at Jesse’s “oh well” attitude about having sent a kid to hell.
Honestly, Cassidy is the most genuine and optimistic character on Preacher. He’s always candid, he’s not afraid to be wrong, and he’s accepting of everyone as they are. In an ironic way, it’s him, not Jesse, that embodies the characteristics of a preacher. Minus the whole vampire thing… His ideas may not always be spot on, but his heart is in the right place and he wants the best for those he cares about. His feelings for Tulip are endearing, yet he’s laughably naive about the kind of people he’s dealing with.
When his attempts at subtly asking Jesse what’s really going on, he finally takes a more direct approach with a fire extinguisher to the face. Unsuccessful at getting Jesse to come clean about what’s really going on, he finally doesn’t the only thing he can think of to prove that he is, and always has been, exactly what he’s told Jesse he was.
Cliffhangers abound by the end of “He Gone,” leaving us wondering the fate of quite a few characters. Preacher has setup a season that leaves satisfied with its how things play out while also giving its audience license to get upset with the main characters. It’s not that they aren’t likeable (because my goodness they are), but it’s nice to not always have everything tied up in a neat little bow. The story is messy, the characters don’t always know where they’re going, and we get to watch this haphazard bunch of broken people try to get their lives together.
Here are my burning questions:
– Will Jesse be able to bring Eugene back?
– What happened to Jesse’s command of Quincannon? Does the Genesis effect wear off?
– Can anyone stop Quincannon from getting what he wants?
– Did Jesse really let Cassidy burn to death in front of his church?
– Will Tulip stick around or will she seek out Carlos on her own?
– What now that Emily is an accomplice to something she doesn’t even understand?
Jesse is single-handedly sowing the seeds that are tearing Annville apart. He’s pushing away the few people that actually like his company, and he himself is losing his grip on his mission. I can’t wait to see what the final three episodes will bring us.
Preacher is back next week with “El Valero” at 9/8c on AMC.
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