Preacher: El Valero – Back From Hell (Review)


The last episode of Preacher saw Jesse Custer alienating everyone one he knows.  In “El Valero” Custer holes up in the church and Eugene comes back from Hell. Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haleyleads a prolonged attack on the building he claims Jesse owes him and we learn why Odin hates God.

Fiore and DeBlanc remove Genesis but the spirit destroy’s its coffee can home and jumps back into Jesse.  The two angels offer to help get Eugene out of  Hell but renege after Genesis is retrieved. Could this be why it went back into Jesse?

The onscreen violence was nonexistent in  El Valero. The episode begins in a sky lift and Quincannon’s wife and child, and his mother presumably, die as it plunges to the ground.  The loss has driven Quincannon insane. He kills a cow and pulls the intestines out of its body. He holds up his daughter’s intestine in one hand and the bovine’s in the other.

Odin claims that there is no difference. In this flashback he screams at John Custer, Jesse’s father, to denounce God. It is this memory that Jesse has before his father was shot. It is clear that Quincannon had John Custer killed in front of his son.

In the present, Jesse overpowers a group of Q, M & P men who storm the church. This is all “audio” and nothing is seen. After the attack, the leader of the men tells Donnie that the preacher “kicked their arses.”

Jesse prays for Eugene to come back from Hell and the boy claws his way out of the sand under the church.  The Root boy looks like he has been in purgatory, eyes blasted and spacey, and his face is dirty and  grim.

Eugene and Jesse talk and Custer asks the boy what Hell was like. “Crowded,” says Root.   The boy then asks for water. Jesse calls Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) and tells him that he has found Eugene. 

Custer and Eugene talk about Genesis and the boy refers to those guys at the hotel. Jesse realizes that Eugene it not really there. Quincannon sends up more men and  and Custer, holds them off with a scoped rifle.


One over zealous man charges the church (“Food court, food court…”)  and Jesse shoots the attacker’s penis off.  Sheriff Root arrives, after Jesse called him about Eugene.  In an oddly amusing scene the “in-shock” man holds his “dick” and talks to it.

Emily turns up, followed by Miles (Ricky Mabe) and soon it seems the entire population of Annville arrives  to barbecue and watch the violence erupt from folding lawn chairs. 

Jesse asks for the “agents” (Fiore and DeBlanc) and they arrive dragging  a big chest between them.  Sheriff Root speaks with Quincannon and the two disagree about the church.  Inside, Custer learns that only he can see Eugene and that the boy could be brought back from Hell after all.

The angels tell Jesse that they will help if he will return Genesis. Miles tries to convince Emily that what Quincannon’s doing is legal and, more importantly, right.  He tells Emily that Custer is a criminal and that his being a good preacher is a fantasy.

Tulip has gotten a dog and is spending time with the animal while the angels “sing” Genesis out of Jesse.  The serenade works and Genesis leaves only to return to Jesse moments later.

Fiore and DeBlanc refuse to get Eugene out of Hell and leave.  Donnie has an epiphany and shatters his eardrums so he cannot hear Jesse speak and overpowers the preacher.  Tulip “feeds” the dog to a wounded Cassidy and Custer signs over the church.

The preacher then asks Odin for one more Sunday. He has not been able to bring the town to God, he says, so he will bring God to the town.

The episode ends with Jesse being taken away by Sheriff Root whose son is still missing.

There were humorous moments in this episode but only a few.  Quincannon’s orders to his men were the funniest bits, as he tells them that they are , in essence, human shields. Eugene’s reaction to the Genesis removal process was very funny.  Miles’ letting Emily’s son have what was obviously dodgy milk on his cereal was also amusing.

W. Earl Brown as Hugo Root, Jackie Earle Haley as Odin Quincannon

Quincannon watching the firefight between Jesse and his men, with the muzzle flashes reflected in his glasses so it looked like fireworks was easily the cleverest bit of the episode.

There are two episodes left in this season, already approved for a second apparently, and it seems certain that by the finale, Custer will be leaving Annville and the church behind.

Preacher airs Sundays on AMC.  Do not miss the last two episodes of the season. See if Eugene Root is brought back from Hell and by who.


Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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