Preacher: Call and Response – Road Trip (Review)

 PREACH_109-20160503-LJ_0252-RT

So long Annville. It has, as the saying goes, been fun, just not real fun… But that is a lie really. Preacher has been a great rollicking action packed giggle from episode one. In fact episode one outshone most of the series.  The build up to the season finale was a steady ride that ended in a “Wizard of Oz” meeting with “God.” At the end of  “Call and Response” our heroes, like a truncated Dorothy and her friends, go on  a road trip.

A lot was answered. What Carlos did and, more importantly, why he did it. It is learned that while Sheriff Root may be  a redneck law official, he is not a stupid one. Root works out quite quickly that Cassidy is a vampire, not bad for a one-horse town lawman.

Apparently if an angel  is shot in Hell by the  demon “Saint of Killers” he does not “rejuvenate” on Earth. Fiore looks to be a singleton now he has returned from Hell.  Ruth, it turns out, did not really want Jesse to kill Carlos, just to make the offer. “It is,” she says, “the thought that counts.”

(A bit like the choosing of a gift, presumably.)

Going back to “The Cowboy” it seems that the seraphim is down for the count as well. After  blowing a hole in her chest one could throw a cat through, she drops immediately and there is no rejuvenation for her either.  (Of course her demise and DeBlanc’s could be down to the sheer deadly effectiveness of the killer who almost replaced the Angel of Death.)

Last week’s episode saw the Saint of Killers re-living his last days in a never-ending loop.  Now he is searching for the preacher while he and his traveling companions search for God.  “And what are you going to do when you find him,” asks Tulip.

“Well,” says Jesse, ” God wants our help, we’ll help him.  If he doesn’t… We’re gonna kick his ass.”

As the preacher and the townspeople speak with “God” Jesse realized the white haired gent is an imposter. The faux God tells the assembly that  the real deal is missing and that no one can find him. It appears the angels are in charge now and they are not necessarily benevolent.

The denizens of Annville are, for the most pat, distraught to learn that God is gone. Cue a riot of destruction in the church and the town exploding as the Methane pit it sets over goes critical.  Sadly it appears that even Emily and her children  are gone.

“Call and Response” finishes with the dead seraphim and the Saint of Killers growling one word: “Preacher.”

This was a quirky end to a foregone conclusion. Anyone who is remotely familiar with the graphic novels knows that Jesse Custer “leaves’ Annville. It is written in the cards, so to speak.

There were a few downright “odd” stand out moments:

Quincannon holding his “hamburger” daughter.

Donnie laying on his bed with his wife dressed as Dorothy, complete with spangly ruby red shoes. (Another allusion to the The Wizard of Oz.)

Jesse telling Eugene, as the missing boy rings up his order, that he will get him out of Hell.

Cassidy reiterating why he hates The Big Lebowski.

Sheriff Root shooting Cassidy and then handing him paper cups of blood to heal himself. He then shoots the vampire six times. Root opens the cell door and tells Cassidy he is free to go.

The size of that hole through the seraphim’s chest.

Final Thoughts:

The clear nod and wink to “Oz” was a brilliant end point.  The final shot of the three protagonists following their metaphorical yellow brick road will segue brilliantly into season two.

PREACH_109-20160503-LJ_0651-RT
Graham McTavish as the Saint of Killers

If fans of Preacher are not already excited to think of a second season they should be. Full marks to Seth Rogen and his fellow creators on this excellent series.  The idea of the Saint of Killers murdering his way to Jesse makes the wait for season two almost unbearable.

MAIN CAST:

Guest starring Graham McTavish as The Cowboy – Saint of Killers

Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.

Preacher: Finish the Song – Hell (Review)

 PREACH_SOK-20160317-LJ_0302.dng

Preacher opens with The Cowboy – Saint of Killers back at the town of Ratwater  after finding his wife and daughter dead.  After a short moment where the insufferable horse killing preacher evangelizes, the reverend asks what The Cowboy wants. The vengeful killer shoots the holy man, nearly before he can finish his question and answers to the singer, “I want you to finish the song.”

The opener then concludes with a bloodbath of epic proportions in the saloon. It ends with the killer sipping a drink as what seems to be a tornado approaches. It is not a tornado it could well be the Angel of Death coming to collect the gunman.

In this episode, Jesse escapes from  Sheriff  Root, who took him in custody last week.  Fiore and DeBlanc book tickets to Hell. When the ticket seller asks for their occupations, DeBlanc says “serial killer” and Fiore says “architect.”

Tulip  calls Emily to help with Cassidy’s healing. She explains to Emily that he is a vampire and that he needs blood to heal. So far, she says, he  is not healing properly.  When Emily tries to tell Tulip about Jesse being in trouble, Tulip says that Emily can have him.

Emily reveals that she has a boyfriend; the mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe).  As she listens to  Cassidy growling and thrashing around in his locked room, Miles calls.  The mayor tells Emily that he will look after the kids and he invites himself over for the night. 

Tulip goes to Albuquerque to kill Carlos and tells Emily to shove a live animal into Cassidy’s room when he needs it.

Fiore and DeBlanc head back to their blood-soaked room at the Sundowner Motel.  They decide to call heaven on their phone, rather than go to Hell, and they find it has been stolen.  As they realize that they will be going to Hell after all, it is revealed that Jesse has the special phone.

Emily calls Miles to come help her after Cassidy screams out for more “food.” Miles arrives and gets shoved into Cassidy’s room by Emily. She  locks the door after him.  At the Sundowner,  Sheriff Root finds the partially dismembered angel that Fiore and DeBlanc left in their shower.

The Seraphim asks Root to kill her.  After a moment, Root takes off his hat and begins strangling the “woman.”  As the sheriff strangles the life from the angel, tears well up in his eyes. The Angel, once she dies, stands behind Root as a few tears roll down his cheek.

PRE_108_LJ_0427_0404-RT
DeBlanc and Fiore booking tickets to Hell

Fiore and DeBlanc board the shuttle to Hell and have to leave their big trunk behind”No carry-ons” says the driver. Fiore  is upset about leaving his comics behind.

Oddly at peace with her decision to kill her boyfriend, Emily releases the guinea pigs. As she leaves, Emily tells Jesse that his “mate” is inside. Custer finds a very hurt Cassidy and after a couple of tense moments the two make up.

The two men help each other to clean up the carnage at Tulip’s uncle’s place. Later they dig up the remains of Fiore and DeBlanc for an angel hand so Jesse can call Heaven.

In Hell, the Saint of Killers relives his last days on Earth over and over. Finding his dead family and returning to Ratwater to kill all those he feels caused the deaths.  This then is Hell, reliving one’s worst moment repeatedly for an eternity. Fiore and DeBlanc interrupt the cycle and ask the Cowboy to kill a preacher.

Obviously Annville was built over the remains of Ratwater, as the spot where Cassidy buried Fiore and DeBlanc is right by that “Native American” hanging tree.  For those who are not aware of the comics, this alone seems to signpost a Jesse Custer and Saints of Killers conflict.

In the comic verse, The Cowboy initially killed the occupants of the saloon and then returned to kill off the entire town.   He is so good at killing that he replaces the Angel of Death and kills the Devil. It is God who recruits him to kill Custer.

Jesse has a couple of allies to help him against both Quincannon, who has gotten even crazier, and The Cowboy.  Cassidy and Tulip will be on his side and maybe even Emily, whose cold-blooded act of murder against the mayor was shocking, to say the least.

PRE_108_LJ_0426_0177-RT
Cassidy and Jesse making things right

Preacher has a wonderfully odd and eclectic cast of characters but none are as compelling as The Cowboy Saint of Killers.  With his impossibly long barreled guns and never ending supply of hate and ammunition he tops the bill. This foe to Jesse, since being hired by Fiore and DeBlanc,  looks to be more than formidable.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is Emily. She was  the “normal’ one.  What ever prompted her to feed Miles Person to Cassidy? Was it his innate pushiness? The annoying laugh?  Or did she act for some other reason? She does not even like Cassidy and  never has. Her decision to hurry the vampire’s healing process with a bit of  Miles is puzzling.

One disturbing thought… It took very little urging from the Seraphim for Root to take her life.  Sure he cried while killing the angel but his decision, while not split second, was made pretty quickly.

This was the penultimate episode of Preacher with the series finale being aired next week on AMC.  With the angel hand for his heavenly phone and the Killer of Saints on his trail, things should really heat up for Custer and his allies next week. This will be interesting.

MAIN CAST:

Guest starring Graham McTavish as The Cowboy – Saint of Killers

Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.

Preacher: El Valero – Back From Hell (Review)

 PREACH_107-20160419-LJ_0337-RT

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.

PREACH_107-20160420-LJ_0047-RT

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.

PREACH_107-20160420-LJ_0074-RT
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.

MAIN CAST:

Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.

Preacher: He Gone – Careful What You Pray For (Review)

 PREACH_107-20160415-LJ_0021-RT

Things have gotten ugly in Preacher since last week’s  serio-comic episode that ended with the shocking “demise” of Eugene (Arseface).  There is a lot of backstory in “He Gone” and it explains much about Jesse Custer, Tulip and the preacher’s relationship with his father. It also proves the “power of prayer.” The message is simple “Be careful of what you pray for,” it may just come true.

In ways you will not like.

The intro shows Jesse upset by what has happened to Eugene but denying it.  The preacher is also isolating himself. As the episode progresses this cutting off of friends and colleagues gets worse. As does his guilt for what he did to the Root boy.

Interestingly enough, Quincannon shows up telling Custer to sign over his church. Telling Jesse that he is not a Christian and that he has won the bet. Custer refuses. This revelation is not news to us, we did, after all, witness his slaughter of the Green Acres reps.

What is surprising is that Jesse’s influence via Genesis appears to be temporary.  It also looks like Quincannon is not the only one who has switched back to “normal” after a short time period.  There have been no shots of the bus driver aimlessly cruising streets in the big yellow bus either. Initially this could have been down to the story moving on.

Now it seems that the pedophilia inclined driver could be back to “normal” as well. It would not be too surprising to learn that something very bad has happened to backpack girl.

This turn of events brings up the possibility of Eugene’s sojourn to Hell being a short term thing as well. (Although previews of the next episode show Fiore and a reluctant DeBlanc explaining that Eugene could be brought back.)

Of course all this conjecture could be in vain.  Quincannon is a man who likes listening to the sounds of cattle being butchered. He could have just lied in the church but it does seem less likely than the Genesis change being temporary.

Or – Heading into theological territory for a moment – is this an example of “free-will” cancelling out any of Jesse’s suggestions. Where the individual’s true nature fights off  the Genesis order. Time will tell.

Back to the Jesse Custer backstory:  He and Tulip have been friends since grade school.  When her father takes her in briefly (mother in jail and uncle unable to look after her) it ends with Custer’s father sending her to child services.

The furious boy prays to God to kill his dad and send him straight to hell.  Not long after, Custer’s father is overpowered and shot in the head. Jesse is forced to watch it all and he owns his heartfelt angry prayer. The boy carries the guilt into manhood.

Back to the present: Jesse has turned cold and in some ways rather mean.  The meeting with Quincannon ends with the preacher angrily refusing to hand over his church.  Cassidy tries to talk to Custer about Eugene.  Twice.

The last attempt comes during the awkward meal in the kitchen with Tulip, Emily and Cassidy.  Sheriff Root (W. Earl Browncomes to ask Jesse again about Eugene and once more the preacher denies seeing him. Emily then corrects Custer and tells Root that he did see Eugene (the truth) but that she saw the boy leave (a lie).

Custer walks the lawman outside and while he is there, Cassidy hits the preacher in the face with the fire extinguisher used earlier. The vampire angrily confronts Jesse about Eugene being sent to hell. Handing the extinguisher to Jesse, Cassidy then removes his sweatshirt and top and steps into the sun.

He starts to burn, bellowing in pain, and falls to the ground. Custer looks on, doing nothing.

(Interesting thought: Does Jesse allow Cassidy to burn because he is a vampire or because he called God a muppet who smells his own farts?)

Jesse returns to the kitchen and in rapid succession alienates Tulip and Emily.  Finally alone, he bashes in the church floor where Eugene disappeared and using “the voice” shouts “come back.” Several times.

This episode, “He Gone” (a title that could imply that Jesse is gone and not just Eugene) opens up a lot of possibilities. For a start, The preacher shouting down at Hell “come back” makes it seem likely that a load of “lost souls” could return and create havoc. (Having not read the graphic novel, it is not known whether or not this happens in that verse, but…wow, what a concept.)

Another possibility could be Cassidy actually dying (burnt to ashes by the sun) and Custer driving everyone away who matters to him. This latter action could facilitate his living Annville.

Kudos to the show’s creators for creating a series that is brilliantly outside the box.

Preacher airs Sundays on AMC. Tune in and enjoy.

MAIN CAST:

Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.

Preacher: Sundowner – Oops (Review)

PREACH_105-20160401-LJ_0321-RT

Preacher picks up where last week ended.  Custer learning about Genesis and that the power he was emanating had nothing to do with God.  In “Sundowner” we learn what Genesis is; an oops moment when angel and demon sex create a “baby.”   The offspring has been kept in hiding by Fiore and DeBlanc.

The start of “Sundowner” is a return to that action packed, and madly comic, opener for the the series where Cassidy takes on  a plane load of vampire hunters.  This time it is the appearance of a Seraphim, Susan, who the angels have to kill.

Jesse is confused and outraged that they killed the woman, who is not a woman at all.  She regenerates before the three can leave. In a panic they take Custer’s truck back to the hotel. Susan learns where the trio have gone (by looking in their bible) and confronts them moments after they arrive back at the Sundowner motel.

Cue a long Keystone Cops type battle between Fiore, DeBlanc, Custer and Susan. “Don’t kill her! Restrain her!” shouts Fiore repeatedly.  Just as often the Seraphim is killed and rejuvenates immediately after. The motel room is destroyed as the four battle on and on.

Cassidy appears and shoots Susan in the head earning a frustrated glare from Fiore. The battle continues until Fiore “disarticulates” the Seraphim in the bathroom. The motel room looks like an abattoir.  Cassidy and Jesse leave over the two angels’ protests.

Tulip confronts Emily at her house about Custer. “Stay  away from my boyfriend!”

She breaks an art project and when Emily tells Tulip what she did, Custer’s old girlfriend fixes it. She also offers to help Emily out by running errands.  The two bond as they talk about LA and the extra programs for Jesse’s next service.

Arseface (Ian Colletti) is making new friends at school and it makes him uncomfortable.  His new pals take him to a viaduct and they set off fireworks. Custer puts up a loudspeaker for his next sermon and Cassidy pleads with him to reconsider giving back Genesis. 

PREACH_105-20160331-LJ_0162-RT
Eugene (Arseface) and his new pals

As Jesse puts out more chairs outside the church, the mayor drops by and comes close to telling the preacher about the Green Acres massacre.  Tulip arrives with the supplies and Cassidy mistakenly believes she is there for another round of sex. Jesse speaks with her while the vampire hides behind the supply door.

Eugene comes by to see the preacher before the big service and he asks for his forgiveness to be taken back. Jesse is bemused. Eugene explains that what Custer did was “cheating” and he gets angry. He shouts at the boy and tells him that he is saving the “damn town.”

Arseface continues to argue with Jesse and full of frustration the preacher  uses “the voice” on Eugene and tells him to go to hell. The boy disappears.

The mayor finally returns the Green Acres phone messages as he surveys the burnt bodies of the company  reps that Quincannon killed last week.

The Preacher looks to be picking up speed as Jesse refuses to return Genesis and continues to use it.  The sense of foreboding increases as the moment of Custer’s sermon comes near.  His “oops” moment with Eugene is a clear sign that this will not be a good time for anyone.

Regardless of whether one is a fan of the graphic novel or not, Seth Rogen and his fellow creators have come up with a blackly funny fantasy series that will earn its own fans.  Yet despite the amusing, but oh so dark, moments there is still a lot of pathos and pain in the show.  Check out that look on Cassidy’s face when he realizes that Tulip is there for Jesse.

Oops.

Juliana Potter was brilliant as the “T-1000” type that was almost impossible to stop.  Another moment in the episode that deserves praise is that interaction between Tulip and Emily. Negga and Griffiths worked so well together it reached a new level.

The Preacher airs Sundays on AMC. This continues to  entertain on a different level. Do not miss an episode.

MAIN CAST:

Guest Starring: Juliana Potter as Susan/Seraphim

Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.