NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Preacher” are present in this review
Preacher kicked back with something of a filler episode this week, as the true secret behind Tulip’s connection to Viktor is gradually revealed, while Jesse and Cassidy try to figure out their next move. While this is going on, we also get quite an extended check-in with Eugene in Hell, making, “Viktor” feel overall like a breather episode that focuses on world building and character development, rather than actually moving events forward.
At this point, we should have a pretty clear understanding of how Hell works in this universe, but even more layers were added to the functionality of Heaven and Hell in Preacher this week, due to an especially heavy amount of emphasis being placed on Eugene in Hell in this episode. The machinery in Hell routinely stops working around Eugene, but Hell’s superintendent doesn’t seem too bothered by it. The idea of Hell having budget constraints is kind of funny, making it feel like a surprisingly relatable divine prison, and the more traditional fire-and-brimstone rendition of Hell was even cleverly referenced when Hell’s superintendent tells Eugene that newcomers who savour the broken machinery too much are thrown in, “The hole.”
Learning new facts about Hell was interesting, but unfortunately, Eugene’s story arc was otherwise pretty boring this week. Most of it revolved around Eugene strangely making friends with a now-docile Adolf Hitler in Hell, who also seems to be dealing with broken machinery in his own cell, where Eugene briefly re-lives Hitler’s worst memory in 1919, which is never actually revealed in full. This all leads up to the surprise turn that Hitler is kind of a nice guy at this point, while Eugene decides to go with the mob when they start beating on Hitler in the mess hall. This will probably go somewhere interesting later, but for now, it feels like much of this storyline only existed to fill space in an episode that otherwise didn’t have very much going on with the other characters. Fans of the original Preacher comics however will nonetheless appreciate that this episode is the first time that Eugene is referred to as, “Arseface” on this show, referencing his moniker from the original Vertigo graphic novels.
Jesse and Cassidy did get a chance to go on an interesting investigation this week, when they discover by chance that the man who addressed the church in Annville is actually an actor that lives in New Orleans. We didn’t get to see the Grail, Herr Starr or Featherstone at all this week, disappointingly, but their presence was nonetheless felt, as Jesse and Cassidy try to figure out what they’re up against. It seems like the Grail’s influence on Earth really is vast as well, since they perfectly had the ability to kill the actor in order to send him to Heaven so that he could pretend to be God. On another note, this investigation also yielded an especially amusing scene with our protagonists, as Cassidy has to convince the actor’s agent that he and Jesse work for HBO, and they want to cast the guy on Game of Thrones, so that they can get the necessary information on his whereabouts.
As much as this episode was very Eugene-heavy however, Tulip also had particular bearing during this week’s events, as we get a slow burn buildup to something very wrong that she apparently did to Viktor’s people. Seeing Viktor’s thugs, and even his daughter, all react negatively to Tulip and declare her to be the real scum in the room was certainly interesting, and did eventually have a very unexpected payoff. This of course happens after another highlight scene in the episode, when Jesse gets into a fight with Viktor’s torture expert, who blares, “Uptown Girls” through some earbuds to drown out the Word of God. Thus, “Uptown Girls” plays throughout this entire fight scene, making it both tense and hilarious at the same time!
The big payoff in question however comes when Jesse finally impales the torturer through a corpse he left behind, pulls out an earbud, and learns that Tulip is in the bedroom with Viktor. Right as Jesse barges into the room to choke Viktor out however, Tulip urges him to stop, since Viktor is her husband. The episode then ends on this shocking turn, no doubt leading to plenty of interesting drama in next week’s episode. That’s not the worst of it either, since Jesse’s liberal use of the Word of God throughout Viktor’s estate means that the Saint of Killers has once again learned his location, setting another clock on Jesse’s investigation!
“Viktor” only had mere pockets of excitement, and was otherwise not the most engaging episode of Preacher by any means. There were ultimately a few too many filler scenes that brought down the pacing, even if fun moments with Jesse and Cassidy helped to compensate for this. The surprise reveal that Viktor is not an old boss, but instead Tulip’s husband, also proved to be a nice way to throw viewers for a loop, along with effectively explaining why she suddenly decided that it was impossible to marry Jesse in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. With Jesse only learning the truth at the end of the episode, and the Saint of Killers once again hot on his trail, it will at least be exciting to look forward to next week’s Preacher episode, when these revelations no doubt have some big consequences!
- Some more interesting insight into how Heaven and Hell operate
- Some standout fun moments with Jesse and Cassidy
- Great surprise payoff with Tulip's story arc
- Most of Eugene's story arc is disappointingly dull
- Too many filler scenes