NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Preacher” are present in this review
Preacher suffered a considerable speed bump last week, but fortunately, the show appears to have gotten back on track in this week’s episode. “The Tombs” did away with the lethargy of the previous episode, restoring a great sense of manic, violent and dramatic energy to the series, as Jesse settles back into his old gig running the fighting pits in the Tombs, where he is attempting to keep an increasingly difficult Cassidy alive. Meanwhile, Tulip has made contact with Madame Boyd, and is on her own mission to figure out how to free Jesse from Gran’ma’s blood contract.
Before all of this however, we finally get an update on one of the other crucial Preacher characters, one that’s been AWOL since towards the end of Season Two. The Saint of Killers finally returned to the show in this week’s episode, whereupon he goes into the literal office of Satan himself, to answer for his previous actions on Earth while hunting Jesse during last season. This sequence featured a more classic depiction of Hell, full of fire, brimstone and the scorched bones of the damned, but the clash between this and the polished, albeit shady office of Satan was pretty amusing. Satan himself also looked so comically over-the-top in his classic horned, red-skinned, goat-hoofed appearance that viewers likely won’t be able to resist a chuckle, especially with the Devil’s apparently very laid-back, cheeky attitude in this universe.
The cold open with Satan was both funny and memorable in many respects, as the Saint literally has his back whipped off by the Angel of Death (who is apparently named, “Sydney” in the Preacher universe, for whatever reason), while Satan cracks wise. Initially, it seems like this sequence doesn’t go anywhere, but another Satan sequence does bookend the episode, wherein Satan promises the Saint a return to Earth with his powerful guns, if he can bring two unidentified people back to Hell. These two people are no doubt certainly Eugene and Hitler, who remain unaccounted for, even as Season Three of Preacher is coming up to the halfway mark next week. Sending the Saint of Killers after Eugene and Hitler does have some promise, and it’s nice to see that he won’t just be stubbornly pursuing Jesse again, at least not right away.
Considering the episode’s title though, it’s also inevitable that Gran’ma’s fighting pits are going to be a big focus of the episode. The scraps in the Tombs led to a bit more action this week, as Cassidy has to fight to survive, while Jesse resumes his old duties as the Tombs’ announcer. Jesse did this same job while he was an adolescent living in Angelville, which is revealed in flashback, particularly when Madame Boyd starts filling Tulip in on Jesse’s past while he was previously under Gran’ma’s thumb. The reveal that Jesse and Madame Boyd used to be romantically involved is kind of interesting, and does help to further explain why there’s so much animosity between Gran’ma’s crew and the Boyd family. The twist that Jesse is responsible for murdering Madame Boyd’s brother in self-defense as a teenager was also a nicely shocking moment, one that Jesse didn’t deny when Tulip finally confronts him about it either.
It’s too bad that this Madame Boyd subplot didn’t end up fully satisfying though. Ultimately, it just ends with Tulip getting the easy answer of, “Kill Gran’ma to break the spell on Jesse”, which she probably would have attempted to do anyway, given enough time, and this leaves the Madame Boyd kidnapping feeling largely pointless. It also didn’t seem like there was any real fallout to learning about Jesse strangling a boy to death as a teen, self-defense or no. Tulip simply dismisses the moment by saying, “This place sucks”, and that’s the end of it. That’s all she’s got? Granted, the moment where Tulip bluntly tells Jesse to stop treating her with kid gloves, and start making her a fully-invested partner in destroying Gran’ma’s operation in Angelville. was fitting and cool, but why bother building up the reasoning behind Madame Boyd hating Jesse so much, if the show isn’t ultimately going to do anything with this information?
Fortunately, we did get no shortage of fun with Cassidy this week, especially when Jesse literally attempts to save him by chopping him up and mailing him away. Cassidy climbing out of the box and somehow piecing himself back together felt a little contrived however, especially when he just limps right back into the Tombs as if nothing happened, after Jesse initially makes a show of shutting down the fights, and actively telling everyone that God has abandoned humanity. Again, why bother with that big display if the show isn’t going to do anything with it? Still, Jesse trying to scare away Tulip and failing, only to have Tulip take Cassidy away in the skin suit that Jesse initially refused to make him for his escape (the skin was even stolen from the unnamed Tombs prisoner that originally begged Jesse for help earlier in the season), felt very fitting, and it did end in an effective dramatic moment, when Tulip admits to Cassidy that she doesn’t love him. Cassidy seems to just go away on a bus after this, but Featherstone stalking him on the same bus seems to indicate that Cassidy is definitely not getting far, while also proving that the Grail is still keeping Jesse’s crew fairly close in their sights, despite staying a healthy distance away.
“The Tombs” made Preacher a lot more fun and satisfying than it was last week, even if not every story element ended up going somewhere of note. It was good to see the Saint of Killers again, especially amid such a darkly amusing Satan sequence, and the scenes in the Tombs were generally intense and twisted in all of the right ways. The whole subplot with Tulip and Madame Boyd didn’t quite excel though, since its reveals and backstory felt too inconsequential, and merely reinforced what viewers already know; Angelville sucks, and it brings out the worst in people, Jesse especially. It seemed inevitable that the best way out of Angelville is simply to off Gran’ma to boot, even though I seriously doubt that escaping Angelville will be as simple as putting a bullet in Gran’ma’s head. Regardless, Tulip at least seems ready to do whatever it takes to free Jesse from his torment, even if Cassidy is pretty proudly bailing at this point, likely to merely end up as a prisoner of the Grail in the near future. The season thus still seems to be going fairly strong in coming up to the halfway mark, so hopefully the show doesn’t trip over Eugene’s and Hitler’s story arcs again, whenever the Saint of Killers manages to catch up with them.
- Gripping, violent scraps in the Tombs
- The Saint of Killers' amusing interaction with Satan
- Some great morbid humour with Cassidy
- Madame Boyd's backstory doesn't ultimately amount to much
- Cassidy running right back to the Tombs is a bit hard to believe