NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Preacher” are present in this review
Preacher continues to stand out as one of the most twisted, memorable and darkly amusing comic book shows on television right now in its second episode, “See”, which builds upon several story elements from the show’s pilot episode from a couple of weeks ago. In a way, this episode feels like it might as well have been a second half to the pilot, which can work either for or against it, depending on the scene.
Another noticeable element to this second episode is that the pacing seems to be a bit slower than the pilot, which, again, can either work for or against the show, depending on the scene. The added development to Jesse trying to maintain his identity as the town preacher is a bit hit-or-miss, but Jesse’s interactions with Tulip and Cassidy definitely fare better. In fact, Tulip and Cassidy remain the show’s big standout personalities at this point, with both continuing to take effectively weird turns that still fit nicely into the plot.
Tulip is still obsessed with trying to get Jesse to agree to her mysterious job, if for no other reason than to prove her point that Jesse is still a bad boy that’s waiting to be let out again. Jesse continually refuses, which leads to Tulip going to increasingly drastic ways to get his attention, all of which are very amusing. These antics culminate in Tulip pretending to chain him up, simply to reveal afterward that the chain isn’t tied to anything. There’s a weird sort of code of honour to Tulip’s character, despite the fact that she also seems like quite the oddball, and this continues to have her stealing every scene she’s in.
Dominic Cooper is still doing well as Jesse, in fairness, though like I said, his best scenes were the ones that didn’t involve his preacher occupation this week, which felt like it was treading water a bit from similar scenes in the pilot, even with Cassidy now staying in the church alongside Jesse. A particularly memorable story arc with Jesse involves him trying to help a pedophile overcome his unholy urges toward a little girl on the school bus that he drives, which doesn’t seem to work very well. The point where Jesse loses patience with the guy is very memorable and shocking too, as he fills his bathtub with boiling water, then continually holds the guy’s face in it until he repents, at which point, the Word of God takes over, and Jesse quite literally makes the man forget about the little girl he was fixated on.
One way that the show effectively built on Jesse being empowered by the Word of God at the end of the pilot was that it didn’t have Jesse immediately discovering it, mastering it, and subsequently abusing it, as many comic book shows would likely portray. Jesse still doesn’t think anything happened to him, and that makes for a more effective story direction at this point, especially since it seems hard to believe that the Word of God would constantly do whatever Jesse told it to do. The way that the episode ends as well, with Jesse trying to command a comatose young woman to awaken, is nicely effective, and makes for a great tease for next week’s episode, as things end on that cliffhanger.
By far though, the best character in this episode was definitely Cassidy, who finds himself cornered in Jesse’s church by DeBlanc and Fiore, the two men that appear to be hunting him. As the two prepare to chainsaw into an unconscious Jesse (uh, why?), Cassidy draws their attention away, resulting in what can only be described as part action sequence and part slapstick goof, as Cassidy neutralizes the men, has some blood to heal his injuries, then buries them in a trunk outside. That seems to work, until the two appear to be alive and well the next morning, talking to Sheriff Root about why they’re in town. Obviously, it couldn’t have been that easy for old Cassidy, but hopefully, this leads to more humourous interactions and battles between these characters in future episodes!
Another big element of note in this episode is how it ties into several new elements from the Vertigo source comics, though doesn’t explicitly identify them. This is exciting for fans of the comics, though it will probably confuse newcomers, which is a minus. Then again, the episode opening with a quick glimpse at the Saint of Killers, a supernatural bounty hunter from the comics who is quite the foil to Jesse, is very exciting, as is the debut of Jackie Earle Haley’s Odin Quincannon, a man so absurdly rich and powerful that he can bulldoze a house almost immediately after paying some people off for it. Quincannon is bound to be a huge character this season, and this first scene with him is definitely a memorable and funny one, in a dark sort of way, though it might have been nice if the show had done a more explicit job of identifying exactly who he is, since the scene, while funny, will probably just confuse people who aren’t in the loop with the show’s cast.
Overall though, “See” remained a good episode, and an entertaining sophomore slice of
Preacher, despite it not wholly replicating the excitement of the pilot. The show had to make an understandable effort to establish more characters and throw in more personalities from the comics, namely the Saint of Killers, and DeBlanc and Fiore, and that means that this episode was more about character than thrills. There were some thrills mind you, especially in that twisted brawl between Cassidy and his hunters, though it seems like Preacher is wisely saving more exciting moments to come later in the season.
- Jesse's struggle with his dark side and spiritual impotence
- Cassidy's fun and twisted battle with his hunters
- Cool introductions for Odin Quincannon and the Saint of Killers
- Certain scenes will confuse those not familiar with the comics
- Pace has slowed from the pilot