Hopefully everyone got some time to rest, with a week off from Preacher, following the wildly different pilot episode. Now we are back with “See”, which may actually be an even better episode. It is a bit more coherent, even if it does see the introduction of two characters with no real context and a number of plot threads that have little explanation thus far. What matters is how much more responsive I was to Jesse this week, as well as how impressed I continue to be with what Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg are doing with their direction of this series, not to mention the writing by Sam Catlin, who clearly adores the work by Preacher creators Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.
“See” is an episode of television that manages to open with a random flashback to some dark figure in 1881, feature a darkly comedic action sequence involving a severed arm holding onto an active chainsaw and end with a man summoning special powers to wake up a comatose teenager. Suffice it to say, Preacher is all over the place, but it does a fine job of making things understandable and quite watchable. While non-comic readers will have little to understand about the random cowboy or Jackie Earle Haley’s character, they are intriguing setups for sure. Many shows may not find these sorts of moves to be all that beneficial, but there is a level of confidence that makes me look forward to seeing how this show plans to deliver a payoff for these risky setups.
As far as our main characters go, there is a lot to enjoy about Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip interacting with each other this week and getting to learn more about these characters. The highlight is Jesse and Cassidy, who have already become best friends. It somehow feels totally appropriate, despite one man being a preacher and the other being a 119-year old vampire. Not hurting is the level of devotion Cassidy already seems to have for his friend.
Keeping the lack of context and information surrounding certain plot threads in mind, let’s talk about that big action sequence. The two men who are chasing that outer space force close in on an unconscious Jesse (Cassidy’s weird liquor caused him to pass out in the church) and setup a weird routine. It doesn’t work and the next thing you know a chainsaw is brought out. Cassidy stops the men from going further and we watch an elaborately choreographed fight sequence take place. This is all good stuff. It’s fun, well shot and quite grisly.
By the end, we have a big reveal that these two men have re-appeared, despite all the effort Cassidy put into burying the bodies (after the sun went down). I’m jumping all over the place, but that’s the kind of show I’m watching right now. It is taking some big chances with how to deliver information we will need to know for later, but it is doing it in a very fun and exciting way. It doesn’t hurt that Jesse gets some good dramatic material to work with in an effort to bring some semblance of structure to the show.
The pilot let us know that Jesse has been given an ability to make people really listen to what he has to say. It led to a man cutting out his own heart in front of his mother. This week we get a look at Jesse trying to improve his work as a preacher and put his ability to the test. Dominic Cooper acts largely passive through a good chunk of this episode, but there is an arc of sorts that gets him to the end.
While it is one thing to baptize various folks and take suggestions for how to make the church better, Jesse still wants to make a difference. Given the disgust he has for a bus driver who admits to Jesse the impure thoughts he has for a girl on the bus, Jesse decides to take matters into his own hands. You can see a mix of both the Jesse of the past teased to us in the pilot episode’s bar fight along with the Jesse of the present, who is attempting to do good by his faith. The results are a bit shaky, as Jesse uses the voice and it freaks out both himself and the driver.
Preacher is walking the line of how obscure to go with revealing its actual game plan, but keeping a focus on Jesse is helping things along. By the end of this episode we get a proactive Jesse taking the opportunity to use his power to help the comatose teenager he comes to pray for every so often. Given the tone of the show we are watching and the existence of characters that include one who shot himself in the face with a shotgun and another who is an Irish vampire, Jesse’s actions could have a terrible effect, but at least the show is pushing forward, while delivering on character work.
With some wacky introductions, a gonzo tone and lead characters who I find to be completely entertaining to watch, the second episode of Preacher does a fine job of not just restaging the pilot episode to make sure we have a read on things. This show is off and running and very willing to take chances. Ideally it settles down a bit and maybe roles out more for us to chew on as far as assembling the various players involved, but I can’t deny the fun that is coming from seeing this show throw so much at the wall and making a lot of it stick.
Preachin’ To The Choir: