TV Review: AMC’s Preacher 1×05, “South Will Rise Again”

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This week on Preacher, Jesse finds himself playing around with his new toy in the name of good, as we await the moment when it bites him in the…south. “South Will Rise Again” pushes more development on the series, as the characters continue to develop and the series’ world gets a little smaller to help narrow our focus. It also features a pretty nifty cold open to add further shading on to the mysterious dark cowboy from the past.

Let’s start with that cold open. Graham McTavish certainly has the look of a dark soul with a conscience inspiring him to want to do good, but things go almost comedically bad for him this week. This man’s drive has him heading to town to get medicine for his child, only to encounter a number of seedy patrons at a bar that eventually have him beat up and walking home on account of a murdered horse. And wouldn’t you know it, upon arriving home, the cowboy finds his wife and child dead, with crows picking at their bodies.

Preacher is clearly playing the long game as far as spelling out why it even has a random dark cowboy involved in all of this (comic fans are a bit more in the know, obviously), but seeing the kind of man this cowboy is makes you think about who Jesse is. We know Jesse has a dark past that Tulip wants to pull him back towards. Jesse is trying to get away from it, but given his actions, we know his personality makes him the kind of person that would use the ability to command individuals as a way to get around handling issues properly.

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Not to dwell too much on the comics, as these write-ups should be free of those thoughts, but this season has strayed the most when it comes to putting these characters on a journey. The first few issues do what was necessary to set things up and then we got out of Texas pretty quickly. Preacher in TV form is taking a lot more time to establish Jesse and the gang, but it has thankfully kept things random enough to not make it feel like Walking Dead, season 2 on the farm.

What has helped is Dominic Cooper. He hits that twang hard to make that accent passible, but his work as this character has become pretty stellar, with plenty of potential to really grow into the character we will eventually see. This week he’s more or less self-satisfied with using his power, raking in the popularity caused by it and being the cause of more damage, unbeknownst to himself.

I’m referring to Odin Quinncannon, who has stuck to having a newfound belief in God, thanks to Jesse’s power over him, but at what cost? Well, we don’t have all the information yet, but having a sudden understanding on life as he now sees it means he is both more chipper and much deadlier. But let’s back up a bit. It is time to talk about Donny.

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It seemed like the pilot episode merely had Donny around to show us that Preacher can fight, but the character is apparently more essential that that. This week Donny sees Odin’s behavior and realizes that Preacher has a special power. I’m not sure where that is going, but we also learn that his wife is more of a power player on this series as well. She’s no more a battered housewife than Donny is a non-coward, actually. This could all be some sort of elaborate red herring, but the relationship to Odin could lead to something really wild.

Oh, so back to Odin. He hosts a meeting with possible business prospects who learn how he has turned a new leaf, only for Odin to blow them all away with a shotgun, while the Mayor looks on in horror. Again, we only have so many details, but things are not looking good, as far as the effects Jesse has had in an effort to convert Odin.

Speaking of details, we get back to Tulip and Cassidy who go over the details of being a vampire. It’s a solid scene that is followed up by Tulip pushing forward the notion of hooking up, which at first made me wonder why this would be necessary. However, there was an attitude later seen by Tulip that made it clear – she wants the Jesse she knows back and will apparently just pass the time until she can get him. Not the best choice, but Tulip is a complicated person to say the least.

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Also complicated – Eugene’s dilemma. This show has done enough to build a compelling story in the background involving Eugene, his father the Sheriff and Tracy, who is in a coma. Little information has been added to let us know why Eugene shot himself, but it clearly involves something he did to Tracy and the town won’t let him forget it. Of course, leave it to Jesse to make things weirder by using his gift to for Tracy’s mom to forgive Eugene. In a show that ends the way it did this week, I can’t say I am optimistic about where things are headed if Jesse keeps involving himself in these sorts of ways.

That could be changing next week, as Jesse finally has a confrontation with the two men from Heaven. It’s a neat place to leave our hero, with the lingering thought that a chainsaw could come back into play at some point. Of course, we also have Odin to deal with, let alone the threat of a mysterious cowboy from the past apparently. This is another fine episode of Preacher. It really comes from having a good amount of familiarity with the characters at this point and seeing the randomness dialed down, as we make more sense of the craziness surrounding them. If the south will in fact rise, bring on what’s next.

Preachin’ To The Choir:

  • We don’t have enough towns with names like Ratwater anymore, do we?
  • The tension boiling between W. Earl Brown and Ian Collettie is greatly realized, as Eugene cuts up his dad’s omelet.
  • Great shot of the (likely digital) sunrise to really setup how good Preacher feels about himself.
  • Tulip delivers another nice story this week. This time it’s about Jesse shooting a Komodo dragon in the head, because another man was moving in on Tulip.
  • The men from heaven practicing what they’d say on the phone was good fun.

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Aaron is a movie fanatic. He is from Orange County, California, but earned a degree or two at UC Santa Barbara. He describes himself as a film reviewer, writer, podcaster, video game player, comic book reader, disc golfer, and a lefty. There are too many films, TV shows, books, etc. for him to list as favorites, but he can assure that the amount of film knowledge within his noggin is ridiculous, though he is always open to learning more. You can follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else he is up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com, and check out his podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.