TV Review: AMC’s Preacher 1×06, “Sundowner”

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Preacher has shifted from a show that throws everything at the walls and sees what sticks to placing a tight focus around Jesse and it has benefited quite well. The show has also found good ways to develop much of the supporting cast. “Sundowner” is the best example yet of the show’s progress and the best episode of the series thus far. It has an amazing, action-heavy cold open, well-handled conversation pieces between the various characters and a final moment that is absolutely shocking, without any aid of elaborate special effects. For all the wildness that has been entertaining to see on this series thus far, Preacher has done well to move things in the right direction.

Before getting to all that stuff with Eugene though, how about that opening? Last week’s episode had an intriguing ending, as Jesse met at the diner with Fior and DeBlanc, the two angels wanting to take back what Jesse has received. This starts out as a conversation that allows the series to deliver some answers regarding what this power Jesse has actually is, only to evolve into an extended action sequence/comedy of errors involving three angels and Jesse in a very violent scuffle.

This episode was directed by Guillermo Navarro, best known as the DP for most of Guillermo del Toro’s films, and he certainly brings the same flare I initially saw in The Strain (that first episode was directed by del Toro and things have been shaky since). The difference here is how Preacher has already dialed things up to eleven in the past, so watching a new action sequence that utilized the idea of angels that keep reappearing amounted to an amazing set piece that really reminds a viewer of just how gonzo this series can be when it wants to go big.

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Of course, while this 12-minute cold open delivered information and an exciting piece of action, the show largely benefited from balancing this bravura opening with solid character work. The opening moments provide a lot of explanation about Genesis, the living being that is inside Jesse and giving him the power of command. It’s what allows for another conversation later between Cassidy and Jesse, while the two stand around in their underwear, as their blood-covered clothes get washed.

That friendship is quite notable by the way. This show has only been on for six episodes and Jesse and Cassidy have only been friends for a few days, given the span of this series thus far, but you really do get it. One is a preacher and the other a vampire, but these two clearly having the chemistry that makes them instant friends. It’s there with Tulip as well, but Preacher is still seemingly trying to find the right way to properly involve her, before things really get mixed up and send these three on their way, which even non-comic readers have to be expecting at this point.

Alas, we are going to be staying in small-town Texas for the time being, which can hopefully mean we get more solid interactions between Cassidy and Jesse or Tulip and Emily, as we see this week. Emily hasn’t had a whole lot to do, aside from pine after Jesse, so watching Tulip angrily arrive at Emily’s door, only to form some kind of kinship within the span of a few minutes actually played well. The two may not necessarily be friends, but given the options, this episode heads in a direction that allows both characters to become more interesting as a result.

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It doesn’t much help later on when Tulip arrives at the church, after running errands to help Emily out, to find Cassidy and have a new love triangle of sorts form. Nor does it help to have Jesse tell Emily how he appreciates what she and Tulip have done to set up for Sunday service. Obviously drama will have to keep stemming from various places, but at least everything is tied together around a central figure.

Unfortunately this has not benefited Eugene in the least. No doubt we were all waiting for something horrible to happen to Eugene this week, as we watched him attempt to get through a day at School. Surprisingly Eugene wasn’t being setup for some kind of prank. While the idea of Eugen making friends seems like as easy way to set the kid up for failure, it actually turned out to be too much of a good thing for him, leading him to turn to his Preacher for guidance.

Last week the discussion started to focus around Jesse’s abuse of his abilities and the potential consequences (already seen a bit with Quinncannon and his shotgunning). This week lays out a real consequence for being drunk with power. When Eugene arrives before Sunday service, it’s not for the sake of understanding, but out of a true desire to make things right. He doesn’t want the false forgiveness given to him by preacher. Eugene believes he needs to earn whatever comes his way, which is pretty amazing, given the circumstances. Jesse, sadly, does not want to hear it and sees Eugene as being petulant for having the gall to make such a request.

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The results, as stated above, are quite shocking. While the opening action sequence was an elaborately-handled joy to watch, the end of this episode simply features Eugene suddenly disappearing, after Jesse tells him to go to hell. Given what we know of Jesse’s power, the implication is practically horrifying. I don’t know if we’ll ever see Eugene again, but it puts Jesse in a whole new light that will have to be carefully navigated by the show if it wants us to keep focusing on this man as its anti-hero, as opposed to a straight-up villain.

Fortunately that is what having a vampire best friend and a crafty, yet short-tempered ex-girlfriend around is good for. Preacher still has so many ways to go and it’s amazing a show like this can get away with such possibilities. It does have sure-footing at this point though, which is great for pushing us in a certain direction. Now we just need to know which direction Eugene is headed.

Preachin’ To The Choir:

  • Following the massacre at the end of last week, the Mayor pops up to make us aware he has no real idea what to do.
  • That shot through the hole in the wall was just one of the terrific aspects of the great opening fight sequence.
  • Jesse still saying no to the angels, after that fight, is kind of hilarious.
  • Apparently Elizabeth Taylor is a lousy tipper.
  • The loud speaker Jesse set up outside of the church is pretty intimidating, with all kinds of implications.
  • “I’m gonna save the damn town!” – Jesse apparently has his priorities in order.
  • I hope we get some real conclusion with Eugene, but Ian Colletti has done a fine job with the character, regardless.

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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.