Preacher’s second episode proves it’s more than just guts and gore
The long-awaited TV adaptation of 90s comic book phenomenon Preacher tore up our screens with its frenetic debut episode, ensuring that both fans of the comic and newbies could unite in their appreciation of the show.
Though a straightforward retelling of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic masterpiece would have placated many, the decision to use it as more of a blueprint seems to be paying off.
Rather than abandoning the Texas town of Annville in the first episode, writers Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin are adding new depth to Jesse Custer (Dominic Copper), Tulip (Ruth Negga) and Cassidy (Joe Gilgun) before things get too crazy.
Following the arrival of episode two on Amazon Prime, here are our thoughts on why Preacher deserves to be around for a long time to come.
(Warning: Spoilers for the first two episodes)
It’s epic in scale
As if the globe-spanning opening of the pilot wasn’t enough, this episode took us back in time to 1881 and into the life of an unnamed cowboy (Outlander’s Graham McTavish) who’s on a mission to collect medicine for his sick family, leaving his guns at home.
For fans of the comics, this can really only be one person, the legendary Saint of Killers, and it’s another sign that the team behind the series are keen to offer long-term fans some nods to “their” Preacher, while continuing to shape their own take on the mythology.
It’s worth noting just how impressive this sequence looks; the suitably parched landscape evoking Western of old. Here’s hoping for an episode set entirely in 1881.
Jesse’s still working out his true purpose
Back in present-day Annville, it’s business-as-usual for Jesse Custer, as he goes about his meet and greets, hospital visits and a spot of baptising, with a welcome appearance from Tulip to spice things up.
Throughout the episode we see Jesse trying to stay focused on his religious duties, while events conspire to draw him back to his darker ways. He’s also still unaware of the unearthly presence inside him.
One of the most controversial aspects of this episode is the introduction of Linus (Ptolemy Slocum), a sick man with an unhealthy interest in a little girl he sees every day in his school bus.
This is disturbing subject matter that troubles both Jesse and the viewer throughout the episode. As the question of how it can be handled sensitively within a comic book drama hangs over proceedings, the end result giving Jesse a better understanding of his untapped powers.
Joe Gilgun steals every scene he’s in
The sequence that neatly sums up the tone of the series takes place in Jesse’s church, as he discusses his inner demons with Irish vampire, Cassidy (Joe Gilgun) before passing out.
Cue the return of Fiore (Tom Brooke) and DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) from the first episode, who have finally tracked down the Preacher and plan to remove the entity from within him.
Cassidy’s timely return (after stocking up on substances in town) leads to a terrific set piece involving a chainsaw and a bible, as he mistakes the pair for vampire hunters and tears into them…literally.
Gilgun is clearly relishing the opportunity to play such an OTT character, making him one of the best characters on TV right now.
Ruth Negga’s Tulip is a breath of fresh air
In a series as testosterone-fueled as Preacher, it’s refreshing to have such a strong character as Tulip regularly move to centre stage.
Ruth Negga is smart, sexy and sassy as she works on her own plans while trying to bring the old Jesse back from wherever he’s hiding.
From winning at poker to taking Jesse prisoner, it seems there’s nothing she can’t do, though it’s perhaps inevitable that she’ll meet a few barriers in the coming episodes.
The forces of evil are going to keep Jesse and co busy
In a similar fashion to that other major AMC production, Breaking Bad, Preacher enjoys letting the audience know more than the characters do, lining up the bad guys in the background while the good guys (assuming a bloodthirsty Irish vampire and a violent man of the cloth can be considered good) go about their business.
As well as the return of Fiore and DeBlanc this episode, we meet businessman Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley), a regular from the comics who has a fascination with meat.
Tulip’s brush with Quincannon’s men during her poker game suggests we’ll be seeing a lot more of him soon.
And as for Fiore and DeBlanc, what’s with them reappearing again at the end? If the series remains true to the comic, then we’ll soon learn more of their heavenly origins…