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Review: Preacher 1×08 “El Valero”

Some much needed redemption for Jesse this week, as he tried to bring Eugene back from the bowels of Hell whilst single-handedly defending the church from an invasion by Odin Quincannon and his men.

It seemed, momentarily like he’d succeeded when Root emerged from the earth beneath the church floor, only to be rumbled as a product of Jesse’s delusion. If there’s one thing Preacher does really well, it’s a twist, and the way Eugene came back a little sharper and a lot wiser could have been put down to his experience in the pit before Jesse realised he was talking to figment of his imagination.

Meanwhile, Quincannon and his men squatted outside, plotting how best to storm the church without falling foul of Jesse’s commands or his bullets. In a moment that served as a reminder that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have a creative steer on this show, one unfortunate got pretty close before having his dick shot off by the hard-drinking preacher.

More of Quincannon’s backstory, and his history with the Custers was revealed in the cold open, in which we saw his entire family killed in a freak cable car accident. The aftermath turned out to be the confrontation between Odin and John Custer, witnessed by young Jesse. Quincannon, distraught at the fact his daughter’s remains were indistinguishable from that of a cow, decided all people were just meat, with no evidence of a soul, and asked John to denounce God. So it seems Quincannon’s beef (sorry) is not just with John and Jesse, but with the church in general, which he promised to raze to the ground.

Realising he needed help, Jesse called on rogue angels, Fiore and DeBlanc, and offered to give up Genesis in exchange for their help in rescuing Eugene. Although the bumbling pair seemed hazy on whether it was even possible, they agreed and proceeded to lure Creation’s most powerful baby into the coffee can, a task which seemed surprisingly easy once Jesse stopped resisting. But it wasn’t to last, and soon Genesis was busting out of the tin and back into Jesse, leaving Eugene roasting down under, and Fiore and DeBlanc no option but to try the rather ominous sounding Plan B. It’s unclear at this stage what that entails, but I suspect having been chosen twice, Jesse will not be parted with his mysterious tenant so readily again.

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Another of those little rabbit-punch twists used so effectively in Quincannon’s capture of Jesse. Donny, one of the people most disturbed by Jesse’s power and with wounded pride to salve, seemed to have been suffering the lingering effects of the preacher’s spell when he waved sadly at his wife, took a gun, put his head inside the trunk of his car and pulled the trigger. Given how Jesse’s use of The Voice always seems to backfire spectacularly, it seemed more than plausible that Donny – humiliated in front of both his boss and his wife – had taken his own life. So it was a genuine surprise when he popped up inside the chapel, the gunshot having deafened him to Jesse’s commands. Clever boy. As despicable as he is, there is something very compelling about Donny’s character, and his relationships with his family, with Jesse, and with Quincannon.

Cornered, Jesse was left with little option but to hand over the church. According to Miles, a verbal agreement was legally binding, although I share Emily’s scepticism on this one! The revelation that Odin has been serving the God of Meat was a little shaky, given that Quincannon would have to have known that Jesse meant God in the holy sense at the time they made their bet. But Jesse’s promise to summon God to the church the following Sunday to answer everyone’s questions, and denounce Him should he fail to do so, was thrilling enough to overshadow this plot kink.

So what of Cassidy, who we last saw burning in the sun’s light last week? Well, it seems he’s holed up at Tulip’s. Her adoption of a dog (ironically called Brewski), and the small moments of her playing with it throughout the episode were an intriguing little interlude from the siege at the church. Was she trying to fill an emotional hole left by her daughter? Had spending time with Emily’s family and Jesse’s rejection made her long for some kind of unconditional love from another living creature? No – poor Brewski was vampire chow. I didn’t see it coming and it was actually very moving glimpsing Tulip’s affection for the dog, and the sacrifice she was willing to make to fix Jesse’s mess.

And there was a tantalising closing scene of some kind of industrial disaster waiting to happen. Is this pressure dial connected with the packing plant, or is this a new thread waiting to be unravelled?

A solid episode this week, with some nice exposition and fleshing out of the key players. Even Sheriff Root tugged at my heartstrings in a way he hasn’t since recounting the story of the child murders. With Preacher getting a thirteen-episode second season, it’s imperative that the show maintains our emotional investment in these characters, and this installment made me believe that it can.

Final Grade: B+

+ Finally some self-awareness from Jesse. Good to see him relinquish the certainty he had that he was being used as a conduit for some righteous purpose.

+ Quincannon’s promise of a food court being the incentive for the men to get shot at, macheted, and set on fire was a nice touch. The way to a man’s heart is truly through his stomach in Annville.

+ “Here’s your penis!”

– Quincannon’s backstory and the loss of his family seems a little vanilla. I was really hoping for something more than a bizarre accident, although his reaction to it was suitably messed up!

– Miles and Emily had very little to do this week, although Miles seems to have decided to side with Odin for the ‘greater good’ of Annville.

– While it was good to see Jesse’s development this episode, I will admit to missing his banter with Cassidy.

Extra Thought:

A reminder from DeBlanc that all of the vessels Genesis tried to enter previously, exploded on contact. What is different about Jesse Custer?

So what did you think? Tell us in the comments or sound off on Twitter!

About the author

Katie Young