The Saint of Killers may be languishing at the bottom of a New Orleans swamp, but the nightmare wasn’t over for Tulip this week as she began to demonstrate PTSD-like symptoms in the wake of her encounter with the cowboy from Hell. And while Jesse may have shaken off one problem by incarcerating his would-be assassin for the time being, another equally scary foe stepped into the spotlight…
Recalling a conversation earlier in the season, in which Cassidy expressed a desire to visit a bar where you can pay to get shot, our trio worked a grift in the aptly named Hurt Locker. Using Cassidy’s lack of vital signs to convince the regulars they’d accidentally killed a man, Tulip, Jesse, Cass, and Denis drank the bar dry and pilfered the takings. But Tulip’s drinking just made her paranoid, Jesse’s jealousy reared its head after watching his girlfriend and the vampire play a couple, and Cassidy learnt that his elderly son was terminally ill and wanted to be made immortal – just like his absentee father. Things went from bad to worse for the hapless bloodsucker when he passed out drunk and found himself in the morgue. This led to a very effective scene in which he witnessed a grieving family standing over the body of their dead loved one, a woman’s plaintive wails echoing down the corridors, which may mean Cassidy will give in to Denis’ demand.
Meanwhile, Tulip was having vivid dreams in which she relived her terrifying encounter with the Saint and, on waking, she confronted Jesse about his lateness, rightly pointing out that Cassidy was the one who saved her because the preacher broke his deal. The dream sequence in which Tulip moved around the shabby apartment while Denis slept in his chair had the feel of a mini horror film, and ratcheted up the fear factor, as well as showcasing Ruth Negga’s considerable talents. The slo-mo cascade of severed fingers was creepy, gross, and weirdly beautiful all at once. And I’m pleased Tulip called her boyfriend out on his behaviour because Jesse’s arrogance last week, and his continued lying make him a pretty difficult protagonist to get behind. While we’ve seen a lot more of Tulip’s vulnerability this season, watching her try to overcome her fear of the cowboy by doing something reckless and bad-ass like returning to the Hurt Locker to take some bullets served as a reminder of the resourceful, self-sufficient speed-freak we met in the pilot.
We later saw, via a conversation with a street corner, doomsday preacher, that Jesse has been brooding on the true cost of losing a small piece of his soul. As expected, the self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ had little of comfort to offer on that front, confirming that people selling their souls was surely a sign of the impending apocalypse. Again, Jesse’s concern seemed to be more for himself than for his friends, which is making me root all the harder for a Tulip and Cassidy hook up, to be perfectly honest. Get your head out of your ass, padre!
The other main plot strand in “Pig”, and the incident which gives this episode its title, concerned the discovery of a floating swine in Vietnam, and the arrival of Herr Starr (first revealed to be part of The Grail a couple of weeks back) to take care of this oddity and stop word about the miraculous porker getting out. Both the scenes in Vietnam, and Starr’s backstory were, by turns, laugh out loud funny and shockingly violent, and that’s what Preacher does best.
Under the tutelage of Saltonstall (Fredric Lehne, whom my Supernatural fans will recognise as the original Yellow Eyed Demon), Starr became a rising star, acing every test The Grail training programme could throw at him. My particular favourite was using masturbation as a diversion technique during hand-to-hand combat. A stroke of genius. Sorry. It wasn’t much of a surprise that Starr shot his final competitor in target practice, but I must admit to a gasp when, on making the grade, he shoved his mentor off a building.
We learnt that The Grail is a highly religious organisation, set up in order to eliminate ‘false prophets’ and protect the bloodline of Jesus, and while Herr Starr certainly didn’t seem disposed towards prayer, any man who can unflinchingly murder an entire village to stop them talking about a levitating pig is surely going to pose a huge threat to Jesse and friends. While the Saint is off the board for now, Jesse’s enemies are mounting, and the latter episodes of this season look set to make life pretty difficult for our man of the cloth.
Final Grade: B
+ I loved the post-Mardi Gras golf carts for picking up the drunk and the dead.
+ The Grail has taken out high profile victims such as Abraham Lincoln and John Belushi, and seems to count Stephen Hawking among its ranks.
+ Herr Starr is into snuff movies, nipple piercing, and seems fine with getting his balls electrocuted. A none-too-subtle dig at the church perhaps?
– I am sad we didn’t get to find out why the pig was floating.
– Poor Eugene is still stuck in Hell, and seems to have been forgotten for now.
– Jesse’s hunt for God is still the least interesting plot thread of the season.
Extra Thought: I’m still intrigued to know whether this version of events will find a way to weave Herr Starr into the Hitler and Eugene story line.
What did you think? Was Klaus the Starr of the show? Did you believe pigs can fly? Is the end really nigh? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter!