The penultimate episode of this season saw Jesse rid of one problem, and ready to take his place as The Messiah, but at a price, and Eugene’s escape plan saw him confront some demons from his past…
We started with a sequence of flashbacks, showing how Jesse dumped the Saint of Killers in the swamp, and how he he was hauled out again by The Grail, and kept captive until he agreed to work for them. The mystery figure we saw legging it from the vehicle last week was Hoover, wisely getting a head start on the assassin before releasing him to hunt Jesse.
There followed a bit of awkward flirting between Tulip and Cassidy, who discussed whether their preacher would return from his search for God, and half decided to bugger off to a tropical paradise without him just before he walked back through the door. Despondent that God had turned out to be a Furry, Jesse decided to get drunk with Cassidy while Tulip disposed of one of the vampire’s severed fingers which was still lying under the cooker. And you thought your housekeeping was lax!
Of course, every time Tulip walks the corridors of the apartment building alone, she gets into trouble, and this time was no different. The Saint questioned her and then knocked her clean out when she refused to answer him and even tried to stop him going after her boyfriend with a punch. Cassidy fared little better, and Jesse’s cocky demeanour soon slipped when he realised Genesis wasn’t going to work this time. There followed a painfully tense scene in which the Saint described a man he used to know who came to love the sound of scalps being peeled from their skulls, and how he’d become obsessed with hearing it for himself. Indeed, he’d made a decent incision in the preachers forehead when a stay of execution turned up in the form of the wardens of Hell, to escort the cowboy back down south. Not so much deus ex machina as a helping hand from Herr Starr.
Now this confused me at first, given that The Grail were the ones who sent The Saint after Jesse! I wondered if Featherstone and Hoover were acting against Herr Starr’s wishes, but I think the whole episode was an elaborate set up by Starr to soften Jesse towards him, and to drive that wedge more firmly between the preacher and his friends.
The issue I had with this story line – other than the convenience of a hitherto virtually unstoppable threat being dealt with in such a quick fashion – was that the snippets of back story from the Saint’s life, his attempts to be a good man for his wife and child, combined with a powerhouse performance from Graham McTavish, meant that I felt more sorry for his character than for Jesse. Even when he was being scalped! After all, the cowboy’s tragedy is that he has nothing left to lose. The only thing he wants, he knows he’ll never be able to obtain, while Jesse has that thing – unconditional love – and continues to abuse it.
Another character who had my undivided sympathy this week was Eugene Root. In attempting to escape his private Hell construct – aided and abetted by Hitler – he was forced to try and change the outcome of Tracy’s suicide. When he realised that any way he handled the situation would produce the same result because Tracy was the one to blame, not him, he then had to deal with memories of being abused as a kid, and the fact that his own father had turned on him in the wake of the tragedy. I’m not sure where Preacher is headed with his story, but if anyone deserves a break, surely it’s Eugene!
We head into the season finale with Jesse ready to accept the responsibility Herr Starr is so keen to bestow upon him, and now that the world knows the new Messiah is coming, all eyes will be on him. Given how the preacher has dealt with everything to date, I’m fairly certain nothing good can come of it…
Final Grade: C+
+ It warms my heart that Cassidy is looking out for the little dog. It almost makes up for all the critters he munched last season!
+ If there’s one thing Preacher does well, it’s a fight scene, and there was plenty of action this week.
+ Loved the Saint’s scenes and Eugene overcoming the horrors of his short, sad life.
– “She normally hops right to that.” Yet more proof that Jesse Custer is the worst.
– It was a shame to see our cowboy dispatched so quickly after a whole two seasons of build up!
– The banter between Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy felt a but unnatural this week. Especially given that Jesse has consistently dicked them both around for weeks.
Extra Thought: Cassidy’s commitment to the foreskin conspiracy is bound to have an epic payoff at some point, surely!?
What did you think? Did “On Your Knees” leave you as cold as Cassidy’s withered floor finger, or as ruffled as Jesse’s hair? Sound off in the comments or over on Twitter!