To say “Viktor” brings things down a notch is not the worst thing for Preacher, but it is evident this fourth episode is one where some reorganization was needed. While a solid character-focused episode followed the one-two punch of the season premiere, we’re now at a point where the plot needs to catch up a bit. That doesn’t mean “Viktor” is bad in any way, just an episode that is building out some subplots that will keep things moving in events to come. Of course, even if things seemed to slow down a bit, there’s still the sort of strange delights that come from the show in general and make it so watchable, such as a fight set to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”, seeing a horrible historical figure stand up to bullies and Frankie Muniz.
If there’s one thing “Viktor” does do to separate itself from other episodes, it’s testing the tolerance of its audience for more than just bloody violence and pitch black humor. This thought is embodied by Noah Taylor’s placement in the cast as Hitler. I can say I was uncomfortable seeing a nebbish take on Hitler. Not that the idea of belittling one of the worst human beings in history is a terrible creative choice, but it comes with the show walking the line of having viewers feel sympathy for Hitler thanks to his decision in wanting to befriend and stick up for Eugene.
I have no idea where this plotline will go and because it is so disconnected from everything else going on, my investment level can only go so far. That said, with the show working to keep Eugene involved in this show by way of his adventures in Hell, I can say I enjoy the way it’s treated like a subpar office building with technical issues. The strange sense of humor that’s inspired by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic has lent itself to some interesting ideas and that at least keeps up throughout this series.
Back on earth, Jesse and Cassidy are separate from Tulip for the majority of the episode. Last week, Tulip was so worried about being found by Viktor, only to be caught, so this week is the follow-up. The results never go anywhere all that interesting, which is a bit of a shame. Character actor Paul Ben-Victor brings a familiar level of menace to the role, but this is mainly an excuse to watch Tulip be snubbed over and over by Viktor’s men, before the eventual reveal of what the relationship is between her and Viktor. Sadly, while a neat setup, the revelation is nothing all that exciting.
The most fun came from Jesse and Cassidy, as they realized the Frankie Muniz-hosted infomercial they were watching featured the actor who played the fake God at the end of last season. Between the funny conversation between Cassidy and talent manager Teddy Gunt and the actual audition tape of said actor, the bizarro fun was in high supply. The audition tape, in particular, was a fascinating scene to watch, not only because of the humor but the sort of unusual presentation of what we’re supposed to take away from how Heaven works in this series. Given the punchline ending of the audition tape, everything gets all the weirder when considering the internal logic of this world.
Interrupting this investigation, however, is Cassidy’s worry for Tulip and when Jesse presses him, it leads to a fun infiltration. While I’ll always have concern for Jesse’s use of Genesis (it does bring the unstoppable Saint of Killers closer, after all), the way this show can play with its effectiveness does well for the action. “Uptown Girl” scores an elaborate fight sequence masked with hidden cuts to make it look like a seamless display of violence between Jesse and a pop music-loving torturer, employed by Viktor. It’s a fun scenario that may be tiring to some, but gave me plenty to smile about.
Jesse makes it through this fight and reaches Viktor just in time for the episode to end with the news that Tulip is married to this foreboding criminal. That’s just one of a few storylines currently in play, and while “Viktor” does well enough to entertain, I will be more excited by how the show plans to pay them all off. Explanations are certainly due, but in a show where our lead trio is trying to find God, I do hope the sidetracking does not take us too far away from this primary goal. I may not have minded hanging around in Annville for the whole first season, but if the rest of this season is going to be in New Orleans, there’s still plenty of interesting ground to cover, while staying on target.
Preachin’ To The Choir:
- Jesse has now met Dennis, but we are no closer to knowing what this “friendship” is between Dennis and Cassidy.
- Hitler’s “worst day” Hell scenario was not seen in full, but it involves him in full-on awkward mode, as he is presented with an opportunity to show off his artwork.
- Frankie Muniz wants everyone to know that people can still help those who suffered from Hurricane Katrina.
- Hell is not for nice people, as Eugene is forced to stay cool under pressure by joining in on the beat down being given to Hitler.
- As we see at the very end of this episode, the Saint is actually marching in…to New Orleans.