By the end of “Dallas, with” the Saint has come marching in and kills Viktor, a man we hardly knew. Paul Ben-Victor did what was needed for really the role, but he ultimately didn’t matter beyond showing us someone that wasn’t Jesse in Tulip’s eyes. Still, this week’s episode of Preacher held onto Viktor as long as needed, while time was spent providing us a look back at how this predicament came to be. Again, Viktor ultimately didn’t matter, but there is something to appreciate in how the show holds onto its affinity for gonzo violence by keeping the man under threat of torture, while going through a story of how two people fell into depression for a while.
Picking up right where “Viktor” ended, news of the man being Tulip’s husband does not lead to an immediate resolve. Instead, Jesse gets even more enraged, resulting in the placement of Viktor in a torture room. It is then when things settle and a look back in time is had. This leads to an extended sequence focused on the time after Carlos betrayed Jesse and Tulip, which resulted in a miscarriage.
The strange thing is how dark this episode ends up being. While Preacher is a show that already paints a pretty bleak picture (last season ended with the entire town blowing up, last week gave us Hell’s Hitler in a supporting role), it becomes something more substantial when you remove the fantasy element. While Eugene repeating his worst day over and over in Hell is not a great life to live, seeing Jesse and Tulip wallow and be horrible at each other is actually worse. It’s human drama sparked by tragedy and it’s rough for these characters.
On the positive side, it means we get a strong focus on the characters, specifically Jesse. There is enough here to have us appreciate Tulip’s position and why she chose certain paths in life, but Tulip (and Cassidy) is more engaging than Jesse overall. While Tulip (and Cassidy) were fun characters to watch right away in this series, it has taken time for Jesse Custer to stand out as a strong lead. Part of that is because his character was at rock bottom when we met him. He had to be pulled out of his funk, which is how Genesis helped. “Dallas” helps fill us in with what led to all this.
One significant portion of this episode is devoted to a rapidly-edited montage of Jesse living a routine of sitting on a couch, drinking beer, attempting to conceive with Tulip, and walking to the liquor store to buy more beer, cigarettes and a pregnancy test. Preacher has become exceedingly good at these sort of moments, and this one is also pretty great. While the sense of momentum builds up, it only becomes more and more depressing to watch. And then things get worse.
By the end of the montage, Jesse makes a discovery leading to a big argument. This all goes on, while their stoned friend Reggie makes it clear he’s uncomfortable. The result? Jesse beats the crap out of Reggie since he’d never hit Tulip. None of this puts Jesse in the best light, even for this show, but it provides good reasoning for him to be where he is in season one. Some further revelations are made concerning his father’s church, and that’s all we need to know.
Meanwhile, Cassidy gets punched in the nose by Tulip for telling Jesse about Viktor. Tulip also reveals she’s pretty well aware of Cassidy’s feelings towards her. A little while after that, Cassidy heads to Jesse and encourages the murder of Viktor, knowing that’s the last thing Tulip would want. Given how enjoyable this dynamic is between the three as friends, knowing that Cassidy would still take an opportunity to wreck things between Tulip and Jesse is something that will likely rear its head again, which may or may not go well for how the show proceeds.
That in mind, while still at the same pace as last week, “Dallas” does a lot to put power behind Jesse and Tulip as characters. The Saint has arrived in New Orleans, so things have to get moving again at this point, but the work done to explore who our characters are goes a long way in having us want them to continue surviving and reach their goal, let alone find some peace. We’ve stalled a bit now, but hopefully, the search for God leads to more crazy scenarios, with everyone still getting along during them.
Preachin’ To The Choir:
- Jesse’s preacher image is so vital to the character that it’s never not odd seeing him in flashback with big hair and wrinkled clothes.
- Who doesn’t like Boo-Berry?
- “Copies, Coffee and…Escrow” – Tulip can’t handle normal work.
- Jesse didn’t kill Viktor, but he did get the divorce papers signed…
- …Which didn’t matter, because the Saint kills Viktor, but his daughter survives by pointing the Saint in the right direction.
- Still no word on who Dennis is to Cassidy, but he is still alive.