This week I somewhat expected a bigger shift in momentum, now that The Saint of Killers has been (presumably temporarily) dealt with. Looking at this week’s Preacher episode, “Pig,” it actually shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to see more of a reset for our three heroes. When dealing with Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, there is interesting stuff going on, but it handles it in a way that will likely give most flashbacks to the much slower-paced first season. Fortunately, Pip Torrens’ Helmut Starr gets the full introduction he’s been waiting for this week, and it is a darkly humorous joy to watch.
I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if Starr’s induction, along with a deeper understanding of the Grail made up the entire episode, with maybe just some bookends to keep us clear on what the New Orleans gang is up to, but it matters not. “Pig” gets off to another strange start, with a cold open that feels completely random, until being cleared up later on. As we learn midway through the episode, Starr is in charge of eliminating false prophets. He has arrived in Vietnam to take care of a situation involving a floating pig and the people worshipping it before the situation gets worse.
That’s a bizarre sentence to type, but it is a perfect slice of what makes Preacher tick, especially when tackling these supporting characters. And what a character Herr Starr is. The whole test sequence is a brilliant piece of work for all involved. Seeing the attitude of this man, the use of music, little segments involving each test and the final moments that result in two (relatively obvious) deaths were just a fine sustained series of events that easily brought a smile to my face. “Pig” had some issues as an episode when not focused on Starr, but this character’s presence made the whole effort more than worth it.
It’s honestly tricky territory too. Torrens and the writers have done some very good work to make this character work so well, despite being another evil threat that Jesse will eventually have to deal with. It may not necessarily be a struggle to create nefarious threats on Preacher, but there is something to be said for creating one (or properly bringing one out of the comics) that is imposing, incredibly violent and weirdly charismatic. It will be odd to hear people rooting for Starr, but the work was done to make a guy like this fit, which makes him a compelling figure to follow and I’m not just saying that because of his spiffy white suit.
Elsewhere, as I explained earlier, our heroes are getting a reset this week. Each character gets a poignant moment that delves into their current struggles. Jesse is, of course, still in the search for God. That has not gotten him too far, as this episode begins with him exiting “The Last Jazz Club in New Orleans,” but it does lead to a conversation with a street preacher. The two discuss the end of the world, and it’s a nice moment that probably works the best of these little plots, due to its brevity.
Cassidy, whose fingers have returned after being sliced off on the Saint’s blade last week, gets more father-son issues to work out. Someone is finally able to translate for Denis (whom we learned is Cassidy’s son last week), which leads to Cassidy understanding that his son is dying and wishes to be a vampire like his father so he can live longer. Cassidy denies Denis this request, only to be told that his son will die hating him. It leads to another silly scene later on where a drunken Cassidy is mistaken for a corpse and placed into cold storage. This is all so he can later witness a family grieving over a dead loved one and further consider what’s to be done with Denis.
Tulip gets the most protracted plotline this week, as she has PTSD, following her near-death experience with the Saint. Given how grounded and unafraid Tulip appears on a weekly basis, this was interesting territory to explore, even if it meant buying into her suddenly losing her cool. That said, she doesn’t quite lose her cool as much as she gets ambushed by bad dreams. It’s her actions that delve into her emotional state, as we watch her play a game involving guns, bullet proof vests and a bunch of drunken gamblers. As I said, it’s a curious way to deal with her tension, but it only goes so far.
“Pig” is the Starr show, no doubt about it, and I look forward to seeing what the second half of the season has in store for Jesse, now that Starr is going to be after him. Having spent time getting up to speed on where the characters are at this point, perhaps I can also look forward to seeing a bit more momentum as the season moves down the hill towards its eventual finale. Not that Preacher needs to go at a breakneck pace, but the show has done a great job of keeping us in the know on who these characters are. So much so that slowing down to give us an update is fine because the performances are strong, but not all that needed ultimately. So here’s hoping Jesse’s upcoming battle against the Grail takes off at this point.
Preachin’ To The Choir:
- The second I saw the street preacher, I kept thinking this has to be God. No confirmation on that this week, but who knows…
- Jesse and Tulip having drunk talk together shows just how great Cooper and Negga are at playing off of each other.
- While Tulip’s plotline wasn’t amazing, I did enjoy the horror movie feel of her moving around the apartment. This show provides a reminder of all the genre elements it brings to the table.
- “Give me the microfilm, you bitch, or I’ll kill you and your entire family.” – Starr’s testing sequence is just incredible in every way
- Apparently, the Grail killed John Belushi.
- Stephen Hawking is also a part of the Grail and does not tolerate being questioned by reporters.