The penultimate episode of Preacher does a lot of good in setting things up for what should be an eventful hour next week. “On Your Knees” moves the characters around just enough to be building to some seemingly important choice. It also finds a way to make Jesse look pretty bad, with all things considered, while showing what kind of master manipulator Herr Starr truly is. That’s pretty good when it comes to figuring a way around a guy who can control everything you do if he wanted to. Oh, and we had another update on Hell.
Right away, “On Your Knees” begins with an extended cold open focusing on Eugene and Hitler figuring out the exit strategy. This involves Eugene counter-acting the Hell program and talking to people in his mind/simulator the way he would have liked to. Meanwhile, Hitler opens a window, and the two eventually find themselves in Hell’s air ducts. No, it doesn’t make much sense, but this has Eugene closer than ever to being a part of the main plot, so hopefully, next week finds an end to this longstanding subplot.
Back on Earth, things are mostly Saint-centric at first. Some alternative perspective recap fills us in on how The Saint got out of the swamp. During that time we get flashbacks. An odd choice, as The Saint was pretty well-defined and humanizing him more via peaceful family time doesn’t add a whole lot to the character. Given that The Saint is the biggest threat that faces Jesse, it stands to reason to have scenes that invest us more in that conflict, but as good as Graham McTavish is in the role, calming down an unstoppable killing machine doesn’t do much for the series or the threat.
The return of The Saint does allow for a pretty brutal brawl featuring all the main players. Following some random apartment conversations involving one of Cassidy’s fingers and moonshine, Tulip comes across her worst nightmare, and things eventually build to a battle. It’s well done, as this series has proven to be reliable when it comes to kick ass action. There may be the thought of why so much time needed to be spent on Tulip’s PTSD if it just amounted to her getting beaten down by The Saint again, but at least things got interesting after that.
Jesse not quite getting the voice to work on The Saint led to him being brought down and nearly scalped. The arrival of Hell’s warden was a bit of a surprise, but clarifying that it was Starr’s doing helped all the pieces fall into place. This also meant seeing Jesse in his worst light.
After Starr filled in Cassidy and Tulip on Jesse’s potential as the new Messiah, the whole conversation at the diner was filled with bad moments for our preacher. Despite not having the best sense of direction, Jesse has had his friends to back him up in his quest to find God. Now Jesse is essentially throwing them away, as he is convinced he is in a good enough place to serve as the savior of the world. There’s an issue here, as Jesse is not even in control of the situation. Just look at Starr kneeling before Jesse and try to convince yourself it’s not the other way around.
To its credit, this was a very quick-paced episode. I only had so many notes to go through, which amounts to the little character details worth noting. There’s only so much I can say about the continuing scenes between Denis and Cassidy, for example. Meanwhile, Hoover and Featherstone are likely going to get caught by Tulip next week, thanks to a camera that slipped off the wall. Ideally, we’ll also get to see whatever The Saint does next if we are privy to the big conversation he is set to have.
Preacher has been more focused this season, but it’s been a bit strange judging the latter half of the season. Performances are uniformly strong and wild moments (Humperdoo!) go over well enough. However, stretching out individual plotlines makes me hope everything is to at least fashion a satisfying finale, let alone work out other kinks for the next season. Meanwhile, at least the Pope was on hand to assure people that “Jesus or a reasonable approximation thereof” will be there to help.
Preachin’ To The Choir:
- “You’re mean.” – Eugene finally starts calling out the people in his Hell simulation.
- How did The Saint pay for his whiskey?
- Denis is hunting Banjo (the puppy), but Cassidy has him in hiding.
- Last season, Cassidy had a running joke about hating The Big Lebowski. This year he’s held onto observations about foreskin. Cassidy is a funny bloke.
- “You’re ugly.” – Cassidy could not stop insulting Starr’s face.
- “Tell Satan I want a word.” – It’s not hard to make The Saint sound as badass as possible when required.