Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Teleplay by Sam Catlin
Television Story by Catlin, Goldberg, & Rogen
* For a review of the next episode, “See” – click here
Here we are, the series premiere for AMC’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s graphic novel(s) Preacher! So excited. Let’s dig in.
We open on a view of outer space, as something rushes around the galaxy. Even bursts a hole through a ring around Saturn. It also cries like a baby, or at least we can hear the cries of a baby. Very interesting (I gather that’s something people who know the comics understand). Heading into Africa. Just like a comic book right off the bat in the way it looks and feels. Dig it.
We cut to a priest in his little African church preaching to the congregation. Naturally, that fucking thing from space is headed right for this poor guy. You already know that. It bursts through the doors and blasts him hard, shocking everybody. Of course everybody thinks it’s a “miracle” and they could not be farther from the truth. The priest rises and speaks in a terrifying voice. Before bursting into a spray of blood over the people. A great opener.
Now we’re with Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). He wakes in a small room, bottles of booze empty at the bedside. There’s this great little moment where he fixes the sign way out front of his church in Texas, obviously tampered with by some young men being trouble. Father Custer doesn’t exactly command the attention of his congregation reading off his papers, as little kids flick their iPads and others just roll their eyes. Outside everybody is barbecuing and having fun, a few drinks, all that sort of stuff. Custer hears the problems of his people, inconsequential moments. Except for one little kid that’s worried about his mother. Worse, he wants the preacher to hurt his father for beating up on his mom. Seems before Jesse was preaching he did… things. Ah, foreboding little kid. Custer freaks the kid out a little. Freaked me out, too. Still, doesn’t do much good for the kid whose life is probably hell at home.
I love this first ten minutes. Lots of good stuff. And that goodness continues.
The little Texas town is a wild spot. Big ruckus about. Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) is awesome, as usual. Love how he blatantly sees Jesse swig some whiskey in his truck, but completely ignores it. He also ignores a lot more than that in his town. Root doesn’t seem to like the preacher much, so I’m looking forward to watching that develop. I’ve not yet read the graphic novels, I know nothing really of the story. Dig this on its own.
We then switch to 30,000 feet up in a nice little sequence taking us to a plane in the sky. Enjoy the directing from Goldberg and Rogen so far in this episode. Very stylish.
Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) and others are enjoying themselves in a jet. Flying high while flying, as in coked up. Cassidy ends up coming across a Holy Bible marked with some creepy shit throughout. A few moments later he starts an amazing fight with a homemade flamethrower, taking on guys with axes and crossbows and swords – oh my! – and this is one hell of a fight sequence. At one point, Cassidy starts cracking off beer cans like golf balls and it’s golden. A guy tries pouring Holy Water on him calling Cassidy an “abomination” then proceeds to get chowed down on, right in the jugular. Yikes. I’m loving this character already. Going in blind, not knowing the comics, this is a thrill ride for me. When the plane is fucked Cassidy siphons himself off a pint of blood then jumps out. What a cool vampire bastard.
Back down on the ground, Jesse eats breakfast with Emily (Lucy Griffiths). She helps out at the church. We’re graced by Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe), a great actor playing a hilariously nebbish type of character.
Although we’re quickly whisked to Africa, where the priest was attacked by the presence. And some men are investigating. Hmm. The plot thickens.
Jesse checks on a man named Walter who hasn’t come in to work. A woman is in the shower, which sort of unsettles the preacher, so he heads on out.
Another quick switch sees us in a fast flying car heading through corn fields. Inside, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” plays on the radio and Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) fights with every bit of her strength, tooth and fucking nail. The action so far in this pilot episode is just incredible, I must say. The fighting is spectacular. Tulip kills the dude in such an awesome way. She gets chastised by a brother and sister for running around beating things up, killing people. “A girl doesn‘t always need some stupid guy helping her,” the little girl exclaims, likely summing up exactly what Ms. O’Hare is all about. She’s good with kids, good with fighting. Good with making bazookas and taking down platoons full of men. God damn regular Rambette.
Flashbacks of Jesse’s briefly reveal his father might have been killed. For those of us that haven’t read the comics, this is a mystery starting out. Like how they only give us a taste. Not too much at once. At the same time, Cassidy is a splattered mess in the ground, stuck in a hole. Amazing effects. Creepy little scene, as he finds himself something to eat.
We zip on over to Russia. In a temple, a similar event to the one in Africa happened. Brains, blood everywhere. Some men show up to investigate again.
Custer is busy about town. He meets with the kid’s mom from earlier; she claims BDSM type stuff. Then he’s over meeting with Tulip in her car, even finds an ear. Though she tosses that one off, both figuratively and literally. Their dynamic is interesting, they obviously have history, and that’s all coming into play in their current relationship. What I love most is how we get a real sense of Jesse as a preacher, a genuine man of the cloth, because he sees everybody, he goes around talking to them, he’s just like a small town preacher is in real life (I come from a relatively small town).
Another interesting piece – Sheriff Root is making a Tabasco and meat smoothie, which Jesse brings up to the one, the only Arseface (Ian Colletti). Poor guy. Butthole for a mouth. He tells Jesse he used to talk to God, and he could hear him talk back. Real faith. Now he doesn’t hear anything. Seems Arseface did something, bad, as it looks. Is that what made his mouth look like an anus? I feel bad for him now. Can’t wait to discover the full story. Lots of intrigue for an outsider like me that hasn’t read any Preacher.
In a bar, Cassidy arrives and sits next to Custer. On television nearby it says Tom Cruise has exploded. Amazing. Then Jesse gets a fight thrown at him by the husband of the wife he talked to earlier, Donnie Schenck (Derek Wilson) about all the abuse stuff. Oh my, the preacher’s being pushed to display his fighter side. And fight he does. Not just one man, a bunch. Big, small, all sizes. He kicks a ton of asses. Before breaking the abusive father and husband’s arm viciously.
Cassidy: “Jesus, what kind of a preacher are you?”
Love Joseph Gilgun. He plays Cassidy incredibly, makes me laugh so much. Furthermore, he and Dominic Cooper have chemistry. They are each quite different in their roles, obviously. But also they make it all the better with their portrayals of the respective characters.
Custer says he’s quitting. He doesn’t feel it’s going to work in that town. Not any more. Too much history, I imagine.
Up at the church he finds something strange going on inside himself. He talks to God, asking for answers or else he’s “done“, in his own words. When he gets on his knees and begs forgiveness, nothing comes. Unsurprised, he sits back for a cigarette. Only something other than God has that answer for him. A presence moves forward to where the preacher stands. Then it takes him off his feet, flinging him back.
Later, Jesse wakes in bed. Emily is there to comfort him. He’s been out for three whole days. Coming to he feels different. He acts differently. He even makes Ted Reyerson (Brian Huskey) head to see his mother, so that he can be honest. To open his heart and be true. He literally opens his chest cavity. Takes the heart out for dear mom. “For all this I am responsible,” says Jesse as we cut directly to him. “This is why I‘ve come home. To save you.”
Afterwards, the two men checking into all the strange incidents around the globe are in Texas. They know that the thing from outer space is at the church. Excited to watch that play out further.
What a whopper of a pilot episode. Again, as someone not having read the comics this is a lot of fun. I’m sold already. Bring on more episodes and let’s have a fucking riot! Preacher delivers the goods on all fronts.