Season 2, Episode 7: “Pig”
Directed by Wayne Yip
Written by Olivia Dufault
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Sokosha” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Holes” – click here
Fittingly, we open on a pig. In Vietnam. A man and his wife bicker in a small hut over cooking. The woman starts screaming, calling her husband over, as they gawk in horror.
Cut to Herr Starr (Pip Torrens), a one-eyed man in a crisp white suit. He’s led into the jungle to the hut we saw the previous night. People speaking of “a miracle.” The pig is floating, like a helium-filled balloon. And while others rejoice, Starr’s not enthused. “Shit,” he mutters to himself. Is this God’s power loose? Or something else entirely?
Oh, we’ll see.
New Orleans is a mess, as people lie drunk in the streets. Piled onto carts driven around by people taking them to safety. We head to the last jazz club in New Orleans, where we find Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), and Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga). The vamp suggests they “have some fun” rather than constantly searching for God, especially after their latest troubles.
So where do they go? A place called the hurt Locker. Where they have some… unconventional fun. Cassidy plays Tulip’s boyfriend, and the vamp steps in to get shot with a gun. Bulletproof vest and all. Afterwards, our preacher pops by playing his part in their little grift. When the lady talks a good game, this puts Cassidy up against their biggest gun. Something that would make Dirty Harry wince.
When he takes a bullet, through and through, he dies. Or at least that’s how they play it off for the unsuspecting audience. Before they give him a juice box of blood. But that kiss Tulip laid on him? Yikes. It hit the lad hard, neither did it sit quite right with Jesse.
Tulip: “Oh, I‘m sorry, I didn‘t realise this was Ladies Night. Now I gotta bunch a‘ money, and you got a bunch a‘ guns. So why don‘t y‘all stop bein‘ a bunch a‘ bitches and shoot my boyfriend?”
Cassidy, and his son Denis (Ronald Guttman), have a talk at the bar. Turns out the old man’s dying. He thinks the vampire is a selfish dad. It’ll be fixed if he can live forever. Something the absentee father will not do. Wholly refuses, angry even.
Back to Starr. He’s investigating people praying to the pig. We see a flashback to 2004, hearing a bit of his tortured past as he’s interviewed for a position with the ominous group Grail; a 2000-year-old group. Part of anti-terrorism unit, a military man. He has obsession with “absolute order” and discipline, he’s a really fun guy. All this leads to some sort of fascist religious militant group. Scary shit.
Tulip is having nightmares, flashes of the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) holding her by the throat, a sky of raining bloody fingers like “french fries” as she later describes. Her encounter with the cowboy’s left her scarred, emotionally, mentally. He haunts her inescapably. She’s such a tough woman that it’s scary when something scares her this much. Makes me uncomfortable.
And Cassidy? He winds up being taken to the morgue, drunk, half shot up, assumed dead. Stuck in a drawer.
Back to Starr, and his pierced nipples with a chain linking them, in ’04. A hopeful Grail recruit. He’s put through an obstacle course, made to throw a medicine ball against a wall repeatedly. Later, all the recruits are made to wrestle with a tough young man. Starr steps in, jerks off as his opponent chokes him, distracting long enough to kick the living shit out of him. On to the “art of seduction” and that yields more interesting stuff from Starr, whose direct and brutal response to a woman is straight to the threats. He’s also not adverse to having jumper cables and a battery connected to his bare testicles. The man is perfectly psychopathic, in every way.
He’s welcomed into the fold at Grail happily. Although Starr’s not too interested in their talk of Christ, until the Grail’s main man Saltonstall (Fredric Lehne) tells him Christ is alive and well, guarded by this militant group. Preparing for the apocalypse. Oh, mercy. Well, this explains them sending him out to investigate stuff like the floating pig, et cetera. He takes care of “false prophets” and their narratives, in order to ensure belief in Jesus Christ. The Grail’s killed people like Abraham Lincoln throughout history, all for their agenda. Starr takes over after he tosses Saltonstall to his death from a balcony. Makes sense, he’s not the order taking-type.
Jesse speaks with a Doomsday preacher (John Ales) on the corner of a street, giving out his thoughts on scripture. Our preacher asks him about the end of the world, something of which he’s been thinking a lot lately.
At the hospital, Cassidy’ s turned loose finally after being discovered in the morgue’s drawers. He’s also thinking of things, like life and death. When you’re immortal, death isn’t exactly something you think of much, or even know about after so long. Sad to see him worried for Denis.
The most worrying? Tulip returns to the bar, she puts on a vest. But she doesn’t see just any man pulling the trigger of the gun on her. She sees the Saint of Killers staring her down. And yet she still gets up. Tough as nails, asking for more like a fucked up Oliver Twist.
“What is more frightening than who we are and what we done?”
In Vietnam, Herr Starr has killed the whole village to conceal the existence of the pig, as well as the pig itself. Where’s he off to next? Well, he’s gotten word about Jesse Custer. Meanwhile, the pig story, the village, it’s all explained in a natural sounding way. To cover up a massacre. Plus, that massacre is headed the preacher’s way soon.
Fun episode. It builds on Tulip’s latest troubles, Jesse and his relentless search for God, his obsessions, and now we’re introduced to Herr Starr, a nasty, brutish man who’s also fun in a creepy kinda way. “Holes” is next. Wonder how things will go from here. Curious to see how things go for Cassidy, too. He’s losing Denis, he’s in love with Tulip. Christ. Sticky situations, all around.