Season 3, Episode 5: “The Coffin”
Directed by Millicent Shelton
Written by Mary Laws
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Tombs” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Les Enfants du Sang” – click here
Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) is going to do whatever she has to in order to spring her man Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) loose from Angelville. Even if it means going up against Madam L’Angell (Betty Buckley) herself.
The whole situation isn’t helped by Jody (Jeremy Childs) and TC (Colin Cunningham) finding that Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) managed to get away, having left behind a skin mask in his wake. The two lovers are preparing themselves for “a fist fight.” And, boy, do they ever get one! Maybe the best use of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” I’ve ever heard, too.
While Tulip gets the better of TC, she finds Jody’s kicked the shit out of Jesse real good. Not to mention Gran’ma is cradling that blood compact handkerchief, using magic to choke out the preacher. Puts Tulip and Jesse in a rough place. Well, particularly Jesse— he gets thrown down into the coffin at the swamp’s bottom.
At the Grail HQ, Humperdoo does some training in preparation for his eventual revelation. Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) is looking after things, when he gets a call from the All Father (Jonny Coyne), who’s busy stuffing his face full of greasy food. All Father wants to know more about Mr. Custer, wondering if he truly possesses the “Word of God.” Lots of deception within the holy ranks. Either way, All Father wants to see a progress update on their Messiah. Humperdoo can do nothing very well, other than tap dance. Somehow the All Father’s impressed. He wants to speed things up, which makes things uneasy for Starr. Means the Grail is gonna be looking to get the preacher back on their terms.
Jesse’s having a “timeout” while the rest of the family question Tulip, asking about where the vamp’s gone. Ms. O’Hare doesn’t give up any info. Gran’ma tries using a guilt trip on her, about bringing her back from death. I mean, it was a pretty big deal. Although that old woman’s pretty scary. Doesn’t mean shit to Tulip, she doesn’t take shit from anybody, under any circumstances.
Down in the swamp, Jesse lies in the dreaded coffin, seeing physical reminders of his past etched into its wood. He beats on the wood until water begins seeping through from the swamp. Then, he hears a voice speak to him, he hears a train blowing through town. He pictures himself as a Marshall in the Old West. A gang of outlaws comes upon him and his old John Wayne-like sidekick, before they’re gunned down in the desert dirt. A fine hallucination!
In New Orleans, Cassidy hooks up on a date with a woman called Lisa (Lucy Faust). They hooked up through a vampire dating app. They talk about how long they’ve been vampires— she’s been around a couple centuries, whereas he’s only been one for “89 years.” He also laments being one of the undead, for various reasons. The woman isn’t actually a vampire, though. She’s only pretending. Sad, and sort of scary. Simultaneously, Lara (Julia Ann Emery) is watching Cass everywhere he goes. Uh oh.
“Something tells me the Second Coming will be even better than the First”
Gradually, Jesse starts trying to figure out a way to get free of the coffin, worried about what might happen to Tulip otherwise. He does a little MacGyver shit, which he hopes will get him out. Only it doesn’t go as planned. He gives the impromptu plan another shot, in hopes it’ll work before he winds up drowning in there with water leaking through faster by the second. The plan works damn good.
Right at that moment, Tulip gets herself free while Madam L’Angell is hungry for a soul. The two women square off, once and for all. The younger of the two asks kindly for Gran’ma to break the spell on Jesse. Instead, they fight. The old woman’s got a bit of it left in her. Not enough. Tulip chokes her out. Except then she immediately drops dead. It was part of the spell. Gran’ma made sure there was an insurance policy on her life, so to speak. Luckily they pull a Pulp Fiction to get the old lady’s heart pumping again.
At the bar, the Grail have surrounded Cassidy. They’re going to try reeling their preacher back in using his old pal. The vamp’s dead drunk, but Starr and the operatives get him into a chair, on video camera, and have Cass read a note they’ve written, hoping it’ll lure Jesse. Starr also tells him: “I will restore your power.” Quite the draw. But they’re interrupted, knocked out, and some mysterious strangers take Cassidy with them elsewhere. Turns out he’s been helped by the fake vampire he met earlier, saved by a clan of would-be vamps.
Back in Angelville, the group need a soul, or else Gran’ma might not make it. This leaves them all at odds. More fighting to come.
“We are les Enfants du Sang”
What an episode! Lord almighty, Preacher always seems to get better, or weirder, or wilder— or, y’know, all the above. And I’m so here for it. Have been from the start. Read the comics if you haven’t yet, too. A true treat if there ever were one.