Season 3, Episode 9: “Schwanzkopf”
Directed by Kevin Hooks
Written by Gary Tieche
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Tom/Brady” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Light Above” – click here
The true Messiah (Tyson Ritter), another Humperdoo, is brought into the testing room. Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) remains strapped to the table, preparing to have Genesis sucked out of him once more. Allfather D’Aronique (Jonny Coyne) stops when the preacher reveals a pistol in his jacket, and that Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) helped him. He asks to “die as a Christian,” on his knees praying. He’s able to get loose once the holy man pulls the trigger, setting off a device Custer manages to place on him.
But this doesn’t stop Allfather long. Jesse kills the guards, then D’Aronique attacks. The big guy takes a few bullets. Jesse resorts to sticking him with one of the experimental genetic cocktails. He’s able to blow him up, just like they did to Humperdoo, and it’s bye bye Allfather! That’s a lot of gore.
Under the overpass, Lara Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery) sings “Onward, Christian Soldiers” while she, the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), Eugene (Ian Colletti), and Hitler (Noah Taylor) wait for a bus to Hell. Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) has arrived for the briefcase. Sydney (Erinn Ruth) – a.k.a Azrael, the Angel of Death – won’t have any of that shit. “I don‘t like you,” she tells Ms. O’Hare. Nevertheless, she gives over the briefcase. Things go wrong for Tulip when ole Arseface accidentally gives her up, and the briefcase is left with Jody (Jeremy Childs).
In New Orleans, the relationship between Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) and Eccarius (Adam Croasdell) goes on about “the torment” of a vampire’s existence, trying to condone what he’s been doing to his supposed friends. Eccarius treats people like drugs, which does not sit well with Cass, who’s got a moral compass despite his penchant for a bit of madness. Problem is, our vamp is up against one powerful motherfucker.
When Starr returns to the Grail, he’s pleasantly surprised by his Messiah, Jesse, and all the work he’s done. After that we get to witness an amazing feat of effects: Allfather’s anus – now a disembodied tube of flesh – shits out Mr. Custer’s soul in a tiny vial. This causes a frantic wrestling match between Jesse and Starr in the midst of all the yucky gore set to “Joy to the World” sung by a choir of angelic voices. Finally, after so long, Jesse has his soul back, and the full use of Genesis.
Big problems, explained by Starr. The Grail’s infiltrated the world’s “nuclear weapon states” and put in place a signal with the purpose of setting off a global “Apocalypse.” What is the signal? Well, they roll out Humperdoo to do his little dance, and give the world the chance to accept or reject. If they reject, it’s Apocalypse time! A lunatic’s plan. Jesse makes clear he won’t be doing any mass killings. This isn’t what Starr wants, he’s a bit of a madman, too.
Les Enfants du Sang are surprised by Cassidy, who tells them about what Eccarius has done to their friends. Nobody believes him. They were told Cass killed Hoover (Malcolm Barrett). Plus, Eccarius is there to sow the seeds of distrust, calling his so-called new pal “bitter” and other nasty names. They all believe their leader, who sets his people on Cass: “An example must be made.”
On the bus to Hell, Tulip’s desperately trying to find a way out. She doesn’t get much help from Hitler, though Eugene tries his best. The Saint and Azrael don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the prisoners, the former’s pissed because he realises there are “no rules” with God gone, so people still alive can be taken to Hell. At the same time, Adolf wonders when his buddy Rick and the “SS shock troop“ to come, and Tulip’s trying to get out of the bottom of the bus like a bad ass Indiana Jones, which doesn’t exactly work.
Jesse can’t bring himself to kill Humperdoo. It’s then he stumbles onto a bunch more Humperdoos. He rounds them up, dresses them in their tracksuits. After that the Humperdoos are sent out into the world. Some barely make it to the street where they’re driven over like animals. This lets Jesse get back to Angelville and his other business.
Eccarius has decided to crucify Cassidy on the pool table, charged with betrayal. They’re going to open the drapes and let the vamp fry. It’ll be a long process, as the sun gradually makes it way across the room by the hour. A cruel punishment.
“We’ll let the sun come to him”
Bound by code of conduct, Hoover lets Starr and Lara know he’s now a vampire, but this “lifestyle change” won’t affect anything as far as his job performance goes. In the meantime, Starr has other things on his mind. Such as the Grail’s apocalypse being spoiled by Custer, their adversarial relationship revving up all over again. Aka: he’s fucking angry.
On the bus, Tulip taunts Azrael and the Saint of Killers alike. She takes shots at the Saint in particular, after their last run-in ended with the preacher sending him to Hell. That doesn’t mean the man’s not a horrible entity. He slaps Tulip around, cracking a window— all part of her plan.
While Cass hangs on the pool table waiting to die, Mrs. Rosen (Theresa O’Shea) laments him as a “piece of shit” but offers a sip of energy drink. He asks if she’ll call Lisa in Poland, to say he’s sorry. Hmm. Maybe this will provide a way out after all.
Right as Tulip is trying to escape, Hitler goes first. They’re interrupted by an explosion, sending the bus flying on its side. Rick and his Nazi troops have arrived, apparently. Tulip sees a tank with a Nazi flag, some men with swastika armbands. The only time a black woman would be happy to see the Nazis.
And arriving home, Mr. Custer is preparing to face down Gran’ma (Betty Buckley). He hopes it’s for the last time. We’ll just have to see.
God, I love this show! Always exciting, one way or another. Always strange, as well. Action, black humour, solid character development— Preacher lacks in no way, at least for Father Gore! “The Light Above” is next time.