Eddie Brock and his new pal Venom aren't just a Marvel duo, they represent a lot of our (post)modern-day fears.
Eccarius gives Cass a last ultimatum. Jesse and Jody face off in the Tombs.
Tulip winds up on the bus to Hell. Jesse gets his soul back, and with it comes Genesis.
Jesse and Cassidy head down to Angelville, to ask for Madame L'Angell's help in resurrecting Tulip.
Season 1, Episode 10: “Call and Response”
Directed & Written by Sam Catlin
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “Finish the Song” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “On the Road” – click here
With the Season 1 finale upon us, will Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) get God to come to his church service? And where’s Eugene (Ian Colletti)? So many questions.
Well, we open on Annville, all it’s simple, rugged beauty. Love the quaint Texas charm. Meanwhile, everybody is very interested about what happens Sunday. Then Jesse goes flying down the road past one of his regular congregation, police in tow. The residents are all getting dolled up, waxing is half off, hair foils being put on all over the place. Tulip (Ruth Negga) is trying to figure out exactly where the preacher is, and realises the answer may lie with Donnie Schenck (Derek Wilson). Speaking of him, he and his wife Betsy (Jamie Anne Allman) actually do have a BDSM thing going on, so that’s actually surprising. I never believed it early in the season.
But most interesting is that Jesse’s there. Towel on, just had a shower.
In jail, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) is chatting with other prisoners, handing out life lessons. He’s been busted up at the whorehouse. Then there’s Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown), still requiring a bit of help to figure out exactly where his son Eugene’s ended up. Root sits down with the file on Cassidy. They go through a ton of nasty behaviour. Some extremely nasty. “I sort of lost my head a bit there; crime of passion,” he says after one photo shows an attempted murder. Strangest still are the dates. Root adds them up back to 1922. “And yet I look so young,” Cassidy quips. When the old vampire takes a run at the sheriff he gets a gunshot in the gut. Afterwards, the curious Root pumps out a little paper cup of blood and offers it up. Wow, that is an intriguing little pair. What will come of this new relationship?
Jumping back to Donnie and Jesse – the actual conversion in Annville has happened to Donnie Schenck. He decided to show the preacher mercy, as he was shown, when they confronted one another in the church. However, Tulip isn’t there for any of that sweet bullshit. She’s there for Jesse. Outside, she lures him in with the slight suggestion of sex. But really, she has a friend in the trunk. You know it: Carlos.
We flash back to Carlos himself. He is one greasy little bastard. And his flirting game is awful. He’s outside, as Jesse and Tulip are inside looking through safety deposit boxes in a bank. Then Jesse finds a double-fisted dildo: “It‘s like Lady and the Tramp except in our butts,” he jokes shaking it at his girl. The whole sequence leads to when Carlos decides to leave the two lovers behind, seeming jealous of their relationship. He cuts a security guard loose; the who ends up dead at the end of Custer’s gun. And worse? At the same time, Tulip – carrying a baby, which was hinted at a few moments earlier – obviously miscarries, or begins to, as the sirens start blaring.
In the present, Jesse asks the tied up Carlos why he did it: “You were happy,” his only response.
Back at the Quincannon factory, Pappy (Biff Yeager) stands watching a pool of bubbling filth, talking on the phone. I have a feeling we, the non-comics readers (I’ll be buying soon), are going to find out more about him soon.
In jail, Cassidy lets the newly informed Hugo in on a bit of what happened to Eugene. Then he starts questioning the father about whether he’d be happy if Eugene simply disappeared. He pushes a bit too hard before Root pumps him full of lead. Prior to letting the vampire go.
The Schencks sit in bed while in the kitchen Jesse and Tulip argue over an “eye for an eye” and if someone has to pay for their child dying. What a devastating conversation, even if it isn’t long. That river of pain between these two lovers runs deep. It’s at that moment Jesse decides to kill Carlos. Only Tulip doesn’t want to get her car dirty. Or, maybe she’s changing her mind. They let their captive go (while Johnny Cash’s “Personal Jesus” cover plays). They even arm him. Make sure he’s ready. Not long later he stumbles down the road, beaten to pieces. Yikes.
The gang is readying Custer’s church for Sunday service. The big one. On the altar, Betsy has a look at Jesse’s little phone to God, and they try sussing out how to work the thing. Love how nonchalant she discusses it with him. When the day comes, everybody’s present. Waiting to see what goes down. Pappy’s there, of course Emily (Lucy Griffiths) and her family, even the Loach family with Tracy propped up in her bed. They’re all there.
Before Jesse can get things rolling, Odin (Jackie Earle Haley) stands up to talk about how all priests and holy men and preachers are “full of shit.” So the preacher sets about using the phone, angel hand and all. There’s even a positive winding up, but the contraption doesn’t seem to work. “Just shoot its dick off,” someone yells from the crowd.
Out of nowhere, all the light disappears. The sun is darkened. And then a blast of light opens up at the altar. An image of God (Mark Harelik) appears, speaking to them from a throne in white. Although he gets a bit angry. Doesn’t please him to just be called up suddenly. This leads to Jesse lashing out at his God, telling him of “sin winning” and the good side losing. “Why don‘t you act like a father,” he scolds the Creator. Finally, he agrees to ask a few questions. Typical stuff. Then he claims that we need both love and pain, in order to understand being a human. Things devolve and people shout all their questions. Odin can’t stand it, though. He asks about his deceased daughter; God affirms she’s there in heaven. This just about floors Quincannon.
But God wants to hear from Jesse. What he’d like to know. He wants God to tell him his plan, for Jesse personally. “You have not failed,” the big man in white lets him know. God says they are all “saved” and that also extends to Eugene, apparently. Jesse says he sent the boy to hell. Seems God’s not particularly keen on letting anyone else know about Genesis. The preacher needs more answers. He knows this man is not God. The power of Genesis comes out of Jesse and discovers from the impostor: “God is missing.” Then people come on the other end of the camera to take the angel away, a rogue giving out secrets.
What will become of Annville, the world, if God is gone? The church gets trashed for now and the congregation leaves. Everyone is lost, not just God.
There’s not much hope left for anybody after finding out God’s up and vanished. Suicide, mischief, murder, maybe even worse – the paedophile bus driver gets killed and has a copper rod shoved in his ass; Tracy Loach’s mom puts her out of her misery; Hugo sits at home in a daze; even Donnie is thrown completely for a loop, not knowing where to go from here; and Odin, he’s been far gone a long time, anyway, now making a small child out of meat.
Can’t forget the basement of the factory, the Methane-Electro Reactor at Q.M.& P. Pappy’s cheated on his wife with a prostitute, who is now flicking all the switches, pushing buttons, and making the place go wild. Oh, damn. The pressure is ready to explode – these are the little valves we’ve seen blowing around the town from time to time. Now, they’re letting loose all over the place.
And after not too long, a massive explosion blows the Custer church to bits, sucking it almost right into the Earth.
After the trip from hell, Fiore (Tom Brooke) arrives back at where he’d been picked up. Alone. He looks a little sad, as well. Or maybe he just had a rough time.
At the same time, Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip are planning on a massive roadtrip. To look for God. This pleases the ancient vampire, though Tulip wonders exactly why, or how they’ll ever find him, what they’ll do if they track him down. And this time, Custer wants answers. He’s on the side of the Lord yet he wants to take the Lord to task.
Oh and Jesse still sees Eugene now and then. Promises to get him out of that fiery pit in hell. I hope the poor kid can last. On television at the diner, we find Annville has been totally blasted off the map. Everybody dead, no survivors. Holy shit.
And so heading into Season 2 we’re likely to get into the bulk of the comics, more storylines directly from the pages. That’s my guess, as I understand there’s more of a roadtrip-type aspect to places they go, et cetera. That’ll be interesting. And now that Annville is gone – only that reincarnating lady-demon from the motel still lurching around through the rubble – the settings will have to change.
Plus, we’ve got The Cowboy (Graham McTavish) on the tail of the preacher.
What a god damn Season 1 this was! Loved every last bit of it. So good. Excited now for a second season to take things up a notch. It’ll be impressive, I’m sure.
Season 1, Episode 9: “Finish the Song”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Craig Rosenberg
* For a review of the previous episode, “El Valero” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Call and Response” – click here
Back in ole Ratwater, we find ourselves discovering more about The Cowboy (Graham McTavish). In a saloon the patrons all listen to a man singing. When The Cowboy arrives, returning for his vengeance, he finds the preacher (Justice Leak) with whom he recently had a run-in before the devastation of his family. The preacher tells everyone about the “Butcher of Gettysburg” a.k.a The Cowboy before them. They’re all horrified. When the holy man asks The Cowboy whether he’ll succumb to the love of Jesus Christ, the reply is not subtle whatsoever: “I love my horse. I love my wife. And I love my little girl. As for Jesus, he can join us all in Hell.” Out come a bag filled with decapitated heads, then his dual-wielded guns. The end for everyone in that saloon is not a happy one. It is bloody, merciless. It is an act of absolute hatred because of what’s happened to him and his family. Even the poor singing man from earlier gets knocked off. As does the man using the player piano. Our Cowboy, he pours himself a drink, as a massive storm bears down on Ratwater.
What a god damn opener. One of the best, if not THE best, so far in this first season. Amazing stuff. Heavy.
Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) is carting Jesse (Dominic Cooper) off to jail. He’s also asking where Eugene (Ian Colletti) is, what’s happened to him. Custer only says he sent the boy to hell. Well, Hugo isn’t happy. He’s giving the preacher a little story about what happens to kid killers in jail, as if Jesse would have actually killed a young man like Eugene. Then with an “I‘ll see you Sunday,” Jesse tucks and rolls out of the cop car leaving Root completely stunned. There’s that old thief spirit.
In other news, the two angels, or whatever they are, DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) and Fiore (Tom Brooke) are out for a stroll on a rainy Texas evening. They’re looking to go on a trip. “We wanna go to hell,” DeBlanc makes clear after their travel adviser suggests Nova Scotia, Canada, or maybe Tasmania. Fiore makes it clearer: “MUCH further South.” Anyway, they get it all done. Even after Fiore almost has to bang the lady out back. But the arrangements are made, all above board. Or, as above board as it can get with dudes from heaven trying to get into hell.
Over at Tulip’s (Ruth Negga) place, we find her and Emily (Lucy Griffiths) trying to take care of the ole vampire himself. Tulip lets goody two shoes Emily in on the fact Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) is an ancient bloodsucker. Poor guy is trying to regenerate after proving himself to be a creature of the night to Custer. Taking a lot to get him back to good health. Now, Tulip tells Emily she couldn’t care less about Jesse, as he’s done enough to break her trust already. Oh, and Emily even readily admits to dating Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe). Well she does a good job pretending it’s “cool.” Learning a bit from all the liars around her. Tulip? She’s gone to “kill a man in Albuquerque.” So Emily gets left to feed the starving vampire all on her own. When she gets too curious, opening the door more than a crack, Cassidy – still burnt, bloody, a hideous creature – snarls at her.
Chilling under a bridge, having breakfast and a bit of wine, Jesse hangs out with some homeless friends. One of whom is quite curious as to how Jesse plans on bringing God right to church, as he so claims.
DeBlanc and Fiore are worried about being separated, so they don’t want to call heaven and settle things that way. Then they suggest a coin toss for whether they go to heaven, or to hell. When they do a double or nothing flip they get heaven. Excited, they then find out their precious phone is missing.
DeBlanc: “You left a telephone with a direct line to heaven‘s throne under the bed!”
Fiore: “I thought it was clever. Who checks under the bed anymore?”
Miles gets a call from Emily. Turns out Cassidy got out of the room, as he cried for help. A trick? Regardless, the trusty mayor heads over to the O’Hare place. Strange noises, guinea pigs and rabbits in cages squeaking.
Then we find out Emily’s figured a way to get Miles out of her life, after watching a bit of Psycho on television and hearing Norman Bates talk about how we’re all stuck in our lives, unable to break free. This single mother has found a way to break free. That involves feeding Miles to Cassidy. Two birds with one stone: Miles isn’t creeping around Emily, forcing himself into her bed + Cassidy can heal. Also, we get a nice shot reminiscent of Kubrick’s The Shining, as Emily keeps Miles locked in the room just like Jack Torrance pressed himself against the freezer door, ranting to his terrified wife outside. And the sounds of Mayor Person meeting his nasty demise.
At the motel, Sheriff Root finds a blood spattered room. In the tub, a woman with her arms and legs cut off. “Kill me,” she begs. Looks like the angelic duo had to leave her behind. As Root contemplates helping the woman die, our awareness makes it a tragic moment. He has no idea the trouble he’s about to cause once he strangles the dying… thing… to death. She reappears behind him before leaving the room.
DeBlanc and Fiore have to leave everything behind after they get on the bus to hell. This is the exact same spot where Walt and Jesse were respectively meant to meet the extractor nearing the end of Breaking Bad.
Over at the O’Hare house, Jesse turns up. He sees Cassidy in his low, dangerous state, curled in the corner. On the floor is the corpse of Miles. We see the two friends discovering everything about each other. Will Jesse accept Cassidy once more? “I‘m not goin‘ anywhere,” Jesse tells him: “You saw me too, Cassidy. The worst part of me.” He apologises for letting the man burn in front of him. “You put me out, that‘s what matters,” replies Cassidy. And then they’re off, getting rid of the mayor’s body. Putting all that’s right in its place.
Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) is looking forward to seeing the preacher fail inf ront fo everybody at church on Sunday. Should be quite a show when the “greatest lie ever told” gets the rugged pulled out from under it.
The phone to heaven’s throne? Jesse has it. However, not being an angel doesn’t exactly make it easy for him to make a call. He does make a call on a regular phone, though. To Tulip. He recounts having pancakes with the homeless people, which reminded him about a story a few years ago when they were on the run from some Rodriguez Brothers; about pancakes, M&Ms, and essentially about how much he cares for her. “For me, it‘s just you ‘til the end of the world,” Jesse says while Tulip sits in Albuquerque, a man tied to a chair in front of her, a meat tenderiser in her hand.
We flash back through moments with The Cowboy. All those horrific events which led to him killing everyone in that saloon. Like going through his own personal hell.
Back at the bar, him having a drink, the storm starts to rage outside. The walls shake and everything is about to fall down around him. Yet The Cowboy drinks away.
Then we can hear footsteps coming down a dark, barely lit hallway. The feet then step onto the saloon floor, all the bodies, the bloody squishing beneath them. DeBlanc and Fiore stroll up to the bar, as our Cowboy draws his guns. “You want this to end? You want to be free of all this? We have a job for you,” DeBlanc explains to the man. Before getting a bullet in the face. Afterwards, Fiore explains they need him to kill somebody: a preacher. Ah, and things keep on coming together.
In Annville, Jesse and Cassidy dig a hole in the night, somewhere along the desert. They’re digging for angel hands from the bodies Cassidy already buried. Alongside the rest, they lay Miles to rest. So with a line to God now, is Jesse going to use those angel hands to try and convince him to come to church on Sunday? Have mercy.
My favourite episode yet! I’ve said that a couple times, but this takes the cake. Amazing. Through and through. The mystery and suspense of the series has never been better (or paid off more) than in this chapter. Finale is titled “Call and Response” and you can be sure we’re about to see something spectacular, on all fronts.
Season 1, Episode 7: “He Gone”
Directed by Michael Morris
Written by Mary Laws (The Neon Demon)
* For a review of the previous episode, “Sundowner” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “El Valero” – click here
Eugene (Ian Colletti) has disappeared. After Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) told him to “Go to hell” it’s as if he’s literally done exactly that. Now, the preacher’s left to wonder if those powers of his might not finally have gotten out of control. For the time being he doesn’t seem to mind. Are those powers twisting the person he is into someone he would’ve never wanted to be? Either way, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) witnessed what happened. Can he keep that a secret? Probably not. And for a century old vampire, he’s actually got a bit of a moral compass, for some things.
But where is Eugene exactly? And are the demons in hell going to figure out that Jesse has Genesis because of this? We’ve already got heaven in the mix with DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) and Fiore (Tom Brooke) on Earth trying to get it back.
Despite his transgressions, Jesse is starting to realise the power within him might be a bit too powerful. To accommodate his congregation the preacher has put chairs outside, a loud speaker fixed on the awning above the entrance. As his voice bellows out there, a bit of good still inside Jesse knows there’s something not right. Even worse, poor Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) is wandering around asking about Eugene. Won’t be easy to explain that one away.
There’s still Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley), as well. He hasn’t changed totally, other than that he’s there to do the bidding of Genesis, not God. He still listens to livestock and the creepy tapes. His Civil War model is bloody and brutal – a tree reminiscent of the one The Cowboy passed on his way into/out of Ratwater stands with someone hanging from it. Could Genesis have something to do with the revenge of The Cowboy back then? There’s some relation. Odin’s still drinking, still in a bad mindset. No telling what’s going to happen next in his little tale. Only going to get worse for Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe), too.
We flash back to a younger Jesse sitting outside the principal’s office. His father, John Custer (Nathan Darrow), is there to see why Jesse and little Tulip are in trouble. Young Donnie Schenck “lost a nipple” in the altercation. What we see is how the romantic duo of Jesse and Tulip got so close, as their childhoods were essentially intertwined. As a boy, Jesse was a religious kid. Said his prayers. Cared about being good.
In present day, Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) is up to her old tricks. She runs, barefoot, through neighbourhoods holding her high heels. She pulls a kid off a bike, all to get a pair of pants. Her uncle’s – he passed out on the front steps again. Sad to seethe home life she’s been subjected to for her entire existence. Even the local mascot shakes his head walking by, seeing the uncle passed out as Tulip sits frustrated on the steps.
And Jesse, he’s meeting with Emily (Lucy Griffiths) to see what his day holds. Lots of business to take care of, naturally. Meanwhile, Eugene is still nowhere to be found. The weight of that hangs on Jesse, but I fear there’s more of him changing due to Genesis than he’d like to let on. Cassidy worries for his pal, revealing he witnessed what happened with Eugene in the church. He wants to help out. To boot, Emily hears a bit of what’s going on. Great. That’ll make things go smooth. When Tulip arrives, Cassidy antagonises her about the fact she’s staying around, cooking dinner, acting like a housewife instead of taking off to get revenge. They get into a bit of an argument over who knows Jesse best, and whether he and Cassidy are actually friends. But most of all Cassidy finds himself worrying about what Genesis might mean for any relationship Tulip has with Jesse.
Another flash back to John Custer and the kids. Jesse and Tulip developed a bond at a young age, promising themselves “to the end of the world” in reference to their undying friendship, and later what became an undying love. Two parts of one soul. Except that they were separated by Texas Human Services, taking Tulip away to place her in a proper home. Later that same night Jesse prayed for his father to die and be sent to hell.
Will Eugene meet Jesse’s father down there?
Back to the present, Odin heads to see the preacher. He confesses to having done a “terrible thing” – not the one you’re thinking of, but the fact he let his own family down with the business not thriving like they did once. Well, Odin wants the deed to the land they agreed upon signed over. Appears Quincannon isn’t exactly turned over to Christ. He says he isn’t saved, not at all. He wants the land. Or else – what, I’m not so sure. There might be some trouble on the road ahead. One thing’s certain: Jesse has underestimated the power, he does not understand it entirely.
Dinner between Jesse, Emily, Tulip, and Cassidy gets awkward. At least before Sheriff Root arrives. He still hasn’t found his boy. Obviously, he fears the worst. Right at that very moment the oven catches fire. Flames burst out. The perfect touch. Almost like Eugene is calling out from the fires of hell. After Jesse lies to Root about not seeing the kid, Cassidy lets the preacher have it with a fire extinguisher to his face. “We all make mistakes, don‘t we?” Cassidy agrees, and starts wondering what they can do to get Eugene back.
Now we discover what happened to Tracy Loach, “prom queen, queen of everything.”
Eugene confessed his love to Tracy and was rejected. Instead of letting it go, Eugene blew half her head off then tried to do the same to himself. Holy. Fucking. Shit. That is even more intense than I’d imagined on my own. Wow. Still, Jesse is not God. He can’t act like it, and that’s exactly what he’s doing right now. Cassidy knows it, we know it. Only Jesse hasn’t figured that out yet. He is all but lost in the magnificent power of Genesis. And when he finds out about Cassidy’s identity, what will he do? The old vampire takes his shirt off, stepping into the sun, and that fire extinguisher is now for more than just fighting.
More and more now, Jesse is alienating everybody around him. First it’s Cassidy, then Tulip. Poor Emily’s stuck in the middle with no clear idea of what at all is happening. He starts alienating her, too.
Then we flash back to John Custer. He tells his little boy Jesse to hide under the bed. Someone breaks into the house, cracking the preacher with baseball bats. He’s dragged out to watch his father have a pistol pointed at his head. Of course the boy blames himself, having prayed for his dad’s death. Back in present day, Jesse literally tries digging through the floor to find Eugene screaming: “Come back!”
Oh, and Quincannon is headed with a ton of men and a bulldozer, straight towards the preacher’s land. Yikes. Lots of excitement ahead of us.
A nice chapter to follow up Eugene’s disappearance into the great below. Next episode is titled “El Valero” and we’re closing in on the end of this first, glorious, gruesome, fun season! What a series. Can’t wait for more.
Season 1, Episode 3: “The Possibilities”
Directed by Scott Winant
Written by Chris Kelley
* For a review of the previous episode, “See” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Monster Swamp” – click here
After Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) tried out his new found powers on young Tracy Loach, we begin this episode first with a woman named Danni giving over plenty of information to Tulip (Ruth Negga). There’s the new job at hand. The one Tulip won’t give up trying to get Jesse in on. She brings Danni the map that she so valiantly fought for, then receives a “last known address” that sends her for a trip back in time. She remembers a time before when it “all turned bad” for her and Jesse. Interesting. We’re slowly finding out more about that relationship, too. For the time being, we see Danni handing over the map to a shady character in the dark of a movie theatre. Lots of intrigue in this first few episodes, so I’m incredibly excited to see that all pay off eventually, in doses. This is an efficient way of keeping proper viewers hooked. Give a little, pay a little, never hand over too much at once and keep the mystery running.
Also, love the opening credits sequence. Good tune, solid feel, and that helps setup the show’s atmosphere nicely.
Back to Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) in the motel room. He’s with the suddenly reincarnated pair of Fiore (Tom Brooke) and DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef), which is awesomely confusing. They’ve convinced him they’re from a higher agency, in town to take care of a case. Low profile, undercover stuff, y’know? Poor Hugo isn’t tough to fool. I get the feeling that mostly he isn’t stupid, he’s just worn out (later with Arseface we start to get the impression the kid had something to do with Tracy and her current state; maybe, maybe not). Particularly when he tells the story of some children going missing. Dark stuff. Now the creepy, suited duo are re-evaluating their plan of attack. “Only this time no surprises,” says Fiore.
Over at the Roach place, the mother isn’t exactly distraught. She’s more in awe. Tracy is sitting up and has her lipstick on and looking well. In other news, Donnie Schenck (Derek Wilson) tries patching things up with his kid, while he’s not off doing weird work for his boss like last episode. We further get a look at Linus (Ptolemy Slocum) and the fact he’s completely forgotten, literally, about the young girl whom he creeped on before. Seems the preacher’s powers are definitely working. At the church, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) faces more trouble being a vampire. The sun is out and there’s work Emily (Lucy Griffiths) needs done. So he sets about trying to get what he can finished, enough to keep him in a place to stay, I imagine. Then he finds Jesse lurking in the dark like a real weirdo, clearly unsettled about something.
Tulip gets pulled over. She’s in big trouble. Only the slick talking comes out, she throws on a military ring, then BAM – out of trouble. Doesn’t have to go with the same old sexist angle of a woman using her body to get out of a speeding ticket, which is also better writing than normal. Nice little scene that gives us more of her sassy character and also a better idea of the writing in this series, why it’s interesting as opposed to some others. At least for now.
Now we’re seeing the preacher and Cassidy play with the former’s powers. Another fun scene that starts off foolish, and ends foolish, but shows us the budding energy behind the power. Furthermore, we see they have no idea how wild it can get just yet. Cassidy thinks it’s a gift. Though, Jesse doesn’t seem “very stoked” in the slightest. Perhaps what I find most interesting is that they take the time to talk through everything. Instead of Jesse simply going with it, the fact he’s a preacher gives him even more of a reason to stop and ask: why? What the writing allows is a peek into what might happen to a real man, a religions one at that, if he were to become so powerful so fast. “Just imagine the possibilities here,” Cassidy tells him, taking the words right out of my mouth.
Meanwhile, the two creepy, unkillable henchmen suit up. At Quincannon’s factory, Odin (Jackie Earle Haley) is consulting with his main man Donnie. Well, main servant it seems like. I can see Donnie soon snapping. He’s taking shit from almost every angle, especially since the injury.
Once more Tulip catches up with her old flame and faithful friend Jesse. They chat about whether he’s different. He talks cryptically for the most part, “boring the shit” out of her. So she gets on about the big job. He’s adamant about not wanting to go back to his old life, assuming it’s one of thievery, ass kicking, so forth. Jesse only wants to save the town, and in turn himself along the way. She’s got no time for religion or any of his nonsense, which he feels for that old life in a similar way.
Now we get another flashback. Jesse shoots a man in the head, as he and Tulip look to be left behind. Can she talk him into tracking down their enemy?
Tulip: “That promise you made was a little boy‘s promise, made a long time ago. There‘s no such thing as good guys, Jesse. There‘s just guys. Maybe it isn‘t how you pictured it, but your daddy‘s dead, and this town is past saving.”
Cassidy ends up running down the two creepy killers headed back for their precious can and Custer. So a bit of luck puts them out of the game. For a second, before a strange flash starts surging in the sky. Yikes. At the same time, Cassidy gets ready to rid himself of the bodies all over again, and then finds the two henchmen, reappearing, healthy. A real head trip. They just need the can, though. They don’t want to mess with the vampire.
On the road to their destination, Jesse winds up with a gun to his head in a gas station bathroom. Donnie’s been following him looking for revenge; such a sad, weak little man. He wants to her the preacher squeal, like the preacher made him. Jesse uses his powers to almost make Donnie do the unthinkable and blow his brains out in the bathroom stall. Then he lets him go. Whoa. A tense moment, though it appears to make Jesse realise something important: “I get it,” he says to himself. Outside, Jesse tells Tulip he won’t be taking revenge on their enemy Carlos. She’s still not sold, you know that.
At the church, Cassidy’s sitting down now with Fiore and DeBlanc. They aren’t bad guys, so much as they’re around to keep a lid on the power that’s now cropped up inside Custer. Cassidy places himself as the “middle man” and hopes to work out something. Only I can’t imagine the preacher will be happy to give up all that power so soon.
Speaking of the preacher, he gives a tiny ceremony for the first victim of his new powers, the one that cut his heart out in the pilot episode. Only fitting the man that set him on that path sees to his burial.
Very pumped for the next episode. I thought this was even better than the second, as we start piecing things together, bit by bit, and the characters start to grow on us. Stick with me. I have a feeling the rest of this season is bound to be fun, exciting, and at times I’m sure horrific. AMC does good work. Glad to see Preacher is turning out so well, at least for those of us not stuck on their favourite books (comics, graphic novel, whatever) being exactly on screen how they were on paper. This is a good time, and I can’t wait for more. Next episode is titled “Monster Swamp” and directly links to the dialogue between Hugo and Arseface (Ian Colletti) near this one’s end.
Avengers: Age of Ultron. 2015. Directed & Written by Joss Whedon; based on the Marvel comics by Jack Kirby & Stan Lee.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Stellan Skarsgård, Claudia Kim, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Julie Delpy, and Stan Lee. Marvel Studios. Rated PG. 141 minutes. Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
I’ll start off by saying, for those might doubt my allegiance, when I was growing up I absolutely loved comics. For me, I was always a huge X-Men fan, not particularly a lover of The Avengers. But still, I’ve always been into comics and lots of the characters. Even Thor himself I’ve enjoyed, just never been big on Iron Man/Tony Stark or The Avengers team. Separately from the group, as individuals I do like a lot of the characters. For instance, I think the concepts behind both Hulk and Captain American SO INTERESTING – for Hulk it’s this incredible duality between man and the beast within, ever since Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde this has been explored and I think in the comics this pans out to something even more fun; in Cap’s case, I think that idea of the “perfect American”, that ultimate patriot, is another compelling idea because it entails everything we want to believe in soldiers, that we want them to be this perfect warrior and patriot yet underneath they are STILL human, just like Steve Rogers underneath all the Captain America experimentation.
So when I say that I’m not really huge on either of The Avengers films, maybe you can chalk that up to me not being a fan of them in general. However, I can absolutely admit when there’s a good film, whether or not I’m into the source material.
For me, I just don’t get enough heart. Not saying there’s no emotion, not at all; there is plenty. What I mean is that there feels like, beneath the CGI and the star powered cast, there is ultimately nothing much going on. While the action sequences are wild, the inner headspace of some characters get explored, but in the end there’s nothing hugely impressive to me which puts this above any other blockbuster in the summertime.
Avengers: Age of Ultron has a lot going on. This is one of my first real problems with the film. When I first sat down to see this, I knew it would be long, but when I learned it was near two and a half hours the urge to leave struck. But I’m not afraid of a long movie, there are plenty of films I enjoy that run well past two hours (The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, & those are just the classic ones). It’s just that, personally I can’t see how a near two and a half hour movie is necessary. Sure, there are lots of characters in here – The Avengers alone are too many to flesh out in a regular length film – but is there really any need for such length?
There’s a great part to this movie, which is that we get to see more of who The Avengers themselves are, as individuals. That’s something I do love because like I said in the beginning, it’s most the characters individually I like rather than the team as a whole.
And still, I think there could’ve been about 20 minutes yanked out of this screenplay without really hurting any of the character development, or the plot for that matter. I get it – there’s tension between the team, between certain members, even within themselves. There’s just no world in which I can see myself agreeing with the need for a two and a half hour Marvel movie. The complexity is there to work with, no doubt. Not enough to justify the length, though.
My other big beef with these Marvel movies, this one especially seeing as how I’ve watched it recently, is the fact everything is so drenched in CGI. I absolutely understand that a lot of what happens in these comic book stories WILL NEED CGI. Totally understandable. In opposition, even if you don’t like Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises, you have to at least give Nolan the benefit of agreeing that he attempted to use practical effects wherever possible. Even with The Dark Knight, you actually get to see Bale as Batman on the edge of an insanely tall building, and other shots such as this; of course it’s not ALL practical, not even close, but there’s still effort to try and ground SOME of the movie in a tangible world.
With Age of Ultron, there’s scene after scene of CGI madness, over and over. In between there are wonderful little scenes between actors, just straight up good writing/dialogue and story. Most of the time, however, Joss Whedon is just giving us a CGI show, everything is green-screened and any real, visceral emotion simply gets taken out of it. I think there’s definitely enough on the brainy sides of things – love the plot of this story Whedon gives us out of the comics – but to go with that there’s nothing here drawing me in, making me feel those emotions Whedon injects into his script, nothing hooking me other than “Wow that looked cool” or “Robot James Spader is wild”, or “LOOK AT ALL THOSE BUILDINGS AND CARS AND OTHER THINGS GETTING SMASHED”, or “Ooh pretty laser… ooh pretty laser… ooh pretty laser.”
I’m not saying I want the quote-unquote gritty version that everyone seems to crave after Nolan’s Batman. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of it all. Because in the end, so much of it is ultimately superheroes just flying around, beating each other up, with the tiniest bits of human drama and emotion peppered in for a scant flavour. That’s AWESOME if you’re a kid, or maybe if that’s your style – I don’t mean to knock you. For me, I need something more than Whedon and his Avengers seem capable of serving up.
While I don’t like this movie, not in the slightest really other than a casual admiration for the technical work and some of Joss Whedon’s screenplay, I’ll give it 2 out of 5 stars on those aspects alone. I cannot deny AT ALL that Age of Ultron is a technical marvel (see what I did there?). There’s a great deal of effort in so many areas which went into the making of this huge blockbuster film. I bet there are plenty, millions, of people out there who downright loved this! No doubt in my mind.
For me, and for others I’m sure, the amount of CGI smashing together and flashing all over the screen during most scenes throughout the enormously bloated runtime isn’t all that exciting. Visually there’s a feast of things to look at, but not a feast I’m starving for really. I like to see some interesting set pieces, costumes, effects as much as the next filmgoer. On the contrary, I like to see practical effects, and above all I like an emotional story that can entertain you with a bit of thoughtfulness while also sucking you into its intensity. Age of Ultron is, for me, too big and bright and it has no solid core. There are a TON of amazing actors here – I’m particularly a big fan of Mark Ruffalo and Paul Bettany – I just don’t think there’s enough time individually for any of them to make a real impressive impact.
See it and judge for yourself. I’m no one to listen to, surely. Objectively, I can’t agree that this is a great film. It’s mediocre at best, served up as near to the lowest common denominator of movies – a mindless bit of action. But whereas some action films get into you viscerally, put you right in the seat of the heroes matching up against the villains, there’s none of that here, in my opinion. Joss Whedon is a good writer and director, I’d rather see him take something else on other than his childhood love for comics. Might be great for some. Me? I’m worn out. As a lover of comics when I grew up, it’s still too saturated a market for me nowadays when it comes to superheroes, and it’s all the same as this: big, loud, flashing bright, but only to mask there’s nothing other than that to offer. Even further there’s the fact the Marvel movies always end the same way – heroes win, bad guys lose, another day they’ll find more bad guys to fight. You know from the get everyone will be alive at the end, no lives will be lost. Starting to get tedious, if you ask me. Maybe if the next Marvel film opts to kill off a big character, not for novelty but for a well-written reason in Whedon’s screenplay, then I’d be more inclined to take it in (this one doesn’t count because the ‘big’ character who dies in this one isn’t around long enough for me to or anyone to really care about).
Otherwise, it’s the same routine, over and over, where you don’t really have to ever worry because your favourites will ALL BE SAFE AND SOUND. No tears.