From Graham McTavish

Preacher – Season 1, Episode 9: “Finish the Song”

AMC’s Preacher
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
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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.
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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 “Ill 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 heavens throne under the bed!”
Fiore: “I thought it was clever. Who checks under the bed anymore?”
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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? “Im not goinanywhere,” 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, thats 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, its just youtil 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.
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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.
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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.

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Preacher – Season 1, Episode 5: “South Will Rise Again”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 1, Episode 5: “South Will Rise Again”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Craig Rosenberg

* For a review of the previous episode, “Monster Swamp” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Sundowner” – click here
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We’re in the Old West once more. The Cowboy (Graham McTavish) rides through the dust into Ratwater. This sequence is excellent. From the music down to the way each piece is shot. Very eerie and ominous and thrilling at once. In town for the night, the Cowboy goes to a nearby saloon. As one would. These are the days when scalps are traded over the counter for cash, whiskey, whores; whatever. Across the room a preacher talks to a few men about Noah, though it ends in a dirty joke. Various terrible things happen in the wings of the saloon, a child is forced to watch awful violence, sexual assault. This is the Old Wild West, no doubt. When the Cowboy gets the medicine needed he heads back out. On his way he sees a family headed into town, hopeful and starry eyed. Likely unaware of what awaits them in that hole. Soon, he turns back. He goes to the saloon and heads to find the family. He discovers the family are trading their own scalps. The Cowboy gets beaten down by a bunch of men. Afterwards, he leaves – beaten, bruised, but with the medicine he came to get originally all safe and sound. We discover the Cowboy was in the war, a Virginian, and the preacher there has a problem with him. His horse is shot. He’s left to walk on foot. Quite a juxtaposition with this preacher and one like Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper).
When the Cowboy arrives back home, crows pick at the dead bodies left for him to find. A tragic, horrific end, and setting him on what I imagine will be an awful quest of vengeance. Can’t wait to see how this all ties in with the present. I have my ideas, but like to wait and see instead of jumping the gun.
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In present day, Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) is out in the dark looking for intruders. Eugene “Arseface” (Ian Colletti) and his father have a tough relationship, as we can tell from their few interactions onscreen. Also, Hugo has to deal with the fallout from Eugene’s actions, one that keeps the locals up in their business constantly, and all too close for comfort.
Jesse and Emily (Lucy Griffiths) go about their church business, as the former is feeling his new rock star status. Everyone is in awe of him turning Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) over to the Lord. Even young kids at the diner applaud him, and without irony. Will the hubris get him in a tough spot? That’s something we’ll have to wait and see. For now, Jesse revels in his new found faith in the work he does. Emily isn’t so sure about it all.
After the events of last episode, Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) is now in on the secret of Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) actually being a full-blooded vampire; pun intended. What I’m interested to see is if their relationship progresses. If the charm of Cassidy works on her, as Jesse strays further from her by the minute, both on a righteous path and on a scary new path he doesn’t quite understand yet. We’ll see if Cassidy can play off that kiss he and Tulip shared during what she imagined were his dying moments last episode. She claims to have a boyfriend; does she mean Jesse as a hopeful, or someone real? Definitely Jesse. She can’t wait to be with him. More than that she’s looking forward to going to get Carlos, claiming her revenge.

 


Cassidy (to Tulip): “Maybe this boyfriend isnt the man you thought he was
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Donnie Schenck (Derek Wilson) is still having a crisis of identity. His tough guy image was knocked down by the preacher. His wife Betsy (Jamie Ann Allmann) tries consoling him, pumping that ego back up. He wallows in self pity. She threatens to screw a guy that has eyes for her, and that actually gets Donnie’s attention going. Nice strategy, Mrs. Schenck.
In the motel, DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) talks Fiore (Tom Brooke) through what he’ll say when picking up their creepy little phone. Y’know, the one that connects to Heaven, we assume. I love this duo. They can be both eerie and hilarious at times.
Emily runs into Tulip, or the latter runs into her while she pees. An awkward encounter. Also begins to make Tulip question if Jesse is finding love in other places.
One of the most interesting relationships to me is Hugo and Eugene. The son tries to do what he can for his father, but Hugo says awful things to him. The type of stuff you can’t exactly take back. Surely the stress of what’s happened rests on Sheriff Root, yet saying that type of thing to your own blood? Unforgivable. All the same, I still don’t know what Eugene did. Obviously it was horrible. Can’t wait to find out more.

 


Quincannon is turning over a new leaf. He and Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe) are forging a new relationship, in light of Odin’s faith since being changed. Things are deteriorating faster for Donnie now considering his boss went to the church of the man who beat him terribly. Oh man, I can see a seriously dangerous, violent situation coming to a head with Donnie concerned. Who knows what he’ll end up doing. Moreover, I’m wondering how the power of Jesse will affect Quincannon.
At the diner, still surrounded by many people, Jesse’s power affects a new man – “Be patient,” he tells him in that special voice. Ah, what will this bring? Good or evil? No telling. Just wait.
Tulip keeps on pushing Jesse, publicly this time. And the preacher is not too pleased with her behaviour. She tells a story about a Komodo dragon Jesse wound up shooting in the head. Everyone knows it’s about him. Instead of letting it embarrass or shock anybody he turns that into one of those little religious lessons. “We all wanna be good,” he preaches.
Outside the diner Eugene comes to see Jesse. He worries for his father, worries that it’s his fault (and I guess it kind of is) Hugo is in such a state.

Eugene: “After Tracy Loach, even God doesnt want to help me anymore.”
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Over at the Loach house, Jesse goes to see Tracy. In the truck is Eugence. And so naturally Mrs. Loach loses her mind, smashing up the truck with a baseball bat. Then he uses his power to stop her from doing so. After all the commotion the preacher tries to bring everyone back together. “Forgive him,” he whispers to the mother. Then she hugs Eugene, forgiving him instantly. The power in the preacher grows stronger. I can’t help but think about the consequences. In the meantime, Donnie’s figuring out that Jesse has a power. He tells his wife about almost killing himself in that bathroom and he worries there’s nothing to be done. Really, he sounds insane. It makes him weep. Not a good image for a rough n’ tumble Texan like Donnie.
Tulip gets her mask on and heads to a drug store. To do what? Oh, you know. She gets some pills for Cassidy. Maybe a turning point in their relationship. Well, they bang in the car. That’s a step. It’s only to get back at Jesse, or to assuage her feelings that Jesse is with Emily. A right fine mess.
At the motel, the two heavenly hitmen find the phone stops ringing right before Fiore is about to pick up. That can’t be good. They decide to go find Mr. Custer for a chat. They’ve been misled by Cassidy; the drugs, all that stuff. This leads to a pretty interesting little conversation between the preacher and the good ole boys from Heaven. Pretty simply, they only want the power back. Perhaps Jesse doesn’t feel like giving it back; he likes the righteous power. “Whats inside of you, it isnt God,” explains DeBlanc to a properly confused Custer.

 


Quincannon has all the business flowing with Mayor Person by his side. He entertains a bunch of suits, bringing out the brandy. Then he pulls out a nice rifle and blows the three people away, bloody and quick. The mayor’s rightfully surprised: “We grow or we die,” Odin advises before blasting one last body away. Yikes. I knew something was coming.
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This was one of my favourite episodes yet. There’s lots of interesting drama, as well as character development. For someone who hasn’t read the comics, I dig that Preacher as a series is being drawn out gradually. The slow pacing is peppered with plenty of fun to keep it interested. So glad to know AMC has renewed the show for a bigger (by three episodes) Season 2. Next episode this Sunday is titled “Sundowner” and I’m looking forward to that like god damn crazy. Stay with me, as we dive deeper into the twisted world of Annville.