MY FRIEND DAHMER is a poignant, unnerving, and even empathetic portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer in the year or so leading up to his first murder.
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 8: “El Valero”
Directed by Kate Dennis
Written by Olivia Dufault
* For a review of the previous episode, “He Gone” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Finish the Song” – click here
In a ski lift heading up a mountain, the Quincannon family drop off the wire and to their certain death. Odin (Jackie Earle Haley) sits in his office with crates in front of him. Is this his family? He looks dishevelled and worn out.
Simultaneously we hear him talking to John Custer (Nathan Darrow), as we switch to Odin covered in blood, organs in his hands; either his daughter’s organs, or the dead cow’s next to him. In those boxes are his family, indeed. He’s looking for proof of God, though Custer will not denounce his faith. Outside waits a young Jesse, catching a slight glimpse of the horror inside before leaving with his father.
Whoa. Preacher steps up the game with this one.
At the church in present day, Odin finds his guys aren’t having much luck infiltrating the church of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). Speaking of the preacher, he’s inside drinking, brandishing guns and speaking with God. Or at least speaking at him.
When he makes a deal not to use his powers again, he manages to lift Eugene (Ian Colletti) right up from out of the earth beneath the floorboards. He’s back! Poor dude has been places. He’s alive, though. When they talk, Eugene says that hell was pretty “crowded.” Not surprising.
Outside Odin and his gang are frothing at the mouth. Inside, the preacher doesn’t sweat it. He’s busy trying to lay bare his ego, though I’m not so sure if that’s going to last. Either way he admits, for the time being, Eugene was right about God being the only one to judge him re: Tracy Loach. In this moment Jesse has clarity. He knows that DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) and Fiore (Tom Brooke) were right to come take the power from him. But then we start to see that Eugene isn’t just thirsty because he’s been in hell for a little. He’s FROM hell. An apparition of Jesse’s guilty mind.
The ever fun Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) is on the look for a dog. She finds one named Brewsky. Perfect. At the same time, Emily (Lucy Griffiths) is experiencing a slight crisis. She’s also got Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe) sniffing around, as usual. Plus he drops the bombshell about Jesse supposedly giving up his church to Quincannon. Man, is Miles ever a creepy dude. Sure he helps out around the house, but that’s not exactly his place.
Donnie (Derek Wilson) leads the charge for Odin’s men on the church. They head in, weapons ready and bulldozer going hard. Except Jesse can shoot a rifle like nobody’s business, as well as tosses a few molotov cocktails. When Odin thinks the preacher won’t hurt anybody he’s swiftly proven wrong: one of the boys, Clive, had his dick shot “clean off” by the renegade Custer. Oh shit. Is this Custer’s last stand? Too on the nose.
Jesse asks for the agents – our heavenly hitmen. They go to see him with all their equipment in tow, as Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) stands out with Quincannon, wondering about his kid inside. He also doesn’t like that Odin is trying to tear down the church. We know, from that vicious opener, he is not a religious man. Not for a long time.
Everyone’s worried about Jesse and his mental state. He still sees Eugene. Although Fiore lets sleep there is actually a way to bring a person back from hell, which DeBlanc doesn’t seem too pleased about. Outside, Mayor Miles talks a good game about Quincannon and his plans to Emily, conning her in. He’s got blood on his hands, literally, so I wouldn’t trust him. That’s for sure.
DeBlanc and Fiore plan to use their little tune to draw out Genesis. For his part, Jesse wonders why he was chosen. Why he didn’t explode like the others. “No one understands God‘s plans at first,” Jesse wonders to them aloud, trying to hold onto Genesis awhile longer. “And what good have you done with it?” questions DeBlanc. Good point, dude.
Just about the whole of Annville is waiting outside to see the show at the church. They’re all hoping for more shooting. Y’know, yeehaw! Fitting that Donnie is dressed in his Civil War reenactment costume. Looking like an asshole. Then he heads over to his car, puts his head in the trunk, then places a gun inside before pulling the trigger.
It seems like Genesis has been pulled from out of Jesse. With DeBlanc and Fiore heading off, not planning on helping with Eugene, or not so concerned really, Jesse is not playing nice. Not to mention Genesis isn’t done with the preacher. It’s found a home, even blowing the can apart. Then they’ve given up. What’s the next step, though? Is there a more extreme measure DeBlanc and Fiore will take now that their basic methods aren’t working?
Now a gunfight is raging. Bullets fly through the walls of the church, as jaded Texas residents stand watching; some in awe of the violence, others nearly sexually aroused by the carnage. Jesse holds tough inside, shooting back between swigs of liquor. Then Donnie shows up. Whaaat? Has something taken hold of him? No, he’s popped his ear drums. He can’t be forced to do what it is Jesse (and Genesis) wants him to do.
Donnie gets the upper hand. Inside the church, Jesse signs over the deed to his father’s land, the church. “The God of Meat” is now a thing, ruling over the tangible and everything genuine. Well, in this comics universe, God does exist. As does the Devil. As does some other intense creation, Genesis. And so all of that logic Odin tries using means nothing. Jesse opts to make a double or nothing deal, of sorts. He says he’s literally going to bring God to Sunday’s next service. If not, he’ll denounce his faith, God, all of it.
And that dog Tulip picked up? I think she’s fed it to Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun).
Sheriff Root takes Jesse off to jail. He’s also still wondering about where his boy has gone with no answers from the preacher, either.
Down in a dark room, Pappy (Biff Yeager) stops a pressure overload, working in Quincannon’s factory. What exactly’s happening, and where is this leading? Another good bit of mystery.
Loved this episode. Very different, very cool. Also, we’re seeing the ego of Jesse come out, more and more. Likewise we’re starting to understand the power of Genesis. And all the mystery, the intrigue, it’s so gradual in the right kind of way that I dig the writing so much. Next episode is titled “Finish the Song” – the penultimate Season 1 finisher.
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.
Season 1, Episode 2: “See”
Directed by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Written by Sam Catlin
* For a review of the previous Pilot episode, click here.
* For a review of the next episode, “The Possibilities” – click here
I’ve been waiting for this one. After the wild Pilot, we continue on.
A little girl lies in her bed, clearly ill. In comes a cowboy, a woman bringing water to wet her head. He has to go off and get some things on a long ride. Oh, it’s 1881, by the way. A little trip backward in time. On the road the mysterious cowboy meets a family. They sit around a fire together, though we never hear him say a word. Later, they ride into The Town of Ratwater, as Natives hang from a tree, dead, scalped.
Back in present day, Arseface (Ian Colletti) is being baptised. Born again, baby! Preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) does the business. Even lovely Tulip (Ruth Negga) steps up. Though she only does so to try talking her old buddy into the next job. He doesn’t want any part of it. “Meantime, thanks for gettin‘ me all wet,” she quips before heading out again. Certainly now Emily (Lucy Griffiths) is curious, as she’s definitely got a thing for the preacher. However, I love most that Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) is kicking around, begging for a bit of cash and talking about his “Granny B” and her ass situation. So there’s also the fact Emily’s got him to deal with all the time.
What I’m most interested in here, aside from all the pending supernatural madness, is how the various relationships will progress from here. First, there’s Cassidy and Jesse, an odd relationship. The preacher likes him and of course wants him to stick around, though he’s a rough character to have hanging around the church. Then we start to figure out more about Eugene – Arseface – and his relationship with the town. Someone calls him a murderer as him and his father walk past. While his dad,
Also, Jesse sees another member of his congregation. Gives more advice. Will this end up like the last time? All the while he feels something going on in his head. Awhile later, a strange voice emanates from him as he’s alone. It even creeps HIM out.
In other news, we’re meeting Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley). He’s with what looks like a type of demolition company. They bulldoze a house, leave the family behind and then head out. This whole scene is absolutely bizarre. I’m sure eventually we’ll figure it out. For now, it’s intriguing.
Love how the sign in front of the church is always saying something different. Funny little gag.
More of that Cassidy and Jesse relationship comes out. They sit in the church, drink, smoke, and chat about God’s supposed plan. Naturally, Cassidy is doubtful. After a bit of argument things get heated. That’s the name of drinking sometime. Cassidy completely reveals himself, except it isn’t exactly taken seriously by his friend: “I am a hundred and nineteen–year–old vampire from Dublin City, and I am currently on the run from a group of vampire huntin‘ religious vigilantes who keep trackin‘ me down somehow. What else – I‘m a right–handed Sagittarius, I love Chinese food. I‘ve never seen the Pacific Ocean, and I think that The Big Lebowski is overrated.”
At a motel, the two men from last episode hunting down the strange entity from outer space pack up their gear, heading out. Somewhere sinister, no doubt. At the same time, Cassidy lets Jesse pass out after a bit of his supposed homemade liquor, and takes his truck for a ride. The men then find Jesse asleep on the floor. Things are about to get a bit freaky. They break out some strange, old, almost ancient-looking machinery. Then one of them tunes it up, the other conducting, singing an unnerving song. Only when they’re done it seems whatever’s meant to happen doesn’t happen. Cassidy interrupts the two “filthy little gobshites” before they can chainsaw Jesse to bits, he thinks they’re looking for him. Now that savage vampire in him breaks out. Lots of good, nasty fun. Especially after an arm with the chainsaw still going nearly makes its way to Jesse. Afterwards, we get to see how Cassidy heals himself up with the blood. Digging this interpretation of vampire, which makes me all the more excited for when I eventually get around to reading the comics.
Over at the Toadvine Whorehouse, Quincannon’s boys are kicking around, and then there’s Tulip. She’s rocking some dudes in poker. And talking the trash to boot. Some guy laughs at talk of her uncle being a drunk, then she lays a sob story on him. A fake out. I love her character because she doesn’t take any bit of shit. From anybody at all. Excited to see more of her relationship with Jesse. Speaking of relationships, Cassidy does his best to clean up at the church for his pal Jesse. At least until the sun comes up.
Jesse goes to see the Loach family. The young girl is in some type of coma, the mother taking care of her the best she can. He gives over more advice trying to assure the mother of what’s to come. She’s not buying it after seeing the reality of what’s happened to her daughter. We see the daughter’s head caved in underneath a wig. Savagery.
Later that night, Jesse is attacked in the road after he sees a baby’s car seat out amongst the dark. He wakes up on a chair, chained. It’s just Tulip. Playing one of their old games. Trying to con him into the job, again. He’s a tough nut to crack. After Tulip leaves, Arseface shows up. He doesn’t feel changed, certainly not saved, after his baptism. Wishful thinking.
Eyeing the school bus the entire episode, Jesse finally gives in. He goes to where the bus is parked. Inside, he finds Linus (Ptolemy Slocum) who’d come to see him earlier for advice. He’s got an obsession. A bad one. He can’t give it up. So now Jesse’s got his own homemade remedy. Bit of religion, Old Testament. The sins need cleansing. Just as Arseface said he’s never able to change. Jesse can’t either. As he dunks Linus’ head under the hot water, like the baptisms earlier, that voice comes out of the preacher. Strong, evil. It literally wipes Linus of his memory concerning the girl. The powers are getting stronger.
And then what happens? Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) is in a motel room. Meeting with the same men we’re seeing Cassidy bury in a box. How’s that possible? Oh, I’m sure we’re going to figure that out soon enough. I love how, for the non-comic readers, this series is building things up. We’re not getting all the answers right away. No big loads of exposition dumped at our door. The writing is fantastic, far as I’m concerned.
Before the episode ends, Jesse goes back to see Traci Loach in her coma. He tries to use his new found power for good. Commanding her to wake up. Next episode, we’ll see what happens. I predict nothing good, at all.
Really enjoyed this second episode. Excited to see “The Possibilities” next week and find out what the series has in store for us all. I know not all of the fans out there of the comics like this, though I’m inclined to enjoy it. Particularly seeing as one of the creators Garth Ennis says he finds the changes appropriate and necessary in some cases even. No matter what, I’m in.
Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Teleplay by Sam Catlin
Television Story by Catlin, Goldberg, & Rogen
* For a review of the next episode, “See” – click here
Here we are, the series premiere for AMC’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s graphic novel(s) Preacher! So excited. Let’s dig in.
We open on a view of outer space, as something rushes around the galaxy. Even bursts a hole through a ring around Saturn. It also cries like a baby, or at least we can hear the cries of a baby. Very interesting (I gather that’s something people who know the comics understand). Heading into Africa. Just like a comic book right off the bat in the way it looks and feels. Dig it.
We cut to a priest in his little African church preaching to the congregation. Naturally, that fucking thing from space is headed right for this poor guy. You already know that. It bursts through the doors and blasts him hard, shocking everybody. Of course everybody thinks it’s a “miracle” and they could not be farther from the truth. The priest rises and speaks in a terrifying voice. Before bursting into a spray of blood over the people. A great opener.
Now we’re with Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). He wakes in a small room, bottles of booze empty at the bedside. There’s this great little moment where he fixes the sign way out front of his church in Texas, obviously tampered with by some young men being trouble. Father Custer doesn’t exactly command the attention of his congregation reading off his papers, as little kids flick their iPads and others just roll their eyes. Outside everybody is barbecuing and having fun, a few drinks, all that sort of stuff. Custer hears the problems of his people, inconsequential moments. Except for one little kid that’s worried about his mother. Worse, he wants the preacher to hurt his father for beating up on his mom. Seems before Jesse was preaching he did… things. Ah, foreboding little kid. Custer freaks the kid out a little. Freaked me out, too. Still, doesn’t do much good for the kid whose life is probably hell at home.
I love this first ten minutes. Lots of good stuff. And that goodness continues.
The little Texas town is a wild spot. Big ruckus about. Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown) is awesome, as usual. Love how he blatantly sees Jesse swig some whiskey in his truck, but completely ignores it. He also ignores a lot more than that in his town. Root doesn’t seem to like the preacher much, so I’m looking forward to watching that develop. I’ve not yet read the graphic novels, I know nothing really of the story. Dig this on its own.
We then switch to 30,000 feet up in a nice little sequence taking us to a plane in the sky. Enjoy the directing from Goldberg and Rogen so far in this episode. Very stylish.
Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) and others are enjoying themselves in a jet. Flying high while flying, as in coked up. Cassidy ends up coming across a Holy Bible marked with some creepy shit throughout. A few moments later he starts an amazing fight with a homemade flamethrower, taking on guys with axes and crossbows and swords – oh my! – and this is one hell of a fight sequence. At one point, Cassidy starts cracking off beer cans like golf balls and it’s golden. A guy tries pouring Holy Water on him calling Cassidy an “abomination” then proceeds to get chowed down on, right in the jugular. Yikes. I’m loving this character already. Going in blind, not knowing the comics, this is a thrill ride for me. When the plane is fucked Cassidy siphons himself off a pint of blood then jumps out. What a cool vampire bastard.
Back down on the ground, Jesse eats breakfast with Emily (Lucy Griffiths). She helps out at the church. We’re graced by Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe), a great actor playing a hilariously nebbish type of character.
Although we’re quickly whisked to Africa, where the priest was attacked by the presence. And some men are investigating. Hmm. The plot thickens.
Jesse checks on a man named Walter who hasn’t come in to work. A woman is in the shower, which sort of unsettles the preacher, so he heads on out.
Another quick switch sees us in a fast flying car heading through corn fields. Inside, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” plays on the radio and Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) fights with every bit of her strength, tooth and fucking nail. The action so far in this pilot episode is just incredible, I must say. The fighting is spectacular. Tulip kills the dude in such an awesome way. She gets chastised by a brother and sister for running around beating things up, killing people. “A girl doesn‘t always need some stupid guy helping her,” the little girl exclaims, likely summing up exactly what Ms. O’Hare is all about. She’s good with kids, good with fighting. Good with making bazookas and taking down platoons full of men. God damn regular Rambette.
Flashbacks of Jesse’s briefly reveal his father might have been killed. For those of us that haven’t read the comics, this is a mystery starting out. Like how they only give us a taste. Not too much at once. At the same time, Cassidy is a splattered mess in the ground, stuck in a hole. Amazing effects. Creepy little scene, as he finds himself something to eat.
We zip on over to Russia. In a temple, a similar event to the one in Africa happened. Brains, blood everywhere. Some men show up to investigate again.
Custer is busy about town. He meets with the kid’s mom from earlier; she claims BDSM type stuff. Then he’s over meeting with Tulip in her car, even finds an ear. Though she tosses that one off, both figuratively and literally. Their dynamic is interesting, they obviously have history, and that’s all coming into play in their current relationship. What I love most is how we get a real sense of Jesse as a preacher, a genuine man of the cloth, because he sees everybody, he goes around talking to them, he’s just like a small town preacher is in real life (I come from a relatively small town).
Another interesting piece – Sheriff Root is making a Tabasco and meat smoothie, which Jesse brings up to the one, the only Arseface (Ian Colletti). Poor guy. Butthole for a mouth. He tells Jesse he used to talk to God, and he could hear him talk back. Real faith. Now he doesn’t hear anything. Seems Arseface did something, bad, as it looks. Is that what made his mouth look like an anus? I feel bad for him now. Can’t wait to discover the full story. Lots of intrigue for an outsider like me that hasn’t read any Preacher.
In a bar, Cassidy arrives and sits next to Custer. On television nearby it says Tom Cruise has exploded. Amazing. Then Jesse gets a fight thrown at him by the husband of the wife he talked to earlier, Donnie Schenck (Derek Wilson) about all the abuse stuff. Oh my, the preacher’s being pushed to display his fighter side. And fight he does. Not just one man, a bunch. Big, small, all sizes. He kicks a ton of asses. Before breaking the abusive father and husband’s arm viciously.
Cassidy: “Jesus, what kind of a preacher are you?”
Love Joseph Gilgun. He plays Cassidy incredibly, makes me laugh so much. Furthermore, he and Dominic Cooper have chemistry. They are each quite different in their roles, obviously. But also they make it all the better with their portrayals of the respective characters.
Custer says he’s quitting. He doesn’t feel it’s going to work in that town. Not any more. Too much history, I imagine.
Up at the church he finds something strange going on inside himself. He talks to God, asking for answers or else he’s “done“, in his own words. When he gets on his knees and begs forgiveness, nothing comes. Unsurprised, he sits back for a cigarette. Only something other than God has that answer for him. A presence moves forward to where the preacher stands. Then it takes him off his feet, flinging him back.
Later, Jesse wakes in bed. Emily is there to comfort him. He’s been out for three whole days. Coming to he feels different. He acts differently. He even makes Ted Reyerson (Brian Huskey) head to see his mother, so that he can be honest. To open his heart and be true. He literally opens his chest cavity. Takes the heart out for dear mom. “For all this I am responsible,” says Jesse as we cut directly to him. “This is why I‘ve come home. To save you.”
Afterwards, the two men checking into all the strange incidents around the globe are in Texas. They know that the thing from outer space is at the church. Excited to watch that play out further.
What a whopper of a pilot episode. Again, as someone not having read the comics this is a lot of fun. I’m sold already. Bring on more episodes and let’s have a fucking riot! Preacher delivers the goods on all fronts.