Apocalypse 2020 is about to happen. Can it be stopped? Or will the world truly end?
Tulip gets help from an unlikely friend. Jesse winds up in the ocean after God messes up his plans.
Jesse is headed for Australia while Tulip keeps trying to break into Masada to save Cassidy
Things are bad. And they've never really been good for Jesse, Tulip, or Cassidy.
Gran'ma calls up Satan for a favour. Meanwhile, Tulip tries not to kill Lara as they pull the job in Osaka.
Tulip meets God again. Jesse and Cassidy try to make things right between them.
Jesse and Cassidy head down to Angelville, to ask for Madame L'Angell's help in resurrecting Tulip.
Jesse's deciding whether to kill Viktor, whether to forgive Tulip and Cassidy both, and what sort of man he is, who he'll be from here on in.
On the road, Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip start their search for God. With the Saint of Killers nipping at their heels.
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 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.