Tulip gets help from an unlikely friend. Jesse winds up in the ocean after God messes up his plans.
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 6: “Sundowner”
Directed by Guillermo Navarro
Written by Nick Towne
* For a review of the previous episode, “South Will Rise Again” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “He Gone” – click here
After a whopping last episode, “Sundowner” begins with Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) at the table with DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) and Fiore (Tom Brooke), as they’re explaining what’s inside of him. “It‘s a mistake,” says DeBlanc. Ominous. But the preacher wants more. He wants to know its origins. He starts using his powers against them: “It‘s called Genesis,” explains DeBlanc unwillingly. Lots of talk about heaven v. hell, an “endless war” and such. An angel and a demon conjoined. Something never meant to come into existence. The whole thing is beyond powerful. A comic, dark opener that I love. When DeBlanc and Fiore start stomping on a woman outside, Jesse rushes to her aide – only to find she’s a mad woman with superwoman strength. Fiore does the job and kills her. But damn, Jesse has gotten himself into a situation over which he holds no control. Well, at least the heavenly duo have found their phone again. Because it’s time to go: the woman regenerates and they’ve got other trouble to worry about. Seraphim are on Earth. Looks like DeBlanc and Fiore aren’t doing the greatest job, someone isn’t happy. And Jesse just keeps learning more and more about the holy world.
We discover Fiore and DeBlanc are on Earth unauthorised. Thus the reason for their predicament. When the Seraphim woman tracks them down at the Sundowner Motel, she blasts the two heaven-sent hitmen before getting into one bad ass fist fight with Custer. An amazing little sequence sees Fiore and DeBlanc regenerate, as they all try and take the woman down. They do. For the time being, at least. She regenerates and comes back for more. Poor Fiore takes the brunt of most of her assault. Problem is if they keep killing her, she keeps coming back. They’ve got to keep her down, restrain her, then deal with the aftermath somehow. I couldn’t get enough of this whole sequence. It hilarious, a bit bloody, filled with action. The first twelve minutes of this episode are a complete kick in the face, in the best possible sense. One of my favourites of the first season.
Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) arrives, only to mess up all their hard work by killing the woman off. Although the deed gets done soon enough. After a ton of blood and mess. Now DeBlanc and Fiore need Genesis back, so they can get on with things. Jesse wants to know more, though, and wonders why it chose him, how it did. Then reveals he’s keeping it. He feels Genesis is part of his duty. “God does not want this,” DeBlanc pleads. Oh no. The hubris of Custer is becoming dangerous. I wonder how this is going to play out for him after the two heavenly beings take the next step; and what IS the next step from here?
At school, Eugene (Ian Colletti) finds DIE scrawled on his locker. All the same somebody says hello to him; his first response is to apologise. I’m hoping nothing bad happens to him. Still, I keep wondering exactly what it is he did to Tracy Loach. We’ll figure more of that out, those of us who haven’t read the comics yet. In other news, Tulip (Ruth Negga) barges into Emily’s (Lucy Griffiths) place and threatens her, ordering her to stay away from her boyfriend. You know who. Initially Emily doesn’t say much, but doesn’t hold back when bitching Tulip out. They have a strange little moment after Tulip agrees to fix what she broke in her rage.
Oh and poor Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe). He recently watched Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) gun down a bunch of people whom he hoped were to be business associates. Now there are calls coming in about the folks that never returned from their business trip. Yikes. That can’t mean anything good, and I feel bad that such a mild-mannered guy like Person is wrapped up in Odin’s (and partially Jesse’s) madness.
At home, Cassidy and Jesse drink morning beers, stand around in their underwear while their clothes is in the wash, and catch up on what’s happening lately in their respective lives. “You look like a men‘s room wall,” says Custer re: Cassidy and his ink, as they each talk about tattoos. Jesse even has a tattoo for Tulip. That’ll be a wedge between them if they ever talk about Cassidy and his latest friendship with Ms. O’Hare. They get on to discussing Genesis. The vampire doesn’t think it’s a great idea to keep. Whereas Jesse thinks it’s best to keep it, keep on as he did before, and use it to make things better. Oh, so sadly misguided: “God doesn‘t make mistakes,” he tells Cassidy. And with that, Jesse is setting up a loud speaker outside the church. Just downright begging for trouble.
We also figure out more from Tulip – she once had a child. Once upon a time. That’s sad. Was it her and Jesse? Or someone else? Tragic, heartbreaking if it was with Jesse. For now, Tulip helps Emily out after they develop a small bond over motherhood. Fun to see these two women together, even if it’s a tenuous friendship at best. More like Tulip wants to keep her close, to make sure there’s nothing going on between her and the preacher.
Eugene finds some people willing to sit with him at lunch, as he slurps down a liquid meal. Two of the boys are slightly apprehensive, though one says he’s a good guy. Is this for real? I keep thinking something bad and terribly high-schoolish is about to go down. After school he goes with the trio of guys to a drainage tunnel where there’s supposedly something interesting. The closer Eugene gets, the more he’s apprehensive. The more it feels dark and dangerous. Then the boys light off some sparklers, as it lights up the tunnel, and Eugene revels in its beauty.
Setting up for an outside service of some sort, Jesse receives Mayor Person for a visit. He’s, of course, on edge, sweating not simply from the heat, but also the heavy guilt on his shoulders. The Green Acre Group are still calling, wondering where their people went. Miles gives a semi-confession, very vague, to the preacher, and tries to seek out “the right thing to do” without opening up too much. There’s a great parallel between their conversation, what Miles wonders about God and his own ego – telling “one from the other” – and what Jesse is feeling about Genesis. There’s just no guessing what will happen from here re: Miles and Quincannon’s mess.
We’ve also got Cassidy and Tulip being awkward – he’s finally figuring out about her and Jesse. A whole lot of messy stuff, from dead bodies to emotional baggage. Worst part is that Cassidy seems genuinely hurt, despite being a vampire; they’ve got feelings, too!
When Jesse has his next service there are lots and lots of worshippers. All hoping to get saved. Eugene goes to see him first, saying he wants the preacher to reverse whatever he did with Mrs. Loach. “I don‘t want it,” says Eugene. He doesn’t feel worthy of redemption, clearly. You can already see the ungrateful side of Jesse, the hubris and the ego when confronted by Eugene saying that it’s cheating to be forgiven like he was, to have it all go away and be forgotten. There’s a dark side to Jesse waiting to burst forth onto Annville.
Then the unthinkable – as Eugene argues with the preacher, Jesse utters: “Go to hell, Eugene.” And nothing is left of the boy. He’s gone. Where? Oh, you know.
And Miles Person, the trusty Mayor of Annville, he gets rid of those pesky bodies. They’re all burned to a crisp now, and he plays the fool on the phone to Green Acre. There’s an amazing edit that cuts between Eugene disappearing and the burned bodies in the car that’s absolutely PERFECT. This show is so solid on every angle.
What a great episode. One of my favourites this season, so far. I can’t wait for more with “He Gone” up next. Where’s Eugene? Will we see him actually in hell? Oh, god damn, I’m excited!
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
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.
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 isn‘t the man you thought he was”
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 doesn‘t want to help me anymore.”
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. “What‘s inside of you, it isn‘t 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.
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.
Season 1, Episode 4: “Monster Swamp”
Directed by Craig Zisk
Written by Sara Goodman
* For a review of the previous episode, “The Possibilities” – click here
* For a review of the next episode “South Will Rise Again” – click here
We open on a young woman running from something or someone unseen. There are other women. Then there are gunshots, headshots, men with strange suits, all in a foggy forest, swamp-like area. One of them is Clive, from the whorehouse when Tulip (Ruth Negga) cleaned everybody out. They’re only playing paintball. Until one of the women falls into a hole in the ground, a deep, dark one.
Skip back to when Jesse (Dominic Cooper) was only a young boy. His father preached in Annville. Now, in the present, Jesse Custer tries to do his best in the same position. Then there’s Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) who’s got his own questions about the two men, Fiore (Tom Brooke) and DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef), that keep coming for the preacher. Side note: I love the getup Cassidy puts on to go out in the sun, it’s amazing and hilarious. Also, Cassidy is trying to warn Custer of what’s to come re: his new found powers, but the holy man just won’t listen.
Over with Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown), a body’s being hauled out of the mud; the girl from earlier. Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) is there having his say, and it becomes more clear by the episode who runs their little town.
Meanwhile, Emily (Lucy Griffiths) dealing with Jesse and his renewed sense of enthusiasm. She suspects deviousness, though he plays dumb. She heard things about Jesse and the bus driver, all that.
We get more looks at Jesse as a boy, his father whipping him in front of the other kids after catching him smoking – a habit that wasn’t whipped out of him. He’s still on the pack.
Cassidy is still scheming with Fiore and DeBlanc. They tell him about being from heaven, sort of like angels as he assumes. We discover the song DeBlanch sang a couple episodes ago to lure out the thing in Jesse is that entity’s favourite song; dig it. Better than all that, Cassidy gets a bit of cash out of them to buy some drugs. Y’know, because Jesse apparently has a thing for “controlled substances” and that’s a perfect opportunity for the old vampire to get his buzz on. Imagine being an ancient bloodsucking creature with nothing to do but waste time. Why not get wasted?
Quincannon meets with Mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe), and he doesn’t look too pleased with some of the Mayor’s latest meetings. We begin to figure out with every new scene featuring Quincannon how he’s a disaffected, scary sort of man. He doesn’t show much emotion, which is scarier than someone that freaks out. He merely takes a piss right in Miles’ briefcase. “Plain as pie,” like the man says himself.
At the motel, the heaven-sent henchmen wait to either hear from Cassidy, or hear from someone on the other end of their strange telephone.
People are remembering the dead woman at the whorehouse. Only Tulip doesn’t have time for any for Clive and the other men, nor the women for running around in underwear being hunted down by men with paintball guns. Furthermore, we get a bit of history: Tulip’s mama was a prostitute there, reason why she and Mosie (Frances Lee McCain) – the owner – are so close. But the anger in her comes out. She walks into one of the girls rooms, thinking she’s swinging a bat at Clive, and whacks the guy right out the window.
Luckily, that guy was Cassidy. A piece of glass stuck in his neck won’t be the end of him. Tulip tries to help the guy, bringing him to the hospital. Where he sneaks off and she finds him drinking blood packs. Yikes. Cat’s out of that bag.
More flashbacks. Papa Custer goes to see Odin Quincannon, as a young Jesse sits outside waiting. Something bad happens in the office, and Jesse knows it. “Some people just can‘t be saved,” his father tells him. In present day, Jesse helps Odin with a large model, painting little soldiers and placing them on the landscape. Quincannon paints while Jesse brings up new things about the church, as well as Odin’s lack of attendance over the past few decades. The business man doesn’t have any time for the invisible man in the sky. Well, the preacher makes a deal: come to Sunday service, if he isn’t sold then Odin receives the land that once belonged to Jesse’s father.
During the service on Sunday, a new sort of sermon comes out of Preacher Custer. He talks in a more raw, upfront tone, inflammatory at times even. He charges them with being “sinners” and that they’ve strayed from the right path. Jesse’s plan is to turn Quincannon over to the Lord, in turn convincing everyone else. Of course Odin does not initially move over to the side of God. Not until Jesse breaks out his power, compelling him to “serve God” and then BAM – Quincannon is on the side of the Lord. Praise Jesus. Or… praise something.
The two heaven henchmen hear their weird little phone start ringing. Someone up above is calling. But who?
Another great episode. Love the slow build up, as we get one little bit of information after another, gradually turning into something bigger, something wilder. The next episode is titled “South Will Rise Again” and I’m excited to see more. Lots of naysayers, naturally. Let them nay say. I say dig it with me, if you do.
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.
Bleed. 2016. Directed by Tripp Rhame. Screenplay by Ben Jacoby from a story by Rhame.
Starring Chelsey Crisp, Riley Smith, Michael Steger, Lyndon Smith, Brittany Ishibashi, Elimu Nelson, & David Yow.
Not Rated. 82 minutes.
Tripp Rhame’s debut feature Bleed, also known as The Circle, is a mixed-bag of tricks. Some of those tricks work wonders. Some of them are better left in the bag.
There are absolutely a few great aspects to this film. It goes for broke instead of skirting around the edges like some indie horror-thrillers. While it borrows heftily from fare such as Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and others, Bleed has its own energy. There are flaws, there are mistakes and bad choices, but it’s still a decent little flick that has a few scares, a few surprises. The biggest problem with Rhame’s film is that there are too many sub-genres jammed into one, and I can’t help but feel that if the screenplay stuck with trying to put less into one story there would’ve been more coherence all around. Nevertheless, if you want a decent, at times horrifically fun indie horror romp, there are far worse out there and this one will at least creep you out a couple times.
When Sarah (Chelsey Crisp) and husband Matt (Michael Steger) head to their new house out in the backwoods, ready to have a baby, start a new life, they invite some friends out for a getaway. Dave (Elimu Nelson) and Bree (Brittany Ishibashi) arrive for some fun with the couple, as well as Sarah’s brother Eric (Riley Smith) turns up with his new girlfriend Skye (Lyndon Smith).
Aside from the tension between slacker brother and husband, there are other things going on. Eric’s actually a bit of an amateur ghost hunter. So Dave brings up a story about the area; a local legend of a preacher, some sort of Satanic-like believer named Kane (Rajinder Kala). Apparently, he died in a prison fire out in the woods.
After Matt wants to disprove Eric’s nonsense, they all head out to the location of the old prison. This puts them directly in the path of a supernatural entity, the remnants of Kane’s savage spirit, and the halls of the old prison, the woods, they become a possible tomb. Unless the group can somehow manage to survive and find their way out of the darkened woods.
I’m always into any Satanic cult-ish type plots. One of the biggest things I enjoyed during Bleed were the early, brief views of Kane, the horrific preacher. Especially when Eric and Skye are having sex, then all of a sudden she starts seeing Kane thrusting at her, his terrifying face going back and forth. It’s a genuinely eerie moment that unsettled me to the core. Even earlier, when Bree – who suffers from schizophrenia – sees a glance of him sitting in a chair, there’s a definitively strange, scary look to him.
That brings me to another aspect I loved: Bree’s mental illness. Whereas some elements of the screenplay feel too jammed in, not organically grown out of the story or the plot, Bree having schizophrenia added an extra dimension to the ghostly supernatural stuff happening around the group. Because it plays against the mind, making her more susceptible to the ghosts, as she chants to herself – “It‘s not real” – and wanders around the dark hallways of the prison. To be honest, more could’ve been done with this character angle, though, what was done works proper. Earlier in the film, I actually expected she was going to play a larger part in what happens later, so it’s a nice tough in that sense. Keeps you guessing, and definitely make you fearful of what will come next.
On the one hand, I enjoyed Kane, as a character, as a creepy addition to the plot. On the other hand, there were a couple scenes I hated. When Dave comes across Kane in an isolated little room, instead of a vicious kill, something to up the intensity, there’s this very anti-climactic death via supernatural means that I found really took me out of the scene. I would’ve much preferred Kane slaughter him, or even something a bit less cheesy.
Some of my problem with the movie is the pacing. There are times it felt like things were going much too fast. Added to that, the pacing doesn’t help anything when there are too many mixed pieces. The backstory of the town, Sarah, so much of it is ham fisted into the final twenty minutes. Makes a mess of things. Sarah’s entire plot as a character needed more care. They set her up as a main character, but don’t afford her and the plot surrounding her enough time to justify everything in the finale. The end is grim, macabre, though, its impact isn’t enough because of the entire setup, from characters to the story. If things were jammed into 82 minutes, maybe the story would get stretched out appropriately. Instead, there’s like a log jam of ideas and madness near the end that never fully fits in.
This is at beast a 2&1/2 star film. There are too many threads not correctly stitched through Bleed which, in the end, hurt it overall. A few moments are downright creepy, truly scary. At times I was reminded of the recent Last Shift, a flawed film but intensely odd and with great frights. But this was even more flawed, and the end result is too much a mixed-bag to be anything more than mediocre. Hopefully Tripp Rhame continues, he definitely had some working material here, and the Kane story was excellently unnerving. If only the screenplay were tighter. Nonetheless, check it out. It’s a decent little indie, that could certainly have turned out worse. Don’t hold all its messiness against it, still worth watching once.