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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.