Preacher S01E03 “The Possibilities” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Amazon, new episodes every Monday
Writer: Chris Kelley
Director: Scott Winant
Essential Plot Points:
- Tulip meets her contact, Dany, in Houston and gives her the map.
- In return, Dany gives Tulip an address. This provokes a flashback for Tulip – someone in a getaway car drives off and leaves her at a crucial moment during some illegal activity.
- In the present, Tulip tells Dany that was the day she lost everything, including her relationship with Jesse.
- Dany delivers the map to a mysterious man in white who’s taking in a snuff movie.
- In Salvation, Tracy Loach has opened her eyes – as Jesse commanded – but remains in a coma. Not quite what he intended.
- Donnie is increasingly pissed off with Jesse because a) his broken arm is repeatedly making him lose face in front of his boss, Odin, and b) the story about how he squealed like a trapped animal when Jesse broke his arm has spread like wildfire and the local kids are calling him “Bunny Man” (not the coolest superhero name).
- Linus may have forgotten about the schoolgirl he pervs over – as Jesse commanded – but as soon as he sees her again, he’s immediately attracted to her again.
- Jesse has worked out how his power work (if not where it came from) and demonstrates what he can do to Cassidy. Cassidy is very excited by this development.
- Tulip finds Jesse and shows him the address that Dany gave her. Flashback time again: Jesse stands over a dead security guard who’s been shot in the head while Tulip screams at the getaway car as it speeds away.
- In the present, Tulip proposes they kill Carlos – the driver who scarpered – for ruining their lives. Jesse seems convinced and he drives off with Tulip.
- The resurrected DeBlanc and Fiore go to the church again for Jesse, this time with some serious firepower.
- Once again, a bemused Cassidy kills them. He thinks they’re clones.
- Once again, they’re resurrected. This time they beg Cassidy not to kill them and explain they’re here to get whatever’s in Jesse out of Jesse. Although DeBlanc is happy to let Cassidy believe they’re from the government, Fiore hints they’re from Heaven.
- Cassidy agrees to help them.
- En route back to Houston, Tulip stops at a gas station and Jesse goes for a piss.
- Donnie is waiting in the toilet with a gun.
- Jesse uses his power to stop Donnie shooting him, then almost makes Donnie kill himself with his own gun. But he has a last moment change of heart.
- He has a change of heart about taking revenge on Carlos too, much to Tulip’s disgust. He leaves her at the gas station.
- Eugene tells his dad he wants to visit Tracy Loach, but the Sheriff warns him this is a VERY BAD IDEA.
Episode three may be the first one not written by Sam Catlin and not directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, but it’s pretty much business as usual. “The Possibilities” is another TV Rubik’s Cube, with something brilliant and exciting on each block, but no matter which way you twist it, you can’t seem to find a complete picture yet.
Once again there are some brilliant set pieces; it’s amazing how many stand-out moments this show produces each episode. Here we get: Jesse compelling Cassidy; Tulip sweet talking the traffic cop; Jesse’s face-off with Donnie; Cassidy killing Fiore and DeBlanc… again; the school bus scene which has the double whammy of the kids calling Donnie “Bunny Man” and Linus’s old urges resurfacing (and the kids completing calling him out on it). The acting throughout is magnificent but Joe Gilgun and Ruth Negga don’t get all the best scenes to themselves this time; Dominic Cooper is finally getting to have some fun himself as Jesse learns the extent of his powers. Just look at this face…
Conversely, after spending the first two weeks being all wacky, wacky, wacky, Tulip and Cassidy get a couple of quieter more introspective moments here, giving Negga and Gilgun a chance to flex their range. Sure, Cassidy is still 99% loveable rogue and looks a complete dork in his sunhat and poncho, but when he discovers the brooding Jesse at the start of the episode, there’s genuine concern and warmth there. And Tulip is increasingly showing a deep-seated pain beneath the punky, hedonistic exterior.
We also get a few answers – or teases of answers, at least – but they’re not particularly satiating and simply throw up more questions. So we learn a little about Fiore and DeBlanc but only mere scratches on the surface. We get a taste of Jesse and Tulip’s life of crime, but the details are still hazy.
On the other hand, more mysteries are piling up. Who is the man in white? How will Odin fit into the overall plot? What exactly is the Roots’ connection to the Loaches?
It’s still early days so it’s good to have some hooks to keep pulling you back to watch the next episode, but Preacher occasionally feels like it’s straining a little hard to maintain its inscrutable vibe. While Fargo effortlessly balanced weirdness and delayed gratification with a plot that always felt like it was moving on, Preacher continues to feel lethargic in the bigger picture department. In terms of little pictures, though, the show is still a constant treat.
- The “secret” that Jesse forces out of Cassidy is that the vampire likes Justin Bieber – hilarious. In fact the whole Jesse-compels-Cassidy sequence is brilliant, right down to the Irish vampire actually getting a buzz out of the whole thing.
- The way that Jesse has to be very specific with his instructions when he uses his powers is being revealed very cleverly. Tracy’s blinkless, staring fate is played for black humour (we loved the shot of her brother taking a selfie) but the revelation that Linus – while having forgotten the girl he’s lusting after – hasn’t lost his basic urges is downright chilling.
- It’s good the get a few answers this week… sooner than we were expecting in some cases.
- The way Tulip manipulates the traffic cop is masterful; even if impersonating a war veteran is a little disrespectful it’s an impressive display of guile and resourcefulness.
- Cassidy is the MVP yet again. He’s surely destined to become a TV legend. He nabs line of the week, too, with, “There are three possible explanations here. Number one, John Travolta. You know the movie where he gets his power from a brain tumour. Number two, Jason Bourne. Gets his power from a secret government agency. Or, and it’s least likely but my favourite scenario, you’re a Jedi.”
- Plus, the way we don’t even get to see the Cassidy vs Fiore and DeBlanc fight this week (we just see the aftermath) doesn’t feel like a cheat; it’s just a damned good visual gag.
- Even Cassidy’s fashion-challenged sun-dodging outfit is worth a mention.
- But stand-out scene of the week goes to Jesse, in his confrontation with Donnie – tense, electrifying stuff with a seismic performance from Cooper.
- Did you notice how Odin Quincannon’s secretary does what looks like a military turn when she reaches his office door? It’s a tiny little detail, but it says so much about the way he runs his comany.
- The flashbacks to the event that causes a major rift between Tulip and Jesse are shot like they’re really important, but what’s actually going on is hazy and difficult to get excited about. Okay, the death of a security guard isn’t a piffling matter but in a show as out-there as Preacher it feels a little mundane.
- Could Emily please be given something to do other than look irritated?
- Fiore and DeBlanc are great as a concept, and effective when they’re just required to stare menacingly or deliverer quirky one-liners, but once they’re given actual proper dialogue they lose a lot of their impact.
- There’s still a niggling worry that the show is more concerned with delivering individual moments of weirdness rather than creating a cohesive story.
And The Random:
- Just for the record, the films on show at Houston’s Fourth Annual Snuff Film festival are:
• Escape, Run, Hide… But Die!
• Burn Baby Burn
• I Am Jack’s Severed Head
• This Is The End… Of Your Life
• The Dentist And The Drill
• The Lotion In The Basket
• The Butcher, The Baker And The Candlestick In The Head
• A Salisbury Steak Recipe
• A Quick Divorce
• Axe Me No Questions, I Will Tear Out Your Eyes.
- Some of those films are on at very particular times (12.02am, 3.29pm, etc). Are snuff audiences known for being sticklers for punctuality?
- This is the first episode to feature a proper opening credits sequence.
- This week’s vandalised church sign:
- The graffiti in the gas station toilet where Jesse forces Donnie to put a gun in his mouth is all delightfully polite, isn’t it? “Hey Twinkle,” is our favourite.
- Dany gets very antsy when Tulip starts asking about “Grail Industries” in the opening scene, as well she might if she’s familiar with the comics. If you, however, are not familiar with the comics, we’d advise not Googling… you’ll end up unearthing some major spoilers.
- Ditto, the snuff movie fan, who’s credited as “Man In White Suit”, but who we’re pretty sure will turn out to be a character from the comics called Herr Starr.
- Odin Qunicannon must have built his business on extreme thriftiness if his computer is anything to go by; it looks he’s still using a C64 he bought around 1990. And it was probably second hand then.
Review by Dave Golder