Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Preacher, Season 2, Episode 9: Puzzle Piece

Oh Preacher, I’m getting a confused vibe from this show that is similar to how I feel about Z Nation. It just feels all over the map thematically. It will be fun and zany and I’ll love it - but then it will push that bit further and suddenly we have a shed load of rape jokes or suicide jokes and it’s like… wait… no… stop. And then it will be kind of deep and emotional, but then we’ll have weeks of moping and trauma which could be an analysis but just feels jarring and kind of lost. This episode pretty much epitomises everything

Our main gang is pretty sad and tense. Dennis is healing (he’s clearly been turned into a vampire) but Cass, while still saying the right things, is clearly pissed at Jessie for not using the Word to help. Jessie is completely despairing about finding god and he starts to rant on why it matters so much - god is order and rules and there needs to be someone in charge - but Cass both doesn’t care and noisily keeps on working with the kitchen, drowning Jessie out

When Tulip arrives from another night of no sleep and getting shot in the chest and Cass is clearly concerned. He tries to reach out to her and Jessie snaps “we’re good here!”, ignoring Tulip who herself laughs angrily at Jessie’s pronouncement. Jessie uses the Word on her to make her sleep.

Cass does not approve.

All of this is witnessed by Herr Starr when his minions bring their file to him. He hasn’t bothered to read any of it because he is the epitome of not giving a shit. He see the video and being pretty much revolting in every way, sees nothing special and how broken is the word that people think it’s a super power for a woman to obey a man.

He has a date so just orders his minions, Hoover and Featherstone to just kill everyone

So in goes a squad - and I love the whole first persons shooter vibe to this - as they’re taken apart by Cassidy, Dennis (now newly vampired) and Jessie using the word to turn them against each other. Unfortunately, Dennis kills the survivor leaving no-one for Jessie to question.

Herr Starr hears about this on his date where the governor of Louisiana’s daughter rhapsodises about meaning in her life with a terribly condescending story, while Herr Starr reflects how boring his life is, how something is missing despite his awesome power, throws in some contempt for disabled children and tells the young woman to strip and hold a stick of butter under her chin.

I… I don’t know what he intended with the butter before he was interrupted an really really really do not want to speculate.

He returns to the office where Hoover and Featherstone have already put down plastic sheeting in time to be execute, Hoover taking the time to tell Featherstone he loves her, while she focuses on being scarily professional. She agrees with Starr that they should be put down in a scarily fanatical zeal and even works extremely efficiently to clear the jam in his gun so he can do this - and describes how dangerous Jesse is in the process while laying out future plans to bring him down

Her, frankly, impressive display makes Starr rethink killing her and instead he agrees to deploy Brad (originally he thinks Brad is overkill before agreeing with her that there is no such thing). He also wants a rape fantasy because of course he does. The fanatical Featherstone quickly agrees (and if he had gone through with this we would have a discussion as to how much consent applies when this level of fanaticism is involved), instead he says he wants a professional for his “no means yes” fantasy. They set Hoover on this.

And, yes, Hoover as completely incapable is pretty cringeworthy as well. There’s so much to over cringe here. Did we need to add the rape fantasy? We already had the weird butter woman and we know Starris the Worst.

Back at base, Tulip wakes up to dead bodies and a whole lot of police - all turned into Jesse’s minions to help set up a protective perimeter. He is convinced the Grail will return and he’s determined to capture one to help find god. This gives him new energy - but it feels very selfish. Like he cares about Cass’s injuries and Dennis now being a vampire (Cass didn’t tell him because, reasonably, he didn’t think Jesse would care) - but there’s a distinct hint he wants to know if Cass will be ready to fight again.

Same to him talking to Tulip. She’s not happy that he used the word on her even if it did get her a night’s sleep. He talks about not knowing what else to do and really sounds really sad and hurting for her… and I can feel the emotion there and the concern… but where was he? Last episode, the episode before - this whole season? Where was Jesse for Tulip? It’s hard to listen to someone saying “I didn’t know what else to do” when they didn’t actually do anything!

He suggests she needs a good fight to get over everything which… maybe? But again it feels super self-serving, making sure his soldiers are in line. She seems reluctant but when he implies that she sit it out, of course she’s in. She even borrows a gun from the neighbour (yes, they’re Grail agents - but they’re confident that a gun won’t help against Brad).

Cass does have a moment with Dennis who is now thrilled with eternal life - Cass tries to insist that Dennis only ever drink blood when he needs to heal. I think this message isn’t going to sink in. I predict Jesse having to kill Dennis to stop a rampage - though that would require them to care about the bodies dropping

Meanwhile, Herr Starr finally starts to read Jesse’s file. Not on purpose but he’s on the computer and random cat spam makes him click Jesse’s file accidentally - and he sees Jesse’s speech about needing god for Order and Law. Which we know is going to be compelling to Herr Starr.

That night Jesse is all prepared for the next attack. He has his perimeter and there are several false alarms. I was sure the attack would come when Dennis started blasting Edith Piaf (because that would have been excellent backing music to a fight scene). Then there was the Cleaner who I was sure was a sleeper agent (Tulip agreed and shot him - which is showing how shaken she still is). There was a big man in a mask attacking one of the police - but it turns out to be just a drunk. We have a whole lot of these false alarms and the tension ratchets high… but ultimately there’s no attack and Jesse eventually tells the cops they can leave and forget everything.

That’s because Brad is an acronym for a drone. A great big explosive heading right for Jessie

But we have to return to Starr. His delivery of three sex workers for his rape fantasy arrive - except Hoover screwed up and has hired 3 men to rape him with the keyword “no means yes”

This is supposed to be funny. Preacher… why? Always 10 steps too far. This is not funny, this is not comic relief and this is not an acceptable thing to throw in for no damn reason.

While being raped (yes, literally mid rape), Starr reads Jesse’s file and suddenly realises he’s the key he’s been missing and calls Featherstone to call off the drone

She can’t but she can (after fighting the cat macro spam) redirect it. Leaving Jesse and co unaware of what nearly happened

And the next day Herr Starr goes to speak to Jesse.

Again, classic Preacher - going to the edge - then leaping over it into “funny edginess” which is just awful. Tulip is still a damaged victim as she’s been all season which is cringeworthy while Jesse is utterly self obsessed. This show is losing what made it so fun