Preacher is at its best when it knows what it is. Like Z Nation, it’s a show which can have odd moments of depth and introspection and meaning… but ultimately it’s camp, schlocky zany fun and it needs to remember that and hold that close to it’s silly cartoony, god-in-a-gimp-suit heart.
So opening in hell with the Saint of Killers being picked up from his hell cell, taken down the most rickety ridiculous lift ever to -9 where we see the most hyper-dramatic hellscape ever CGI’d in cheesy goodness. And then we see Satan who is both wearing the cheesiest rubber suit ever and behaves like a complete used car salesman
It’s perfectly perfectly Preacher.
So Satan is hyper pissed that The Saint of Killers escaped because that’s totally against Satan’s policy especially now he has big plans with god out the picture. So before he discusses any business he decides he needs to have the Saint of Killers brutally flogged by an angry Angel of Death. Which will apparently increase his reputation again because the Saint is dead but you do have to wonder about torturing people in Hell since they’re already facing their worst days over and over so they’re already kinda suffering as much as they can. The Saint is also so badarse that even though he’s flogged until he’s flayed down to the ribcage (because Preacher is so over the top) and not flinch once
Formalities out of the way, he can now do Satan’s missions - hunt down Hitler and Eugene who escaped hell last season and bring them in… alive. I don’t know why - surely killing them would send them back to Hell? But apparently alive
And if he does this he can then get his weapons back and go hunting for Jesse
Back in reality we have Tulip and Madame Boyd, Sabina, who has Tulip trapped and mocks her that she’s not going to get out.
Tulip responds being being Tulip and shooting an escape route through the floor with a machine gun. Because she’s Tulip and Sabina has no idea who she’s dealing with but she learns awfully quickly as Tulip captures her
Tulip is still all torn and conflicted over what exactly she wants and what she’s doing, but she does want Jesse out of the contract with his grandma. Which is a shame because Sabina wants Jesse to rot in hell because he’s the “worst man she ever loved”. Oooooh drama.
Time for some flashbacks! (Jesse’s also having these to remind us how bad things were when he lived back with the Angels). Way back when he was the ring master of the Tombs where helpless imprisoned people fought in gladiatorial combat, desperate because winning against one of their own and then Jody was the only chance of these people actually getting free. Of course they fail and many of them die horribly or are pit back in the pit to fight another day. It’s clear young Jesse has a fair whack of responsibility for this on account of being both the master of ceremonies and being the one who lures most people into making the deals in the first place. He clearly feels guilty and even tries to discourage one man from gambling any more as he knows his debts are getting unmanageable
He’s also dating Sabina. (Who is also his age - not, as I thought, some ancient witch who has magically extended her life) but he’s not being subtle about it - TC knows what he’s doing and Jesse realises Sabina may end up actually being locked in the Tombs herself. So he brutally shoots her down in an extremely insulting and demeaning fashion. Yes it’s a classic “I need to be an arsehole to protect you” trope. Every male love interest has to do it at least once. It’s a rule. It’s in the code.
Tulip hears this recounting and isn’t overly impressed that Sabina is all stompy over a kid breaking her heart when she was also a kid. But there’s more
So Sabina’s brother decides to confront Jesse during Tombs night for being an arsehole to his sister, he attacks Jesse and Jesse strangles him to death and makes it part of the show
To which Tulip responds “HE WOULD NEVER!” which kind of confuses me because the last three seasons make me think, uh, Yeah? He would?
In the Tombs of the present, Jesse presides over a battle between Cassidy and a paedophile and after much shenanigans with a chainsaw, Cas wins. Jesse points out to Jody that they’ve got an ultimate selling point here - they can fight Cass night after night, abuse him constantly and all it takes is a little blood to get him back together again. He makes a point of how much Cass isn’t his friend and is happy to abuse and hurt Cass to prove it
When he’s left alone with Cass, he seems to go on with the beating
Except what he’s really done is chopped Cass into little pieces to mail to New Orleans, helping him escape. Cass isn’t happy about this at all, because he’s obsessed with Tulip and this damned love triangle and he thinks Jesse is just trying to get rid of him. He also adds that there were many ways Jesse could have helped him escape (he suggests wearing someone else’s skin) that didn’t involve awful dismemberment
I’m both happy because the snarking banter is exactly what makes these two work and annoyed because of the damned love triangle
Of course Cass refuses to go along with this - and manages to escape. Who knows how.
Finding Cassidy gone the Tombs gang isn’t thrilled - and Jesse takes the chance to make a big speech about god being missing probably left in disgust because everyone there is juist the utter worst and terrible sinners and…
...and then Cass walks in. Of course he does. Jesse abandons his speech about how everyone needs to redeem themselves and instead he and Cass fight. And Jesse wins because a) better fighter and b) Cass is held together with duct tape. Though he does keep reaching for something
As Jesse is poised to stake Cass, Tulip arrives, looking at Jesse in utterly horrified. Because Jesse being violent is surprising now. He angrily declares himself to be Jesse L’Angel and this is who he is so she better get used to it because it’s going to happen night after night
Tulip leaves. And even rescues Cassidy with his skin suit idea (yes really.) And she takes him to the bus stop to New Orleans… but she’s not going with him. Cassidy pleas in the name of love - but she is clear she doesn’t love him. For a second it looks like Cass is going to use the love spell.. But he stops. And he gets on the bus
He is definitely going to come back.
While Tulip goes back to Jesse because she knows he’s playing the whole “drive me away for your own protection” nonsense and finds it very annoying. She is Tulip: she most certainly does not need protecting from anything or anyone so he needs to cut that out. She does demand to know the truth about murdering Sabina’s body
Jesse’s version of this memory is that Sabina’s brother tried to kill him and Jesse begged him to stop but was forced to strangle him to death. I find this somewhat implausible, I mean I’m not experienced in strangling people to death but I presume cutting off someone’s oxygen would result in weakness and unconsciousness before you actually have to go for full on death
Still Tulip believes his version and they have sex
The next day she belatedly remembers that Sabina is still locked in her boot, but she’s very chill about this. And instead she finally reveals how she can break the spell and free Jesse: by killing the caster. Yes she has no reason to trust Sabina but she does believe that Sabina hates Grandma even more than she hates Jesse
I admit to looking forward more than a little of the zany elements of things like the Saint of Killers returning because it could very much be Preacher at its most zany. But I’m concerned because Tulip is now definitely getting her mojo back and being all awesome. The problem is that the Saint tends to send her into a terrible depressed terrified funk… I don’t want her to fall back into that
I am a little bemused by the whole “Jesse would never” thing we have going on now