Preacher Recap: “Pilot”


preacher bannerGrab onto your saddles folks, because it’s going to be one hell of a ride!

spoilers ahead!

Season one of Preacher kicked off in Outer Space (yep, you read that right!), a disembodied divine entity is hurtling towards earth and lands in Africa. There it finds a preacher and possesses him briefly before he explodes all over his congregation. Followed by hopping over to a satanic church in Russia only to do the same, then seeming from the news reports, a scientology church where it explodes famous scientologist Tom Cruise himself. At each scene is the same pair of bizarre authority figures, seemingly chasing the creature responsible.

Here we move to Texas where a troubled Jesse Custer is having a nightmare, then stumbles out of bed seemingly still a little worse for wear and off to a painfully delivered sermon. This introduces us to Jesse’s seemingly sole advocate in Annville, single mother, waitress, church organist and bookkeeper Emily. The church is clearly struggling to make ends meet under his internship, Jesse lacking the faith in himself and God to lead the congregation successfully. At a post church BBQ, Jesse is approached by a young boy who asks him to hurt his dad, apparently it’s common knowledge he used to do ‘bad things’ before he became a preacher. Luckily Jesse manages to talk him out of it and says he’ll go through traditional routes to try and stop the jerk hurting his mom.

Meanwhile thousands of feet above Annville, an irish flight attendant named Cassidy, is busy pouring drinks and plying rich businessmen customers with drugs. At least that is what he thinks he’s doing, when he heads to the bathroom and finds a slightly disturbing bible covered in graffiti. This immediately means something to him that the viewer cannot be sure of, but as he moves back out into the main section of the plane, he notes the plane is heading a different direction than it should be and addresses one of the men as ‘Rabbi’, things quickly go south (soon literally for poor old Cassidy). An ultra violent fight scene ensues, with stabbing, impalement with a Champagne bottle and fire. As he’s asking the pilot ‘How did you wankers find me then?’ another man pours holy water over his head, but it only succeeds in getting him wet. Then he turns and bites a huge chunk out of his neck, fills up a bottle with blood, grabs and umbrella and jumps out of the plane door. An entrance that is surely going to be unbeaten, right??

Enter Tulip O’Hare, kick ass extraordinaire in the midst of a struggle with two thugs whilst driving through a cornfield. She proceeds to unleash some serious fury to the song ‘Your so vain’, going as far as to bite off an ear in the process. Resourceful to the max, we see her deal the final blow with an ear of corn before teaching the home alone kids how to help her make a homemade bazooka to face some more guys on the way. From the way she reacts to one of the little ones asking why her boyfriend doesn’t just save her from the bad guys, you sense she’s holding a grudge somewhere. Now she’s back in town and set on dragging her old partner in crime (one Jesse Custer) back into the business.

Tulip Bazooka

At Annvilles major employer ‘Quinncannon Meat & Power’, Jesse tries to drum up some money from the church, but primarily wants to try to get Betsy to talk to him about her abusive husband. She confesses he hurts her but insists she enjoys it, much to his disappointment. He returns to his car only to have Tulip to face, but he rebuffs her invites to join her on the next job she has lined up. Next on his stop of pastoral duties is visiting Eugene Root, son of the bigoted sheriff and victim of his own suicide attempt which has left him disfigured. He’s been absent from church ever since, thinking God will never forgive him for what he did. He tells Jesse that he used to talk to God but he eventually stopped. “I don’t think that God wants me there,” he says. “I think He’s mad at me. I used to pray to Him and I would hear Him talk back, but now it’s just — it’s just real quiet. Are there some things that even God won’t forgive?”

Later while Jesse is drowning his sorrows in the local watering hole, a surprisingly whole Cassidy walks in, orders a whole bottle of whisky and then asks where he is. Donny walks in furious that Jesse dared to speak to his wife without coming to him first, it’s clear he’s there for a fight, challenging the rumours about Jesse’s dark past. He completely rebuffs his attempts at a fight, until he says he’s going to beat his son for coming to Jesse, then we get a taste of how badass this preacher is! With a tiny bit of help from Cassidy he wins hands down, but ends up in a jail cell to cool down. There he and Cass strike up a strange rapport, a self proclaimed atheist vampire and a texan preacher/criminal.

Jesse disenchanted with the whole Donny business and his unholy behaviour, he tells Emily he’s going to announce his retirement from the church this coming Sunday. To which she tells him, ‘You were never really there to begin with.’ The lights flicker in the church and he goes to investigate, but ends up asking God to send him a sign or he’s done for good. God doesn’t send anything, but it seems our space entity has found it’s way to Annville, we hear disembodied baby cries as it makes it’s way over to a startled Jesse. But this time it’s found it’s mark as Jesse doesn’t explode, but he’s been out of it for three days, he comes to with Emily sat at his bedside. Turns out Cassidy turned up and is sleeping in the attic claiming to be a friend, he’s also just in time for Sunday and his big announcement, so he hastily gets dressed and heads out.

Before he delivers his sermon, he greets his congregation one last time, even the self obsessed, micro managed mommas boy from earlier. As he gets stressed out at the non stop complaint he reitterates what he usually says,‘Be Brave. Tell her how you feel. Open your heart’, but something strange happens, he leaves telling him he’s going to do just that! He fully intends this to be his last Sunday as preacher, but as he’s stood there looking over his flock (including Cassidy lay down on a pew and a late entering Tulip) he has a change of heart. Delivering a rousing speech about how he’s let them all down but he’s going to try to be here from now on as the camera pans around his congregation, it’s enough to make your eyes leak honestly!

As if exploding religious figureheads and all the gore included fights weren’t enough, the episode closes on the progress of Annville’s most annoying congregation member. Repeating a mantra of, ‘Be Brave. Tell her how you feel. Open your heart’ all the way over to seeing his mom in the retirement centre. Only to arrive and spill his guts both figuratively and literally, seems this ‘word of God’ business is gonna need some fine tuning! Two familiar figures then pull up outside the church donning true texan attire, only for one to turn and claim what they are searching for is here.
I am glad that they’re straying from the comics, it allows us all to experience these beloved characters through entirely new scenarios. The decision to stay in Texas, at least for the time being, is allowing us all to explore the conflicts and relationships between all the colourful characters of Annville. Plus puts a magnifying glass to Jesse’s struggle with his inner demons… and his erm inner… whatever the hell that is!

Betakitten is a Classics student who fangirls when she should be studying. A lifelong DC, Sci-Fi and Horror fan. After writing for blogs about TV shows she ended up here with The Collective to add a little Devilry to the mix.
(Twitter @betakitten)

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