By The Nerdling
With one foe currently shelved for the moment, Jesse is able to continue his quest to find God. But another threat looms just around the corner.
Spoilers on the Road to God…
The Hurt Locker
Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy, and Denis are free of the Saint for the moment, but the after effects of the encounter still haunt the group as they pay a visit to the last jazz club in New Orleans. God is still nowhere to be found. Jesse is pondering the effects of giving a piece of his soul to the Saint as a street preacher is yelling about the impending apocalypse. Tulip can’t sleep after her near-death experience at the hands of the Saint.
Cassidy suggests going to the bar where the patrons shoot a moron person wearing a Kevlar vest and place bets on whether they get up within 10 seconds. The four arrive at the Hurt Locker looking to scam the trigger-happy drunks. Tulip plays the girlfriend to Cassidy, happy to test her boyfriend’s strength against the bar’s most powerful hand-cannon. Jesse chides the patrons for their violence loving ways and challenges Tulip’s claims to up the bets. When Cassidy is “killed” by the gunshot, everyone in the bar scrams, assuming the preacher will be the one to call the cops, leaving the group free to take the cash and raid the bar.
After many drinks and a translator, Denis tells Cassidy he is dying and wants to be made an immortal. Cassidy refuses Denis’ request, then proceeds to get blind drunk and wake up in the morgue the next morning. Upon leaving the morgue, Cassidy comes across a grieving couple, making him reconsider Denis’ wish.
Another night of no sleep for Tulip as she continues to dream of the moment the Saint nearly took her life. Needing to take back control of the fear of death, Tulip returns to The Hurt Locker and teases the patrons on her success in robbing them of their money on booze. Then challenges them bet against her ability to take a shot.
Jesse visits with the street preacher and the two have a chat about why the he uses the pending doom to scare people. “They come to listen to me talk about the end of the world so they can worry about that instead of what really scares them… What is more frightening than who we are and what we done?” The street preacher sees the Cubs winning the World Series and Donald Trump’s presidency as possible signs of the end, but there is always an explanation as to why these outlandish things have happen. As the street preacher goes back to his corner, he leaves Jesse with one last thought, “If you’re looking for signs of the apocalypse, I would start with men selling off their souls.”
When Pigs Fly
In the jungles of Vietnam, a couple having dinner is shocked to find their pig floating for no explainable reason. This catches the attention of many people, including a couple of American tourists who film the phenomenon and send the footage to the news. Enter Herr Starr, an agent of The Grail we have seen only in small snippets before this point.
In flashbacks, we get to know Starr as he is recruited by The Grail and run through a gamut of tests to make the cut for this shadowy organization. Starr is mostly unruffled by the tasks, unless you don’t validate his parking. He uses a ah… unconventional method of distraction to overpower a goon, threatens to kill a woman and her family if she doesn’t hand over information instead of seducing her as asked. Even having his genital area electrocuted doesn’t faze the former German Colonel. His final act of shooting the other finalist in the head instead of a target garners him the Grail uniform of a white suite and red tie. So, is it a surprise to any of us that as soon as he finds out the mission of The Grail, Starr pushes his superior over a balcony and take his place?
The Grail protects the descendants of Jesus Christ and eliminate all targets which would take away from the messiah’s return when the inevitable apocalypse happens. When something like a pig floating happens, it is up to Starr to eliminate the problem and create an explanation. In the case of the pig, Starr poisoned the village’s well, killing all witnesses and the pig, then have a scientist say the poisoned well caused the floating before everyone died.
The next messiah-threatening phenomenon Herr Starr must investigate, Jesse Custer.
Pip Torrens’ Starr looks like he stepped off the pages of the comic!
Herr Starr taking center stage of this episode shows even though the Saint is on the back-burner, there is still a terrifyingly formidable villain for Jesse Custer to face. Except this man may be way more chilling. Starr attacks the tasks he is given with cold calculation and has many resources at his disposal. The Saint had a weakness, what is Starr’s?
Jesse is beginning to question his self-righteousness (finally!) in the light of giving a piece of his soul to the Saint. He did what he thought was best in the moment, but it is really hitting him his soul will never be whole again. I think Jesse will start question his ability to be a preacher and (in his mind) a good person. Couldn’t be more excited about this!
I hope show keeps Tulip’s PTSD as a permanent part of her character arc. I hate when something as life-altering as PTSD is treated like a minor inconvenience a person can get over with one brave act.
I really love the idea of two men in golf carts driving around New Orleans in the early morning hours sorting the bodies they find into “Drunk” or “Dead” piles. Brilliant satire that borders on realism.
Till Next Week!
The Nerdling was born in the majestic land known as Texas and currently resides there after several years of journeying through Middle Earth in a failed attempt to steal the one Ring from that annoying hobbit, serving the Galactic Empire for a time, and then a short stint as a crew member on the Serenity. Since moving back to her homeland, Nerdling flirted with a hero reputation. Saving children from the dangers of adoring domineering, sparkly vampires (champions with souls are the only vampires worth loving) and teaching normals the value of nerdom, all while rooting for her beloved Dallas Stars. Then came the Sokovia Accords and her short spell of saving others came to an end. With Darth Vader’s reputation rightfully returning to badass status, Nerdling is making her way back to the Empire. They do have cookies, you know. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale.