TV reviews

Preacher 3×04 – ‘The Tombs’ – TV Review

Preacher looks like it’s about to solve a few problems that were beginning to crop up this season, namely: “How long can this Angelville story last?”

While Jesse is still very much in Angelville with Gran’ma, Jody and TC, some other plotlines are coming through, such as the return of the Saint of Killers.

The Saint is back in Hell when he’s summoned to Satan’s office. One awkward elevator ride later and the Saint is face to face with the devil himself. Preacher’s idea of Satan is just like its idea of God: pretty cliche. Big red guy with horns and goat legs, but acts more like a smarmy car salesman than the ultimate evil. The Saint’s in trouble for his escape and gets whipped to the point where his back is all bone, flesh and muscle removed, but he’s not just here for punishment. Satan needs a favour, so he gives the Saint a proposition: bring back Hitler and Eugene, and then Satan will help him get Jesse. Looks like we’ll finally see what Hitler and Eugene have been getting up to, though if the opening credits are any clue, Hitler’s working retail.

Changes are coming to Angelville as well. The Tombs have re-opened and we see how present-day and past Jesse both operate in them. The Tombs are an underground fight club where men can pay off their debts to Gran’ma if they survive a round in the ring with one another; and then against Jody. Spoiler alert: they don’t make it past Jody.

As a teen, Jesse is the ringleader (with a hilarious Gladiator obsession) who tries to push away his then-girlfriend Sabine (now Madame Boyd). As an adult, Jesse is trying to push away Tulip and Cass for the same reasons: protect them all from the Tombs, and from Gran’ma. It’s not exactly new territory for Jesse Custer: acting like an asshole but being an okay guy underneath. The show sometimes struggles with making Jesse an anti-hero. Sometimes he’s just a jerk, but he never goes too far because it would make him too unsympathetic. It’s a tough line to walk, and Preacher doesn’t always get it right. This week, Jesse was acting too cartoonishly evil to be believable, both when Sabine claimed he killed her brother in the Tombs (he did but it was self-defence), and when he stabbed Cassidy in their Tomb-showdown.

Fortunately, Tulip sees through his act and decides to stay in Angelville. Madame Boyd told her she needs to kill Gran’ma to break Jesse’s curse, and Tulip will most certainly try to do that. Having Jesse and Tulip working together again instead of keeping secrets will be refreshing, and God still seems to have a plan for Tulip — maybe a showdown with Gran’ma is it.

Cassidy, meanwhile, is off to New Orleans after Tulip freed him from the Tombs. Breaking up the trio is another chance to keep things fresh as Cassidy can have his own adventures for a bit instead of just snarking on Jesse. And it seems like the love triangle might finally be over (or at least, on hiatus): Cassidy confessed his love to Tulip, who didn’t reciprocate, and he decided not to use the love potion on her.

This episode really laid the groundwork for some changes this season, many of which are welcome. Having Jesse in Angelville sustain the whole season would be too much, like that season of The Walking Dead where they just stayed on a farm the whole time, but wrapping it up too quickly would take away from the seriousness of Gran’ma as a villain. Splitting time between Angelville, the Saint and Cassidy should help keep the momentum going.

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