To be honest, after last week’s episode (“Monster Swamp”) I was not looking forward to watching Episode 5 last night. I wasn’t in the mood for more disappointment, more distance between me and characters that have meant so much to me for so many years. But I have to say, though Preacher the show is still not as loyal to the books as I (and many others) feel it could/should be, last night’s episode renewed my faith. Well, maybe not renewed it, but replaced my lack of it with a new kind. I think I’m mostly back on board this wild emotional roller coaster because I think I can see now where it’s headed. Maybe it’s not a place we know, but maybe it’s still a place we’d be ok ending up. I have some hunches. Let me explain.
Before bracing myself and settling in with a glass of wine, I thought, “There better at least be more Saint of Killers tonight.” Thankfully, my silent prayer was answered in the opening sequence. Our violent cowboy finally makes it to Ratwater, which is just as much of a twisted hole as long-time fans would both hope and dread. Though certain details change, the horror remains the same. So far, though skimping on the details of the sweet backstory between this particular husband and wife, this character and storyline have been the least disappointing so far. And that scene when he returns home? Straight out of the comics. Seeing those deaths come to life on screen was heartbreaking.
We see some more development with Arseface and Odin, which is entertaining for the most part. Odin having a more prominent role in the TV series than he did in the books has been somewhat interesting I guess, though in my opinion kind of irrelevant. From a creative standpoint though I can understand why the creators are doing this – because they can! We’ve probably all been there, reading a book and thinking, “I wish this guy had a bigger part!” They’re just playing and having fun exploring and I’m doing my best to roll with it. No harm, really. Eugene (Arseface) and his father’s stories have been fairly consistent with the original version, and I’m enjoying the interactions between Eugene and Jesse quite a bit as well.
I’m going to skip any further recapping and jump straight to my hunches here. Most of the people I’ve been talking to about the show felt the same way I felt after last week and I’d love them to stick around now that I think I’ve got some things figured out.
Number one question: Why the hell is Jesse so hellbent (ha-ha) on being a preacher? In the books, he didn’t have much choice and hated it, but in the show he seems genuinely into it. What gives?
Well, after Tulip openly confronts Jesse about their crime-filled reptilian past, he makes a comment that makes me believe he’s still trying to protect her. Though the context of their love and relationship is different onscreen, it’s still consistent if I’m right about this. Book Jesse would do this for Book Tulip. He would use The Word to keep the woman he loves safe if this were their situation. So maybe he isn’t so much into being Preacher at all, which has been driving me crazy since the series started, as he is feeling like he struck gold with a gift that will prove to certain people (*cough* Grandma et al *cough*) that he’s doing his very best to be the man they are making him be. And Jesse trying to convince Tulip to “change too” could be the only way he can be with her, which of course he wants to do, while still keeping her safe from the same above mentioned certain people.
I could be ok with this. That would mean at the core, he’s still the Jesse we know and their love is still the love we know. We’ll see what happens next week when he learns more about what’s inside him.
Sidenote: When Jesse was looking out at the water, and the camera panned over that little vent on the beach…?! Please let that be what I think it is. If the show plans to go into those details of Jesse’s past, there may certainly be hope for the series yet.
Ok time for hunch number two, which I’m still mostly hoping I’m wrong about, but could work depending how it’s carried out.
First these questions: What did this Carlos person take away from Tulip and Jesse so long ago? What would make a woman scream and cry the way Tulip screams and cries as that mysterious car drives away in that recurring flashback? What would make a woman want such ice cold revenge on someone so obsessively? There’s only one thing I can think of, and it means Jesse is a Father in more ways than one. Not sure how I feel about this, as it means a pretty severe deviation from the original series, but I kind of think it could work in this one. It’s a new take on slightly new versions of Jesse and Tulip but I feel less like it’s ruining their characters as much as reimagining and exploring them in a still relatively loyal way, and maybe that’s not as awful as I thought last week. Then again, maybe I’m wrong and there was no child. But that’s my guess and I’m sticking to it.
I do have one major beef with last night’s episode: Tulip and Cassidy. Tulip would never have done that in the books. Ever. In the books, Jesse is her only. This essentially eliminates, or at least severely downplays, events that take place down the road after a certain airplane incident in the books. Now, Cassidy’s and Tulip’s behaviours after that incident (if the show goes there) will be no less despicable or devastating, respectively, but won’t have quite the same effect.
On the plus (if you can call it that) side, last night’s episode finally revealed Cassidy as the manipulative, selfish scumbag we know and love to hate in the comics, which was a bit of a relief after seeing him portrayed as so solely likeable the past four episodes. This showed me that the creators are blurring certain lines and speeding up/slowing down some particulars, but that maybe all the lines and details are still there underneath it all. I suppose that’s the important part.
Again, I could be ok with this. Maybe it will just take a few more episodes and a bigger picture to see the vision clearly. Or maybe they’re mercilessly butchering it. Man, I go back and forth on this. Then again, if Tulip’s a mama, maybe she would do anything… We’ll have to wait and see.
Hunch number three is, judging by the pace, that this season will end with the Saint being woken up. Calling it now. Just because. This means Season 2 (if there is one) could really start to move in the same direction as the books.
Anyway, that’s it for this week. I’m officially back in and less pissed off than I was last week and am actually quite looking forward to seeing where the series goes next. It’s different obviously, but it’s certainly not headed in quite as awful a direction as I worried after “Monster Swamp.” Check out the preview for next week’s Episode 6 (“Sundowner”) below!