Preacher recap: Season 1, Episode 1

First off, sorry this recap is like 4 days after the episode aired, but I kind of got pleasantly blindsided by Lightbox even screening it -(there was zero promo of this that I was aware of and trust me, I was looking), and then it was a couple of days before I had the time to actually sit down and write anything because I have a 2 year-old and a day-job, and…you know what. I owe you no apologies. Whatever. I’ll try and get recaps up a bit sooner in future but life happens, you know?

Also, I have read the comics (because they are the friggin’ best) but I’m going to try and watch the show without getting hung up on the comics too much so expect that to be reflected in these recaps.

And away we go… with a 65min long episode. Wasn’t expecting that, but yay!

We open in OUTER SPACE. And by “outer space” I mean “1950s B-grade movie outer space”, but in colour. So I’m guessing the special effects budget is being spent elsewhere. Cool. Something screechy (and therefore alive?) pierces the cardboard and glitter heavens and hurtles through the solar system, takes out a satellite, and plummets into Africa where a priest is giving an apocalyptic themed sermon. The heavenly object blasts through the door and into the priest, knocking him to the ground. When he stands his voice is auto-tuned up the wazoo and he calls for everyone to be quiet, which they immediately are. And then he pretty much explodes blood everywhere

exploding preacher screenshot
I am the prophet. I am the chosen… whoa, that’s gonna stain.

Cue chaos and screaming. The “entity” departs, knocking the cross from the top of the ramshackle shed of a church as it goes.

Hopefully the next man of God lasts a bit longer, but he’s already having a traumatic black and white flashback to childhood, so who knows? He’s tattooed, scarred and likely hungover. Also his parishioners are assholes. But that’s Annville, Texas for you, I guess.

Open your ass and holes to Jesus
It’s like sweary scrabble!

The Preacher is giving an awkward, underwhelming sermon that has something to do with…nobody cares with the possible exception of the church organist. Oh, hello. It’s Eric Northman’s vampire sister/fuckbuddy from True Blood.

Outside it’s barbecue and squirrel shooting time. The Preacher is having his ear bent by some knob who has serious mother issues and I’m sorry but Dominic Cooper’s accent does not sound great to my ears. He ditches the mommy-whiner for a kid who basically wants him to beat up his dad because he’s violent towards his mother. Kid has heard the Preacher is something of a badass who might be right for the job, but the Preacher has seen a lot of violence and he’s not keen to head down that road. The Kid is distinctly not impressed because kids, eh? And it seems like our Preacher doesn’t even believe in God, or at least, doesn’t believe he’s listening.

Later violence erupts on the streets of Annville as the local posse of rednecks take exception to the new PC football mascot, preferring a racially offensive Red Indian stereotype. Mascot-targeted whupping ensues.

Red chief vs prairie dog
This was an excellent tableau and the most “comic book” panel looking shot, I thought.

This is witnessed by the Preacher and the Sheriff but neither seem especially fussed at doing anything about it. Preach takes the opportunity to try and give the Sheriff a head’s up about the whole wife-beating thing he’s been made wise to, but he’s having none of it. The injured party can make a formal complaint, m’kay? Preach gets a bit snarky on it and Deputy Dawg bites back. Preach had better keep his head down if he knows what’s good for him. Oh, and pop by and see Eugene, will ya? He’s been asking after you.

DRUGS, lots of ’em. Isn’t that the Irish gobshite from Misfits? It is, and he’s on some kind of chartered party jet because apparently these guys are too fancy for a mystery bus trip, or possibly none of them can stand to hear “Copperhead Road” again for the rest of their lives, which is fair enough. Fortunately the rest of their lives isn’t going to be very long because despite everything seeming to be deliriously copacetic, Cassidy aka “the Gaelic barkeep of the skies” has just made an apparently significant discovery in the loo (no, not that sort) involving a heavily vandalised bible and I get the sense that it isn’t just the use of a marker pen on the holy tome that’s made him annoyed.

And so begins the unrestrained orgy of violence, folks. Everyone is dying horribly and there are medieval weapons being flung about and just a minute ago everyone was having a swell time. But you know when a party turns, it turns fast.

Oh, and apparently the Irish badass drinks human blood so I guess that explains the lightning fast reflexes and carnage and whatnot*.

This party is over and it’s time to leave so our new vampire friend shoves a broken champagne bottle into the pilot, pops the cork and decants him into a plastic bottle… for later, I guess? Then he jumps out of the plane, grabbing an umbrella on the way out and plummets like a murderous Mary Poppins.

Meanwhile Preach is trying to eat breakfast at a diner and Mr mommy-issues is at his shoulder bleating on again. He gives him the same advice he gave him last time which is to be honest with mumsy and open his heart.

Dowdy church organist, Emily, who apparently works at the diner, is there with her kids. And she a) clearly hasn’t had any in far too long and b) would like to get it from Jesse. She’s busy because someone named Walter hasn’t come into work again and maybe Jesse should get off his ass and go check on him – so Ems is definitely channeling that constant rejection and sexual frustration into being passive aggressive, as you do.

In Africa a couple of guys in a jeep, wearing jodhpurs for Christs’ sake, are surveying the scene of the exploding minister. These guys are massive dicks. You can just tell.

pith helmets and jodhpurs
A pith helmet? Are you serious?

Jesse goes to check on the aforementioned Walter and finds him at his house sleeping it off. He sees a gun and hears a woman singing in the shower and skedaddles straight the fuck outta there as only a man who really doesn’t want to bump into his ex can.

And we kind of get it because we flashback to a recent escapade during which there is an awful lot of violence going on in a car and at least half of it is being dished out by a fury of a woman. It’s vicious and dirty and somebody’s ear gets bitten off.

Whoa. Did she just kill that guy with a corn cob? Stephen King would approve.

She retrieves some kind of smartphone or GPS unit from the guy who lost one ear but got another smashed into his face (ha! I see what they did there). What exactly do you do for a follow up after that?

Oh, just a spot of potentially explosive arts and crafts with the local farm children (of the corn) who happen upon the scene. This lady is utterly charming and clued up and also terrifying, and Jesse did something really bad to her and she is still super pissed. Also, bazooka time!

bazooka Tulip
Scrapbooking is for pussies.

She tucks the kids safely into the tornado shelter, then we hear, rather than see her shoot down a chopper with her homemade bazooka, and then shoot a guy which, again, must have saved on the special effects budget but the kids care not. They think she, who finally introduces herself as Priscilla Jean Henrietta O’Hare aka Tulip, is the bees effing knees.

Cassidy however is at the bottom of a crater of his own making and he looks like a dropped spag bol. Unfortunately his bottle of pilot-juice to go has not survived the fall so he’s forced to have a wee drink of a passing cow.

Jesse has another Daddy flashback, this time with gunfire before popping in for a visit at Quincannon Meat and Power for a quick chat with Betsy, the domestic abuse victim he’s trying to help only… when she recounts the violence she suffers at her husband’s hands there’s something “off” about it. They almost seem like pleasant memories to her, and apparently they are. She admits to liking it and Jesse clearly doesn’t know what to do with that.

In Russia there’s been another exploding clergyman and the Bobsy Twins, now decked out in fur hats because RUSSIA, are on the case.

Jesse pulls up in his pickup at what I think is a scenic makeout spot and walks over to Tulip’s car. She claims she’s not going to shoot him so it’s safe to approach. She thanks him for checking in on her uncle so I guess that explains what she was doing at Walter’s house. She wants him in on a job she’s got planned. She’s got the map so it’s all good but he’s not interested. And is this an ear? Nope, lunch. Slick, Tulip. Don’t we all wish we could lie so easily about dismembered body parts? I know I do.

These two have a history and some bad stuff went down but they’re both sorry and a little sad about it. But Tulip is fierce and her anger is coiled like a snake. She wants something from him and she is going to be getting it. They are who they are. She sees him playing at being a preacher but knows better.

Jesse next pays a visit to the Sheriff’s house on account of Eugene. The Sheriff is busy preparing Eugene’s dinner in a bullet blender and it’s pretty much the grossest thing I’ve seen since Cassidy’s entrails.

Nutribullet yumminess
Don’t drink the Koolaid, Jesse, nor the raw meat protein shake.

But not for long, because Eugene’s face has a Sarlacc Pit where the mouth should be. It’s like a cross between a bellybutton and black hole that’s trying to suck the rest of his face in. Hence the drinking out of a straw. It seems Eug must have done this to himself because he’s carrying crazy guilt about it. He thinks God’s forsaken him and that’s why he wants to talk to Jesse. Preach does his best to jolly him on about the all-forgiving nature of God while not believing a word of it.

The singular face of Eugene
Is Boba Fett in there somewhere?

Naturally this means a trip to a bar for Jesse. And holy crap, we learn via the bar TV that Tom Cruise just blew up. You legends.

In saunters Cassidy wearing clothes he stole off a washing line and wants to know where in the love of gut-rot whisky he is, exactly. But this is all cut short by Wife-beater-Donnie who’s none too happy about Preach getting up in his marital business.

At the back of the bar Cassidy’s on the phone making contact with an associate and complaining about the plane party that went to hell. How do they keep finding him? Well Cassidy, perhaps not continuing to use the name Cassidy and being a little less garrulous might be a good strategy?

Jesse’s taken something of a beating at the hands of Donnie and seems okay with it to keep the peace but then Donnie threatens to punish the Kid for snitching and that’s when the tide turns. And when he’s in the flow of thumping shit out of those rednecks he loves it. He is being who he truly is.

He pretty much takes out the whole gang singlehandedly before the Sheriff breaks it up, but not before Jesse gets in the last blow and Donnie gets a wicked looking compound fracture to the arm and starts singing soprano.

So Jesse and Cassidy both end up in jail – Jesse for all the ultraviolence, Cassidy, probably just because he’s foreign and Jesse admits to being a pretty terrible preacher which prompts Cassidy to utter the best line of TV dialogue I’ve heard in a long while –

As long as you’re not walking around with a kiddie’s asshole on your finger like a wedding ring I’d say you’re ahead of the game.

It’s like music to my twisted, sicko ears, goddamn it.

They have a little heart-to-heart as only fellow jailbirds can. Jesse bitches about the busted airconditioner at the church. They discuss the relative merits of faith. The usual chat.

Jesse gets bailed out by Emily and she would definitely grind Jesse’s organ. All. Night. Long. But he’s quitting the church and she is gutted.

Speaking of the church, Jesse notices funny lights and goes to investigate because people always do in movies and TV shows. Insatiable light-fitting curiosity they all have and he’s no exception. In a last ditch attempt at forgiveness he tries to pray. This is a one time only offer, God. Make your presence known now or piss off.

It goes about as well as expected.

And that’s when our entity comes in and makes a slow approach on Jesse who can do nothing but stare open mouthed with a ciggy dangling comedically from his lips. It’s invisible except for a distortion in the light, and the pushing aside of pews as it makes its way up the aisle towards its waiting groom/minister. It throws him back against the wall with impressive force.

In Daddy flashback mode again we see more. His father, a preacher too, tells him he has to be one of the good guys and that Custers don’t cry they fight…right before someone blows his head off with a revolver.

Jesse wakes up in his room with Emily watching over him. Apparently Cassidy found him passed out in the church and has since moved in and is fixing the airconditioner while Jesse’s had a fever for the last 3 days. It’s Sunday and it’s sermon time.

But not before Ted of the hideous mother and no perceivable backbone is at it again with the complaining. Jesse by now is pretty much over this spiel so he forcefully (and with some special spooky sound effects) tells Ted to Be brave. Tell her the truth. Open your heart. And this time he’s definitely taking that advice. He heads off like a man on a mission.

One terrible goth guitar rendition of Amazing Grace in and this week’s church service is already an improvement on the last. Plus Tulip just turned up, and Cassidy’s laid out on a pew at the back, but he’s clocked the lady, don’t you worry.

Cassidy and Tulip
Well how do you do, dere, milady?

Jesse’s sermon isn’t really a sermon but an apology for being a sucky preacher and he’s nearly going to quit but looking around at the faces of his congregation he realises he can fight for them, not just with them (nice sling, Donnie). He’s gonna be the best goshdarn preacher he can be from now on. He’s going to save them.

Jesse's apology
Jesse Custer discovering his calling. Uh huh.

Yup. I am positive that that will go swimmingly.

He’s certainly had a profound effect on Ted who flies down to confront his mother at her Floridian retirement home. He makes a reasonable and measured appeal to her about her behaviour…before cutting his own heart out with a knife in front of her.

Cut to our theme dressing jerk-wads who are now in full ten gallon hat Texan regalia so I guess they’re not far away. Also, one of them eats teabags so they may not be strictly human. Unless this is also a Texan affectation and that’s just how they do things in the lone star state.

Here endeth the recap.

*look at me pretending like I didn’t know that. I totally knew he was a vampire, come on.

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