When last we saw Annville’s resident Preacher Jesse Custer, he might just have made himself the worst man of religion ever by sending one of his parishioners to Hell. This episode, entitled “He Gone”, will hopefully fill us in on whether’s that’s what actually happened or at least let us bear witness to the resulting clusterfuck. Amen.
We open right where the last episode left off, ie with a vacant space where Eugene was a second before. Jesse is somewhat horrified, as he walks to wear Eugene should be, the floorboards creaking slightly under his weight as if to remind us that it was a downwards direction Jesse directed Eugene to travel in, not an upwards one. What is he going to do?
He’s going to shake off guilt like raindrops of a duck’s back and get back to work, that’s what.
Whoa. That is cold. And it’s witnessed silently by Cassidy from above, who looks none too impressed. So again, we find ourselves using Cassidy as a completely skewiff moral compass – if a whoring, drug addict, alcoholic VAMPIRE thinks you’ve crossed the line, then mate, you’ve really crossed it.
We’re also treated to some excellent visuals as the light from the doors as Jesse strides out to meet his congregation creates a cross shape ending at the floorboard where Eugene met damnation (possibly).
The church fills up apart from the empty seat next to the Sheriff, and despite everything Jesse does seem to have created or rekindled a sense of community in Annville. Jesse tells his congregation to serve God, but backs out of doing it in the way the did with Odin Quincannon. Inner-resting.
He’s clearly feeling the guilts as he bids farewell to a discomfited Sheriff who asks around if anyone’s seen Eugene and yet he walks inside the empty church, right over the spot where Eugene disappeared with barely a furrowed brow.
The camera pans down into the floor and are we going to “hell”? Nope, just Odin Quincannon’s office, his Alamo diorama, and his oh-so-soothing “sounds of slaughter”. He sips a finger of whisky and enjoys the serenity of cattle-death audio. The sick fuck.
Post-credits we have a young Jesse flashback and he’s guiltily waiting outside the principal’s office with young Tulip.
And can we all just take a minute to remember this? Good times.
Apparently they were standing up to bullies and doing such a good job of it 3 of them are in the infirmary and one lost a nipple. It’s nice to see Tulip’s insouciant, “don’t give a fuck” attitude started young. Unfortunately her mother’s in jail and her uncle’s drunk so it looks like she’ll be hanging out at the Custer’s for a bit. Young Jesse prays that night for God to look after his own mother,”wherever she is”, and for help not to be so bad.
Jump forward and Tulip is hoofing down the street, coral shoes in hand wearing the outfit we just saw her in at church. She leaps fences like a parkour enthusiast. She comes out on a street and waits by a parked truck for some kids on bikes who she accosts with the simple request “give me the pants”.
Said pants are given up quickly and without protest because when Tulip O’Hare asks for pants, or anything, YOU GIVE IT TO HER.
Tulip walks back to her car with the men’s khakis and we see her Uncle Walter passed out on his front step…pantsless. Those little douchebags.
She tries to lift him but he’s a dead weight. A series of neighbours looks on disapprovingly. Tulip lights up a cigarette and looks great in her outfit (seriously, I need that skirt – maybe with less passed out guy on it…maybe).
At the church, Jesse runs through his now full diary of church-related appointments with Emily, and he’s just getting started.
Meanwhile Eugene’s bedroom sits empty.
The Custer home is still semi-full of people, but Cassidy makes an approach to Jesse anyway and asks how he’s doing. No, but really? No, but really, really? Jesse doesn’t pick up what Cassidy is putting down, forcing him to say that he saw what Jesse did to Eugene. And Jesse barely reacts, making it seem like he’s going to try and make out that nothing really happened. But Cassidy just wants Jesse to know he’s here to help. Jesse doesn’t get a chance to respond though, as Emily turns up…and did she hear some of that?
Jesse’s exit cues Tulip’s entrance and she’s there to make dinner. Poor old Cassidy is just trying to get an handle on what the situation is. Why isn’t she out of there to take revenge on Carlos? If Jesse’s her boyfriend then why’d she make sweet love with Cassidy down by the strip club? Which he hasn’t mentioned to Jesse, by the way, thank you very much. Nevermind that it probably suits Cassidy very well not to have that confrontation, but whatevs.
Well firstly, Cassidy, that was not “love making” that was the other thing. Secondly, does Jesse even know you’re a vampire?
Yes. I’ve mentioned it repeatedly.
Now technically Cassidy has told Jesse, but not in such a way as to make him truly believe it. Tulip knows Jesse and she knows he wouldn’t be okay with it.
I bet I could tell him right now and he wouldn’t give a kitten’s arsehole.
I do love Cassidy’s portion of the dialogue. It’s so illustrative.
Her intuitions are spot on, but she has known him since childhood. Cassidy’s only known him for 5 minutes. And so they enter a strange sort of “who knows Jesse best competition” that Cassidy can’t possibly win, especially not if he thinks Ryan Phillipe is Jesse’s favourite movie star. Ryan Phillipe isn’t ANYONE’S favourite movie star. Not since the Cruel Intentions era. Wake up and smell the 21st century, Cassidy. Jeez.
The correct answer is John Wayne. Which is just about the opposite of Ryan Phillipe. Tulip dares Cassidy to tell Jesse and you can see he’s got his doubts now. So in order to claw his way back and save face he gives up the Big Secret that he knows about Jesse. His power.
Flashback to young Jesse and Tulip wrestling in the Custer home. Tulip’s winning and threatens to lick his eyeball. Custer snr comes in and sets them to a more productive task, namely dishes.
In the kitchen Jesse, who is on washing, is out of dishsoap and asks Tulip to check the closet for more. On her way back she spies a little on the Preacher through an open door. We don’t know what she sees or hears but I’m sure it’ll come out soon.
At night Tulip wakes Jesse up for a chat, referencing some promise they’ve made to each other – til the end of the world. The next thing we see is the arrival of representatives of the Texas Department of Human Services. They take Tulip with them, and she’s goes quietly but Jesse fights it. It seems that it may have been a phone call by Jesse’s dad about this very subject that Tulip overheard. Jesse is heartbroken and chases after the car.
Jesse remonstrates with his dad – it had been working out okay, Tulip had hardly been in trouble since she’d been with them but according to Custer snr, she’s an O’Hare and there would always be trouble. That night Jesse’s prayer has changed. Now he wants God watch out for Tulip, and for his daddy to die and go straight to Hell.
Welp, that was prophetic.
In the present Emily is presiding over a rehearsal for a truly terrible Bible story play type thing. It is everything that is wrong with amateur dramatics and there are bongo drums and just *shudder*.
Emily turns to Jesse who has notes. There should be more mortal terror. Lots of that. And some exploding helicopters, elsewise what’s the point? Does someone need to point out that this production features a child with a beard made of cotton balls? Did I mention I find Jesse to be kind of a dick? I’ve mentioned that before, right?
We are saved from any more of this distinctly dark theatre critique by the arrival of Odin Quincannon. He takes Jesse aside to tell him he’s finished his model, also that he’s been asleep at the wheel in terms of my company which is a bit of an ailing duck – oh, also I will be taking your church and land now, as agreed.
Say what, now?
Quincannon’s basically denying that he agreed to serve God now. So ho-ho-ho, maybe Jesse’s power is only temporary? But Jesse is definitely not giving up his father’s church. And Odin Quincannon, as we know, is not a man to be on the bad side of. Which Jesse very much is now. Whoops.
Out the front of the church, Cassidy and Emily have a conversation about Jesse that’s rather different from the one he had with Tulip. Emily knows there are things about Jesse she doesn’t know, which she’d probably be surprised by. Cassidy reckons that’s true of everyone (he’s a vampire, she’s fucking the Mayor) but that Jesse’s basically a good guy. Emily is essentially a very awkward person, who doesn’t seem to interact that easily with others, so it’s all a bit stilted.
At dinner Cassidy continues on his anti-The Lebowski/Coen brothers thesis from an earlier episode, in a surprisingly cogent manner. Tulip shares her secret for hash browns which is vanilla extract. WTF? Is that a Texan thing or a crazy Tulip thing? Jesse, meanwhile is a million miles away. Cassidy is willing to concede that the Coens are capable of good work (Millers Crossing, anyone?) but frequently miss the mark. So exasperating.
Tulip has picked up on Jesse’s vibe and tries to hone in on it but the Sheriff turns up looking for Eugene. And I’d gather from how nervous Emily looks, that she did overhear something earlier. But suddenly there’s smoke pouring out of the oven and flames like the firey pits of Hell. Jesse remains unmoved, elsewhere. Perhaps, it’s he, that is gone?
Jesse lies to the Sheriff but then Emily says that yes, remember Eugene came by before church but then he left right after. Right? So now she’s lying too.
Jesse walks the Sheriff out and after he leaves Cassidy gives him a friendly smack in the face with a fire extinguisher because that’s how guys bond with each other? But it seems to snap him out of whatever headspace he was in, and he admits that it was just an accident with Eugene. Cassidy’s expecting him to want to do something about it but Jesse reveals that lovable sweetheart Eugene was anything but innocent. He professed his love for Tracy Loach and was rejected but instead of slinking off to a corner and licking his wounds he put a rifle to her head and blew half of it off, then turned it on himself. So that explains the animosity of much of the townsfolk. So maybe Eugene deserves to be in Hell, better men than him (possibly including Jesse’s dad) have ended up there.
Cassidy points out that Genesis is messing with Jesse’s head and he should give it back. But Jesse reckons if one soul has to go to Hell, then that’s part of God’s plan and who is he to do anything other than stand back and watch?
Well, this irks Cassidy no end. For he is certainly not without sin, and God, if he’s real isn’t worth the trouble, in his humble opinion.
Still standing in shadow, Cassidy tosses Jesse the fire extinguisher, removes his hoody and t-shirt… and walks into the sun.
Will Jesse let him burn too, he wants to know?
You know how people on business retreats do fire walks to as a confidence booster/act of trust? This like that but so much more hardcore. Why isn’t this show about Cassidy? He’s much more heroic than anyone else.
Jesse walks back inside with the fire extinguisher and continues eating. Tulip asks about Cassidy, rather pointedly because nothing gets past her (apart from the whole super power thing).
And he knows that she knows what Cassidy is and she knows that he’s turned his back on him. So she gives him a serve and compares him to his father. And Jesse is just flat out mean to her, basically calling her trash, with her vanilla hash browns etc. and you can tell it’s hit its mark.
She calls him a dick and leaves. FINALLY. I’ve been saying this for pretty much this whole season. Jesse Custer is a massive dick.
This leaves Emily who offers words of support…she believes in him. Jesse, WHO IS A DICK, sends her on her way as well.
Jesse contemplates the fire extinguisher then drifts into memory of his dad waking him in the night and telling him to get under the bed. We hear someone break in, someone known, and give Jesse’s dad a beating with a baseball bat. He watches from under the bed and the legs of the assailant approach. Next we see the scene of Jesse’s dad’s death, that we first saw several episodes ago.
His father tells him that bigger things are coming for him that what’s happening here – the happening being the pistol pointed at his temple. He makes his promise to be one of the good guys because there’s way too many of the bad. His father tells him Custers don’t cry, they fight and in an added bit we haven’t seen before young Jesse confesses that it’s all his fault, that he prayed for this. And then they shoot his dad.
In the present day we see Jesse, using the fire extinguisher to smash in the floorboards of the church. He digs in the dirt with his bare hands shouting “come back, come back”.
The next thing we see is the dark army of Odin Quincannon, including Donnie in full battle reenactment regalia, and a digger, marching through the night towards the church.
Okay, well it looks like Jesse may have just turned a corner and might stop being a dick but I’m not 100% sold on that yet. Let’s just see if he can get Eugene back. And I actually missed Fiore and Deblanc in this episode so hopefully Jesse’s power over them will wear off soon too. Meanwhile, has anyone noticed the crispy black stain out front or did Cassidy manage to drag himself into cover?