Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Preacher recap "Finish the Song" S1E9 7/24/16

Back in old timey Ratwater: Back in the saloon, a man sings to the hoi polloi, accompanied by a piano player.  All the whores and johns and cowboys and prospectors and settler families quiet themselves and listen.  And then the Cowboy walks in, back from finding his wife and daughter dead in his house.  That smarmy preacher - who shot the Cowboy's horse - welcomes him, speechifying somewhat, naming the Cowboy as the "Butcher of Gettysburg," who killed seventy-seven people with his own hands.  The preacher asks if the Cowboy will love and accept Jesus into his heart.  The Cowby replies that he loves his horse, he loves his wife and he loves his little girl - and as for Jesus, "He can join us all here in Hell."  He tosses down the bundle he is carrying - heads roll out and a woman screams - and then he raises his pistols.  He shoots the preacher first and then looks at the singer, growling, "I want you to finish the song."  And as the singer sings, the Cowboy methodically guns down every single person in the place, women and children included.  The singer gets to finish the song.  And then the Cowboy cuts his head off with one stroke of a huge knife.  Wow.  The Cowboy steps over the bodies to stand at the bar.  As the wind picks up outside and the building shakes and rattles, bottles falling off shelves to smash on the floor, he pours himself a drink.  And that's how you open the penultimate episode of S1 of Preacher, even if those of us who don't read the comic don't know WTF is going on.

Now:  The sheriff drives towards down, with Jesse in the back of the cruiser.  He asks Jesse again what happened to Eugene and Jesse tells him, again, that he sent him to hell.  Sheriff Root is not well-pleased with that answer, sure that the preacher has killed his boy.  Jesse says that he's sorry, and that he'll see the sheriff on Sunday, and then he jimmies open the door (using a pen he took from Odin Quincannon) and dives out, disappearing into the night.

Deblanc and Fiore walk to a travel agency and announce that they want to take a trip: to Hell.  The agent sullenly sells them the tickets and tells them that the shuttle will pick them up promptly at the time specified.

Tulip calls Emily over to her uncle's house, telling her not to freak out but that Cassidy is a vampire and is having trouble healing after being burned.  She's got the house full of various animals (rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, chickens, a goat or two) that she's been feeding him - just opening the door a crack and tossing them in when she hears him moving around - but she needs Emily to take over because she's got to go to Albuquerque to kill a man.  Emily protests that Jesse's in trouble but Tulip cuts her short, saying that she doesn't care about Jesse and he can be Emily's boyfriend now.  Emily unconvincingly stutters that she has a boyfriend - Miles, "he's the mayor ... ginger goatee" - and Tulip's all, good on you.  And then she takes off, leaving a nervous Emily staring around herself at all the doomed critters.

Sometime later, she is standing at the door, clutching a guinea pig.  Miles calls, saying that he'll pick the kids up but he's planning on staying overnight and he'll bring a bottle of wine.  She hardly listens to him and when she hangs up the phone, she opens the bedroom door enough to toss in the guinea pig.  There are growls and guinea pig squeals and then sloshing noises.  Emily steels herself to take a peek into the bedroom: an unrecognizable, feral, scarred Cassidy snarls at her, guinea pig blood covering his face.  She slams the door closed.

Back at the motel, the angels are packing up all their gear ("I've left the radio on for her.").  They're fretting about the trip to Hell, wondering if maybe they shouldn't just call Heaven and 'fess up, throwing themselves on Heaven's mercy.  "We discussed that: they'd separate us forever.  Except we wouldn't be going to Hell, so it's a tough one."  They decide to flip a coin - and do it a couple of times until Heaven turns up.  But the phone to Heaven is gone - Jesse stole it - and it looks like they'll be going to Hell after all.

Emily watches t.v. (Psycho is on, the scene where Marion and Norman talk about the traps they're in), absently stroking a rabbit.  From the bedroom, Cassidy bellows, "Someone help me, please!"  So she calls Miles:  "Miles, help me! He got out, he's going to kill me!"  Miles rushes to Tulip's uncle's house, slightly disconcerted by the goat in the kitchen.  Calling Emily's name, he opens the locked door to Cassidy's bedroom and walks in horrified.  When he turns back towards the door, Emily is there and she slams the door shut in his face, bolting it.  Cassidy pounces on poor Miles and then the shot switches to Emily in the hall, leaning against the door.  Miles shrieks and Cassidy snarls and then there's those sloshing sounds.  And Emily stands there and listens to it all.  DAMN.

Over at the motel, the clerk shows the sheriff the angels' room, saying that they paid up and left but this is what the maid found when she went in to turn the room over.  The room is, of course, wrecked and splashed with blood, but that is nothing compared to what Root finds in the bathtub:  the seraph, her arms and legs cut off (chainsaw) and cauterized so she'll stay alive.  The sheriff yells for the clerk to call an ambulance and then kneels next to the tub, telling the "woman" that she'll be okay.  She whispers for him to kill her, over and over, and he looks at her, seeing what remains, and then he puts his hands around her neck and chokes the life out of her.  [That seems out of character, despite the tears streaming down his face.]  He doesn't see the flash in the next room as the seraph revigorates.  She stands in the doorway a moment, watching the sheriff, and then heads out, back on the hunt for the angels and/or Jesse.

Speaking of Deblanc and Fiore, when the shuttle arrives to take them to Hell, the driver tells them "sorry, no carry-ons," referring to their giant trunk.  The tall angel (Deblanc? Fiore?) looks crushed, saying "But my comics ..." but the short one comforts him: "It's all right, my dear.  Leave 'em behind."  They get on the shuttle and drive off.

Jesse arrives at Tulip's uncle's house, looking for Tulip but finding Emily instead, out in the backyard setting all the little critters free.  She says that she's off to get her kids but that Cassidy is inside.  Jesse goes into Cassidy's room, takes in the blood and body.  Cassidy:  "You should go, preacher.  It's not safe for you here."  But Jesse doesn't go.  He sits with his friend and apologizes for letting him burn.  Cassidy shrugs, forgiving him: "Well, you put me out.  That's what matters."  They sit awkwardly for a moment and then Cassidy: "So what do we do now?  You fancy a shag or just want to hold hands or somethin'?"  Jesse laughs and says that they should first get rid of the body. Awww - friends again!  While tidying up, Cassidy examines the Heaven phone but Jesse says it doesn't work: it needs angel hands or else it doesn't work.  Cassidy:  "That's no problem, padre.  I can get you angel hands."  Jesse's all, okay, but I got to make a call first.  He calls Tulip, getting her voicemail and leaving her a long rambling message about how he's realized it now, "For me, it's just you.  'Til the end of the world."

Jesse gets Tulip's voicemail because she's busy with Carlos in Albuquerque.  She's a little banged up and bloody but he's now tied to a chair and she's got a meat tenderizer.

Back to the Cowboy:  We get the Cowboy's first scene again, the sick child, being sent for medicine, meeting the settler family, finding the preacher distasteful, getting the medicine, changing his mind halfway home and returning to Ratville to make sure the settlers are okay, getting beaten and his horse getting shot, walking home to find his wife and daughter dead and picked at by crows.  And then we get the scene - or select bits of it - again, and again and again, and also the scene from the start of the episode, with the Cowboy killing everyone in the saloon, again and again.  And I get it: the Cowboy is in Hell, doomed to relive this over and over for eternity.  Until one time, after he has slaughtered the saloon and is taking his drink at the bar, Deblanc and Fiore walk in.  They have a job for him: they want him to kill someone.  Who, growls the Cowboy.  A preacher, say the angels.  He's in.

Back to now:  Jesse and Cassidy are fixing to bury Miles and the bigger animal bodies.  First they dig up Cassidy's trunk, with the dead iterations of the angels in it.  He pulls out a hand and tosses it to Jesse, who thanks him.  They put Miles in the reopened grave and start to fill it in.  Cassidy:  "God, eh? Comin' to Texas?"  Jesse:  "Yep.  Sunday mornin'."  Cassidy: "That'll be somethin'."  Jesse: "Yep."

Previously on Preacher / next time on Preacher

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Here's what I read recently

Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese - Christine, an end-times reporter for a religious news publication, has nearly had enough of doomsday cults and their always-wrong predictions about Armageddon.  But while on a legitimate assignment in the Middle East, she is given a locked briefcase and told to "take it to Mercury."  Mercury happens to be a sassy angel, happily practicing his ping-pong serve in California and trying not to take anything too seriously.  Both Heaven and Hell are moving their players into position for the Apocalypse - it's actually going to happen this time - and Christine and Mercury have to kidnap the Antichrist (a total dickweed named Karl who lives in his mother's attic) to keep the world from ending.

I liked Mercury Falling but didn't love it.  I wasn't able to make much of a connection with any of the characters and, as such, didn't really care about any of them.  There is a definite Douglas Adams/Tim Robbins/Terry Pratchett tone to the novel as the ridiculous situations keep piling up and Christine keeps trying to deal with them as a rational human being.  If you like your apocalypses on the lighter side, this one's for you.  (And as a bonus, it is just the first in a series of Mercury novels.)

The Fireman by Joe Hill - A plague has swept the country (and possibly the world), brought about by a highly contagious spore - apparently released as the polar ice has melted - that marks its victims' skin with gorgeous gold and black tattoos ... and then causes them to spontaneously combust and burn alive.  There is no cure.  Harper Grayson is a nurse who at first tries to care for those sickened by Dragonscale and then she catches a dose of it herself.  Her horrible husband has a nervous breakdown and abandons her, just as she learns that she is pregnant with their first child.  An enigmatic stranger that she meets in the hospital - the Fireman - helps her find her way to a community of infected who support one another while they try to learn to live with their infection.  But around them civilization has fallen apart: no power, no government, no medicine and roving bands of Cremation Squads who put down any infected they can find.  Harper discovers that the Fireman has learned how to control the Dragonscale - and that is her only hope for her unborn child, and perhaps the human race.

Look, I really like Joe Hill.  But The Fireman was as uninteresting and unoriginal as a novel about people bursting into flame can be.  At the start of the book, Hill's dedication includes those who inspired him with this book:  including, "Ray Bradbury, from whom I stole my title, [and] my father, from whom I stole all the rest."  Everyone now knows that Hill's father is Stephen King and The Fireman sure felt like a SK ripoff: including bits from The Stand (the plague, pregnant heroine, collapse of civilization) and Firestarter (um, the fire) and Cell (another collapse of civilization, moving through Maine to a rumored safe haven), to name just a couple.  The characters felt a little thin and the build-up to the confrontation between Harper and her crazed ex-husband just fizzled out like pfftttt.  I would like to see Joe Hill get back to form - this one was just too derivative for me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Preacher recap "El Valero" S1E8 7/17/16

Flashback:  Some time in the 1980s, the whole Quincannon family went on a ski trip to Vail (minus Odin, who stayed home to run the slaughterhouse), where they perished in a freak tram accident.  Odin was pretty tore up about it - understandably - and when all the coffins arrived back in Annville, delivered to his office, he pretty much loses his damn mind: Jesse's dad finds him elbow-deep in blood, coffins open and a disemboweled cow on the office floor, comparing the cow's and his daughter's intestines.  The preacher tries to calm him, says something about God.  But Quincannon is done believing in God - no God would do this, it's all meat, meat is all there is, no spirit, no soul.  He hollers at John Custer to denounce God, "DENOUNCE HIM!"  That is one disturbed individual right there.

Now:  The first wave of Quincannon's men enter the church to run Jesse out of it.  We don't get to see the fight (unfortunately, because the action scenes are usually so good) but he kicks their asses and sends them back out to Donny and Quincannon.  Donny's all, but what did he SAY?  The boys are all, he didn't say nothing.  Inside the church, Jesse is working his way through a bottle of whiskey and muttering, "God, just bring Eugene back.  I'll never use [the Voice] again.  Just bring him back."  Then he sees some movement in the dirt below the busted floorboards. He falls to his knees and scrapes away the dirt, grabbing a clutching hand and finally hauling Eugene out of the ground.  He grabs the boy into a big hug.  Eugene's all, is this real or is it a trick?  Jesse pulls out his phone, ready to call the sheriff, but Eugene asks him to wait so he can have a drink of water first.

As the sky lightens through the windows, they sit in the pews and talk.  Jesse has all sorts of questions about Hell but Eugene really doesn't want to talk about it.  Jesse understands, but asks how he got out.  Eugene says that he heard Jesse calling him so he just started digging up.  Jesse: "You dug out of Hell with your hands?"  Eugene:  "It's not that far."  Jesse thinks about this.  After he calls the sheriff, Jesse tells Eugene that he was right, that he was wrong to force people to do things via the Voice.  "I was told there'd be consequences.  And here they are," looking out the window.  "Should probably give it back."  Eugene nods, "Sure, the guys at the motel."  Jesse looks sharply at him, realizing that he never mentioned the angels to him, realizing that Eugene isn't really here.  Imaginary Eugene shrugs, "We'll figure something out."

Meanwhile, off in her own storyline, Tulip has gone to a dog shelter and rescued an adorable bloodhound named Brewski.  She takes him home and they play fetch.

Back outside, Quincannon rallies his troops, telling them about the food court-style cafeteria he has planned for the new slaughterhouse he's going to build here on the church land.  But first they have to get that damn preacher out of the church.  Word starts to spread around town about the stand-off and folks start showing up, bringing picnics and lawn chairs and boomboxes, waiting to see the show.  Emily is there, rather upset.  Inside, Jesse fills some Molotov cocktails in church wine bottles; imaginary Eugene notes that that's rather sacriligious.  Quincannon's army advances on the church but Jesse is in the steeple with a rifle and sends them running.  One guy drives up in a bulldozer and Jesse pegs him with one of the Molotov cocktails; the guy runs off as the 'dozer explodes.  One guy, Clive - shouting "Food court! Food court!" - charges alone and Jesse literally shoots his dick off: "Extraordinary shot, really," muses Clive, holding his severed member in his hands.  The sheriff drives up, wondering WTF.  Then Jesse comes over the loudspeaker: "Send me the agents."  Quincannon's all, "Asians?"  But the sheriff knows who Jesse means.

DeBlanc and Fiore show up, toting their trunk.  Jesse says he'll give up Genesis but first he wants to know if it's possible to bring someone back from Hell.  One of the angels is all, NO, but the other one mumbles yes - but it's very difficult and dangerous.  They don't want to deal with that now, though.  Now it's time to get Genesis out of the preacher.  Jesse lies down with the coffee can on his belly.  While one angel plays the music box, the other sings the "Winkum Blinkum" song.  Jesse tries to rationalize that maybe he was given this power for a reason, maybe God wants him to have it to do good things.  But the angels are all, okay, so what good have you done with it?  And Jesse has no answer for that.  Finally, the coffee can shudders and they slam the lid on it.  The angels pack up to leave but Genesis just isn't interested in staying where it belongs.  It bursts out of the can and hurtles back into Jesse, knocking him into the altar.  The angels frown, saying that it looks like they're going to have to do this the hard way - "The other option, then."

Outside, Quincannon gets ready to send his troops against the church again.  Donny wanders off, a bemused smile on his face.  He walks past his wife and over to his car where he takes his hat off and removes the sling from his arm.  He takes out his pistol and kneels down, leaning into the trunk of the car with his head inside and pulling the trunk door down onto the back of his neck.  He places the pistol into the trunk and pulls the trigger.

That night, Quincannon's men shoot the shit out of the church as Jesse hunkers down inside, still drinking from his bottle of whiskey, shooting back half-heartedly.  Even imaginary Eugene has abandoned him.  Then someone comes in the back, walking softly.  Cassidy?  No, it's Donny, actually, not dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound but instead DEAF from the gun being fired at such close range in the trunk of the car.  There is blood pouring out of both his ears.  Jesse: "Donny, what did you do?"  Donny just laughs, "What? What, preacher?"  He may be a bit crazy but he figured out how to deal with Jesse.  Jesse puts down his gun and Donny hits him upside the head with his own.

Some time later, Jesse sits with Quincannon and all his men.  Quincannon hands over the deed he wants Jesse to sign.  The younger man takes it, but shakes his head, saying he doesn't understand what happened since he told Quincannon to serve God.  Quincannon is all, but I am serving God: the god of meat.  Jesse chuckles and signs over his church.  When he hands the deed to Quincannon, however, he asks for a favor: he wants one more chance to preach, to bring God to the people of Annville.  And if God doesn't show, doesn't speak to the congregation with answers they want to hear, then he will DENOUNCE HIM.

That night, Tulip snuggles Brewski, rubbing his ears.  Her face hardens: "Goddamn you, Jesse Custer."  She stands up, taking the dog by the collar and leading him down the hall.  She hugs him and then opens a bedroom door and pushes him inside.  We hear the dog growl, then some movement, then a yelp and a splash and some snuffling sounds.  Ah: so that's where the badly-burned, needs-blood-to-recover Cassidy is.

Back at the church, Jesse is in the back of the sheriff's car, apparently arrested.  The townspeople surround the cruiser, banging on the windows and shouting.  The sheriff frowns: "Jackals."  Then we cut to some sort of control center: there are alarms going off and gauges show that pressure is dangerously high.  Some shlub presses some buttons and twists some dials, releasing some of the pressure until the klaxons stop sounding.  Then he sits down with a magazine, keeping an eye on things.

Previously on Preacher / next time on Preacher

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Preacher recap "He Gone" S1E7 7/10/16

We pick up immediately where we left off last time, with Eugene having literally gone to hell after Jesse told him to do so using the Voice.  Jesse looks around his now empty church, brow furrowed.  Then he swallows, gathers himself and lets the people in for services.  While up above, a slightly gobsmacked Cassidy in the balcony tries to get a grip on what he just witnessed.  It's a full house for church - the sheriff saved a seat for Eugene - and people are even sitting outside, listening over the loudspeaker.  During his sermon, Jesse says "I'm here to tell you that your whole life can change in a moment.  And this is that moment.  And this is the word ..." He pauses, weighing his options, and then, using his regular voice, "Serve God."  So at least he reigned himself in at the end.

On his way out after the service, the sheriff asks the townspeople if anyone has seen Eugene.

And over at Quincannon Meat & Power, Odin Quincannon has finished his Alamo model, and he sits, listening to the pathetic cries coming from the slaughterhouse, and smiles slightly.

Flashback:  Young Jesse and Tulip get in trouble at school for fighting back against bullies.  Tulip's mom is in jail and her uncle is drunk so she goes home with Jesse and his dad.  Seems like this is a regular occurrence.  That night, Jesse says his prayers, asking for help in trying not to be bad, in trying to be like his dad in always doing the right thing.  Now:  Tulip runs through town and ambushes a couple of teenage boys who have stolen her uncle's pants.  She takes the pants back to her uncle's house - where he is passed out on the front steps.  She tries to get him back inside but he is too heavy, so she sits on the stoop, stroking his hair, smoking a cigarette and trying to ignore the neighbors' judgmental looks.

Jesse and Emily go over his upcoming schedule: business is booming with marriage counseling and baptisms and all that church stuff.  Over at the Roots' house, Eugene's room sits empty.

A little later, Cassidy finds Jesse sneaking a drink in the kitchen.  He asks how the preacher is doing, finally saying that he saw what happened to Eugene.  Jesse:  "Oh."  Cassidy is all, I'm not judging you but I'm here to help.  Jesse escapes to run a Bible study.  Then Tulip comes in, toting hamburgers, hash browns and frozen veggies: she's making dinner.  Cassidy is still smitten and tells her that he didn't say anything to Jesse about the two of them hooking up.  Tulip's all, that's good since I'm his girlfriend and he'd probably kill you.   [I'm not really sure Jesse considers himself her girlfriend.]  She asks Cassidy if he told Jesse what he really is, since they're "best mates" and all.  Cassidy dithers, saying that he tried, but no, not really.  Tulip says "Wake up, Cassidy.  Jesse is a preacher's boy from West Texas.  See what he does [when you tell him the truth]."  Nobody is really telling anybody the truth here:  Tulip knows about Cassidy but not about Jesse's Voice; Cassidy knows about the Voice but not about Jesse's past; Jesse doesn't believe Cassidy nor does he pay attention to what Tulip is really about; poor Emily is completely in the dark about everything.

Flashback:  Jesse and Tulip wrestle and roughhouse until Jesse's dad sends them off to wash the dishes.  He checks on their homework status and it appears that she's been living with the Custers for a while now.  When Tulip goes to fetch more dish soap, she sees Jesse's dad on the phone with someone but I can't make out what he's saying and it is unclear whether she can.  That night, though, she sneaks into Jesse's room and climbs on the bed.  "'Til the end of the world, right?" she asks.  Jesse, half asleep, agrees, "'Til the end of the world."  Little Tulip lies down next to him, staring at the ceiling.  The next morning, two women from the Texas Department of Human Services show up and take Tulip away with them.  She doesn't make a fuss - which makes me think that she did hear what Jesse's dad was saying on the phone - but Jesse does, screaming and crying and chasing the car as it drives off down the road.  Jesse, to his father: "She was good ... [w]hy did you do that?"  His dad:  "Because she's an O'Hare.  They're always gonna be trouble."  That night, during his prayers, Jesse asks God to take care of Tulip and to please, please kill his father and send him straight to hell.

In the now, Emily and a group of parishioners perform a little Bible story play for Jesse.  It's terribly awkward.  And he's preoccupied and gives them harsh, unhelpful notes.  Odin Quincannon shows up, hoping for a word with Jesse.  They go into another room where Odin brings out a deed for Jesse to sign, transferring the church and land to him, "as agreed upon.'  Jesse's all, WTF, you said you'd serve God?  Odin shrugs, saying, yeah, but I still ain't no Christian.  Jesse flat-out refuses to sign the papers, saying there's no way in hell he's going to hand his father's church over (and also confused as to how Odin wriggled around the Voice).  Odin stares at him flatly and promises that he'll be back.

Even more awkward than that church skit?  Dinner with Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy and Emily.  Cassidy is snarfing down everything on his plate; Emily is struggling a little with the "flavor" on the hash browns - which is vanilla extract.  Tulip is a crap cook.  Jesse sits silently, drinking his beer and stewing, and Tulip can't keep herself from poking at him.  To make things more stressful, Sheriff Root shows up, still looking for Eugene.  He asks if the boy had stopped by the church to see Jesse that morning.  Everyone momentarily gets distracted by the oven catching on fire - everyone but Jesse, who just sits there, silently - but then he answers the sheriff, saying that he didn't see Eugene before church.  Emily pipes up, saying, "Actually you did see him," and Jesse just looks at her blankly; but then she covers for him, telling the sheriff that she saw Eugene leave later.

Jesse walks the sheriff out.  Cassidy follows and after the sheriff is gone, whacks Jesse in the face with a fire extinguisher.  This temporarily knocks some sense into Jesse, who admits that he didn't mean to do that to Eugene - the words just came out.  Cassidy's like, well, what are you going to do, you sent an innocent kid to hell.  Jesse retorts that Eugene isn't that innocent: he had a big crush on that Tracy girl and when she rejected him, he shot her in the head with a shotgun and then turned the gun on himself.  Cassidy: So he deserved what he got?  The vampire implores the preacher to give up the Voice - it's a little odd to see a 119-year old hard-drinkin', drug-loving vampire be the voice of reason - but Jesse's all, how do we know this isn't God's plan.  Cassidy runs out of arguments and, for some reason (to test Jesse, see if Tulip is really right about him?), strips off his clothes and walks into the sun, asking, "Padre, will you let me burn too?"  He bursts into flames and, shrieking, falls to his knees.  Jesse just stares at him.

After the commercial break, Jesse goes back into the kitchen, setting the fire extinguisher on the table with a thud.  He drains his beer.  The women ask where Cassidy is.  Jesse frowns at Tulip, "You know about him?  You know what he is?"  He sees the answer in his face.  Emily stutters:  "I don't know anything."  Tulip calls him a sonofabitch, throwing a friend out who doesn't meet his uptight, redneck, Christian standards.  He snarls at her, calling her an O'Hare, sneering at the dinner she tried to make.  She calls him a dick and stomps out.  Emily flutters, trying to smooth the waters, saying that from the day he got back to Annville, she believed in him.  Jesse stares at her dully, "Well, that was stupid.  Go home, Emily."  Wordlessly, shocked, she leaves.

Flashback:  Jesse's dad wakes him up in the middle of the night and tells him to hide under the bed and keep quiet.  From under the bed, Jesse can see his father getting beaten unconscious but a couple of men.  Those men find the frightened boy, of course.  And out in a field, Jesse's dad is on his knees with a gun to his head, making his son promise to be a good boy and not cry.  "I did this, daddy! It's all my fault!"  And then the men shoot his dad.

Now:  Jesse, on his knees in the church, tearing up the floorboards and grabbing fistfuls of the dirt underneath, shouting in the Voice, "Come back! Come back!"  And outside, Odin Quincannon has a bulldozer and a small army of Quincannon employees, armed to the teeth, advancing on Jesse's church.

Previously on Preacher / next time on Preacher

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mini movie review: John Wick

The A.V. Club describes John Wick as an action fantasy, noting that unlike most action movies, this one takes place in a completely self-contained world.  In this revenge movie, criminals only associate with criminals, paying with their own currency, staying in their own boutique hotels and living (and dying) by their own code.  Despite the oodles of bullets flying around, no innocent bystanders get hurt - even in a nightclub scene that made me slightly squirmy, given recent horrible real life events - the bad guys only take out the badder guys.  There is something comfortable about watching John Wick: bad stuff happens but it will never reach us.

Keanu Reeves was born to play John Wick, a retired hitman who is drawn back into the business when a young thug (GoT's Alfie Allen, who surely would like his next role to be a nice guy) steals his car and kills the beagle puppy his now-deceased wife gave him.  Barely speaking, Wick digs out his guns and kills a whole crime family out of revenge.  That's it.  That's the plot.  But the movie is shot artfully and is really quite beautiful.  It's packed full of ringers too:  Ian McShane, Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick and Adrianne Palicki all get a chance to be bad.  It's fun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Preacher recap "Sundowner" S1E6)

The best thing about this episode is that I finally get names for those idiot angels: DeBlanc and Fiore.  No, I'm kidding, that's not the best thing - the best thing is the batshit crazy, gonzo fight scene in the motel room.  But still, I'm awfully glad to get names for them.

We pick up with Jesse and the angels still in the diner, with the angels trying to convince the preacher to give up the Voice and for hell's sake, stop using it.  So Jesse uses the Voice to ask them what this mysterious power is.  Turns out it isn't actually God but the progeny of an angel and a demon who hooked up in the middle of the eternal war between Good and Evil.  It's called Genesis (which isn't very original, something that Cassidy will comment on later).  It's a mistake and a weapon and any of the denizens of Heaven or Hell would want to have it, and that's why DeBlanc and Fiore want to get it back.  They are its caretakers and they let it escape.  Jesse tries to work this over.  Meanwhile, a tiny blonde woman comes into the diner.  She makes the angels nervous and when she goes out to her car, they follow her.  We watch Jesse as he watches them through the window, getting upset when the two angels start beating the crap out of the woman.  He runs out to her aid but she reaches out and grabs him by the throat.  DeBlanc (or Fiore, who knows) finally shoots her in the head and Jesse is all WHAT THE FUCK YOU JUST KILLED HER.  They're all, no, we didn't and then there's a flash of light in the diner and the blonde woman walks out, staring at them.  Jesse's all, holy shit and the three of them drive off in his truck.  As they drive, the angels exposit that the woman is in fact a Seraphim, an angel of the First Order.  She's after them for being down on Earth unauthorized but she doesn't know about Jesse and Genesis yet.  (And the flash and return is called revigoration.)  Jesse's mind is blown.

Meanwhile, the tiny blonde woman - she's wearing a cardigan, which is just excellent - tracks them to the Sundowner Motel where they are holed up in the angels' room.  She breaks down the door and then all hell breaks loose, so to speak.  It's the three of them against the tiny blonde angel and she basically kicks their asses.  Every time one of the angels gets killed, they revigorate back and soon the room starts filling with bodies: multiple DeBlancs, Fiores and seraphims.  DeBlanc/Fiore instruct Jesse not to kill the seraphim but to restrain it instead, so she'll stop coming back, but that's easier said than done.  I really wish I could adequately describe what's going on onscreen because it is just wonderful - one of the best t.v. fights I've ever seen.  Things get even more chaotic when Cassidy shows up.  Finally, DeBlanc/Fiore disassembles the seraphim in the bathroom (with his chainsaw), incapacitating her for a while without actually killing her, and keeping her from revigorating.  The angels tell Jesse that they need Genesis back and now.  But the preacher refuses, saying that it chose him and he feels that God wants him to have it.  The angels are apoplectic but when they chase after him, he uses the Voice and tells them to stay away from him.

Over at the high school, some kids are being nice to Eugene.  He's not sure what to make of it.  And over at Emily's house, one of her kids is sick when she's got a ton of church errands to run.  To complicate things, Tulip shows up and rages at her to "stay away from [her] boyfriend!"  But then Tulip sits for a bit, and thinks about what a dick she's being, and when Emily runs after her and confronts her, Tulip makes amends, offering to watch the sick child while Emily does church stuff or, since Emily isn't quite comfortable with that, offering to do the church errands for her.  (Also, the Green Acres people keep calling Mayor Miles, wondering if he's seen their people since they haven't checked in.  Miles will later go to Jesse, asking for advice on what to do - without actually explaining the situation - and then ultimately, will assist Quincannon in staging an auto accident and telling the Green Acres people that their people are dead.  But whatever.)

At the church, Jesse and Cassidy stand in their underpants while they launder their blood-stained clothes.  There's some talk, about each other's tattoos - Cassidy notices a tulip on Jesse's shoulder but doesn't make the connection quite yet - and then Cassidy's all, what are you going to do, man?  Jesse insists that he's going to keep it but Cassidy is worried.  Jesse says that nothing has changed and he's still going to save the town.  And then a little later, when he's setting up chairs outside the church and hooking up a loudspeaker, I'm thinking that whatever he's going to try is going to go really, really wrong.  Jesse says he's just doing God's will but it sure seems like he's on a power trip.

After school, the kids who were being nice to Eugene at lunch ask him if he wants to see something cool.  They all ride their bikes out to a remote culvert.  The other boys traipse in, Eugene following.  He is scared (I am scared for him, concerned that these boys are just luring him out to harm him) but forces himself onwards.  As it turns out, they just set off a bunch of fireworks in the culvert and grin at how beautiful it is.  Eugene's eyes open wide, in relief and in acceptance of the beauty in front of him.

When Tulip shows up at the church, with all the wine and paper towels, etc., that she picked up for Emily, she runs into Cassidy in the storeroom.  He is pleased to see her but then suddenly makes the connection that she's Jesse's Tulip.  When Jesse comes into the storeroom, Tulip hides Cassidy behind the door so Jesse doesn't know he's there.  And the look on the vampire's face is heartbreaking as he realizes the depth of their connection.

Sunday morning, Jesse waits in the church as the congregation gathers outside.  Emily finds him and tells him that Eugene wants to talk to him first.  He thanks her for all her work - hers and Tulip's, and at the mention of the other woman's name, her face falls.  Still carrying that torch for him.  She goes out and sends in Eugene.  Eugene wants Jesse to take back what he did, saying that he doesn't think that God wants him to be forgiven by the townspeople.  Not that way, not through Jesse's Voice.  Eugene says that it's cheating, doing it that way.  Jesse starts to get defensive; he's getting tired of people telling him what to do.  He gets up and walks towards the church doors.  Eugene cries out, "What are you going to do?"  Jesse:  "I'm going to save the damn town!"  This power has gone to his head and he actually says that once he saves the town, he will have fulfilled his promise [to his dead father] and then he will be free.  He heads again towards the church doors and Eugene is all, this is wrong, it's a sin!  Jesse gets pissed off and shouts, using the Voice:  "Go to hell, Eugene!"  There is a strange noise from behind him and when he turns around, Eugene is gone, the church program he was holding fluttering to the floor.  Holy shit, Jesse.  What have you done?

Previously on Preacher / next time on Preacher

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Mini movie review: Cube

Cube is an odd little Canadian movie, not really nasty enough to qualify as horror but with a little more gore than a straight thriller, plus a touch of science fiction.  There's not a whole lot of plot to worry about:  six (technically seven but one gets killed off REALLY quickly) strangers regain consciousness, trapped in a construct made of cube-shaped rooms.  There are hatches on each wall, floor and ceiling and when they go through, whichever way they go, they find themselves in another cube-shaped room.  Some of these rooms are booby-trapped, which thins the herd as these people try to move from room to room, attempting to escape; even more troublesome is that they have neither food nor water, so they will need to get out - or definitely die trying.  None of the people know each other or how they ended up in the cube but several of them have useful skills: one is a doctor, one a cop, one has escaped from several prisons, one turns out to be a math whiz.  They don't particularly like one another but they'll all need to work together to get out of the cube.

Cube is from 1997 but it seems older.  The acting is not that good and no questions get answered - you never learn why they are there, or who put them there, or what is going on in the outside world - not even at the very end, but I found myself getting sucked in nonetheless.  You could do better than this movie but you could also do much, much worse.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Preacher recap "South Will Rise Again" S1E5 6/26/16

Ratwater.  We start back with the Cowboy, back in the day, slowly riding into the town of Ratwater to get medicine for his sick daughter.  The music is clanging and intense.  The town is horrible.  The apothecary will have the medicine for him in the morning so the Cowboy bides his time in the saloon where there are whores, bar fights, disreputable men turning in scalps for money, women getting raped in backrooms.  The Cowboy sits by himself, watching the people around him.  In the morning, he gets the medicine and starts back towards his home.  He passes the folks in the wagon who fed him dinner a couple episodes ago and the little boy waves at him.  Some time later, he stops and rides back to Ratwater, concerned about the fate of that settler family.  He gets the shit kicked out of him for really no reason, and his horse killed, and when he finally gets back home, his wife and daughter are dead and being picked over by crows.  Yikes.

Annville.  Sheriff Root hears some noise out in the backyard.  It doesn't appear to be anything but when he goes back inside, Eugene shows him that someone has snuck into his bedroom and spray-painted "FINISH THE JOB" with an arrow pointing towards a shotgun leaning against the wall.  The sheriff is all, "You went to Tracy's, didn't you?" and his son apologizes.  We still don't know why Eugene tried to kill himself but it apparently has something to do with Tracy (the comatose girl) and folks in town are not happy about it.

In the morning, Jesse and Emily are at the diner, figuring out church finances.  A lot of townsfolk are impressed with Jesse and want to talk to him, asking him about scripture, asking for advice.  Emily is all, Jesse, this isn't you.  He's smug about it, saying that no, it isn't him - it's God.  And he leaps into it, using the Voice indiscriminately and without really thinking about the consequences, just telling people what he thinks they should do.  I'm sure this will go well for him.

Also in the morning, over at her drunk uncle's house, Tulip peppers Cassidy with questions about his being a vampire which helps us establish the vampire rules for this universe: no fangs, doesn't turn into a bat, won't sleep in a coffin if he can help it, doesn't crave human blood but it helps him heal - although he'd really prefer single malt scotch, sunlight is bad but he can go out if he's covered up, silver bullets are for werewolves and crosses are a 2,000 year old symbol of hypocrisy.  She tries to kick him out and he says that he's fallen for her, after that kiss.  Tulip retorts that she's got a boyfriend and she's just waiting for him to get his act together so they can get out of Annville and take care of Carlos.  Cassidy is sympathetic and says that after all the work she did to track this Carlos down, and the boyfriend still isn't on board - maybe he isn't the man she thought he was.  Also, could she get him some drugs - opiates are his favorite.

As the heaven phone rings and rings, the two angels hide in the bathroom, practicing what they're going to say when they answer.  They have to get it right or the folks upstairs will come down hard on them.  They practice again and the phone rings on and on.

Eugene makes an omelette for his dad but the sheriff is upset, throwing the plate against the wall and shouting that maybe his son should just finish the goddamn job.  Poor Eugene looks sadly at his distraught dad and then starts to clean up the mess.

Tulip interrupts Jesse as he's holding forth in front of his parishioners in the diner and tells a story about how the old Jesse once shot a komodo dragon in the head because some scumbag was checking out her ass.  Jesse is insufferable as he says that he's changed and she can too.  Eugene comes to the diner - the waitress won't let him come inside - and asks Jesse if he can help his dad who is so upset because everyone in town hates him [Eugene]: "My dad shouldn't be the one suffering for my sins." He asks if Jesse could maybe pray with his dad or something and Jesse, still reveling in the power of the Voice, says they'll think of something.  What he thinks of: bringing Eugene to Tracy's house.  Tracy's mom FREAKS OUT, attacking Jesse's truck with a baseball bat and screaming that Eugene is a murderer.  Jesse Voices her to drop the bat and step away from the truck.  He has Eugene get out of the truck and then Voices Tracy's mom to "forgive him."  Looking a little dazed, she holds out her arms and gives an astonished Eugene a hug.  Jesse looks terribly pleased with himself.

There are a couple of domestic scenes with Donny and his wife, Betsy, first at home and then at lunch at work.  It's clear that they care about each other and the violent sex stuff is consensual.  Donny goes to work and is amazed to learn that Odin Quincannon (1) went to church and (2) is now acting strangely, agreeing to meet with the Green Acres people and generally being cheerful.  Donny freaks out and asks his boss what the preacher said to him.  Quincannon:  "To serve God.  Which I'm going to do, unless you have some other questions you want to shout at me."  So at lunch with Betsy, Donny is completely freaking out and is all, the preacher has powers.  He explains what Jesse did to him in the gas station bathroom.  Betsy comforts him, saying that sooner or later Donny's moment will come and the preacher will get what he deserves.

The angels have practiced their story and gotten up their nerve to answer the Heaven phone.  But just as they reach for it, it stops ringing.  Oops.

That night, Tulip robs a pharmacy to get Cassidy his drugs and then finds him exiting a strip club with the excellent sign: "1000s of beautiful girls and three fat ones."  She gives him the drugs and he's all, "Lassie, that's so sweet.  Are we goin' steady now?"  Tulip says, "Even better - we're in love" and then fucks him in the back of the car.  That doesn't seem quite in character but maybe sometimes a girl just has an itch she needs to scratch.

Sheriff Root brings the angels to the diner where Jesse is yet again Voice-ing the townsfolks.  The angels are all, you are in possession of an enormous power, you've been using it a lot and it's not to be used.  Jesse's all but God gave me this and the angels shake their heads, saying "No, no, no - what's inside of you, it isn't God."

Quincannon and Miles the mayor meet with four Green Acres executives.  Quincannon is charming and upbeat, right up until the point where he picks up a shotgun and shoots each one of them point-blank in the chest.  Miles stands there, gawking, unable to believe what he just saw.  Quincannon: "Yup, we grow or we die, Miles.  We grow or we die."  Miles: *...*

Previously on Preacher / next time on Preacher

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Preacher recap "Monster Swamp" S1E4 6/19/16

Here's a very horror movie-esque start to this episode: an underwear-clad girl runs down a deserted street, and then into the woods, looking terrified back over her shoulder.  She runs and runs, passing another underwearing girl in a field.  Men with guns chase them.  They fire and the second girl falls.  The first girl manages to get past, finally pausing for breath in a clearing.  One of the men finds her.  They know each other: she's one of the whores from the local brothel and he's one of the Quincannon Meat and Power douchebags.  He raises his gun and shoots her - it's a paintball game, as it turns out.  She squeals at the sting and takes a few steps back ... and then falls shrieking into a sinkhole.  Oops.

Flashback:  A young Jesse sets up the church for his preacher father.  Church was considerably better attended in those days.

Here and now:  Cassidy tries to tell Jesse about the two weird dudes/angels who are in town to try to pull the Voice out of the preacher.  In typical Cassidy fashion, his story is nigh unintelligible, not only because of that accent that I struggle with so much.  Jesse doesn't believe him or pay much attention, especially once Cassidy starts going on about androids and government clones.  Jesse has things to do and he tells Cassidy to fix the damn A/C and drives off.  Also, it was on the second watching that I realized that in the flood of words coming out of Cassidy's mouth, he admitted to smoking attic insulation.  Which is just amazing.

Out in that clearing, the sheriff's men pull the dead girl out of the sinkhole.  All the whores are there, crying, and all of the QM&P men are there too.  Odin Quincannon makes a speech, basically telling the boys to watch the roughhousing and the girls to watch where they're walking at night.  And that's it.  Tulip is there too, however, and she's bullshit at the lack of pity or responsibility for the girl's death.

Jesse swings by Emily's house and convinces her that they should do a church raffle with a big flatscreen t.v. to increase attendance.  She thinks that's a bad idea, too expensive, but he insists and talks her into picking up the t.v., playing - possibly unknowingly - on her feelings for him.  He promises her that after this Sunday, people will be coming to church in droves.

Flashback:  Jesse's dad catches him smoking cigarettes with a preteen Tulip.  He beats his son with a belt while the other kids watch.

Cassidy goes to the angels' motel room and skilfully manipulates them into giving him more information about this whole Voice situation, and what they plan to do about it, like cutting it out with the chainsaw or drawing it out with "Wynken Blynken and Nod" lullaby.  I love Cassidy: "Ah, the song.  I think he'd prefer that to the saw, actually."  He promises to bring Jesse to them soon and finagles a wad of cash out of them as payment.  Which he promptly blows on drink, drugs and a girl at the whorehouse.  Back at the motel room, one of the angels brings out a steampunk looking Heaven telephone, saying that it's time to let "them" know what's going on.  But the other angel points out that they are down here on earth without permission and without "them" knowing, so it'd be best not to call in and 'fess up.

At QM&P, Odin Quincannon is interrupted whilst playing Q*bert [Q*BERT!!!!] by Annville's mayor Miles stopping by.  The mayor is not a strong person and is no match for Quincannon.  His recent meeting with the Green Acres group has not gone unnoticed by the Quincannon camp and, once Odin brings it up, Miles starts gushing about Green Acre's green/sustainable/etc. business projects, saying that it could be a very profitable relationship for the town should QM&P agree to work with Green Acres.  Odin not only tells the mayor to piss off, he pulls out his dick and pisses into Miles's briefcase.  Meeting over.

That night, the mayor - who has a huge crush on Emily - babysits her kids while she picks up that t.v.  When she gets home, he convinces her to have a glass of wine with him.  She tells him, you know I'm never gonna be with you, right, Miles?  Then she takes off her pants and tells him that he's to be out before morning: "The kids almost caught you last time."

The whorehouse has a pathetic memorial service for the dead whore and Tulip can barely restrain her anger and frustration.  Before things get too heated, the madam says that in honor of Lacey and "her peaceful ways, next hour's on the house."  Tulip sulks around downstairs (and we learn that she's friends with the madam because Tulip's momma was one of the whores back in the day) and when the fuck music starts cranking upstairs, she can't stand it anymore.  She rages into a room with a golf club, thinking that it's Clive (the QM&P employee who shot Lacey with the paintball gun) flailing away on top of the girl.  She beats him and beats him until he falls out the window onto the porch roof, jag of glass plunged into his throat.  Except it isn't Clive: she went into Cassidy's room.  She and the whore bundle Cassidy into a car and drive him to a hospital, Tulip in the backseat with Cassidy on her lap, bleeding profusely from his neck.  She is freaking out.  He tells her to kiss him and she does and he smiles at her.  At the hospital, she tries to rush him into the ER but when she turns back from badgering the admittance clerk, Cassidy is gone from the waiting room.  She follows the trail of blood and finds him slouched against a refrigerator, sucking on a blood bag.  As she stares at him, Cassidy grins at her, gesturing to the blood bag:  "I think you're right, love,  I'm gonna make it."

Flashback:  Jesse and his dad drive to QM&P in the middle of the night.  As Jesse sits out in the hallway, his dad goes into Odin's office.  You can't make out what they're saying but it sounds like a disagreement.  Jesse's dad storms out and Odin calls after him, "Renounce him, John Custer, renounce him!"  Later, on the drive home, Jesse's dad muses, some people just can't be saved.

In the present day, Jesse stops by QM&P and helps Odin with his Alamo model.  He asks Odin to please come to church on Sunday.  Quincannon isn't inclined to do that so Jesse sweetens the pot: the Custer land is the last large chunk in town that Quincannon doesn't own.  If Odin comes to church and doesn't leave feeling godly after listening to the sermon, Jesse will let him have the land.

On Sunday, the church is in fact pretty full, thanks to the t.v. raffle.  Jesse launches into his sermon, in which he basically tells them they're all sinners and it's their own damn fault ... but he can help with that, one person at a time, he'll bring them back to God.  He walks into the congregation and picks out Odin Quincannon, asking him if he will now serve God.  Odin's like, um, no, not interested, he wins.  So Jesse leans in, asks him again, and then tells him in the Voice to "serve God."  And then when he asks Odin again if he will serve God, Quincannon, looking rather surprised at himself, says, well, yes, of course, I will serve God.  The congregation is pretty impressed at that.

The angels wait in their motel room for Cassidy to deliver the preacher, eating vending machine snacks and reading the Bible.  A phone rings and one of them picks up the motel phone.  It's not that phone that's ringing.  They stare in fear at the Heaven phone as it rings and rings and rings.  Oops.

Previously on Preacher / next time on Preacher

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Preacher recap "The Possibilities" S1E3 6/12/16

HOUSTON:  Tulip meets with Danni, handing over the map ("Property of Grail [sp?] Industries") for which she battled through the cornfield in exchange for someone's last known address.  Danni also lays out a scenario in which Tulip could kill her husband for her but Tulip isn't down with that.  The address gives her a flashback: screaming "Wait!" in an alleyway after a fleeing car, an alarm blaring.  In the now, she tells Danni that was the day when it all went bad for her and Jesse.  And now someone's got to pay.  After Tulip leaves, Danni drives to a warehouse and slips into a snuff film festival (we don't see anything but hear screams and power tools).  She hands the map to a white-suited man in the audience, saying that she told him her girl was good.

ANNVILLE:  Sheriff Root is interviewing those two weird dudes in their motel room.  They say that they're after something horrible that got lose, and they're deep undercover, and he's to leave them alone.  "We'l call if we need anything."  Sheriff Root is shaken by imagining what horrible thing is on the prowl in his town.  After he leaves, they start to arm themselves with all kinds of weaponry.  "No surprises" this time.

Emily stops by the brain-damaged girl's house [Tracy? is that her name?].  Her mother is amazed that Tracy's eyes are open and feels badly that she was so rude to the preacher when he told her something was going to change.  The only thing that has changed is that the girl's eyes are open but still, to her mother, different is better.  In another part of town, Donnie speaks to his son en route to the school bus.  The boy apologizes for going to the preacher.  Donnie says that "grownups are complicated ... I love your mom," deeming explaining pain-sex games too difficult at this point.  His son says that he beat up a kid at school who had been talking about the funny sound Donnie made when Jesse broke his arm.  Donnie's all, good - but when the bus pulls up, all the kids are like "It's the bunny-man!" and start squeaking and squealing at him.

Emily finds Cassidy at the church and instructs him to take the recently delivered coffin (whatsisname who cut his own heart out) to the crematorium.  When the vampire goes to get the keys to the van, he finds Jesse skulking in the kitchen.  Jesse: "I wanna show you somethin'."  What he does is demonstrates his power on Cassidy, making him hop, confess a secret, shadow-box, sing Johnny Cash etc.  They learn that the power is limited to what the person can actually do: when he tells Cassidy to fly, the vampire throws himself at the wall but is, in fact, unable to fly.  Cassidy is thrilled but Jesse is pretty close to thinking he's crazy.  "It might feel like a curse ... but it doesn't have to be.  Someone like you, with something like this.  I mean, come on, padre.  You just imagine the possibilities here."

On her way back to Annville from Houston, Tulip gets pulled over for speeding.  She talks her way out of it.  That's about it.

QUINCANNON MEAT AND POWER.  Odin Quincannon likes to listen to the slaughterhouse over the intercom while he has his lunch.  Yeesh.  Donnie reads him a letter from some company ("Green Acres") who is either horning in on QMP's territory or wants to work together.  Donnie's feathers are ruffled but Quincannon doesn't seem too fashed at this point.  Not really sure what's going on here.

Jesse meets up with Tulip on the road in the boondocks.  He tells her again that he doesn't want to get back into a life of crime and she snaps at him, "This isn't crime, preacher.  This is justice."  Jesse stares at her: "Carlos."  And then he has the flashback she had earlier, only he's just shot a security guard in the head as the alarm blares and Carlos drives off, leaving Tulip screaming after him.  "Rat-bastard, money-stealin', child-killin', life-ruinin' sonofabitch," confirms Tulip here and now, waving the address at Jesse.  "Jesse, come on.  Let's go kill Carlos."  And just like that, he's in.

At the motel, the weird dudes are locked and loaded and ready to roll.  On his way back from the crematorium, Cassidy sees them drive by in their black SUV and is all, they found me again.  After the sun goes down, the dudes advance on foot towards the church.  Their goals:  "First the can [that coffee can], then the preacher."  But they don't get very far before Cassidy roars up in the church van and runs them over.  When he gets out to survey the carnage - and they are ALL messed up - he is amazed to see that they look just like the two guys he buried.  "Clones," he decides.  As he walks off to fetch something to clean up this mess, a light flashes; when he comes out into the church, the two dudes are there.  Again.  Cassidy starts beating on one of them with a croquet mallet he found in the closet, growling, "How do you keep finding me?" until the dude who is not getting beaten interrupts, saying "We're not here for you."  And then they have a bit of a sit-down, saying that the preacher has something of theirs and they need to put it back.

Tulip has to stop to gas up her car.  Jesse tries to tell her about what's happening with him but she's all wired, getting belligerent with another gas station patron, so he blows it off and hits the head instead.  In the bathroom, he gets ambushed by a pistol-toting Donnie: "Who's the bunny in the bear trap now?"  Jesse of course uses the Voice to make Donnie shove the gun in his own mouth but just before he forces the other man to pull the trigger, he sort of gives himself a little shake, realizing that he seems to be enjoying this power a little too much.  He says to himself, "I get it," and tells Donnie that he can go.  And when he rejoins Tulip out at the pumps, he says he's changed his mind.  As he starts walking back to town, he tells her that he's staying [in Annville].  She shrieks, "Well, I ain't leavin' without you!" but he just shrugs and keeps walking.

Back at the church, the two weird dudes tell Cassidy that if they don't collect what's inside the preacher, death and destruction will follow.  He questions why they want that power - military, economics, psychosexual mind control - but they're like no, it's not to be used at all.  They tell Cassidy they're from the government but when he, being a good conspiracy theorist, starts rattling off agencies and acronyms, they break in:  "We're from Heaven."  Cassidy: "I see.  Right."  He tells them that they're going about this the wrong way, hunting down Jesse, but if they just take a step back, he'll talk to his best mate and convince him of their mission.  I can't tell if he's playing them or not.

As the episode ends, Jesse and Emily are the only attendees at the funeral for Whatsisname (who cut out his own heart).  The camera pulls back as the preacher gives the reading and the valve on a standpipe out in a nearby field snaps open with a hiss.  What does that mean?

Previously on Preacher /  next time on Preacher