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TV Review: Preacher (Season 3 Episode 2)


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In episode 2 "Sonsabitches", Jesse, sans Genesis, finds himself powerless and in debt to everyone around him. The prologue highlights something that he is discovering; everything comes with a price.

In his high school at Angelville, a predatory teacher who'd had an affair with a cheerleader wanted her mind erased of their illegal acts to protect his marriage and job.

He goes into the contract involved to get this done by Marie L'Angelle, not fully understanding the cost. He will give up something. When he stops paying he is punished by Marie's men and Jesse who beats him shouting "Pay what you owe!".

Taken before Jesse's grandmother, the man has his soul extracted. This is what keeps his grandmother youngish and powerful. 

L'Angelle's Southern Gothic plantation is a terrifying character in its own right. It has been a place of suffering for hundreds of years and everything from the architecture to the photographs that Cassidy sees depicting racist atrocities like lynching show this.

The fact that a white women has co-opted voodoo, which is actually just a mix of Christianity and other beliefs, to perform evil destructive magic simply adds to the horror of Angelville. 

Meanwhile, Herr Starr’s organisation is back. We see an incredible sequence in India as Starr in disguise arrives at a Hari Krishna temple. Starr and his accomplices start a Kingsman style crazy frenzy of a fight that is fantastic if not as perfect as season 2 , episode 4’s between Jesse and Viktor Kruglov was.

Standing over the group’s leader he kicks the “hippy” in the balls and asks whether he will accept wholeheartedly the messiah, Jesus’s descendant Humperdoo and kills him when he refuses.

Pip Torrens as Herr Starr is a villain who is both hilarious and dark. A German operative who seemingly falls into his important role in the illuminati style organization of the Grail, he passively accepts the preposterous things that he sees and most of the time seems bored by it and everyone round him.

In season 2 he asks agents Featherstone and Hoover to arrange some sex workers for him that night with consent to be non-existent. They mix up the sex and who is to be what in this situation, but Starr simply accepts it, lies back and uses his phone, bored as always. Getting a call about Jesse he makes his way to Angelville. 

Jesse owes a lot of people a lot of things in the episode, as his gran says, “There’s a lot of souls you owe me”. Meanwhile, Cassidy and Tulip are owed explanations and agency in their relationship with him that so damaged them last season.

Herr Starr had told them he didn’t need them as the Messiah, it was the grail that got Tulip killed, and by refusing to allow Cassidy to turn her into the quite normal vampires present in Preacher, ensured they would be tied to his abusive malevolent aunt.

He tries to make Cassidy leave since the latter’s admittance of the feelings between Tulip and the Irish vampire so annoy him, but fails. After trying to restore his powers by walking in front of a car and scaring it into working he finds his abilties still won’t come back. He decides he needs to get his soul portion in the custody of the Grail to retrieve them. 

Tulip decides to shoot cans to blow off steam and sees a sudden movement that she chases. She discovers that it is her killers, Grail operatives Lara Featherstone and F.J Hoover comically disguised with grass.

Tulip had said she'd be better once she got a hold of them and is as she beats up Lara, stating “Its good to be alive…”.  She doesnt get what is owed to her due to Jesse though.

To weasel out of his grandmother's deal he sets free the agents just as they're about to be killed by an industrial shredder for their actions, angering Tulip although he wins her over.  

When the Grail arrives Jesse intends to simply restore his powers, then incapacitate or kill the members before breaking his deal with his gran and driving off into the sunset with Tulip and Cassidy.

The problem is he owes everyone and no longer has the unimaginable power of before. He is the small terrified boy buried in a coffin by his grandmother, the child who saw his father shot dead in front of him and the person tied to this place, not the Messiah or Genesis’s bearer. He just doesn’t know it yet.

He tricks Starr into giving him his soul and instantly after it commands him with genesis to eat his own dick. Starr motions as if he is going to do what he said with the same resignation as he shows with everything else, then stops stating it was a placebo that has now exposed Jesse’s intention to not cooperate.

“Let’s talk..” Starr says. That's something Jesse has not done for the majority of the season. With ultimate power he can just talk to people and demand things of them, but now he must cooperate with those around him and give them what they’re owed. Seeing an empty vial and the two men walking off, Tulip assumes Jesse has his powers back.

She suddenly has her full message from God flash in her mind. His sentence ended “Get those Sons of Bitches.” Tulip runs off and shoots at the Grail ruining the negotiation and nearly destroying Jesse’s soul fragment. He gets what is owed as the Grail drive off and his grandmother uses a voodoo doll to strangle him.  Herr Starr tells his men they’ll be back, but only after Jesse is allowed time to “marinate in his own hell”.  

Family’s influence on us arises again with the Angeville estate symbolizing the dark side of his family origins to Jesse. The place he has trapped himself again willingly or foolishly. Tulip thinks of her father’s words in purgatory after the Grail leaving, stating “Why can’t I do one right thing?”. The final shot of Jesse sweeping in the basement, where soulless bodies are kept, and meeting the un-changed soulless body of the Angeville teacher, echoes episode one's scene of his mother.

The teacher says “Help Me”, but like his mother Jesse says “I can’t”. Jesse is at his lowest point. Unable to act as like the teacher he didn’t consider that the deal might be something he couldn’t get out of. He is truly in his own cell within Hell. 

 New episodes of Preacher are available on Amazon Prime every Monday.

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