With something that felt like a new fire in his belly, Jesse (Dominic Cooper) went about making his congregation official. We were meant to see just how the washing away of sin seems to resemble water torture; but the faithful took to at as they should. Not-so-faithful Tulip (Ruth Negga), however, took it with a pinch of salty mischief – giving Jesse a few more drags, over to the wrong side of the tracks, before taking matters into her own hands.
The first signs of trouble wouldn’t come from Tulip, though; nor would it come from Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), a newly arrived cultish leader, Donnie (Derek Wilson) violently getting his groove back, or the pair of Men-in-Regional-Specific-Attire waiting to get at Jesse’s new fire. It came from someone who only looks like he talks out of his arse.
Between Arseface’s (Ian Colletti) comments, on the baptism not seeming to take, and the nagging notion left by the confession of school bus driver, Linus (Ptolemy Slocum), Jesse just wasn’t seeing the results he needed. Making matters worse was his helplessness, in the face of one parishioner’s grief over her comatose daughter. This binding feeling would keep Jesse preoccupied for most of the episode – which was fine, considering that he wasn’t ready for the kind of fun his not-so-faithful associates were having, on his behalf.
Jesse has never been straight enough, on the narrow, to not appreciate having someone like Cassidy around; and his tolerance of the ‘professed’ creature bore fruit, when his tolerance for Cassidy custom liquor gave out. Frankly, I’m not sure if Jesse would’ve been better off knowing just what kind of experience he had slept through; but I do know that Cassidy fell into the role of Jesse’s protector with all the gory gusto of a guy named Ash.
Seriously, though, Cassidy vs the Men-in-Region-Specific-Attire was bloody disgusting fun. Will it be enough to convince impatient source fans, and short attention span casuals, to keep watching? Mmmm….
Punctuations of such violence might overwhelm some of the show’s more subtle elements; but those elements really are worth paying attention to. The attempted resolution, to Cassidy’s clean up – along with his ‘professed’ nature – explained Emily’s (Lucy Griffiths) concerns about him being a mooch that sleeps all day. This (and her wariness of Tulip), in turn established Emily as the current straight-man of the series – justifying the expansion of her character from its source role.
Without Emily as the straight-man, the role would’ve gone to Tulip – and that just wouldn’t have been as much fun as this version of the character has, so far. Call her pushy, call her annoying, but the idea of her splitting Jessie shoulder perch space with Cassidy, with the pair competing to unleash his id, leaves me anticipating a wicked awakening for our preacher.
Especially since, up until now, Dominic Cooper has been sort of sleepwalking through the role. Here’s why that’s been a good thing.
In this adaptation of the source material, the showrunners seem intent on giving us more of a character build to the action, rather than the other way around. Consider that the source characters were introduced as a team, mid-mission, and I can see where the showrunners saw room to formally introduce them, while adding a bit more ‘ how’ & ‘why’ to whatever shenanigans they will be allowed to work their way up to. Neither Tulip, nor Cassidy have been given time to settle into this source team role; so their characterizations, as solo players, should be granted some breathing room. As for Dominic’s sleepwalking: a bad man trying to do good, but tries to go good for being bad, is a man resigned. Given the noticeable spark to his characterization, while laying hands on Donnie & Linus, I’d say all that sleepwalking amounted to a holding pattern – waiting for the right means to his ends.
Well, now he’s got it; but personally, I’d like the show to continue building on the source material, rather than just getting to the nasty bits. Imagine Breaking Bad starting at season 4, and filling in seasons 1-3 through mentions & flashbacks. No thanks. The source series didn’t run for a particularly long time, either; so if the show is expected to run for a few years, there will have to be some useful padding to it.
I guess the point is to be patient, and consider that this is a show seemingly settled on a pace to have its characters drive the action, and not the other way around. If done right, this would be better for a long-running TV series, than it would for a film – or even a comic book. Even if casual viewers have no real idea what their looking at (or – hopefully – getting into), the Sheriff’s closing conversation, with a pair of none-worse-for-wear Regionally Attired Men (Specifically), should’ve at least piqued some interest.
Besides, a certain Cowboy (Graham McTavish) has only just gotten to Ratwater – albeit at the start of the episode… and a couple hundred years back. I should probably say something about that, at some point; but: patience….
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