TV Show Review

TV Review: PREACHER: Season 1, Episode 4: Monster Swamp [AMC]

Jackie Earle Haley Dominic Cooper Preacher Monster Swamp

AMC‘s Preacher Monster Swamp TV Show Review. Preacher, Season 1, Episode 4: ‘Monster Swamp,’ wasn’t quite the Pandora’s Box that Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) had previously alluded to; but it did have its swampy bits. There was still some mean fun to be had; but the setup seemed more like an aside to the episode’s events, than a factor, despite having quite a bit of WTF to its mean fun.

Well, mean or not, it’s only fun until someone falls into a sinkhole. When that someone turns out to be Lacey (Barbie Robertson) – an otherwise expendable extra, used to very noticeable effect – then film references (to just how disposable she was) should lead somewhere. As messy as her sinkhole demise was, plot holes get messier.

Like quite a few people, Tulip (Ruth Negga) wasn’t too happy with the ending to China Town, either; but Tulip is the sort inclined to stalk filmmakers – ‘insisting’ on corrective remakes/ sequels. That, and a young Tulip (Ashley Aufderheide) clearly got the wrong message from Young Jesse’s (Dominic Ruggieri) example, as set by his father (Nathan Darrow).

While Young Jesse’s time with dad ‘on the job’ was only just getting started, it clearly provided impetus to what grown Jesse (Dominic Cooper) had in store for his church. That, or a clear preoccupation, as far as Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) & Emily (Lucy Griffiths) were concerned.

I couldn’t say if Emily ever saw (or would remember) 2010, but Jesse’s insistence, that “something wonderful” was coming of his plans for the church, had to have been less annoying than the film line – but no less cryptic, all the same.

In Cassidy’s case, being unable to register his situation to Jesse – about keeping a certain party from becoming Jesse’s situation – meant getting into the devilish details of Angels at large.

So about our pair of Men-in-(etc), on a mission from God (but not really). They actually make for a likable pair (now that they were all front-and-center like), as the typical ‘thinker’ and ‘heavy’ combination. Likable is good, given their home office; but signs of personal nuance was more welcomed. DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef), the ‘thinker,’ said more in expression – regarding the nature of the beast they were negotiating with – than words, with ‘heavy,’ Fiore (Tom Brooke), doing so with even less. If anything, the subtle changes to their intimidation game was a necessary touch – given that Cassidy had already ‘recalled’ them twice (Fiore still sporting the effects of what would’ve been the third). The official status of their mission also left them having to trust Cassidy as a broker, earning the sorry sods some sympathy points. The kind of points that actually meant something, when a phone call put the fear of God into them.

Sure, a hedonistic vampire & bonus life Angels running circles has been fun; but once that someone fell down that sinkhole, someone had to be the killjoy – and in this case, it was Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley).

Between his ability to be publicly glib about Lacey’s death, and his reducing Miles the Mayor (Ricky Mabe) to an omega dog, privately, Quincannon did a decent job of establishing himself as the clear-but-quiet menace-of-the-moment. How he went about marking this territory, however, was anything but decent; but given the source character, the series could do a lot worse with this guy.

That said, it seemed pretty clear what Jesse’s “something wonderful” was, when we found him having a much more congenial meeting with the man, complete with an invitation that even Quincannon couldn’t refuse – although it wasn’t a compulsion (that came later). Jesse’s plan seemed to go as smooth as he had figured; but maybe that should’ve been a red flag to anyone watching.

There are any number of sayings that could be used to describe this show’s material. The one that came to mind, after the Quincannon conversion: “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions.”

It seems Jesse didn’t get the memo on possible side-effects, after his first inadvertent use of Command, and Quincannon’s prospective mission from God (but not really) may be just the fine print Jesse will be needing to etch into a wall.

While the fallout to Lacey’s loss went unresolved, there were still incremental developments that came out of the episode besides “something wonderful.” Tulip’s attempted ‘rewrite’ to China Town put a rose-colored tint to her rage issues, where Cassidy was concerned (bringing the band one step closer to getting together); the backstory to Jesse’s promise suggested more than just this ep’s miracle; and even omega dogs get a bone, now & then.

Okay, that last one probably wasn’t an important development; but I do hope it means something, somewhere down the line – if only to justify the expansion to characters like Emily & Miles.

I’m also holding out that Tulip’s current impulse issues will be fleshed out a bit, as part of Jesse’s backstory. If Cassidy doesn’t turn into an immediate distraction for her (he’s been a very good distraction), having Tulip as more than just the hair-trigger sidekick would be nice. We might even get around to Lacey getting some justice, out of it. Some plot holes are too literal to just let go of, sometimes.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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