AMC‘s Preacher He Gone TV Show Review. Preacher, Season 1, Episode 7: ‘He Gone,’ left a number of important developments unresolved – opting, instead, to dance around some of the ramification (direct & indirect) to Preacher Jesse’s (Dominic Cooper) use/ abuse of his new power. Up-front-and-center: Eugene having just been on the receiving end of a common phrase, used in a most uncommon tone. The bad news is that Jesse’s quick recovery came with a quick burying of the matter. The good news is that the incident gave him cold feet, regarding his plan to take his ‘word’ to the masses. The other bad news is that Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) witnessed what he had done to Eugene, Emily (Lucy Griffiths) may-or-may-not have overheard Cass confronting him about it, and his conversion of Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) did not appear to take. The other good news: multiple confrontations may have set the stage for something of a power trip fever break.
Before that can happen, however, the nature of that fever was framed by a more indepth look into the background of Jess & Tulip (Ruth Negga). Besides having a mutually protective bond (including a precedent for Jess hospitalizing bullies named Donnie), meant to last to the end of all things, Young Jess (Dominic Ruggieri) & the Tulip Sprout (Ashley Aufderheide) also had a mutual problem in Jess’ dad, John Custer (Nathan Darrow).
So the only one who could ever reach Tulip was the son of a Preacher man (with ever so lickable eyeballs) – that scenario wrote itself; but the often inherent judgementality of the position would prove critical to their relationship, Jess’ relationship with his dad, and how the outcome to that turn would make a judgemental Preacher a past as prologue. It was unfortunate that the details of Arseface’s origin came as a rationalization to Jess’ predicament; but that’s where the judgemental Preacher angle was meant to take us.
The young actors did a fine job with their roles. A lot of Grown Jesse’s passive aggression can be attributed to the futile passion of his younger counterpart; while Ashley Aufderheide seemed a vision of Tulip with all the fury & hardened insight, but resigned to fate until she could get the power to back up those qualities.
The Jess-Tulip history added some context to their tendencies to do really bad things for (sometimes) good reasons. In Tulip Blossom’s case, a bit of Run, Lola, Run action (to school some prankster kids) was done for the honor of her yet-to-be-seen-sober (or conscious) uncle. Of course, when even the local mascot looks down on you, you might get a little disenchanted; but there was that Tulip Sprout resignation, again.
I’m still waiting for something to come of all these mascot walk-bys, BTW. Who walks around in a full costume – even when walking the dog – all times of day, off hours? At this point, I’d be disappointed if he(?) turns out to be only a Furry (the times we live in, when I can dismiss that as an ‘only’….).
The odd side effect, to all the background to Jesse & Tulip’s darker tendencies, was that Cassidy was left as the most earnest & loveable of the three. Getting the beaten puppy treatment from Tulip was bad enough; but the trampling did get him thinking about his relationship with Jesse.
Frankly, I don’t know what turned me off more – the fact that Cass would figure Ryan Phillippe to be Jess’ fave movie star (no offense, Ryan – but it was funny), or that it actually turned out to be John Wayne (oy, that guy).
In any case, Cass was forced to reconsider the man he had only fancied himself knowing up to that point – a fact that would force a very painful confrontation over the Eugene matter.
When that matter was finally brought forward by the Sheriff (W. Earl Brown), the scene was played out more for effect, than authenticity. The symbolism of smoke giving way to flame, as a backdrop to Jess internalizing things coming to a boil (in part due to Tulip attempting a confrontation of her own, just before), was hard not to notice; but, realistically, someone would’ve noticed the smoke before the detector went off (they were all sitting next to the oven, for Preach’s sake).
The scene did clarify two things, however: Jess was willing to lie, to cover up his disappearing of Eugene; Emily did know something about it, and was willing to cover for him; and Cass may have been loyal, but the perpetual substance abuser knew an intervention point when he saw one. He was no hypocrite, and wasn’t about to let his new ‘best mate’ be one, without a challenge, either.
In the context of Jesse’s history, with his father, Tulip, and divine wish-fulfilment, the effect absolute power has had on him was quite understandable. He was, and remains, a believer. The problem with true believers: they can never afford to be wrong; so while the consequence, to Cass forcing him to confront the extent of his empowered absolutist view, was left unclear (I wouldn’t worry too much), Jess wouldn’t be a true believer if he didn’t take Cass’ burn to a few more bridges. You could argue that there was plenty of disagreeableness to go around; but misguided devotion didn’t seem reason enough for Emily to get thrown under the bus, with the rest of the crew. I suppose it had to be made absolutely clear how absolute Jess was in his doubling down, and martyring the good girl was as good an indicator as any.
Jesse’s unlikable turn might’ve seemed sudden to some, but that’s what the flashback story was for. The fact is, we’re getting to what should be the climax point, to Preacher’s first season, and that usually comes with a hole for the hero to climb out of (seemed like the literal point & entirety of The Dark Knight Rises, actually; but I digress).
Left alone with his demons, and a monster of (partly) his own making at the gates, ‘He Gone’ left things up in the air, as to whether we’d rather see how Jesse gets out of the spot he’s in, or see how he pays for it.
Being the greedy sort, I’m rooting for both. Everybody’s gotta pay for delaying the Genesis tour.
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