By Christopher Robin Negelein

We viewers feared the worst when Jesse got the megaphone at the start of this week’s episode. But just as was to give his mind-controlling sermon, his Voice, powered by the creature Genesis, deserted him. Or maybe he stopped himself as he watched the empty spot in the pew next to the sheriff, Eugene’s father, who sat alone in service.

Just moments ago, we had seen Jesse use the Voice to command Eugene to “Go to Hell,” and the turn around to find the boy gone. He seems to have a confused expression, but not overly worried. We have to assume that Jesse thinks the boy ran off.

But if the title of the episode, “He Gone” doesn’t clue us in, then maybe the demonic screaming only the audience can hear from the floorboards will.

It turns out to be Cassidy’s awkward day. He confronts a Tulip who is rocking a southern lady outfit with some classy 1940s flair (Ruth Negga always seems to have dropped out of a time warp from a much more glamour age). Cassidy confesses to her that he hasn’t told Jesse about their one nighter, a conversation that devolves into a pissing contest over Jesse. (Does this count as half of a Bechdel test?) It ends with Cassidy’s implied confession that he hasn’t told his best friend that he’s a vampire.

Jesse’s own awkward moment comes when Odin visits him after church. Despite his Genesis inspired geas to “Serve God,” the owner of the meatpacking/power plant says he hasn’t been reborn and thus wants the original deal honored. The church and its land if he wasn’t converted by the last sermon. And he refutes that the congregation heard him confess. You know that somehow this is fitting Odin’s definition of serving a God, but we haven’t seen into his twisted logic yet.  Jesse refuses to sign the deed over and Odin leaves with the promise to be back.

But he also outright told Jesse that he saw what happen, what really happened. The preacher seems to be either in denial or made the wrong assumption.

Interspersed within these plots threads are touching scenes with flashbacks of how Tulip stayed at the church as a child for a while until Jesse’s father sent her to the State. Which angers a much younger Jesse into pray of divine wrath upon his own father.

Ruth Negga also gets a touching adult Tulip scene where she watches over her drunk uncle who has passed out on the front lawn. Not a word is spoken, but volumes are said.

Dinner after service is a bit tense since it’s Jessie and his three admirers, Emily, Tulip and Cassidy eating quietly. Except for Cassidy who going on about the Cohen brothers. Things come to a literal flashpoint when the sheriff comes in to ask about his missing son. The oven is going up in flames and the fire extinguisher is out.

And it becomes the prop of the night.

We see it again when Cassidy, in the shadow of the church, bloodies Jesse ’s nose with it. But it gets the preacher to admit that he know what he did and that Eugene wasn’t so innocent, guilty of attempted murder and botched suicide. If God wants that boy to burn, Jesse says he’ll stand aside.

That prompts Cassidy to toss the fire extinguisher at the holy man and ask, “Are you going to stand aside and watch me burn too,” and then walks into the sunlight to literally burst in to flame — like a flambé Jimmy Cricket.

Jesse comes back in, red canister in hand, with no Cassidy. He lambasts Tulip for knowing about the vampire. She leaves. Emily sees her chance to open up. He cuts her to the quick as well.

Now alone, he’s clawing at the floorboard and screaming with the Voice/Genesis to call Eugene back, but to no avail.

Remember Odin’s promise? He’s back with a bulldozer and all of his men in miner’s caps, guns and demo gear.

Looks like the preacher will be leaving none too soon himself.

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