By Christopher Robin Negelein
After the first two surreal, breakneck speed episodes, the third Preacher outing feels like a brisk walk. It’s implied by the titles of the second episode, “See,” and this one, “The Possibilities,” that they are a secret two-parter. That perhaps if AMC had decided they wanted a two-hour premiere, episode two and three were going to become it. And with the payoffs coming this time around, it cements that feeling.
But despite the slower pace, the show still jumps around to deal with a lot of characters and trying to break it all down in chronological order is madness, madness I tell you.
Better to sort through it all by characters.
The abusive father is still having his over-inflated ego of manhood shredded on a daily basis as even the school bus kids tease him for making “rabbit” sounds after Jesse gave the man a compound fracture. Even his boss, Odin (the ever great Jackie Earle Haley), humiliates his right hand man for having a gimp right arm. Yep, Donnie’s world is a petty place filled with petty, mean people.
‘But it’s pretty much a hell of his own making. One minute he offers to rough up a businessman he only knows by a letter he has to read to Odin out loud and then is surprised when the meat packing tyrant reminds him that he’s not roughing anyone up for a while.
It’s all comes to a head when Donnie corners Jesse (Dominic Cooper) in a nasty gas station bathroom, but hold that thought.
Ruth Negga finally gets to really shine again like she did in the pilot. Turns out that she wants to find the man, Carlos, who double crossed Tulip and Jesse back in gold ole bad days. If you doubted Jesse’s badness, a dead policemen with a bullet to the head will erase all doubt out of your mind.
Negga has a great monologue as she debates if she has to swindle — or shoot — her way out of speeding ticket. The ‘louge has several layers to it. As she rambles about her and Jesse and who made what sort of bad life decisions.
You can see how Tulip is a con woman who excels at telling the sort of stories people want to hear and molding herself into their expectations just before she gets the good and runs for it.
With Carlos’ last address, she’s got the hook baited for Jesse and he takes it. He leaves his truck on the side of the road as they hightail it to wherever Carlos is, but first they have to get fueled up at a nasty gas station.
Jesse (Dominic Cooper) now knows he has the power that many a D&D aficionado would call the Command spell. People are compelled to follow his orders, no matter what.
In Jessica Jones, we’d seen a different version of this with Kilgrave, a dark side that comes with victims who hold therapy groups after he’s done with them. There are clues that this is a path that tempts Jesse.
Very quickly, we see that the even power of grown man who’s trying to do the right thing can quickly get giddy and literally drunk with this sort of power.
Cassady goes from celebrating that he’s given people faith with the miracle of helping a comatose girl open her eyes to making his vampire buddy “fly” into a wall and break a nose.
But the true darkness comes at that small gas station. No surprises there, right? I personally wonder how many nasty gas station restrooms have been used to summon Cthulhu, never mind sneaky, cowardly showdowns.
Jesse finds himself with a revolver pointed to the back of his head thanks to Donnie. In the moment, that bit of the scene worked, but now that I’m writing it down, it seems a bit unlikely Donnie knew where to find Jesse at the right time.
Turns out that Jesse will get on his knees when there’s a gun to his head, but he won’t “squeal like a rabbit” and gives the bully Donnie one more chance to change his mind.
Oh for the chances not taken.
Jesse uses his power and with each command he gives his smile gets wider and more evil until he realizes that he has Donnie just a few seconds short of doing suicide. (Well, technically suicide.)
That’s the moment Jesse decides that’s not how he’s going to use his power. Donnie lives, frightened at what he’s been through, while Jesse leaves the bathroom to chat with Tulip and tell her that he’s not going on her quest to find revenge on Carlos.
Ironic, in the light of his choices, he finishes out the episode with the eulogy for the man that he inadvertently killed with his power. Seeming still clueless about it all.
All the truly weirdness is saved for Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun.) We establish that, yes, vampires in this world only need wide-brimmed hats and probably sun-screen to walk about during the day. Don’t get me wrong, Cassidy seems about as pleased as sticking his hand in a blender to do it, but it can be done.
He seems much less phased by Jesse’s powers and by the fact that the men he buried are still driving around town. “Clones,” he says and he you see he already planning on killing them again.
It seems that when you’re a vampire, you’re more open minded about “weird” theories. But it turns out to be even weirder? He takes them out in a hilarious fashion that I’m not spoiling … for now — to only see them back up and asking for parely. … Right over their own dead bodies.
Since the two strangers claim to not even know what a vampire is, their story that they are from heaven, seems a bit more logical. They also tell the Irishman that they not vampire hunters and are only after whatever is in Jesse. If they can get it without hurting the Preacher, they’ll take their beat-up, magical coffee can and go home. Cassidy agrees to mediate, probably more likely to give Jesse a warning than to really help settle things peacefully. I don’t think peaceful in is that man’s nature.
Other than the two angels(?), no one knows Cassidy is a vampire yet. Comic book fans knows how that will play out for some, but for the whole host of new TV characters, it seems like a roll of the dice how things will go.
So far, it seems that in every episode, a couple of characters get the short straw and only a couple of minutes of screen time. This time it was Arseface and Lucy.
No sign of the cowboy. I’m figuring they will introduce more of his story after things get even weirder in Annville.
Between this show and Wynonna Earp, it seems that Texas is a hotbed of supernatural calamity.