The halfway episode, “The South Will Rise Again,” starts off dark and keeps getting darker as the episode continues. Some might assume that “dark” means even more violence, but it’s more of a pall on the soul of the town. That things are going to get really effed up soon.
There are light bits where the angels, Fiore ( Tom Brooke) and DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef), comically rehearse their upcoming call with Heaven and then eventually meet Jesse to explain that what’s inside him has to go into the dented coffee can prison. Not that Cassidy’s shenanigans (he’s an Irish vampire, I am totally in my rights to use the awesome word “shenanigans”) has helped either side understand what’s going on.
While we’re waiting on pins and needles from last week to see how Odin is going to twist Jessie’s Voice command to “Serve God,” we’re finally back with The Cowboy (Graham McTavish) as he moseys into Ratwater for his family’s medicine. The music and the camera’s dingy tint builds a lot of gravitas to just a cowboy coming into town.
The Cowbory tries to keep to himself as he sees atrocities all around the saloon. Or maybe it was all his imagination or TV land PSTD?
Either way, he’s out he’s pissed off the wrong people and ends up walking home to find his family dead. Then crows go flying and guns get grabbed before we jump back to the present.
So for non-comic book watchers, there’s a lot of buildup for what’s obviously now an origin story, but we’ve only seen The Cowboy in two episodes.
Arseface and Jessie
Arseface/Eugene is helping his dad, the Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown), flush out some trespassers on their land only to find that someone snuck into their house with spray paint. Horrible words and an arrow pointed to a shotgun seems especially evil with the actor Ian Colletti making Eugene as heartbroken and sweet as possible. He’s trying to make up for his sins while he sees his family pay for it every day.
But most townsfolk don’t care, calling him an “it.” If you ever hated bullies or were the weakling outcast, your empathy for Arseface/Eugene is strong.
Jessie’s arc is a build up to an Arseface meetup. The Preacher has set up shop in the local Flavor Station, turning his weekly business meeting with Emily into an counseling station. When the answers to his parishioners’ problems become clear — to him — he uses the Voice to spur them to action. We haven’t seen what those actions have wrought yet. I’m getting a Needful Things vibe here.
But it emboldens Jesse to take Arseface to the comatose girl, only to have the mother scream “Murderer” at the disfigured boy. It takes Jesse several tries with the Voice to get the woman to finally forgive and hug the boy, her own eyes looking perplexed.
Tulip is even less of a happy camper. While her character is pretty blase about Irish boy being a vamp, she too focused on getting Jesse to give up the cloth. They have great chemistry with their social showdown at the Flavor Station (that poor komodo dragon), But Jesse says he’s changed, so Tulip can too.
Tulip’s all “screw that,” and thus she takes up Cassidy’s offer for some drugs and romance, mostly so she can get a vampire to help with her Carlos vendetta.
Donny and the Mrs.
Marriage is complicated. When we first heard about Betsy Schneck (Jamie Anne Allman), we thought she was a victim. But now that her man is paralyzed with fear of his boss, Odin, and Jessie’s powers, she steps up and makes ultimatums — be a man or she’ll find someone who can. On the surface she seems to accepts Donny’s confession of Jessie’s powers, but I’m not feeling it. So far, Donny’s storyline is the closest to the Kilgrave’s victims we saw in Marvel’s Jessica Jones late last year. The difference is that you can tell that Betsy doesn’t have time for group therapy.
A man changed. Odin is apologetic and see life in a new light. His new merciful disposition scares his employee, Donny even more than old Odin. But the pressure was building in an office that seems to get bigger each time we visit. But we do finally get our answer from last week as he graciously invites his competition to sit down to a nice glass of brandy and shotgun wounds.
Makes you wonder how the rest of the town is going to fare. Don’t it?