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By Christopher Robin Negelein

This week’s episode of Preacher (El Valero) went back to its Wild Weird West roots even though we didn’t see the Cowboy this time. Jesse got the lion share of the episode since he would lose the church if he  didn’t face off with the rest of the town either figuratively or literally.

Quite frankly, doing this alone was his fault. The last episode he pushed everybody away as he finally wrestled with what it meant that he had sent for Eugene to Hell.

The actual Hell, not a figurative one.

One would think that being drunk and having hallucinations of a resurrected Eugene would’ve made him a poor lone defender against the guns and bulldozers of Odin’s Meat Men.

But now we can add sniper and ambush expert to Jesse’s fighting resume. But man, do you really have to shoot off a fellow’s third leg to make a point?

Sometimes, I feel the episode goes too far when it shows a cynical view of small-town life. The case in point here was all the townspeople turning the church shootout into a BBQ. In the weird world the preacher, I get that things get bizarre quite quickly. But I wonder if it’s also a little bit of a smarmy comment by Hollywood City Slickers.

On the other hand, we now have the puzzle pieces in place to understand where Odin’s bitter atheism comes from. And you can’t fault him for it.

Better yet, in the masterstroke, the show now links that motivation back to a highlight of the comic book. I’m guessing that quite a few Vertigo fans are giggling with glee.

Our angels come by for another visit just when Jesse has his lowest. He offers these divine visitors a deal: Genesis for their helping get Eugene out of Hell.

This time that bizarre ritual with the giant music box and the antique coffee can works just as we are getting afraid that Jesse is going to explode like those before him. The mindfuckery of Eugene hallucination here was a great bit here to ratchet up tension.

The second that Genesis is back in the can, though, the angels start to renege — or to be more accurate. show their general apathy towards humanity. But maybe it’s an apathy that’s well warranted. When Jesse keep stalling by saying he has more questions the angel DeBlanc says he has a question. (And I’m paraphrasing)

“You had Genesis for a while now, what good have you done with it?”

But it seems that Genesis knows that Jesse’s upset and completely destroys his prison to reemerge with the preacher. Which makes the angels just give up and leave. That gives me a sad face as they were a highlight of the show and I hope they come back.

And maybe Jesse wouldn’t have so much trouble of during this standoff if he hadn’t let his best friend and vampire, Cassidy, roast out in the sun last week. Tulip is taking care of her onetime lover, though, in the most heartbreaking way possible. Seriously girl, you couldn’t use goats? Nobody cares about goats. And it’s a redneck town on top of that, so no one would give a second thought about goats in your backyard.

Throughout the episode Donnie has shown that he still fears the preacher’s Voice, but has given up on getting anyone to believe him. His final solution is pretty drastic and the visual transition from Donnie self-inflicted fate to the bloody, spinning energy of Genesis inside Jesse is a bit unsettling and confusing at first. But that’s what this show thrives on.

United with Genesis, Jesse’s loath to use their Voice. You can see he’s done good on holding out in the church but he stopped holding on to his faith. And when a deaf Donnie shows up with gun next to Jesse’s head the preacher is begging for Dpnnie to pull the trigger.

But in the end Jesse lives and Odin wins. And in a bizarre way things settle back to how they were before the first episode.  Odin gives the same “There is a balance” speech before before church demolition while Jesse is herded into the back of the police car.

All of which puts things in an interesting spot just before the penultimate episode where most series whip everything into a frenzy and a cliffhanger before the last episode.

As usual Preacher leaves you completely befuddled to where they’re going to go next.