TV Review: Preacher 1.8 “El Valero”
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Episode 1.8 “El Valero”
Directed by Kate Dennis
Written by Olivia Dufault
Starring Dominic Cooper, Joe Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Lucy Griffiths, W. Earl Brown, Anatol Yusef, Tom Brooke, Ian Colletti, Jackie Earle Haley
Air date: Sunday, July 24, 2016, 9pm

Last week on Preacher, Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) was challenged by those nearest and dearest. After he lost his temper and accidentally sent Eugene (Ian Colletti) to Hell, both Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) and Tulip (Ruth Negga) tried to reach him in different ways. Usually the fight loving drunkard, Cassidy was calm, rational and for his part, a good friend. In order to convince Jesse to give up Genesis, the force inside him, he revealed the truth about himself. He removed his clothes outside and burst into flames. When Tulip questioned him, Jesse was disgusted that she knew Cass was a vampire and sent her away. Suddenly low on friends, Jesse was in for a fight. Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley), the psychotic head of Quincannon Meat & Packing is gunning for Jesse’s church land. See, Jesse bet his father’s land to Odin if he couldn’t get him to accept God. Despite leaving church a convert, Quincannon was not long for the lord, and quickly committed a mass shooting of his rival business competition. Now he is back to claim the land he feels was verbally dealt to him.

Spoilers below for this week’s Preacher.

Why is Odin Quincannon so crazy? Imagine how you’d react if your entire family died in a freak ski-lift accident. Sure you probably wouldn’t carve up the bodies of your family members to compare them to the innards of cows. When he called for the preacher, John Custer (Nathan Darrow) showed up and sees Odin covered in blood having ripped apart his daughter’s corpse. “I need you to denounce God,” he tells the preacher. “DENOUNCE HIM!!!” Flash forward and now Odin’s meat men are storming the church. Jesse somehow disarms and beats down several Quincannon flunkies, and then in a drunken stupor prays for God to bring Eugene back and sure enough, here comes Eugene digging up through the ground under the church.

Luckily for Jesse, Odin’s men regroup and he has time to talk with Eugene. He apologizes and tries to make sense of what he’s done, but realizes he is hallucinating. Nice enough to give them till daylight, Quincannon pep-talks his meat men by promising a newer and better meat packing plant complete with… a food court! Of course when they do go full Civil War reenactment charge on the church, Jesse takes them out with warning shots and a Molotov Cocktail to blow up the bulldozer. He shows his prowess with a gun by shooting Clive in the you-know-where and taking it clean off.

He uses the bullhorn to demand the agents come. Fiore (Tom Brooke) and DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) show up with their Genesis removal kit. When Jesse (stalked by the hallucination of Eugene) asks if you can get someone out of Hell, the two agents from Heaven have differing answers. They tell him he first has to give up Genesis. Meanwhile Emily (Lucy Griffiths) finds out from the Mayor (Ricky Mabe) about what’s going down at the church and takes off. He tries to get her to see the difference between what’s legal and right, and says that today confirms what everyone suspected, that Jesse was a criminal. His siding with Quincannon is strange as just a few episodes ago, he watched as Odin mowed down 5 people with a shotgun, but I guess he is a politician, so I shouldn’t be surprised how quickly his allegiances shift.

As the angels prep Jesse for Genesis removal inside the church, outside has devolved into a festival atmosphere. As Odin tries to rally his troops for another run, people are drinking and barbecuing and even the wives show up to watch. Suddenly Donnie (Derek Wilson) waves to his wife, then walks off to his car, calmly takes off his cast, and appears to commit suicide. Did Genesis have something to do with it?

DeBlanc is able to sing Genesis out of Jesse and back into its coffee can. However, after Jesse presses them to help with Eugene, Genesis explodes out of the can and back into Jesse. Fiore and DeBlanc are done trying it seems, and will go with option 2 (which involved chainsaws). Speaking of trying to kill Jesse, after another failed siege by the meat guys, Donnie (!) shows up, guns pointed at Jesse. Genesis can’t even help, because Donnie blew out his eardrums. That was genius. For weeks Donnie was tormented with the knowledge that Jesse had some unnatural force inside him, so he neutralized it. When faced with Quincannon and his men, Jesse asks for one more Sunday in church.

“I will bring God to this town… to this church… and he’s gonna answer all our questions, and we don’t like his answers, I will denounce the bastard right then and there!”

This episode continues the trend Preacher is building, where there are poignant moments of character development, combined with hilarious bits of black comedy. Jackie Earle Haley is incredibly funny, as he obviously commands loyalty from these idiots men who work for him, while he openly calls half of them “human shields.” Plus, again, the beginning establishes that he is batshit crazy. Cooper is steady as Jesse. Considering he is the main character and the hero of the show, he is also the straight man. Imagine Cassidy as Kramer, Tulip as Elaine and Eugene as George and that leaves Jesse as Jerry, the straight man forced to react to the craziness rather than perpetuate it. We get nods that Cassidy will return, and honestly after Joseph Gilgun’s tour-de-force last week, he was missed this week. If this was a lesser episode, it proves how good the show has been up to this point.

Preacher returns next Sunday night at 9:00pm ET on AMC.


Preacher: Next on: ‘Finish the Song’ Episode 108

Preacher: ‘A Coin Toss’ Official Sneak Peek Episode 108

DeBlanc and Fiore decide their next move with the help of a coin toss.

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