After the heavy relationship drama, punctuated by some “Uptown Girl”, that has been the last three episodes of Preacher Sokosha gets the gang back to some good old-fashioned fun. Come to think about it, they were all probably terrified, so it was me who was having fun. The Saint of Killers makes his full return to the show after walking all the way to New Orleans; seriously he could have got a cab, although I imagine that conversation would go something like this:
Saint of Killers: “Preacher”
Cab Driver: “No, buddy I’m a cab driver, and why are you cosplaying as the Undertaker?”
Those would have been some unique last words. Oh well, I guess the image of the Saint walking the earth is a lot cooler than whistling in the back of a cab. This is why Sam Catlin hasn’t hired me. Anyhow, Sokosha feels like premium Preacher, with a little bit of new stuff thrown in for good measure. Like a bullet in a pot of yogurt.
Family has been a central theme to Preacher so far, and it’s a theme that works better for some characters than others. Dallas showed that some context to Jesse and Tulip’s relationship: the family that they were supposed to be getting destroyed, did a lot to make both characters relatable. Family is an overused theme, but that’s because it’s the one thing that every viewer can buy into. Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are a makeshift family. Fiore and Deblanc were pretty much Genesis’ parents, Jesse was supposed to be the father of Annville, the protector of the towns soul, and the Saint of Killers just wants to see his wife and daughter again. It’s not original, but it doesn’t have to be. Strong themes are the bedrock of every work of fiction, without them you would just have a bunch of characters and scenes thrown together without much purpose.
Preacher is built on the idea of family, and it’s a theme that suits the show much better than sin. Season one was about sin, and though it worked for the characterisation of Jesse himself, it was at the expense of Annville whose residents sinned their way to oblivion. While sin is still a major theme for the show, with the presence of Hell making sure we are aware of that, it’s being used in a much cleverer way this season as it is relating better to the theme of family.
In that way, like a really complex hero and villain relationship, Jesse and the Saint’s goals are the same but different, and the themes of the show help ground the decisions both characters make. The Saint is the worst of sinners: the only man who can walk the earth without a soul: which is why Genesis doesn’t work on him. He is willing to continue sinning, to sin for the right people, because he thinks doing so will reunite him with his family. This is why he kills without mercy, not because he likes it (liking it and being good at it are not the same thing), but because it’s a means to an end. But Kevin, what about the Butcher of Gettysburg stuff? That’s a fair question, and the show makes a case for the Saint enjoying the bloodshed. Yet his family, his ties to the world cured him of that. When they died he didn’t revert to his old patterns he became something new. He didn’t kill Ratwater because he enjoyed it, it’s part of his worst memory after all.
Jesse, on the other hand, has run away from his family, his mother’s side that is. We have been getting hints about Angelville, and its residents for a few episodes now and it is absolutely significant that once Jesse lost part of his soul it was easier for him to go back there. Even if it was only to trap the Saint; though I have a feeling that dumping the Saint in a swamp may signify something in Jesse’s past.
I’ve mentioned before that now that Preacher isn’t trapped in one setting that the variety of stories has gotten bigger. What this episode does is give us one of the most common, but most exciting if does right, stories you can tell: the race against time. With the Saint needing a soul to get into Heaven, and Tulip, Cassidy, and Cassidy’s son (on a side not Cassidy is a truly terrible father as he does more to save Tulip than his own son) held hostage until Jesse can acquire one. What follows is a tense, frenetic, hilarious, and often scary, sequence as Jesse goes from one scheme to another to try and get what he needs. This leads him, conveniently to the Japanese soul sellers from the beginning of the episode, but it is ultimately Jesse’s soul that does the trick.
9/10 – While the supporting characters are excellent this week, it is really Dominic Cooper and Graham McTavish’s episode. McTavish in particular makes the Saint all the more terrifying by giving him tiny flashes of humanity. Cooper is on great form once again, and seems determined to make sure that his sidekick and love interest have a harder time stealing the show. Preacher is firing on all cylinders this week, and with Jesse possessing a little less soul, and the promise that he can’t bury his problems for long until they eventually come back, the show is fulfilling its potential once again.