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TV Review: Preacher, Season 1, Episode 3 "The Possibilities"

06.12.2016

SYNOPSIS: Cassidy helps Jesse explore his newfound power; based on new information, Tulip tries to convince Jesse to seek revenge.

REVIEW:

It’s been a slow burn for Preacher so far, with a much more in-depth adaptation so far that’s zeroed in at a kind of alternate storyline that keeps Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) holed up in the town of Annville, rather than taking his adventure on the road, which is the way the comic flowed. It’s an interesting way to go and probably the more realistic and affordable one to get the show off the ground. So far, it’s working, and little by little the characters are revealing themselves, while small nuggets of things to come are built up in each new episode. “The Possibilities” follows that tradition as well, introducing us to some new conflicts to the story, as well as a well-known threat from the comics that will be pure gold to see play out, depending on how far we get in the series.

“The Possibilities” opens up on a park bench in Houston, Texas as Ruth Negga’s Tulip is meeting with her contact, Dani, who starts off trying to convince Tulip to kill her husband before getting to the business at hand, which is a map that Tulip has in her possession. Tulip hands over the map, asking what Grail Industries is (which is presumably written on the map). This is our first real introduction to the name, which is a huge aspect of the comics and dives deep into the "origins" of Jesus Christ...and then some. I won’t spoil it here, but I’m very interested to see how far deep they’ll go in adapting this particular storyline, which is sure to cause some outrage. In trade for the map, Tulip gets the last known address of Carlos, a partner in crime that screwed over Jesse and Tulip during a robbery. “That’s the day it all turned bad,” she says as we see a flashback of her screaming at a getaway car.

Dani then takes the map to a building that has a “snuff film festival” going on. She enters the theater and we see a man in all white watching what sounds like an actual snuff film playing onscreen. This is Herr Starr, arguably Jesse Custer’s biggest human threat in the comic series, and one of the sickest, most twisted, violent, sadistic, and enigmatic villains to come off the page. We never see his face, but he takes the map from Dani and shoos her away before leaving the theater. We see his all white suit and brimmed hat as he exits and it’s downright giddy for those of us that have read the comics as it teases the beginning of one of the best comic rivalries ever and I can’t wait to see that play out.

We see the “men from the government” (the Angelic duo of Fiore and DeBlanc) alive and well after being murdered by Cassidy in the last episode, meeting with Sheriff Root to explain their purpose there, saying that “something got loose,” and that they essentially need Root to stay out of their way as they try to apprehend it.  Root gives a “No Country For Old Men” kind of speech, but it seems to only serve to give more humanity to the character, who is far from sympathetic in the comics. A very different turn in the TV show for sure and I'm not sure it's necessary. I prefer the source material version.

There’s a bigger focus on Donnie (Derek Wilson), the wife abusing, Civil-War reenactor/right hand man of Odin Quincannon, who we witness trying to bond with his son at the bus stop. I’m not sure what the overall attempt at that relationship is, but the scene seemed to serve to build Donnie’s hatred for Jesse (who broke his arm in the Pilot episode). When the bus pulls up, the driver is none other than the guy who Jesse beat up, tortured, and used The Word on to make him forget about the little girl he was obsessing about. The bus driver and Donnie see each other, one with a bandage on his face, the other with an arm in a sling. The Preacher’s Word is reaching out and the effects of it are obviously hitting home...and making enemies.

Cassidy later sees Jesse sitting in the dark, quiet and deep in thought. After asking what’s wrong, Jesse makes the decision to open up to Cassidy in an attempt to get someone else to see what’s going on with him. “I want to show you something.” We then see Jesse using the word to give Cassidy a number of commands, making him Hop, sing Johnny Cash, tell a secret, box, etc. to which Cassidy is unable to stop from doing. “It’s awesome,” he says after being told to fly, to which he tries by flying into a wall. It’s a cool scene and one that didn’t happen in the comics (at least not directly), serving to strengthen the bond of the two characters, while helping Jesse understand his powers.

Cassidy and Jesse try to figure out how Jesse has come to have the power of "The Word” with Cassidy’s favorite theory being that Jesse is “a Jedi.” It’s another great bonding moment between Jesse and Cassidy and serves to strengthen their relationship and trust with one another. “All of God’s creation, inside of me” is how Jesse explains it. Cassidy suggests it may not be a coincidence and that he should imagine the possibilities of such power, leading us to believe that Cassidy could most certainly try to persuade Jesse to use his powers for reasons other than “Godly” ones. 

We get a look at Odin Quincannon’s office, where he sits and listens to cows being slaughtered on his desk speaker. It’s an ode to his sick and depraved obsession, which will be one hell of a thing to see on TV if AMC pushes it that far. Like the Herr Starr tease, this is more setup of things to come, and greases the wheels for future episodes and Jackie Earle Haley displays enough to show that he can deliver the creepy goods for ol’ Quincannon. Donnie is later seen in the office checking in and when he’s told to clear Odin’s lunch tray, he can’t manage with his arm in a sling. “Right hand man with no right hand” again building the hatred toward Jesse.

Jesse runs into Tulip on the road and they pull off to the side, where she reveals that she has the location of Carlos, the mysterious man who betrayed him. Jesse fights against Tulip’s pressure to return to the old way of life, but the call of “justice” is too much. We see a flashback of Jesse in a suit, shooting what appears to be a cop as the getaway car with Carlos speeds off.  “There’s no such thing as good guys. There’s just guys.” Jesse jumps in the car with Tulip and they speed off toward vengeance. It’s an interesting scene, especially when played against the comic, as it was never indicated there that Jesse and Tulip were criminals in their former lives, but rather just a rowdy bunch of troublemakers. I guess it’s possible they did some more “law-breaking” type of things, but again, it’s a new direction from the source material.

Later, Fiore and DeBlanc, armed to the teeth, approach Jeese’s church at night, prepared to make a second go of capturing Jesse and getting back what he has. However, their plans are thwarted, when they are suddenly run over by Cassidy’s van. Cassidy, again thinking that they are members of the religious cult after him, sees that they are the same two guys he killed before. Before he can do anything, though, they are suddenly “resurrected” and as he attacks again, they finally catch his attention and let him know they aren’t there for him, but for Jesse. “He has something of ours and we need to put it back.”

Cassidy and the two angels have a “heart to heart” in the church as they try to explain that more people will die if they aren’t able to get what’s inside Jesse back. When Cassidy asks where they’re from, they tell him "Heaven." Cassidy agrees to help them by being their “middleman”, presumably in an attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the situation.  Again, a new direction for the series, and I have to wonder if this will be a test of Cassidy’s loyalty to Jesse than anything. If nothing else, the reality of how big this power inhabiting Jesse is slowly coming to the forefront and I’m looking forward to the “bigger” reveals that kick off his ultimate journey.

The episode ends on the biggest test of Jesse’s power yet, as Jesse and Tulip make a pit stop at a gas station. There, Jesse has a run in with Donnie in the bathroom. Donnie, pointing a gun at Jesse, is intent on killing him, but it ends up becoming more about Jesse’s resolve in using his new power than a vengeful showdown between the two men.  After Donnie tries to make Jesse squeal, Jesse uses The Word to make Donnie sit in a stall and put the gun in his mouth with the intent to make it look like a suicide, Donnie powerless to do anything but obey. However, something inside Jesse makes him stop and he has a revelation of sorts. “I get it,” he says, which makes it seem like a new turning point in understanding his power.

Jesse tells Tulip he’s changed his mind, which obviously angers her. He tells her he’s staying and she says she’s not leaving without him, another link in the chain to her need for him in her life. While things are building in different ways from the comic, the spirit of it is alive in each new scene and each new character, which is a testament to the respect to both hardcore and new fans of the material. Cooper’s intensity builds with each new episode and Negga has captured a great version of Tulip. Cassidy is by far my favorite supporting character, supplying the majority of the laughs, while still building that bridge of bonding with Jesse. The teases of both Starr and Quincannon are great, but my hope is that they are executed properly and not too soon or too late. A lot of that will hinge on how well the show does and if there are more seasons to stretch it out. So far, though, this ride continues to get better.

COMIC CONNECTIONS:

- Introduction of Grail Industries and Herr Starr, one of the leading antagonists in the comic.
- Odin Quincannon listening to cows being slaughtered, teasing the darker aspects of his personality that are revealed fully in the comics.

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:46PM on 06/13/2016
it's been awhile since i've read the comics, but i seem to remember Jesse and Tulip being pretty dangerous, robbing banks. Not so much murdering cops, but guns blazing. maybe I just assumed that though.
it's been awhile since i've read the comics, but i seem to remember Jesse and Tulip being pretty dangerous, robbing banks. Not so much murdering cops, but guns blazing. maybe I just assumed that though.
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