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Preacher: ‘Angelville’ Review

Preacher season 2 ended with quite the cliff-hanger, one that promised to explore Jesse’s dark past which had been teased throughout the second season. Now that it has returned the series builds on all those small moments to establish the next big threat facing our heroes (?).

Jesse has returned to his family plantation, the place where he was raised and his immediate family was torn apart. He has returned to save Tulip who was fatally shot at the end of season two, in the hopes that his grandmother can retrieve her from death’s embrace.

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‘Angelville’ plays with the stylistic elements of the series and in the opening, it is fairly effective. The episode begins with a chilling opening, one that is reminiscent of horror films from the 1960’s and 70’s which dealt with creepy murder cults. It perfectly sets the tone for the episode, establishes the threat the L’Angelle family and sets up a mystery as to the dark fate of the Custer family. This sequence along with stylistic quirks of Tulip’s time in purgatory alone make this episode worth watching.

The premiere, by returning Jesse to his family’s plantation brings with it new characters, each of whom are as interesting as they are frightening. The episode quickly establishes the danger Jesse’s grandmother poses to out protagonists and how far she will go for the betterment of her family. Jody is a promising new an antagonist, both for his discernible liking of Jesse and how powerful he is physically. His fight scenes this episode convey both and epitomizes the best aspects of Preacher. Both villains are brought to life by great performances and the series seems on track to deliver its most personal and deeply revealing story yet.

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‘Angelville’ is a perfect continuation of the themes explored in the last season, as Jesse is more vulnerable than ever. After thirteen episodes of trying to play messiah and getting drunk on his new power, Jesse has managed to lose everything. The endgame of the show is fairly similar to the comic book, where the concept of messiahs and all-powerful gods are constantly put into question. Maybe there is no messiah, and no one is invincible. It remains to be seen how Jesse’s misfortunes impact his character arc this season, though it may bring the character closer to his depiction in the comic series.

Cassidy is the unsung hero of this episode for me and his role in the story is understated but emotionally resonant.  His feeling for Tulip have been bubbling under the surface during the events of season two and they boil over when he believes that Jesse is responsible for her death.  The resulting confrontation seems to have redefined the relationship between the two and it will be interesting to see when Jesse confronts Tulip with his newly gained information.

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Tulip’s time in purgatory is used to explore her family background, one just as dark and twisted as Jesse’s. This backstory at first seems like a patchwork of clichés which are only elevated from mediocrity by the sitcom-esque approach the director utilizes. However, Tulip’s relationship with her father is interesting as she even as a adult seems to love him despite the negative impact he’s wrought on her life. This is the one jem in that generally lackluster series of scenes. Hopefully the season expands on everything it teased in ‘Angelville’ for Tulip O’Hare because her character is in desperate need of an engaging character arc. The last season dealt with her traumatic experiences with the Saint, but they were too drawn out to be effective.  Fingers crossed for Tulip in season three.

Finally, that absolutely hilarious scene from season two is revisited when the dalmatian suit wearing heavenly father returns to speak with Tulip before her resurrection. It seems like God has finally taken notice of Jesse and is involving himself in their quest. Seems like the L’Angelle clan is only the tip of the iceberg this season, as the outcome of His meeting with Tulip should play out in the next few episodes.

A well constructed episode that focuses heavily on the characters, this is a promising start for Preacher’s third season.

Rating: 8.7/10

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