Preacher Episode 1.01: First Impressions

The plan is to do a deeper dive into Preacher, when I watch it a second time. That deep dive will include a list of things that deviate from the original comic book, a list of songs from the television show, and theories of where certain plot points are going. So these are just my first impressions, basically the things that stood out that I liked and the things that I didn’t.

What I liked:

Small Town atmosphere:
The general mood and atmosphere of a stifling and claustrophobic small town filled with good old boys who always protect the status quo. I could feel that coming through the television.
The music throughout was really great. It’s nice when a cable series can get the rights to good music, especially when lesser known songs of popular artists, like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. And the timing of the music was well done.
Tulips Introduction:
Okay, so you have an uphill battle with Tulip to begin with. She’s not the girl that Jesse meets when he breaks free of home, she’s now the girl from the town he grew up in. Tulip’s no longer how she looks in the comic book. So everything is different about her, so she’s really got to hit the ground running. And does she ever. “Who here likes arts and crafts?” was the line of the episode.
You gotta be one of the good guys, son…
The essence of Jesse Custer in the comic book is in the last thing that his father said to him before he got shot: “You gotta be one of the good guys, son. Cause there’s way too many of the bad.” Okay, I’m not sure that John Custer is better as a preacher than a soldier, but that line is key. I liked it.
While, I like to be a purist about things, I also appreciate the practical. While, the “Arseface” makeup/prosthetic is not as accurate as the comic (i.e., not as disgusting, less drool), I appreciate that it must be something that an actor has to ‘wear’ for an entire shoot. And how Euegene sounds is pretty close to how he should sound, if you’re to understand him at all (without any subtitles).
Jesse’s grin
We only got to see it once, but Jesse’s shit-eating grin in the bar was just delightful.

What I didn’t like as much

Jesse’s sermon at the end
I know what they’re going for. Half of the audience is expecting the church to blow up here, and you need a big crescendo. But Jesse finding his ‘voice’ after Genesis just bothers me. Jesse didn’t need Genesis when he was standing up for himself at the bar, so if you’re going to have him speak the truth from the pulpit, then it should be from him not bolstered by the supernatural entity in him.
Cassidy’s opening scene
Generally speaking, I really liked Joe Gilgun’s version of Cassidy. I liked him in the bar and the jail and even sitting up in the church pew looking like he was waking up from a hangover. But the whole scene on the airplane, just didn’t sit right with me. I don’t get why Cassidy would have a job (as a bartender?) on a charter plane. I don’t get why he would be would have fallen for getting on a plane with guys trying to kill him. And I thought the scene with him with his guts all over the place was pointless.
The annoying parishoner
He’s there just to annoy you as a character, and you don’t know whether he’s the problem (i.e., insane) or if his mother is the problem (i.e., she’s a vicious shrew of a mother). So then when Jesse gets “The Word” he tells him to “be honest and open his heart to her” referring to the man’s mother. The man goes and cuts out his heart to his elderly mother, who seems perfectly innocent and harmless. So the point was just to have a gory scene that’s justified because you’re killing an annoying character? And apparently “The Word” is a party game parlor trick where the subject ignores the intent of Jesse and just literally follows the instructions. Doesn’t make sense to me.
Tulip and Jesse
No hint in this episode that the two of them are past loves. In this first episode, it seems like Tulip is the mischievous friend who gets the good boy, Jesse, in trouble. So, I know I’m looking for Jesse & Tulip from the comic book in the on screen couple, and maybe that’s on me, but I wanted more. Also, why would Jesse not want to talk to Tulip at her uncle’s house, but then be comfortable talking to her later on.
Donnie and Betsy Schenck
I saw some applauding the ‘nuance’ of these characters. I found them to be boring and flat. So Betsy likes pain, but feels the need to tell her husband all about the meddling preacher? And I don’t really think that scalding tea kettle (or whatever it was) is usually found as part of the BDSM lifestyle. Regardless of whether she is into it, or actually scared and covering it up, wouldn’t you want to make sure your son didn’t have the wrong idea. And then Donnie is someone who thinks beating up mascots is funny and who gloats about whooping his son for protecting his mom. I found him truly despicable, and both of them boring and reprehensible.

There’s probably more, but I’ll save that more my in-depth review, later this week.

Cheers Mate!

I footnotes