Okay, after the first impressions post, I thought I’d do a much deeper dive into the first episode of Preacher. There’s a lot that I missed on the first viewing, so this is my detailed scene-by-scene review of the series. I will ask questions, make predictions, and tie in the comic book series where I can.
Okay, let’s ride.
Preacher Episode 1.01: Pilot
Scene 1 – Unknown entity streaking through outer space
We see a streak of something of unknown origin hurtling through outer space, eventually arriving on earth.
- As I said before the scenes of outer space look like a history of B-movie ‘special effects’ special effects from the 50’s through the 80’s or so.
Scene 2 – African Village
An African preacher is preaching the word of God to his parishioners, when the streak enters his body and possesses him. When he declares himself the chosen one, he explodes and the congregation is covered in blood.
- The preacher quotes Revelations 19:17:
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
- Question 101-01
- Why does the entity kill the African preacher, but eventually not Jesse Custer.
Scene 3 – Jesse Custer awakens
Jesse Custer awakens in his bed after what looks like a hard night of drinking, having dreamed of his dad asking him for a promise. Jesse wanders down and fixes the church sign, which someone has changed to be obscene.
- The first thing that really stands out is the amount of scars and tattoos on Jesse’s back, this is in stark contrast to the crisp black preachers outfit.
- Song being sung is “Time of the Preacher” by Willie Nelson.
It was the time of the preacher
When the story began
With the choice of a lady
and the love of a man
- Jesse’s drinks of choice are Hard Hammer Lager and Ratwater Whiskey. The bottle of whiskey, has the silhouette of a cowboy, reminiscent of The Saint.
- Old pictures on Jesse’s bureau
Scene 4 – Scenes from Annville
A quick montage of buildings and images of Annville.
- The name of the bar in Annville
- The big controversy in town is that they are changing the high school mascot from The Savages to The Prairie Dogs. Not only does this invoke the anti-politically correct movement, but also reminds of a quote by Jesse Custer in Preacher Issue #1:
I see you every Sunday, the few of you both to show up, an’ you think you can sing a few goddamn hymns an’ then act like savages for the rest of the week?
- You quickly get the sense that this is a poor section of Texas.
Scene 5 – Jesse’s First Sermon
Jesse delivers a very half-hearted sermon, written for him by Emily.
- Unknown whether Jesse barely cares about delivering the sermon because he is hungover or because he is not putting his heart into it.
- Images of boredom from the church crowd, including kids playing on their Ipad instead of listening to Jesse.
- People in the church include: Donnie, Betsy and their son, Ted, The Mayor, Sherrif Root, and Emily’s kids
Scene 6 – Church Social/Barbecue
Outside the church everyone settles down to have a barbecue. During that time Chris Schneck comes over, and voices his concern that his dad is hurting his mom, and wants Jesse to hurt him. Jesse tells the boy that he’ll look into it, but he won’t hurt him because he’ll have to go too far.
- I think the name of the beer at the barbecue is Glue Roost beer, but maybe I saw it wrong.
- Donne proves who he is immediately by saying “I just ‘Abe Lincolned’ that squirrel”.
So, bring me a beer, and maybe I’ll do some of those things to your daddy? How hurt you want him? How far do I go? One punch? Two? Problem is, your daddy’s a big fella. Imagine a couple of punches just gonna make him mad. He’s gonna fight back. And his buggies are gonna want to help out. I’ll need to defend myself. Things will escalate. That’s what these things do, they escalate. And violence… makes violence… It makes nothing much at all.
Scene 7 – Downtown Annville, Evening
Jesse observes as Donnie and his friends are beating up the new school mascot. Sherrif Root comes to talk to Jesse about visiting his son, Eugene.
- The radio broadcast confirms that this is set in West Texas.
- Sheriff Root proves himself a good ol’ boy in this scene. Willing to do only what is necessary for his job.
- Root actually has interactions with his son, whereas in the comic he beat the crap out of him before he shot himself in the face, and then totally ignored his presence afterwards.
Course. Dont want to lose the wife-beatin’, squirrel-murderin redneck vote. I imagine that’s a key demographic for you.
Scene 8 – Cassidy on the Airplane
We are introduced to Cassidy who is on a private airplane with a bunch of seemingly young male stockbroker types heading to Tijuana. He is working on the plane, but more there for entertainment, it seems. He realizes that the people on the plane are there to murder him, he attacks all of them before drinking the blood of one, revealing himself to be a vampire. Finally, he jumps out of the plane with only an umbrella to help break his fall.
- We are introduced to Cassidy, who is working as an employee of the Babylonian Resort and Casino. In the comics, Cassidy never really had a job at all.
- Cassidy is shown to be not only a drinker but a user of cocaine and other drugs.
- Quote from Cassidy:
No you don’t, Dave. You don’t know what I’m talking about. Is it Dave? Look Dave, listen to me now. To know what I’m talkin about, you’ve had to have the kind of night that lands you in the hospital in the middle of the night, trying to remember the Spanish word for “ass-hamster” for goodness sake.
- As in the comic book, holy water does not work on vampires. The only thing that can kill vampires is sunlight.
- Cassidy grabs the ‘trademark’ sunglasses before he jumps out of the airplane. In the comic book, he wears sunglasses all the time to help hide his drug addiction.
- The song played is “We Could Have Had It All” by Donnie Demers and Kenny Werner.
- In the comic book, we first learn that Cassidy is a vampire when he pulls the artery out of the man’s neck, and the same happens here.
- Future Plot: Who is after Cassidy
- We don’t get too much information as to who is trying to kill Cassidy. They obviously don’t know much about vampires in the world of Preacher, as Holy Water does not work on him. My original thought is that it was The Grail, but that seems like it may be more of Tulip’s story than Cassidy’s. The marked up Bible (in a private airplane bathroom?) seems to clue Cassidy in on who they are.
Scene 9 – The Coffee House
Emily and Jesse are going over the church business. There’s not enough money to fix the air conditioner. Emily asks Jesse to go visit Walter.
- We learn more about Emily. She works/volunteers at the church and at the coffee house. She has three kids from her husband who died three years ago. Miles, the mayor, flirts with her, but she seems to be smitten with Jesse.
- Emily’s Sermon
- Look at this church. Look at it. A Starbucks in the lobby? Since when did people require frappuccinos to come to church.
Scene 10 – African Village
Two men arrive at the church in Africa to investigate what happened.
- These two have been identified as DeBlanc and Fiore. In the comic book those are the names of two Adelphi (scientist/worker angels).
- DeBlanc and Fiore certainly act like they are not human, as they arrive in Africa wearing garb you would expect out of a book from 1950.
Scene 11 – Walter’s House
Jesse arrives to visit Walter, who is passed out on the sofa. When Jesse goes to get Walter a shirt, he sees a gun and hears someone humming in the shower. Realizing who it is, Jesse leaves the house.
- We later learn that Walter is Tulip’s uncle.
- I’ve watched it a few times now, and I can’t tell if Tulip sees Jesse leave the house or not.
Scene 12 – Tulip, the Gangsters, and the Kids
Tulip and a man are fighting each other inside a car as it is going out of control plowing through cornfields. It comes to a stop at a farm where Tulip kills the man in front of two young kids. She tells them that more bad guys are coming to hurt her, so they help her create a bazooka out of cans, army men, and moonshine. Tulip blows up a helicopter and leaves the farm.
- Tulip is stealing a map, which turns out to be something more like blueprints, for Grail Industries. In the comic book, the Grail was hunting Jesse Custer down as they learned about his power.
- The song is “You’re so Vain” by Carly Simon.
- In the comic book, when we first meet Tulip, she is on a job to kill a gangster because she owes money to a man named Macavoy.
- Tulip bites the ear off the man she’s fighting, and Jesse finds it later in her car.
- I think Tulip’s car is a 1970s Dodge Dart or Plymouth Duster.
- Tulip’s got one hell of a cell phone app that tells her that a helicopter is about to arrive at her position in 23 minutes.
- Tulip’s full name is Priscilla-Jean Henrietta O’Hare. In the comic book, her name was simply Tulip O’Hare.
- Tulip’s Sermon
That’s right. A woman needs to know how to be strong and stand on her own… Of course, boy or girl, if you’re lucky enough to fall in love, you have to be even stronger. Fight like a lion to keep it alive. So that-So that on the day your love is… weak enough… or selfish enough or frickin’ stupid enough to run away, you have the strength to track him down… and eat him alive.
Scene 13 – Cassidy in the Field
After surviving his plummet to earth. Cassidy is laying in an impact crater with his guts all out of his body. Luckily a cow comes over, and he pulls the whole thing into the crater, presumably devouring it.
- Cassidy pulls his new outfit, which is fairly similar to his usual garb in the comic book, off the wash lines near where he lands.
- In the comic book, Cassidy could survive almost anything (other than sunlight) if he could get blood, human or otherwise. Drinking blood heals all wounds.
Scene 14 – Jesse at the Quincannon Plant
Jesse goes to the Quincannon Meat and Power plant to talk to Betsy about what her son told him. Betsy confesses that she doesn’t need to go to the sheriff because she likes being hurt, sexually.
- Song playing when Jesse is outside the plant is The Beast in Me, by Johnny Cash.
- I am not well versed in BDSM lifestyles, but I don’t think being scalded with a tea kettle is really what does it for people. And certainly, any “adult” would do their best to let their kids know they aren’t being hurt.
- In the comic book, Jesse was always a bit naive when it came to any sort of alternative lifestyle. I’m thinking primarily of his reactions to Jesus De Sade.
- Subtle sounds of cows hitting the ground with a thud.
Scene 15 – Russia
The two men who were in Africa before are now in a Russian church, where the entity has done more damage.
- What was the symbol on the church supposed to represent. It doesn’t seem like a Russian Orthodox symbol.
- Deblanc and Fiore are wearing traditional Russian garb from the 1950s.
Scene 16 – Tulip and Jesse in the Car
Jesse is walking in a parking lot when Tulip spots him, and the two of them have a heart-to heart in Tulip’s car where she tries to convince him to help her on a job.
- The main conflict here is Jesse wanting to change and be something that he promised to his dad, and Tulip believing that you can’t change your nature.
- Tulip says that she hates Jesse’s hair. To me this may be a commentary about all of the fans who obsess about the comic books and will complain about the littlest things being different than the book, like Jesse having longer hair. But I may be reading too much into it.
- Tulip says, “More like trying to fill your daddy’s shoes,” making it seem like she knows Jesse’s dad and the promise that haunts him.
- The two of them act more like old friends and partners and less like old lovers.
- In this series, it is Tulip who is trying to be more dangerous. In the comic book, typically it was Tulip being the voice of reason.
- Future Plot: What happened between Jesse and Tulip
- The sense you get is that Jesse and Tulip were very close friends or more. And that something happened between the two of them. It seems like there is blame to go between both of them, but that Jesse did or said something that was the last straw. In the comic book, Jesse just gets up and leaves Tulip to go back to Angelville because his Grandma’s men, Jody and TC, found him.
Scene 17 – Jesse Visits Eugene
Jesse visits the home of Sherrif Root and talks to Eugene who is severely disfigured. Eugene apologizes for not coming to church, as he feels that God doesn’t hear him anymore because of what he did.
- Sherrif Root looks at Jesse with total disdain as he makes the smoothie for Eugene. Not sure if because he hates Jesse or because he feels Jesse is judging him.
- In the comic book, Sherrif Root’s son never was given a first name.
- Mrs. Root is staring off into the television. In the comic book, she dealt with her awful husband and ‘idiot’ son with Vodka, Valium, and the Bible.
- The scary music as Jesse walks up the stairs is a nice touch, I almost wish I hadn’t seen what Arseface looked like ahead of time. It would have been better.
- I said it previously, Arseface sounds exactly as I imagined he would sound. Well done.
- Eugene’s is playing hip hop music and his room is covered with posters of hip hop artists.
- Eugene used to hear God talking back to him, but now it’s real quiet. Jesse looks at him and realizes that he is experiencing the same thing.
- The quietness of God seems to be recent in the AMC Series. In the comic book, God is not answering prayers because he abandoned heaven when Genesis was born. They never say, but the implication was that God has been gone for some time in the comic book series (several years).
- Future Plot: What did Eugene do?
- Eugene did something, and most likely that something caused his face to look like that. In the comic book, the son of Sheriff Root shot was a low-intelligence 90’s teenager with an abusive father, who attempted to shoot himself in the face after Kurt Cobain committed suicide in the same manner. The way Eugene talks to Jesse, I don’t get the sense that this was simply a suicide attempt, I can’t imagine Jesse asking Eugene if he is sorry, after a failed suicide attempt.
- Jesse’s Sermon
No. No matter what you’ve done… if you need Him. He has to be there for you. That’s the whole point. God doesn’t hold grudges.
Scene 18 – Jesse and Cassidy at the Bar
Jesse goes to the local bar for a drink, when in comes Cassidy. He and Jesse have a brief friendly exchange before Cassidy heads to the back of the bar. Jesse is confronted by Donnie, coming back from the Civil War Reenactment, who starts a fight with Jesse because of what his son told him. When he threatens his own son, Jesse fights back, beating up Donnie and his friends, eventually breaking Donnie’s arm. Sherrif Root then arrests Jesse and Cassidy.
- In a news report, apparently Tom Cruise was also not found worthy of Genesis.
- Jesse’s line “This is no time for fighting. We’re at war!” totally cracked me up.
- Cassidy is talking in the back on a pay phone? Do places still have pay phones?
- The look on Jesse’s face when he finally can be himself is one of pure delight.
- It’s kindof interesting that when he was talking to Donnie’s son, Jesse basically predicted((dare I say coreographed how the fight would go down.
- You’d hear a noise… A high-pitched kind of… bunny in a bear trap sound. You’ll know it when it comes. ‘Casue you’re the one who will be making it.
- Future Plot: Who is Cassidy talking to?
- In this scene, Cassidy is talking to someone who knows about him being a vampire, and also who knows about the people who are hunting him. The most likely candidate is Cassidy’s friend Si from New York City, who is into paranormal stuff.
Scene 19 – In the Jail Cell
Jesse and Cassidy are in the jail cell nursing their wounds and getting to know each other, teaching each other their philosophy. Jesse is eventually bailed out.
- Jesse breaks a mans arm so that bone is sticking through his skin, and he is able to be bailed out of jail by Emily. It doesn’t seem like the church or her have enough money for that.
- For that matter, how does Cassidy get bailed out of jail?
- Jesse brings up humans hitting each other with dinosaur bones, I’m wondering if this is a commentary about some fundamentalist Christians believing that they lived during the time of the dinosaurs.
- “Grown men playing make-believe is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, I’ve got to be honest with you.” HA!
- Future Plot: Why did Jesse come back to Annville.
- Specifically what was the moment/event that made Jesse leave Tulip and return to his father’s church in Annville. In the comic book, Jesse is brought back to Grandma by TC and Jody in Phoenix, Arizona, where she forces him to become a Preacher. This series makes it seem like more of a choice on Jesse’s part.
- Prediction: Jesse and Cassidy’s friendship
- Cassidy says “Yeah, well you know, promises – They’re very nasty little things. I try to steer clear of ’em as best that I can.” This is the essence of who Cassidy is, someone who knows he can’t be trusted. Jesse is someone who needs to trust people, needs to have people keep their promises. When Jesse and Cassidy finally fallout, it will be a promise that breaks them.
- Cassidy’s Sermon
- Misery loves company, does it not? It’s the hope that sets men at one another’s throats here. Take me for example, right? I have zero hope in this world, mate. And I’m bloody fantastic. Really I am.
Scene 20 – Jesse and Emily in the Car
Jesse confronts Emily when she drives him home, and tells her that he’s going to quit. She tries to hide that she’s upset with him.
- Despite her earlier protests, Emily is thinking about having someone serve gourmet coffee at the church on weekends. Giving into the competition for faith with the megachurch.
- Jesse says to her “I am who I am, I guess.” mirroring what Tulip said to him earlier.
- I don’t know if this version of Jesse is dumb around women, or for some other reason is blind to Emily being interested in him.
- A bit of advice for anyone out there reading this blog. Never call a woman an asset, just don’t do it.
- I’m curious to know how much Emily, and for that matter the whole town of Annville, knows about Jesse’s past. I know I’m putting his past from the comic books on him right now, but it’s still a question for me.
Scene 21 – Jesse alone in church
Jesse hears spooky noises, and heads into the church sanctuary. He gets on his knees and asks God to forgive him. When he hears nothing he turns from God. At that moment, the entity comes into the church and enters Jesse’s body causing him to fall unconscious.
- Not sure I dig Genesis acting like a horror movie monster with making spooky creaking noises and making lights go on and off. Seems cheesy.
- Jesse confirms that no one is listening to his prayers/questions.
- Jesse has a similar confrontation with God in his church in the comic book, but it was a little more angry and alcohol fueled.
- When Genesis comes into the sanctuary, you hear the sound of a baby. The Seraphi describe Genesis as “A comet with the face of an infant.”
Scene 22 – Jesse wakes up
After having a dream/vision of his father, Jesse wakes up with Emily sitting by his bedside. Apparently Cassidy came to the church to see how Jesse was doing and put him into bed. Jesse’s been asleep for 3 days, and prepares for church.
- I really dislike having Jesse’s dad actually say “We Custers don’t cry.” I’d rather Jesse tell us or show us why he doesn’t cry than just have it be a command from his dad.
- Emily seems not surprised that Jesse is laying in bed for 3 days. This isn’t normal behavior even for someone who drinks themselves silly.
- You can barely hear Cassidy cursing at the air conditioner trying to fix it.
- I don’t get Emily being embarassed when Jesse starts getting dressed. She WAS married for goodness sake, and she’s been by his bedside the whole time.
Scene 23 – Jesse’s uses the word on Ted
After being confronted by Ted again, Jesse unknowingly uses “The Word” telling Ted to “Be brave. Tell her the truth. Open your heart. Ted takes this literally, and finally confronts his mother, before gouging out his own heart with a knife.
- I already said this, but I hated everything about this scene. We’re waiting for a payoff with Ted, who is either in a dominated relationship with his mom or is crazy/obsessive. We never learn which one. And then he ends up pulling out his own heart just so he literally follows “The Word” of Jesse Custer. That would be fine if that was the intention of Jesse Custer in that moment, but Jesse is only frustrated with Ted, and did not wish him ill. It was gory just to end the show on a gory note, in my opinion.
Scene 24 – Jesse’s second sermon
The church is modestly filled, including Tulip and Cassidy. As Jesse stands in front of them, perhaps bolstered by Genesis, he delivers a powerful promise instead of a sermon, saying that he is staying and stating what type of Preacher he is going to be, fulfilling his promise to his dad.
- Eugene is apparently still in school, as there’s a scene of him being bullied by kids his age.
- Jesse’s Sermon
- You deserve a good preacher, and –= and that’s what you’re gonna get. As of today… as of right now, I’m going to fight. I’m going to do what all good preachers have done since the Serpent and Man’s Fall – pray for the sinner. Offer peace to the restless. Avenge the innocent. Cool the wrathful. Welcome those who are lost. And last but not least… speak for the Word of God… for all this, I am responsible. I am that preacher. This is my answer. This is why I’ve come home. To save you.
Scene 25 – DeBlanc and Fiore arrive
In the car, the taller of the two men who visited Africa and Russia before is drinking tea, when he opens up the cup and eats the tea bag. While the shorter one opens the car and says “It’s here.” It reveals they are standing outside the Annville Church.
- Why Fiore is eating a tea bag is beyond me. And why it got ‘scary music’ associated with it is even more weird. What does it say to audience members that this man ate a tea bag, other than he’s weird or maybe an alien who doesn’t understand earth culture.
- Final song of the show is Voodoo Doll by Son of Dave.
Wow, I don’t know if I can do that much work on an episode again. Maybe it’s just the first one that will be this way. We’ll see. Anyway, I learned a few things watching it a second time, and hopefully you guys did too. Now, I’m done with Preacher for at least a week. Cheers!