Clearly there are multiple SPOILERS ahead concerning the exploits of Jesse Custer, Cassidy, Quincannon, Tulip and Arseface. Episode 8 Recap and Review can be found here.
Fiore and DeBlanc put “Plan B” into action, Emily is brought up to speed with Cassidy and makes a big decision and Jesse Custer is largely absent. But we do find out exactly where the Cowboy – aka the Saint of Sinners – is, and what he can do for a couple of angels.
Lots of loose ends and questions are tied-up with the penultimate episode and the fact that this Preacher doesn’t have much of actual preacher Jesse in it is telling. It’s quite common for characters other than the main (title) one to shine, but it’s especially the case here. But with characters such as angels DeBlanc and Fiore, the mysterious Cowboy from the past and vampire Cassidy, how is a simple possessed holy man to compete?!
It’s with the cowboy that we open. Readers of the original comic will have known who he was and what part he will play from the off, but for everyone else his has been a slow-burn, rarely seen tale. As before, we’re reintroduced to his journey to Ratwater to procure medicine, his journey home to find wife and child dead, and his return to the hellhole in hope of saving a child he’d seen on the road from the horrors he knew awaited them. With the recap of Ratwater’s preacher confronting him, shooting his horse dead and the Cowboy beat senseless, we now see what then followed. Entering the bar, this Saint of Sinners promptly lays waste to the entire town, before taking a drink as a storm hits and the ground shakes. What’s coming? We’ll find out.
Back in present-day Annville, Jesse is being taken into custody by Sheriff Root after last week’s gun battle at the church. After calmly informing the policeman that he sent his son Eugene to hell, Jesse jumps out of the moving patrol car and vanishes. He has no plans to go on the lam however; he’s still got plans to show God to all of Annville come Sunday.
At the motel, DeBlanc and Fiore are debating how best to deal with Jesse and put “plan b” into action. Should they go and find help in Hell or call Heaven? The latter choice is, obviously, far more appealing but Fiore is scared the big man upstairs would separate them – and what a sweet young couple these two suddenly appear to be with that comment – and decide to toss a coin to decide where to go. When it comes up Hell, they toss again, get Heaven – phew! – then realise their phone to God has been stolen. And who could possibly have it? Someone who has promised the town he will talk direct to the Lord come Sunday perhaps? With no option left open to them, the two angels book passage ‘down there’ at “Distant Vistas”, which is decidedly not your average travel agency.
As the two angels depart for warmer climes – and with Fiore heartbroken as he has to leave his precious comics behind – Tulip is introducing Emily to the real Cassidy. She’s finally making good on her promise to go kill a man in Albuquerque – this would be Carlos – and needs Emily to continue to feed the still-recovering vampire. Emily takes the news of what Cassidy really is surprisingly well, and a plan forms in her head. Despite her protestations that she already has a boyfriend in town mayor Miles (although “He’s cool” is hardly a loving endorsement), we know she doesn’t really like him. And Cassidy could do with some proper blood.
Poor Miles. Used and abused by Quincannon, he thinks he has something real with Emily. So when she calls, saying she’s at Tulip’s house and in trouble, he rushes straight over and is quickly locked in Cassidy’s room for the vampire to feed on. We still can’t get a firm reading on Emily; created for the show and not in the comics, she was originally positioned as Annville’s only ‘normal’ resident and our proto-guide to this mad world. Now she’s feeding letching boyfriends to a healing vampire. Such is life in Annville we guess.
When Jesse appears looking for Tulip but finding Cassidy instead, he’s surprisingly ok with the death and carnage that greets him. “What would you do if you found me with a body?” he asks his vampire friend. “Help you bury it” comes the reply, so that’s what they do, killing two birds with one stone as Cassidy obliges Jesse’s request for some “Angel hands” to operate the phone; he knows exactly where some angels, since reincarnated and on a mission to hell, are buried. All this excitement seems to have given Jesse some form of epiphany, or at the very least some clarity. He calls Tulip and tells her that “it’s just you till the end of the world”, but Tulip isn’t listening. She’s about to take a meat tenderizer to a tied-up Carlos.
And now we’re back with the Cowboy, the story we now know very well playing again, and again, and again and again. Over and over, faster and faster; his sick family, the depravity of Ratwater, the evil preacher, the child abuse, his inability to save the child on the road and the annihilation of the entire town at his hands as a result. How long has he lived this? Forever? Is this purgatory? No, it’s hell. Literal hell. And as he once again pours his drink and the storm shakes the very earth, two very familiar men walk into the bar. Fiore and DeBlanc have arrived with a proposition for the Cowboy; “You wanna be free of all this?” asks DeBlanc. “We have a job for you”. That job would be killing another Preacher. Next week, the season 1 finale. Follow it all here at XO.TV.
- Fiore and DeBlanc are two wonderful characters, revealing more about themselves and (perhaps) their very close relationship each episode. It’s very sweet they don’t want to be parted.
- Sheriff Root finding the seraphim in the motel bathroom, arms and legs removed by Fiore, DeBlanc and Jesse to incapacitate her but not kill her, and giving her ‘mercy’ only made us like him all the more. Good job he didn’t see her reappear behind him. She’ll be trouble next week.
- Emily is boring and irrelevant. Take her out of the show entirely and what would be missed?
- Finally, Tulip goes and does something instead of hanging around waiting for Jesse to go with her. But who is Carlos exactly?
- Nice to have it confirmed exactly where the Cowboy was. He’ll be a formidable opponent for Jesse. But Cassidy is almost back to full strength now. Thanks Miles!