The theme, ladies and gentlemen, of this week’s sermon, is Revelations. In keeping with previous weeks’ dropping of bombshells, He Gone keeps the momentum going. Cassidy reveals his true nature to Jesse, Quincannon shrugs off his apparent piety to demand Jesse’s Church, we find out why Eugene Root’s face looks so arse-like, and many more Big Things from the comic book are teased. Oh, and Arseface is in Hell.
It was the Preacher what done it, in the Church, with The Word. Furthermore, the vampire witnessed it. I had guessed last week that He Gone would be Jesse’s rude awakening, but apparently the Reverend Custer has a little more prideful sinning to do first. Patently, he didn’t mean to send Arseface to Hell (if that is indeed where poor Eugene has gone), but he does a good job of not appearing too bothered by it either.
This doesn’t sit too well with Oul’ Cassidy, troubled by Jesse’s lack of guilt or responsibility, and insistent that he should relinquish the power. Already unsettled by Tulip’s digs at him not really knowing Jesse at all (and no doubt also a little jealous of their past), it’s time for the vampire to come clean. But how will Jesse react? In an episode where the Preacher is a complete dick to just about everyone in his path (including poor Emily!) one would imagine ‘not favourably.’ Which doesn’t bode too well for Cass, who chooses to reveal himself in what must be the most painful way possible - things and people burning to a crisp being another theme this week.
With Cassidy pissed off and his fate left unclear, there’s still plenty of people left for Jesse to offend. “Why are you here?!” he demands of Tulip, which, to be fair, is a good question. This week in giving-Tulip-something-to-do, we kick off with a barefoot parkour chase in which she chases down her drunk uncle’s missing trousers from local yobs. Not only were she and Jesse childhood friends, it is revealed, but also housemates; Jesse’s dad temporarily putting the kid up in absence of a real guardian. It’s doomed not to last though, and Custer Senior wastes little time in sending his son’s crush off to be adopted. Even flashback Jesse is acting like a brat this week, wishing his dad dead in response. Oops. Careful what you wish for, Jess.
Throughout, those bombshells casually keep on dropping. We had assumed that, as in the comics, Arseface’s ‘condition’ was due to a joint Kurt Cobain suicide gone wrong, but this isn’t the case: rejected by his crush, Eugene is revealed to have blasted the girl in the head with a shotgun before turning it on himself. It’s a different, darker take than anticipated, and gives the character hitherto unseen depths – also casting Jesse’s previous interactions with the kid in a very different light.
And then there’s Odin Quincannon, denying that Jesse’s words had any effect on his religious stance, and demanding the land and Church that were promised in exchange for his showing up that day. Why the change of heart? We’re guessing that Odin may have taken his own interpretation of Jesse’s command of “serve God” to mean serving himself, perhaps? Either that, or Genesis has only a temporary effect in this adaptation? Either way, this spells trouble for Jesse, with Odin raising an army to come take what is (sort of) owed…
Next to the big things, some other notable ideas and lines from the books are paid lip-service. There’s been no sign of The Duke yet, but there’s a mention of John Wayne being Jesse’s favourite movie star, which is a nice touch – and probably the only way the TV show can bring Wayne into it. The lovers’ mantra “until the end of the world” also gets its first utterance, during flashback sequences which can only be teasing a certain Jody and T.C, surely?
We already knew it could handle the action and the superficial charm of the characters, but He Gone is Preacher showing us that it can do emotion too. Recognising that this season is effectively a prequel to Jesse’s position in the comics, we’re as frustrated as Tulip and Cassidy to see the man get badder and more arrogant, refusing to repent for what he did to Eugene. The emotions are palpable and powerful, and the main three are more than up to the task of handling that. Yes, for the first time, I actually cared about a Dominic Cooper character.
There’s hope for the Preacher yet, though. The episode ends with Jesse tearing up the floor of the Church, shouting for Eugene’s return. At the same time, Quincannon’s army converges…