Preacher

There’s blood everywhere in this week’s episode of Preacher. So much so that a woman sitting in a bathtub full of blood may be the least shocking part of things.

We’re almost at the end of this season, and the plot lines and seemingly abstract flashbacks are coming together, all pointing toward a finale that may set a new body count record.

This week’s recap:

*** We open in flashback to the old west, where the mysterious cowboy seen in prior episodes has returned to the town of Ratwater. He was previously stomped and had his horse shot in this backwater town, delaying his return with vital medicine for his family, who were subsequently slaughtered by persons unknown. He enters the town saloon and is welcomed to stay by the preacher who shot his horse, as long as he professes his love for the Lord. The cowboy sneers and instead talks of his love of his wife and little girl, noting, “as for Jesus, he can join us all in Hell.” With that, he slaughters everyone in the place, including a Chinese laborer who was forced to sing while the cowboy did his grim work.

*** Back to the present, Preacher Jesse Custer is in the back of the Sheriff’s cruiser, heading to jail. The Sheriff tries to coax him into conversation, noting that prison is no place for someone who has done wrong to a child, believing Jesse had something to do with his son Eugene’s disappearance. Jesse matter-of-factly tells him that he sent Eugene to Hell, but the dense Sheriff believes it’s a confession rather than a statement of fact. But it’s all moot, as Jesse manages to open the cruiser door, telling the Sheriff that he’ll see him in church on Sunday before tumbling out and vanishing.

*** Angels DeBlanc and Fiore visit a travel agency and ask to take a trip wayyyy south – like to Hell. The travel agent realizes they are unregistered angels and draws up tickets to have them transported to the destination via shuttle. And as anyone who has ridden one of those airport vans knows, it truly is a visit to Hell.

*** Emily is summoned to Tulip’s home. She’s informed that Cassidy is a vampire (her eyes grow wide at the news) and that he has not been healing well from the burns sustained when he doffed his shirt in the sunshine. Tulip has tired of waiting for Jesse to accompany her on a revenge murder in Albuquerque, so she’s asking Emily to administer to Cassidy while she’s gone. That requires finding animals to lead into his locked back room location, whereupon he drains them of blood to speed his healing. Only don’t go to Pet Express if you need more animals. “They’re on to me,” Tulip notes. She does tell Emily that she can have Jesse as her boyfriend, but Emily avers, noting that she has a boyfriend in the town’s Mayor, who favors khaki pants and has been chasing her forever.

*** Emily can’t resist getting a look at Cassidy, who is truly horrific in appearance. And the small animals he’s been feeding off aren’t enough to help him restore to abnormal health. When his pleas that he’s hungry become too much, Emily decides to take action. She calls Mayor Miles and feigns panic, asking him to come over because “he got out.”  When Miles arrives, he approaches the Cassidy back room in search of his beloved and walks in. Once inside the room, he is shocked at the animal corpses scattered across the floor. Then Emily appears and locks the door behind him, leaving the hapless Mayor at the mercies of a hungry vampire. It’s cold, brother, the ultimate brush-off from a woman who never wanted to be with ol’ khaki pants, but used him as a friend with benefits when the mood struck.

*** At the Sundowner Motel, DeBlanc and Fiore are packing for their trip. They’re still not sure that going to Hell is the right move, and they debate whether to use their magical phone to call Heaven and confess everything regarding Genesis’s escape. Much to their chagrin, the phone – hidden under their bed – is missing, yet another in a series of mistakes. They realize that their blunders may cause them to be separated from the divine forever, so to Hell it is.

*** The Sheriff is called to the Sundowner after DeBlanc and Fiore depart. There’s a woman in the bathroom sitting in a blood-filled bathtub, her legs removed. The Sheriff instructs a hotel worker to call an ambulance as he talks to the woman, who is the Nephilim that previously attacked the angels. She begs the Sheriff to kill her, and after some hemming and hawing, he surprisingly accommodates the request, choking her to death. Of course, this allows her to immediately reincarnate, and she slips away without the Sheriff seeing the miraculous comeback.

*** Jesse, who has freed himself from the Sheriff’s handcuffs, arrives at the O’Hare house looking for Tulip. He instead finds Emily releasing the remaining feeder animals. She tells him that Cassidy is in the back room, and when Jesse investigates, he discovers the Mayor’s drained body and a now-recovering Cassidy. The estranged friends come to a reconciliation over past misunderstandings. Jesse admits Cassidy was right about his abuse of power, and apologizes for not being fast enough to put out the fire when Cassidy took off his shirt in the sun. Cassidy graciously accepts the apology, noting that at least Jesse did put out the fire. Jesse agrees to help remove the Mayor’s body as a gesture of their renewed friendship.

*** As part of the renewed bond between the duo, Cassidy (who was the one who stole the magic Heaven phone) agrees to find Angel hands that will make the Heaven phone work, a task he accomplishes by digging up the corpses of DeBlanc and Fiore that he previously murdered in an earlier episode (before they respawned). It’s Jesse’s plan to bring the phone to church on Sunday, revealing to the world and Odin Quincannon that there is indeed a mystical realm to be obtained through faith.

*** But there’s another phone call that has to be made. Jesse leaves a message for Tulip, telling her that she’s the only one, “until the end of the world,” a tender message they first shared as children. Tulip doesn’t immediately get the message, as she’s busy in Albuquerque getting ready to revenge-kill a bound Carlos with a meat tenderizing hammer.

*** We flash back to Ratwater. The cowboy is at the bar, quaffing a whisky after slaughtering the entire saloon. But there’s a flash of blue light at the stairs, and down come Fiore and DeBlanc. It turns out they are all in Hell, and they offer the cowboy a way out – he has to kill a certain Preacher for them. Apparently, that’s Plan B for the return of Genesis.

*** The final scene is Jesse and Cassidy digging a deep hole to toss the Mayor and assorted animals corpses. As we pan back, we see that the location they chose for the mass grave is the hanging tree outside Ratwater, a place shown in flashback numerous times as the cowboy made his way into the town. The past and the present are coming together.

Next week: the first season finale. Will Jesse get the Heaven phone to work?  Will the cowboy agree to murder Jesse?  Will Tulip get Jesse’s voicemail in time to return?  Will anyone miss the Mayor?  Will Cassidy be restored to full strength?  What will be the effect of the Sunday gathering on the town of Annville?  And will poor Eugene return from Hell before the season ends?  A lot of threads need to pull together, and there’s just an hour left to do so.