From The Atari Times to The Throes of Crime

erikarnesonsquareOne of my earliest memories of school is writing a short story about King Kong and how proud Mom was when I brought it home. (I wish I remembered more about the actual story — I’m certain it would have made a worthy sequel to the original film.)

A few years later, I wrote a four-page newsletter called The Atari Times to share my fifth-grade thoughts on the Atari 2600 and games like Pitfall, Space Invaders, and Circus Atari. Dad took my creation to work and made photocopies, then drove me around our development as I dropped off free samples to drum up subscriptions. (It didn’t work. There might have been a second issue, but I can’t swear to that.)

As a freshman at Temple University, I started a play-by-mail professional wrestling simulation called the Global Wrestling Federation. Mom and Dad helped me file a fictitious name registration with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and buy some advertisements to find customers.

When I started writing for a small music magazine called Notebored, Dad bought me a subscription to Writer’s Digest to help me learn the craft.

In short, Mom and Dad were relentlessly encouraging.

Last year, they both passed away. Mom suffered a stroke on April 22, and I will always believe that she would have fully recovered — except that Dad died of a heart attack just two days later. Once the reality set in that her husband of 45 years was gone, Mom was ready to join him in the next life. She did so less than three months later, on July 12.

14691927_10210834636448831_8116857010231003939_oThe James and Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to honor their memory and continue their legacy of encouragement. The fund provides financial support to graduates of Wilmot High School in Wilmot, South Dakota, who display an aptitude in creative writing by authoring a short story.

Why Wilmot? Dad’s grandparents — my great-grandparents — moved to the United States from Norway in 1903. In 1914, they moved to Wilmot, a small town (population 492) in northeastern South Dakota. That’s also where they’re buried.

The scholarship fund is managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation, with a Scholarship Selection Committee consisting of me, my wife Elizabeth, and authors Jen Conley, Merry Jones, and Jon McGoran.

Superintendent and High School Principal Larry Hulscher and English teacher Danielle DeGreef made sure students were aware of the scholarship and encouraged them to enter. In May, Elizabeth and I visited Wilmot to award the first scholarship to senior (now graduate) Jessica Zempel, who won for her short story “Love, Lust, and Death.” We can’t wait to see what students come up with in future years.

If you’d like to donate to the fund, it’s pretty simple.

My first book, The Throes of Crime, a collection of 26 short stories and six true-crime essays, is available at Amazon (ebook and paperback), and all proceeds from The Throes of Crime benefit the fund.

If you’d like to donate directly to the scholarship fund, you can find out how at my website.

And please take a moment today to encourage someone — a child, a parent, a friend, a stranger. Encouragement is a powerful thing.


The 5 Minute Interview: With Grant Jerkins

He’s an overweight, mostly bald, late-middle-age white guy in skinny jeans. Phil Collins meets Phil Collins. Like that. But like a really old Phil Collins. A sad spectacle.

We meet at the Viper Room off the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Almost two hours late, Jerkins offers no word of apology, no acknowledgement that he is tardy to the party.

A Pixies T-shirt bulges at the belly as he tosses a pack of Camel Wide Blue onto the tabletop and wedges himself into the booth opposite me. One can’t help but wonder if the convenience store was sold out of American Spirits.

I glance at the publicist hovering just out of plain sight, but well within earshot.

INTERVIEWER: Let’s make this real. No handlers. No interference. Just me and you. Five minutes of honesty. Being straight with each other. You down with that?

Jerkins sighs and motions away the publicist.

INT: Don’t you think it’s a bit trite to interview yourself? It’s kinda been done to death.

GRANT JERKINS: Says you. What’s old is new. Here’s the secret to writing: There are no new stories. It’s up to the writer to tell old stories in a fresh way.

INT: That’s the secret to writing? Clichés are okay?

GJ: Yep.

INT: That’s great. Sagely advice. Faulkneresque.

GJ: ‘Stories from the past don’t die. They haven’t even been told yet.’

INT: Not how that goes.

GJ: ‘Haven’t even been told yet.’ Think about that.

INT: Okay, let’s tie that into your new release, Abnormal Man. It’s about a kidnapping gone wrong. Has that one been told yet? A kidnapping? Gone wrong?

GJ: Not the way I tell it. Have you read the book?

INT: I want to stay with this train of thought before we get into those kinds of specifics. I did a little research on this, about how many books and movies have used the kidnapping-gone-wrong trope. Sticking to things released just within the last twenty years. Care to guess how many there’ve been?

GJ: I have no idea.

INT: Guess.

GJ: I’m not interested.

INT: A shitload. A shitload of books and movies have used that plotline.

(Silence.)

INT: You can’t smoke in here.

GJ: It’s the Viper Room. They allow smoking. Johnny Depp smokes in here all the time.

INT: Okay, but you’re not Johnny Depp. You’re like, a sad old man trying to cling to his youth. And you’re way too old to be wearing skinny jeans. Let it go.

GJ: Have you actually read the book?

INT: Let’s shift gears. What’s up with that cover art? What’s that about? It’s a pink tree in like a deserted Wal-Mart parking lot or something.

GJ: Did you notice the crack in the asphalt leading to the tree?

INT: A bit obvious. But yeah, man. I get it. I get the symbolism. Asphalt cracked in the past hasn’t even cracked yet. I so totally get it.

GJ: Look, the point isn’t that it’s about a kidnapping or that there’s crack in a parking lot. The point is that sometimes we make bad decisions. Sometimes we do things we regret. And hurting another human being can be the biggest regret of all. And maybe we try to fool ourselves, try to believe that our actions were preordained. That what we thought were choices were never choices at all. It was never under our control.

INT: Fate? Seriously? You really are bringing out the chestnuts.

GJ: You have a young man. The protagonist in the book. He’s introverted. Isolated and lost. No friends. Nothing. An island in a sea of humanity. Except he likes fire. He’s sexually stimulated by fire. It’s his only friend, his only escape. Was that a choice for him?

INT: It’s easy to shock. Oooh, he gets off on fire. How disturbing.

abman_1800x2700GJ: Not the point. And you’re right, it is easy to shock. But sometimes when we get to glimpse into someone’s unguarded core, it’s shocking. Hell, the banality of it can be shocking. But what makes it worth exploring is the question of how did that person get that way. How did any of us get to be who we are, doing the things we do? Was what got you here today in front me in this booth the culmination of a series of choices, or were you destined to be a hipster douchebag from the moment you were born? Were you always someone unable write anything of any substance on their own and therefore must associate himself with serious writers hoping the glam rubs off?

INT: A serious writer? That’s how you see yourself?

GJ: What about a child molester? Or a rapist? It’s uncomfortable to talk about, to think about. But are those choices? Is that someone’s fate? Or even a result of chaos? Did carbon atoms swirling about the galaxy bring them to that point? Isn’t it worth putting some thought into how the most despicable amongst us got to be who they are? Or, putting all that aside, what about their humanity? They are human, right? We are all human, so as uncomfortable as it is, we need to acknowledge that our humanity binds us. That we overlap and have commonalities in that regard. What if we concentrate on that overlap, our humanity as a Venn diagram, and then consider the problem from there?

INT: You are not a serious writer. You think you’re like Bret Easton Ellis or something?

GJ: I cannot stand that prick.

INT: Guess what? Our humanity just overlapped. I can’t stand that fucker either. Are you down with the new crime movement? That whole thing? The whole Southern Gothic Burn Barrel Rural Noir thing? Someone like Brian Panowich? What’s you’re take on him?

GJ: Tattoo-riddled charlatan.

INT: We really are seeing eye-to-eye. So Venn it’s Zen.

GJ: Nah, see, I actually like Panowich. I was testing you. I dig his writing. He’s righteous.

INT: He’s a serious writer. I’ll give him that much. But you, you are not a serious writer.

GJ: I try. I honestly try. I aspire.

INT: Dude, you’re a fucking hack. You’re not even a hack. You’re like… Like a nothing. You’re like dark matter. You might exist, but probably you don’t. You don’t exist.

GJ: You’re right. I don’t exist. I’m not even past yet.


Yes, Exactly Like That

What’s your book about?

Silence.

Pause.

You start. You stop. You start again. You fumble around your marble mouth. Your tongue all of a sudden weighs twenty pounds. You then say some canned crap that sounds a lot like canned crap.

This is the drill when I’m sometimes asked about my books. Keep in mind I used to pitch script ideas to studios. I was better at that. That I can get geared up for. That I can prepare for. Basically I down an unreasonable amount of coffee and work out the pitch ahead of time. Talk it through. Work out the kinks. Research who I’m meeting with and the company / studio they work for. Try to understand what they might want to hear. Also, when you do those types of meetings you’re almost taking on a character of sorts. It’s you not being you. Another version of you, you’re a sales guy all of sudden out to close a hot lead. You’re not the writer bleeding out every word, searching for the best way to describe how it feels to be empty and alone in the universe. No. In a pitch meeting you’re working a room and brother, you are on. But in a way it doesn’t matter, because in those rooms, a lot of times, it’s all up of grabs anyway. I’ll give an example:

You say, “This script is about an average person’s struggle to find hope in hopelessness.”

They say, “You mean like Fast and the Furious?”

You say, “See, you get it. Exactly like Fast and the Furious.”

That’s sometimes how it goes. You say something. They say something. You pivot off what they say, because you desperately want the gig, and in the end it’s this mangled mess of a thing that neither one of you are really all that interested in. You smile, they smile, you accept their bottle of water and hope you see somebody cool as you leave the studio lot.

With a novel it tends to be different, for me at least. This is something that you set out to write and, at least with me again, no one told you That sounds amazing, go write that, can’t wait to read it. Books are all a little more personal. A little more of you pours into them. A bit of you seeps in somehow. So when you’re cornered in a random situation and asked the question of what your book is all about you might have to pause. Sure, there is a quick Amazon description you can throw out there, but that somehow feels like cheating. Sounds a little like your reciting the alphabet. You also don’t want to stand there for half and hour taking a deep dive into the backstory of the Waiter that takes a bullet to the head on page five.

To be clear, you should absolutely memorize the Amazon description as a backup if nothing else. Gotta have something in your back pocket if your brain goes shithouse. All of this is to say, hey I get it, it’s hard to talk about your stuff sometimes.

People also want to know what genre or category your write in. Reasonable question, but another one that can trip you up.

My stuff, my writing, is the product of all kinds of things. When I was in screenplays I’d write several different genres. Horror, rom-com, thrillers or whatever a meeting might want me to be. If you have to jam my books all into a category? Yeah, it’s crime fiction. Some are very crime fiction and some are tilting towards other things.

14034994_10208348038591234_6596683013820239818_nMy new one, Genuinely Dangerous, is a tough one to plant a label on. That’s by design. When I started out with it I wanted it to be this fun, insane book that read like Chuck Palahniuk joins Elmore Leonard on a road trip with Hunter S. Thompson driving and Charles Bukowski serving drinks from the backseat.

If I pitched that as a movie the silence in the room would be deafening. Blank stares. Heads down looking at iPhones. Hell, that might be the last meeting I ever had. This would not be well received around town. Hard to make a poster of that. Difficult to envision a trailer with that setup.

But you can do that in a book and I’d like to think I did just that. You can really do anything you want in a book. Granted, yes, there are some book ideas that more commercially viable than others, but as far as just writing something, it’s pretty damn wide open with books.

Take what I just said about the Chuck and Hunter road trip thing and strap this on — Genuinely Dangerous is story of a down and out screenwriter who’s fallen out of favor with the movie biz because his second movie tanked and tanked hard. He’s taken refuge in the suburbs and he’s become obsessed with getting back into Hollywood. He has a crazy idea for a movie. He wants to embed himself with a crew of bank robbers and film a documentary while they work their dirty deeds. You know, war correspondent style. What could possibly go wrong?

Okay. Now that’s a thing. That’s a book. It’s dark comedy, satire, big action crime book and it’s the book I wanted to write. It’s a book I would want to read even if someone else wrote it. So that, kind folks, is what my book is about.

And yes, it’s exactly like Fast and the Furious.


The Fine Art of Killing Your Darlings

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“All writing is a campaign against cliché. Not just clichés of the pen but clichés of the mind and clichés of the heart.”

– Martin Amis, “The War Against Cliché”

Some things take a few minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master. Games like chess, for instance, or knocking off a bank and getting away with it. Flash fiction also falls into this category: sure, a lot of people can type out 500-700 words, but stitching (and cutting) that mass of verbiage into an effective story takes a lot of skill and practice.

The great thing about a Website like Shotgun Honey is how it gives the crime-fiction writers of the world a no-bullshit platform for their best short work. Just a handful of venues these days seem to offer that kind of opportunity: Out of the Gutter is also going strong, along with The Molotov Cocktail and a handful of others. Every week, these sites offer a collection of short hits, quick enough to get you through your next bus-ride or waiting room sojourn. I always like a bit of literary murder and mayhem right before the dentist drills my teeth; it really puts my minor pain in proper perspective.

And every week, the editors behind those sites need to weed through a ton of stories in order to find the roses. What differentiates the stories that make it? They tend to push back hard against the clichés of the genre, offering a new and startling take on old, dusty tropes.

Fortunately, a crime cliché is easy to pick out of the lineup. Italian mobsters who speak in exaggerated New Jersey dialect? It was old long before Francis Ford Coppola shot the first frame of the Godfather trilogy. Serial killers with cute nicknames who work as cops by day? Snore. Femme fatales who plug their loving men in the back and walk away with the cash? You’ve seen it too many times to count.

A twist on a tired trope, on the other hand, is pure gold, especially if it comes with an unexpected ending. For example, take a look at “Getting the Word Back,” a story by fellow Shotgun Honey editor Angel Luis Colón. What starts as a standard-issue liquor-store robbery quickly evolves into something far weirder—and, in the end, about twice as vicious as you were expecting.

With my own flash fiction, I’ve tried to subvert clichés whenever possible. Take my story “Special Delivery”: while a lot of hardboiled tales focus on people trying to bust out of prison, I wanted to write something in which an anti-hero had to break in. I took a fair bit of inspiration from last summer’s infamous breakout at Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, in which a pair of prisoners figured out a way past the prison walls via underground tunnels,Shawshank Redemption-style.

When it came time to collect the stories for my new noir-fiction collection, Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me, I realized that, in many ways, the flash fiction had been harder to write than some of the longer pieces. With a “full sized” short story or novella, you have the space to build an entire world; with flash fiction, you must telegraph a lot of information in as few words as possible. (The best flash is also self-contained: contrary to what some writers think, snipping a fragment from a longer narrative and presenting it unedited as a short-short story is often an ineffective technique if you want to be published.)

In the end, I alternated the collection’s longer pieces with flash fiction, creating a “long-short-long” rhythm that hopefully keeps readers engaged all the way through. Check out Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me and let me know if you think it works.

And in the meantime, if you’re writing flash fiction, remember to kill your darlings as ruthlessly as possible. Your red editing pen (literal or metaphoric) makes for a fine murder tool.


Stand aside, Kayfabe. Here Comes Wrestletown.

Temp CoverI’m baaaaack.

Thanks to head honcho and good friend Ron Phillips for having me. It’s been too long. I’m even getting the itch to submit soon, if you can believe it…

But onto the topic at hand – looking back over the years of chatting with Ron on g-chat, hanging out at cons, etc. – one thing that we really connected on (besides crime fiction and Shotgun Honey, of course) was comics. Ron did some work in comics back in the day and it was a lot of fun to see him reminisce while I ground away on my dreams of grandeur.

Fast forward a bit and while working on some comic projects, I wrote KAYFABE, a crime novel about a retired pro-wrestler named Seymour “Savage” Jackson. I love the book, but it’s a bit too one-note for me when it comes to plot. After several drafts I re-outlined the book many times, yet still (to this day) haven’t tackled it. But the pro-wrestling aspect stuck with me.

I’ve been on a huge nostalgia kick over the last year. I could put the blame on having two young boys, but it’s likely just me being a big kid. Part of that has been reconnecting with pro-wrestling, another diving back into manga, especially the more ‘literary’ and ‘slice-of-life’ from creators like Taiyo Matsumoto and Inio Asano.

Out of this madness, WRESTLETOWN was born. An illustrated hardback novel (cover and interior artwork by Andrew MacLean) about two orphans coming of age in a city obsessed with pro-wrestling, with fans who believe the action is real. The genre is a lot more fuzzy than KAYFABE or my other previous work, but I can definitely tell where my crime writing shows through in my voice, which is a long way of saying that my time with Shotgun Honey, both reading and writing (especially reading) has stuck with me since.

inklogo_120x120-5411e9d5cb4d7a47a13543245393f0b5WRESTLETOWN‘s a little different, a lot of fun, and my favorite project to date. The book is being published with Inkshares, a publisher that functions like Kickstarter, except by copy instead of dollar amount. I hope you guys will give it a look and consider supporting the pre-order campaign to bring this baby into existence in mid-2017.

OH YEAH! DIG IT!

Until next time…give ’em both barrels!


Preacher: Episode 10 – Call and Response

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And the landing my friends, it has been stuck.

In what’s probably the episode to match the absolute whacked out mad cap humor of Garth Ennis nearly 1:1, Call and Response serves as a fantastic finale to what many could and should deem “Preacher Begins”.

So it all leads to this: God’s coming by way of Jesse Custer—who is still very much on the run.

We establish it’s been a few days; we’re only 15 hours or so off from mass. Cassidy was picked up by Root at a whorehouse, Jesse is in hiding, and Tulip just got back from visiting Carlos. She stops at the local beauty parlor where a line of ladies are getting primped and waxed for the arrival of the Lord.

God HATES pubes, folks. Laser those buggers off and know his love!

Anyway, the show.

10948761_preacher-season-1-episode-10-call-and_66dde0a3_mTulip goes looking for Jesse and decides to visit Redneck Donnie and his creepy BDSM wife. Great use of lawn flamingo follows, but it’s all for nothing; Jesse’s their houseguest. There’s a creepy vibe here, though. Are they helping Jesse of their own accord? Possibly, Donnie half-deaf now.

Cassidy, though, well he’s in a spot. Root’s figured out what he is and has decided to fill Cass with bullets and blood until he finds out where Eugene is. Man, can I say what a fantastic job W. Earl Brown has done with this role? On the comic page, Sheriff Root was an odious redneck piece of garbage. TV’s root is a wonderfully realized, non-stereotypical southern lawman. He’s a standout to me throughout the season.

W. Earl Brown as Hugo Root - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Root and Cass have a conversation in between the shootings and Root decides to let him go once he’s had his fill of what-the-fuck for a lifetime.

Back at the Redneck BDSM household, Tulip reveals to Jesse that she has a gift for him: Carlos in the trunk. We finally see the entire story behind that foiled bank robbery and find out Tulip miscarried because of the entire mess. She wants an eye for an eye and Jesse gives in, deciding to put a bullet in Carlos for screwing them over out of jealousy for what they had.

After some back and forth, though, Tulip decides against murder and the pair opt for a good old fashioned ass whooping in a scene that could have been lifted straight off the page. Loved the shot of Jesse and Tulip shoulder to shoulder.

After all that wackiness, it’s game day. Quincannon cuts Jesse off—the dick—still firm in his belief in the God of Meat, but I think he’s going to have a hard revelation or three. The rest of the town shows up to church as well to watch Jesse have a little trouble figuring out how to work an angel phone, but once he gets it going, BOOM: well, hello God.

Annville-Church-Preacher-Season-1

And what a completely asinine, by the book God we get. Old white dude on a throne and all. At first he’s resistant to being summoned and questioned, but Jesse’s “balls” earns the town the right to question him. Quincannon seems to get closure on his loss and Jesse gets to ask about God’s plan. God plays it mysterious and vague—as God would do—but something about God’s hand-waving of Genesis and Eugene strike Jesse as off.

And he realizes something. This isn’t God.

Using Genesis, Jesse demands an explanation and gets one. God’s gone. The guy on the phone is an angel in a costume and nobody knows where He is. With that revealed to the town, well, things go a little sour.

- Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

The church gets torn up, that pedo bus driver gets speared, the town mascots commit suicide together, Odin cradles his meat baby (holy fuck, that was disturbing), and the man managing Quincannon Power & Meat’s Methane Power Plant dies of a heart attack while having some leather fun with a random lady. The poor girl tries to sort out the issues –with a ball gag in her mouth—but it’s no use. All the methane begins to vent and the Annville Savage’s final cigarette sets it all in motion.

That’s right, folks, Annville gets exploded in methane. The entire town is killed in an elaborate fart joke.

Bless you, Based Showrunners.

In the meantime, Jesse, Tulip, and Cass finish some promised French fries and get on the road. The goddamn whiners finally get the REAL beginning to this saga.

preach-finBack at Annville there’s a survivor! Our mini-assassin wanders out of the wreckage with a limp. She hears the sound that tell-tale sound of a hammer cocking and she’s immediately given a new hole in her chest. Behind her, the Cowboy, fresh from hell and with a single word on his lips.

Preacher.

Season 2 starts next week, right? RIGHT?

What did I love?

  • Everything. This was about as pitch perfect a finale I could have asked for. The humor, violence, and plot were wonderfully bizarre and the tone was nearly perfect. Kudos to the cast and crew. They really did a great job here.
  • Eugene is officially our replacement for John Wayne. It works. Jesse needs a conscience, not an avatar of ancient masculinity.
  • Tulip’s reaction to the word. It made up for the bleh pregnancy thing enough to make me forgive it.
  • Great callbacks to almost all the little jokes on the show. Pay attention to the missing pet signs on the diner!

My biggest gripes?

  • I don’t have a date for when season 2 begins.

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Well, it was a great ride. Thanks for reading my ramblings and feel free to ping me about your thoughts via Twitter @GoshDarnMyLife or right here in the comments. I’ve got ideas of where this is all headed and what changes may come. All I know is I’m absolutely thrilled we finally got a spiritually faithful rendition of a very beloved comic.


Preacher: Episode 9 – Finish the Song

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Back to Ratwater!

This week’s Finish the Song finally gives us a resolution to the Cowboy’s story—and it’s much stranger than you imagine. The least strange part? The Cowboy murdering the entire town as he forces a Chinese immigrant to continue singing an operatic ballad. It’s a tense and bloody scene. The Cowboy truly does love to kill.

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In the present day, Jesse is on his way to jail. Sheriff Root wants answers and Jesse provides them plainly before escaping form the back of the cruiser.

Deblanc and Fiore, fresh off their disappointing attempt to get Genesis back in its prison, visit a travel agency. The agent inside offers them a few getaways, but the boys are looking to go down south. Like super, super south.

preacher9_01And the plot train keeps rolling as Tulip calls Emily over and lets her know everything about Cassidy. Tulip’s been feeding him tons of animals, but Cassidy isn’t healing. Something about his condition and nonhuman blood doesn’t seem to jibe. Tulip heads off on a little road trip and Emily reveals what happened to Jesse—which Tulip gives zero fucks about. That is, until Emily reveals she’s dating the mayor. That changes Tulip’s demeanor quite a bit. Still, I thought Emily sort of hated him?

Meanwhile, Jesse eats pancakes with some homeless folks. Small scene, but it may be my favorite with Jesse so far. It feels like him for the first time in a while.

Back to Emily and Cassidy’s feeding time. Poor guinea pig. Poor Cassidy. We get a call back to an image from the comics here and I honestly think it’s VERY interesting how early it comes into play.

Back to the angels. One mentions leaving the radio on for the tiny heavenly assassin from a few episodes back. They’re packing up for their trip and debate the next move. They flip a coin to decide what to do and come up on calling Heaven twice. Only problem: no phone. It’s gone. There’s a tidbit or two here that I think may end up playing a very HUGE role in yet another deviation from the comic. 1) Calling Heaven means Fiore and Deblanc would be separated forever and 2) Deblanc knows what hell is like while Fiore doesn’t.

I have a theory.

I will not share it.

Emily gets a lot of screen time this episode and what I feel is ultimately a big hint as to what her fate will be next week—especially given the movie she’s watching. Cassidy isn’t satisfied, by the way. He’s screaming blue murder. Emily gets up to bring him a rabbit and we cut to Quincannon’s office where a few of his works are having a company fistfight?

Mayor Miles is there and gets a call from Emily. She’s in danger. Cassidy’s going to get her. The mayor rushes over to Tulip’s uncle’s house, but it’s a trap. Emily locks him in the room with Cassidy and the mayor’s all but the meal that the Irishman needed to finally bounce back. Can’t say I’ll miss the little weasel.

10846337_preacher-episode-9-annotations-a-quick_tb2c2fed1Sheriff Root gets called to the angel’s hotel room as the place is a bloodied, broken mess. In the bathroom? The still alive mini-assassin, well, sort of alive. She’s missing her limbs and is taking an ice bath. She begs the Sheriff to kill her, so he does (great moment of raw emotion too) which gets her reincarnated and back out in the world.

The angels catch their shuttle to hell, but poor Fiore can’t bring his comics. This lends more weight to my theory. Off to hell they go!

As for the phone they wanted to use? Jesse got it! He goes to Tulip’s uncle’s house—and that poor dude is always in a drunken coma, huh—and finds Emily there. She mentions Cassidy is there and heads off. Damn, Emily, you cold-blooded as fuck.

preacher-episode-108-cassidy-joseph-gilgun-jesse-dominic-cooperJesse finds a recuperating Cassidy and the many dead bodies in the room. The boys rekindle their bromance with apologies and an oath to help one another. Jesse breaks down his plan to use the phone and his power to call God down, but it seems the phone won’t work for human hands. Luckily, Cass knows where they can get a few angel limbs real easy and hell, they need to dispose of a corpse either way.

Before they leave, though, Jesse leaves Tulip a message of apology and heartfelt love. Tulip’s a little busy with that Carlos fella and a meat tenderizer.

And then the Cowboy’s story…begins again?

What the fuck?

We go through the motions again, though at a quicker clip (like, not multiple episodes of waiting).

Then it happens again.

And again.

And again.

The angels show up after the massacre and we finally find out that this isn’t necessarily the past, it’s also hell. Interesting to note: not as crowded as Ghost Eugene said it was. Guess Jesse’s just bug fuck crazy.

The angels offer the Cowboy a way out of reliving the worst days of his life over and over again. All he has to do is kill a Preacher.

On Earth, Jesse and Cassidy dig up some angel bodies underneath that very familiar tree.

Next week is going to be fucking insane.

What did I love?

  • AN ENTIRE EPISODE OF PLOT MOMENTUM. FINALLY,
  • The Cowboy’s fate is well-realized. We got a solid reason for him to hate a Preacher,
  • The buildup for certain characters to get their earned deserts,
  • Emily finally impressed me. Shame I think she’s dying.

My biggest gripes?

  • I would have liked some more Ghost Eugene. Should we call him Ghostface? ArseGhost?

God’s invited to the party next week. We’ll see if some theories hold water or whether I’m as big of an asshole as I believe I am. Either way, should be fun.


Preacher: Episode 8 – El Valero

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Hey now, here’s the episode that should have followed Sundowner. I wonder if there was some kind of mix up last week and they aired a bunch of non-essential deleted scenes. Because seriously, I’m still mad about He Gone.

Anyway, El Valero is a bit of a return to form and some forward momentum that provides some incredibly deep changes to the Preacher mythos that I think are pretty fucking brilliant. The episode also further cements my theories of what the outcome of this season will be, and honestly, I don’t think many people are seeing the biblical parallels here.

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We start off with a massive change as we find out what happened the night John Custer visited Odin Quincannon. Before he made that call, Odin lost what appeared to be about 90% of his family in a freak ski lift accident. Their bodies shipped to him, he’s in his office surrounded by the corpses of his loved ones and a live cow. John Custer shows up and Quincannon is broken; having gutted the corpses and the cow to show Custer he can no longer distinguish between the animals and his family. And thus he begins to worship the God of Meat.

I told you Jesse made a mistake using the Word on him without deeper context.

We move on to Quincannon’s raid of Jesse’s church and all these men find out that not only is Jesse a hell of a fighter, but he’s an expert marksman. There’s seriously no stopping this man—especially the drunker he gets. Jesse finally feels in character compared to last week. He’s drunk, guilty, and violent; having wasted energy trying to get Eugene back from hell with nor results. Once he runs Quincannon’s men off for the first time, though, he hears a noise in the hole he dug up in the church.

And out comes Eugene.

Holy fuck!

preacher-episode-107-jesse-cooper-4-935After fetching the poor kid some water, Eugene and Jesse have a long talk. We find out hell is pretty crowded and obviously not the most awesome place. Jesse calls Eugene’s dad and apologizes to the kid. He realizes now that he was wrong to judge, that it’s God’s job to judge everyone and he needed to understand that Genesis would come with consequences.

All the while, Quincannon and his men make their next plan of action. Something a little more organized since Jesse is a fucking force to be reckoned with.

Eugene and Jesse keep talking, but there’s a small problem. Eugene knows about the angels. Jesse realizes he never told the kid about them and Eugene’s caught: none of this is real, Jesse’s fucking crazy.

Ghost Eugene? I dig that. Jesse needs a Jiminy Cricket.

Meanwhile, Tulip adopts a dog…okay?

Quincannon’s men give the raid another try and Jesse sends them running back. One guy manages to get um, dismembered, but isn’t too freaked out. Probably shock—have a feeling getting your dick shot off can do that to a guy.

Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc, Tom Brooke as Fiore - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

More and more folks are turning up to the standoff and Jesse announces over loudspeaker that he wants the angels to come. Thankfully, Sheriff Root’s there to understand the request and Deblanc & Fiore show up promptly. Jesse breaks his little restraining order on them and lets them know he’s ready to evict Genesis of they can help him get Eugene out of hell. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily work out as intended as the little demon/angel spawn finds its way right back to Jesse after being extracted. This leaves the angels upset and leaving—planning a secondary option to resolve this mess.

That leaves Jesse alone, drunk, and stupidly open to an ambush by our favorite little Civil War reenactor, Donnie. Earlier, Donnie had a bright idea and shit a gun off while he had his head in his car trunk. Now he’s sort of deaf and the Word won’t work—and suddenly Donnie’s IQ had a jump in my eyes too. Jesse gets to eat the business end of a pistol and is brought before Quincannon to sign away that damn church.

Jesse’s willing to surrender, but he has a single final request: one more service. He’s going to call out God and if the deity offers nothing worthwhile, will denounce him as Quincannon wanted from the elder Custer so many years ago. Jesse’s lead off and taken in the back of Root’s cruiser—arrested, I guess—while the town watches. Man, this town sure seems all sorts of crazy bug fuck potentially past the point of redemption, huh?

Oh, and that dog Tulip bought? Food for a clearly recuperating Cassidy.

Meanwhile, that underground bunker shows up again. The pressure builds up and a silent guard presses a few buttons to prevent something from happening.

Have a feeling whatever might happen happens next week.

What did I love?

  • This episode felt like it had a purpose. Nice of you to join us so close to the finale, plot,
  • The implications of Ghost Eugene are huge. I’ll take him over John Wayne, to be honest,
  • Tulip’s complacency to Cassidy’s needs is sort of chilling. Hope this pays off,
  • ‘Preacher shot my dick off’ the music made that entire scene.

My biggest gripes?

  • I still want to see the God of Meat,
  • The townsfolk subplots are boring now,
  • No Cassidy? Boooooooo,
  • The first part of the church fight being behind closed doors. God damn, AMC, just give them a few extra grand.

Next week, Jesse’s going to continue his fail parade. You just know calling God is going to raise all sorts of fuckery.


Preacher: Episode 7 – He Gone

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Nothing worse than spoiled good will. Even if it’s in the service of a good payoff.

“He Gone” might be the weakest episode of the season so far—either a victim to the condensed storytelling a ten-episode season doesn’t have time for or a limited budget because of what’s to come.

But whatever, that’s beside the point. There’s some good character work here, even if the plot goes all sorts of nowhere—impending Quincannon ridiculousness notwithstanding.

We open right where we left off last week, Eugene’s gone to hell and Jesse seems sort of, well, not give a fuckey? Bonus: Cas was watching from above the whole damn time. Terrible event to witness; your best bud condemning a teenager to hell below.

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Jesse, in the meantime, just goes forward with Church service as if all validation of his religion hasn’t occurred. Kudos, Mr. Custer, kudos. After mass, Eugene’s dad is looking for his son; Jesse brushes it off—cold-hearted motherfucker.

Jackie Earle Haley as Odin Quincannon - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Oh hey, Odin Quincannon finished his Alamo playset. Also, he’s listening to cows screaming…

This was genuinely fucking disturbing. I may now be a vegan.

Flashback! The Story of Jesse and Tulip. After a fight, Papa Custer looks to have to take in little Tulip (the actress they got to play young Tulip is fucking amazing by the way) and we get a few wonderful glimpses into their early lives. Tulip’s a troublemaker, an O’Hare as Jesse’s father points out, and he calls Child Services to find her a proper home. This sets Jesse off and he prays for his father to die. Shame that wish comes true.

Nathan Darrow as John Custer, Dominic Ruggieri as Young Jesse, Ashley Aufderheide as Young Tulip - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

We get a nod to fans in two forms during the flashbacks 1) Jesse LOVES John Wayne, even has a weird portrait of him and 2) ‘Until the end of the world’.

In present day, Tulip’s chasing down kids for her drunkle’s (GET IT) pants and being a certified bad ass in the process. She spots that damn mascot walking around again with his dog (my theory: that mascot? God).

Back at church, Jesse’ s got a prayer group, but Cas interrupts with the knowledge that he saw what happened. He’s also horrified to see Jesse gives zero fucks for some reason. He’s convinced at this point that Genesis needs to be evicted, but Jesse ain’t having it, off he goes to pray while Tulip shows up with a bunch of shit food to make dinner.

Cas and Tulip have a solid talk about their relationship with Jesse and the Reverend Custer sure is about the biggest shit heel in existence. He goes to his little prayer group and has some weird rehearsal for a play about Lot and his salty wife (how fucking apt) and comes off a bit fatalistic about the players’ reactions to the end of the world.

MY GAWD THE FORESHADOWING.

Quincannon comes a calling and reveals to Jesse that the Word didn’t quite stick. He has some paperwork for Jesse to sign and provide the church and land to as he didn’t become a Christian. Jesse tells him to fuck right off and the stage is set: Quincannon will be back.

Interesting to note: Quincannon doesn’t seem as dreamy as he was a handful of episodes ago. Wonder if someone shook the Word right out of him. Maybe that damn mascot.

preacher-ep7-cooper-fireAnd now, the most awkward dinner since the Whites and Jesse Pinkman had their silent supper in Breaking Bad. Sheriff Root comes calling for his son and Jesse’s caught in a lie. He walks the sheriff out and Cas confronts him again. Jesse reveals that Eugene deserved to go to hell. He shot the Loach girl and himself after an unrequited display of love. Jesse believes sinner should burn if they can’t be saved, so Cas finally goes full monty: he steps on into the sunlight and starts burning, leaving it to Jesse to decide whether to save him.

No answer to that as Jesse returns to the dinner table and is furious Tulip knew Cas was a vampire. He shits that bed and Tulip leaves.

We end this week with Jesse clawing at the floorboards of the church and screaming the word into the earth, trying to get Eugene to come back.

In the night, Odin’s coming and he’s got a small army with him.

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Man, we got three episodes left. No more wheel spinning.

What did I love?

  • The acting was great. Wonderful little character moments. That’s about it.
  • Well, aside from the fact that a lot of my theories are hold more water than a ten-gallon hat’s going to accommodate.

My Biggest Gripes?

  • It’s time for things to start coming to a head. Jesse’s downfall needs to come, this town needs to die, and a certain Saint needs to come marching in.
  • Not in love with the change to Eugene’s origin, BUT I have a feeling it may be hearsay.

Next week’s promo looks interesting, but I said the same last time. Tempering the fucking expectations.


Preacher: Episode 6 – Sundowner

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Oh…damn.

This week’s Preacher can definitely be pegged as the best of the run so far. With news that Season 2’s been greenlit, I think it’s high time folks on the fence jumped on over. If Sundowner is any indication, everything’s gonna get real fucky real fast.

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Tom Brooke as Fiore, Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

We open with Jesse finally hearing the truth straight from angels Fiore and Deblanc: what’s in him is named Genesis, it is most certainly not God, and it is most certainly not to be toyed with. They explain that Heaven and Hell have been in eternal war. During the daily bloodbath, an angel and a demon did something extra dumb and fell in love. Their progeny? Genesis. Fiore and Deblanc are its custodians and need it back before worse shows up to claim the being.

Or at least before all 5 foot nothing of a Seraphim shows up and aims to murder Jesse, Fiore, and Deblanc.

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And man, what a murder attempt it is. The shitty room at the Sundowner Motel serves as the backdrop for the best fight of the series so far with Jesse, Deblanc, and Fiore versus a single Seraph. It’s chaotic, brutal, and chock full of expendable bodies.  I know folks seem to want this level of gleeful violence every episode, but it’s the sporadic bursts that suit me fine.

Things end with Cas providing some back up and Jesse using his powers on the angels to ensure they stay away from him. They realize they may need to use the “alternative” option. Whatever that is.

preacher-episode-6-sundowner-recap-questions-and-answers-1045692In the meantime, Tulip has words with Emily, breaking her sick kid’s art “thing” while trying to make a threat over Jesse. This leads to some bonding and soul-searching with Tulip softening and deciding to run errands for Emily to make up for her outburst (oh, we know there’s some goddamn ulterior motive here). We also get an interesting little revelation: Tulip had a kid once. No indication it was Jesse’s, but you have to wonder what the deal with that is.

Back to Cas and Jesse washing their clothes—and some beefcake for those interested in what our fellas look like in their skivvies—Cas asks about Jesse’s tattoos and gets two answers. That skull? From a mean old lady (OH HELL YES) and the tulip, well, come on man. The boys bond over tattoos and discuss Genesis further. Cas isn’t optimistic about things, but Jesse’s staying the course. He’s going to use Genesis to save how town. Cas is literally the sane voice in the room. Scary, no? Jesse gets to work setting up the church for service, planning to accommodate the large crowds by holding mass outdoors.

Still got that bad feeling.

Eugene, though, he’s doing alright since Jesse got the Loach matriarch to no longer want to crucify his ass. A few kids at school even sit with him at lunch and take him to a storm pipe to watch fireworks go off. It’s almost as if he’s being accepted again. It’s nice to see the kid not be a pariah for a change.

Following up on Odin Quincannon’s rampage last week. The mayor of Annville looks to be at the short end of that shit stick as he’s dodging calls from Green Acres and in a bit of a fucking mess. He goes to Jesse for advice, but it’s cut short with Tulip showing up to drop off leaflets and sacramental wine. Looks like he’s on his own covering this murder up.

Tulip and Jesse have words—with Cas hidden behind a door—and things seem a little tense. Jesse doesn’t trust her and now it seems Cas is a bit heartbroken to realize a woman he fell in love with is also in love with his best friend. Great work by Gilgun here. Makes me feel bad for a guy who maybe shouldn’t get the most empathy in the world.

Jump to Sunday and Jesse’s gearing up to lay the Genesis mojo on his parishioners. Not before Emily expresses her disapproval of Jesse’ recent set of decision and Eugene shows up for a talk. He wants Jesse to get the apology to go away. He feels like he deserves to earn redemption; that Jesse is cheating. Another highlight in the series here. Jesse and Eugene are at odds. Eugene doesn’t think this power is right. He thinks stripping people of choice is a sin.

And Jesse?

Jesse doesn’t agree. As a matter of fact, he and Genesis think Eugene should go to hell.

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So Eugene does. Only a leaflet—with his favorite bible passage—left behind.

OH MY FUCKING GOD.

Quick…no, fuck this ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE THOUGHTS:

This changes everything. Jesse can send people elsewhere with Genesis’ power. He sends Eugene to hell. It’s insane and it WORKS. It also lines up with my theories. Where this show is headed; Eugene will be back and I have a strong feeling he will be very loyal to whoever brings him back. This will be a parallel to Jesse’s journey and at this point, Eugene is his antithesis. It’s a game changer, but it’s a phenomenal thread; two sides of the same faith-based coin. Fantastic writing if it pays off.

Also? That “alternative” the angels have? He’s coming. I now fully believe most of Annville will be dying by the end of the season. Jesse is going to have a massive change of opinion and will have a lot to redeem himself for. So excited for Season 2.

Anyway, back to format.

What did I love?

  • Every major fight has outdone the last in this series so far. The Sundowner fight is one for the books. One of the most insane things I’ve ever seen on TV.
  • Tulip had a kid? Very interesting!
  • I actually enjoyed the supporting cast!

My Biggest Gripes?

  • The Cowboy’s story needs wrapping up—NOW
  • The lack of Quincannon so soon after that massacre was a little annoying.
  • Cas felt underused, but this was a super-fast paced episode. They need to keep this up.

Next week looks to be bonkers. What happened to Eugene? Will Jesse find out about Tulip and Cas? What about the angels? They can’t approach Jesse anymore, so who can they send in their stead?


Preacher: Episode 5 – The South Will Rise Again

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All hell’s a-comin’ friends.

South Will Rise Again feels two episodes late. Especially as we’re back in the past as our Cowboy friend finally enters the wonderful sounding town of Ratwater. Name like that, I can’t imagine there being any issues for our quiet rider.

Graham McTavish as The Cowboy - Saint of Killers _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Oh wait, no, Ratwater is a fucking terrible place where fresh scalps are tossed around like bloody candy, families are murder/raped, and the local preacher is pretty much a massive scumbag.

Side note: it’s interesting that Ratwater seems to have been within the vicinity of Annville. I have a feeling this is going to be used.

Anyway, the Cowboy doesn’t listen to his wife and decides to play the hero at the last second when he sees that family who’d been kind to him during his trip to Ratwater. That just earns him a beating and a dead horse. Of course, this means he gets home too late. His wife and kid are crow food.

Fueled with rage, the Cowboy gets his guns and decides to throw Ratwater a little party.

More to come there.

In the present, Sheriff Root and Eugene inspect some noises outside their house only to come back inside to find Eugene’s room defaced with ‘FINISH THE JOB’ written on his wall and an arrow pointing to a shotgun left behind. Eugene’s not the most popular guy, is he?

Jesse’s enjoying life after the Sunday service that saw Quincannon converted. He’s enjoying a sunrise, going out to breakfast with Emily, and becoming a bonafide Jesus-loving rock star with the people. He tells Emily about his bet with Quincannon and she isn’t very happy. Thankfully, the argument is cut short when a bunch of Gospel enthusiasts pull him over for a conversation straight off a VHS tape distributed by creepy Christian cults.

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Tulip and Cassidy have a heart to heart about vampirism. He lets her know the only trouble he sees is from sunlight, doesn’t necessarily crave blood, and usually only kills those that deserve it. Satisfied, Tulip asks him to see his ass out. Cas has different plans; 1) he needs to know where to get high and 2) he’s in love with Tulip. Apparently, the man feels he’s too old to play games, so he just lays it out there. Tulip brings up her “boyfriend”—conveniently nameless and with vague life details—and Cassidy plants a few seeds of doubt about whether this boyfriend’s worth waiting for, especially since Tulip’s got a line on revenge on the man that ruined her relationship with Jesse.

Back at the Schenk household, Donnie’s wife is getting fed up with her piece of shit husband’s sad sack bullshit. She wants him back at work with Odin, but Donnie’s experience with Jesse has left him feeling a lot like the cows he grew up knocking. Eh, fuck him. He’s a dick.

Back at Fiore and Deblanc’s hotel room, that phone is still ringing. Deblanc walks Fiore trough what to say when he picks up, but they’re obsessing over details. Apparently, if they don’t nail this conversation, shit’s hitting the fan very, very fast. Poor bastards are totally in over their heads.

tumblr_o9f5wdY2UF1r5rk9to3_r1_400Emily goes back to the church and goes about a few errands only to get interrupted on the can by a very grumpy Tulip. She wants to know where Jesse is and Emily lets her know he’s holding his own little sermon on the mount over at the greasy spoon.

The Roots seem to be doing okay after the prior night’s vandalism, but Eugene’s need to please sets his father off. He wonders out loud if Eugene wouldn’t be better off taking the graffiti’s advice. Stand out scene here. Eugene is seriously a character I’m growing to really care about. This makes me worried.

In other weirdness, some dude is keeping track of an old-timey steampunk gauge that’s recording pressure? The equipment looks like something out of nuclear bunker and you know what? I’m going to shut up…I have a feeling I know what this is for. Fine, one hint: this little room is absolutely in the opening credits. Other tidbit: this did not exist in the comics.

We get to see what Quincannon’s up to now that he’s found God. He’s actually a pretty nice guy! He’s got the mayor over to apologize for using his briefcase as a bathroom and he’s ready to make amends. Donnie overhears that Odin went to church on Sunday and loses his shit. He wants to know what Jesse told Odin, convinced the Preacher’s working his evil charms again.

Preacher-Footage-32And Donnie’s not wrong. Jesse’s using his power on nearly everyone and he‘s getting off on it quite a bit. Tulip interrupts his group to tell folks about her attraction to bad boys and how Jesse is a bad, bad boy. The story is pretty outstanding and I will not ruin it here. Go watch the goddamn show.

Anyway, Eugene shows up—though, not allowed in the restaurant—and wants to talk to Jesse. He apologizes for being a pain in the ass and asking for help all the time. Eugene’s suffering. He’s tired of knowing he brought so much pain through his actions, which again inspires Jesse to do something real dumb. Interesting he makes the dumbest choices when Eugene comes calling. Not that it’s Eugene’s fault, but I think Jesse does less listening than he pretends to.

PREACHER_S1_Inside_104_01-800x450So Jesse’s bright idea? Bring Eugene to the Loach house and we get confirmation that the comatose girl is totally in her coma thanks to Eugene. Mama Loach goes bug-fuck crazy and Jesse uses his power to calm the situation down and follows it all up by making her forgive Eugene.

Once again, another decision I feel is going to go very, very, very bad.

We get a handful of scenes next, but Donnie’s crying isn’t so important and Tulip robbing a store’s not necessarily out of character. The angels get a real shock when they decide to pick up that phone and it stops ringing before they can.

Uh oh.

Tulip meets up with Cas outside of a strip club and hands him some drugs she stole. She seems done with Jesse, almost broken, and proceeds to consummate her new relationship with Cas by joylessly allowing him to mount her in her car. More on this absolutely MASSIVE change to storyline in my final thoughts.

Jesse’s back at the diner since this is how he gets his jollies now, but Sheriff Root shows up with those gentlemen from the government; Fiore and Deblanc. Looks like things are far more serious than they anticipated. The angels explain to Jesse they need what’s inside him—finding out Cassidy was conning them—but Jesse assures them he has no idea what’s going on. They mention he’s using the power inside him too much and reveal they’re from heaven.

Heaven as in the sky? Is there another?

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They have their coffee can with them and Jesse expresses confusion as to how God would live in a coffee can. To this, the boys answer: this ain’t God.

We close the episode with good guy Odin greeting Green Acres reps to his office. Our servant of God is ready to talk and make good. Well, if make good means mowing all four execs down with a shotgun.

You know, like God does.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Shit’s heating up. Quincannon’s serving SOMETHING. I’m interested in seeing what the deal is with that God.
  • The change in the Tulip/Cassidy relationship. Excellent choice. With how they’ve established Tulip, the comic storyline of this relationship would have drained her agency immediately. I’m glad she’s using Cas as some kind of emotional sponge. Should take us to interesting place.
  • That bunker: something is totally being held down there. Telling you—that town’s dying.

What did I love?

  • The entire cast killed it this week. Even the stupid new characters.
  • Eugene is probably my favorite character. I don’t even want to call him Arseface anymore.
  • That damn mascot pops up in the background of every episode! Wonder if there’s something more to that…

My Biggest Gripes?

  • Really? Not much this week. Not loving the way they’re parsing out the Cowboy’s story, but the payoff should be fantastic.
  • The Emily/toilet thing is tacked on. Make it funny or don’t do it.

Next week should hopefully provide some real meat. Jesse is probably going to get answers from the angels. Whether they want to give that info or not.


Preacher: Episode 4 – Monster Swamp

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We’re still moving slowly, but surely enough, we’re moving.

This week’s “Monster Swamp” is a weird one. I’m beginning to understand why some folks aren’t entirely sold on Preacher, but at the same time, AMC is pretty legendary for its budget fuckery and wheel-spinning it necessitates; so there needs to be plenty of moments where you take a breath as a fan.

On the plus side: I have theories I’m going to share at the end of this week’s recap. Not so much to convince anyone of anything they aren’t already convinced of, but because it’s always fun to speculate and wonder. This slow pace has to be for a reason. The showrunners and writers have proven they understand the spirit of the material.

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Case in point—the opening to this week’s Monster Swamp.

We get a strange little scene. Girl running in her panties from a scary truck. She looks for a place to hide. No dice: more girls in their underwear already got that hidey hole.

Wait, what?

Looks like Quincannon’s men not only get ample use of the town brothel, but they play a hunting game with the hookers. It’s with paint guns so I guess that’s okay? Seems this town is very under Odin Quincannon’s thumb.

All’s fun and games until one of the girls falls into a sinkhole and drowns in mud (well, hopefully its mud).

After the title credits, we get to watch a young Jesse prep the church for his father’s Sunday service. It looks like an easier time for the young Custer. His father demanded respect and received it. In present day, Jesse sits in the pews praying or ruminating while Cas makes an attempt at informing him of the angels that have asked him to be the middleman in getting their prisoner back in its coffee can. Jesse brushes Cas off, too involved in his preachery plan to care and heads out for a drive.

Tulip, among others, gets a chance to see the authorities pull a dead hooker from a hole while Quincannon slaps his men on the wrist and admonishes the girls—class act. This is obviously not going to go well with Tulip. I feel like Odin may find out what a bad idea it is to get on her bad side, especially the chuckling fuck-nuggets that work for him.

Jesse goes to visit Emily (I finally bothered to Google the character’s name) to talk about getting more asses onto seats in the church. We get a solid (HA) poop joke out of this. Anyway, Jess wants her to get a fancy TV to lure the more base morons to service on Sunday. We get a little weird, post-poop confrontation about Pedo-Pete the bus driver and romantic tension; as you do. We also get a glimpse of John Custer tanning young Jesse’s hide for smoking a cigarette.

Huh…Papa Custer was a hardcore Old Testament type.

preacher-cassidy-gilgun-deblancNow Cas is dragging out his end of the bargain with his new angel friends. They’re not very bright and are getting a little desperate, but you figure when your only plan is to rip a guy open with a chainsaw to get whatever the hell that is out of him, you’re the type to get desperate. Cas pretends to take notes, demands money to get Jesse high on all these drugs, and ditches. The angels, though, don’t trust him and one posits they make a call to home base. We find out the angels are on Earth in secret. I guess their boss/bosses aren’t in the know.

Obviously, Cas left to do drugs and get a hummer at the brothel. I mean, come on, you trusting a man with a lilt like that?

The episode looks to be themed on indifference as Odin Quincannon is back at work playing Q-Bert until the town mayor comes over for a talk about the dead hooker. Quincannon doesn’t let the man leave without letting him know that he knows the Mayor’s been chatting it up with a green company about alternative energy solutions.

He then literally pisses in the man’s briefcase.

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In the meantime, the angels continue to wait on Cas. A phone rings—their creepy angel phone? Nope. Thankfully, it’s the hotel room phone. Just the hotel manager asking when they hell they’re leaving. The taller angel decides to go for a walk. The angel wants a burger he saw on TV (nice little nod of what may come for Fiore and Deblanc).

Back to Emily and…oh, get the fuck outta here with this side plot. NEXT.

preacher-cassidy-gilgun-2At the brothel, Tulip’s still pretty pissed but gets talked off the ledge before she puts a hurting on a few of the regulars. We get a little tidbit on her past and her mother’s connection to the brothel (big, big change there). Tulip’s temper subsides for all of two minutes before she runs upstairs and beats the living shit out of a John mid-pump. Poor guy goes right out the window and Tulip realizes her target was kind of/sort of wrong as our Irish friend Cassidy lands boner-side down on the roof of a car. Oh, and he’s got a good chunk of glass caught in his neck. Tulip gets him to the hospital only to lose the Irish bastard and find him chugging down a gross of O+ in the hospital blood bank.

Back to Jesse and his father in the past. John Custer liked visiting Odin Quincannon in the middle of the night to preach at him? That’s fucking weird. I’m thinking this is going to get followed up on at some point. In the present day, Jesse visits Odin and helps with a miniature set of what looks to be The Alamo (NICE FORESHADOWING) and gives Quincannon an ultimatum: he comes to service Sunday and if Jesse doesn’t convince him to be a man of God, Odin gets Jesse’s land.

SUNDAY

Jesse gives an impassioned speech about how the town’s lost its way because it’s abandoned God. The people of Annville will no longer serve Him and only serve their own desires. He singles out Quincannon and asks that he serve God. Odin refuses Jesse two times (cute) before Jesse uses his power to persuade a change of heart. Quincannon says he will serve God, but man, I’ve got a very, very bad feeling about this.

To cap it all off, that fancy steampunk phone the angels brought with them from heaven? It’s ringing.

This week, my thoughts are not quick. I may delve a little into the comics so, steer clear if you hate cross-pollinating spoilers.

Personally? I think Jesse’s going to get almost everyone in this town killed. Be it at the hand of God or the Saint (who is absolutely coming this season), a LOT of these people are going to die. If this is what a lot of folks are calling ‘Preacher Begins’ and as Cassidy totally dropped hints about a road trip, well, we need a reason. Jesse utterly failing, utterly detaching himself from his father’s legacy through failure, is a damn solid reason not just to kick off the road trip, but also for Jesse to be afraid of his power, get that mean streak back, and be very, very mad at the Big Man Upstairs (who ain’t so upstairs anymore).

This will also leave Eugene on a parallel path while maintaining his character arc where he decided to carry out justice on Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy as Arseface.

There’s potential here. I’m just hoping it all happens sooner than it feels like it will (especially with some of the cast showing up for all ten episodes).

ANYWAY.

What did I love?

  • Cassidy finally revealing to someone he’s a tried and true vampire. Great image.
  • That craving for a Big as Texas burger.
  • Hooker eulogy—very Ennis.
  • The changes to Tulip’s past. They’re even more blatant than Jesse’s but I think it works in her favor. Her mother’s not a prop to serve her father’s character and shallow feminism.

My Biggest Gripes?

  • Where the fuck is my boy, Eugene?
  • Not sure how I feel about that weirdness with John Custer. Felt as if they may be leading up to revelations about the man not being exactly all there.
  • Whatever with that Mayor/Emily scene. Waste of time.
  • OH MY GOD CAN WE GET THE SERAPHIM, THE SAINT, AND THE PLOT MOVING.

Hoping next week brings some real fuckery. I’d hate for the first season of this show to be a Hershel’s Farm season.