Preacher: Episode 6 – Sundowner

preaching-to-the-choir

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.

preacher-episode-6-sundowner-recap-questions-and-answers-1045714

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.

Jesse-Hell

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

preaching-to-the-choir

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.

Dominic-Cooper-in-Preacher-Season-1-Episode-5

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?

preacher-episode-105-jesse-cooper-935

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

preaching-to-the-choir

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.

preacher-lacey-robertson-935

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.

Tom-Brooke-in-Preacher-Season-1-Episode-4

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.


From 700 Words to Novels

dbbackdrop

Hello, I’m Ron Earl Phillips.

Hi Ron. It’s okay, I know you want to say it.

You may know me from such venues as… well this, Shotgun Honey, and as that guy who got taken away by ambulance at Bouchercon 2015. Fun times. I’m okay now. Mostly.

Five years ago I raised my hand and volunteered to join Kent Gowran, along with Sabrina Ogden, to start a flashzine called Shotgun Honey. That kind of makes the site middle-aged in internet years, and well since then, I’ve definitely hit my middle-age. We’ve published some of the best darn flash fiction of the crime variety we could find, at a pretty steady clip.

Since then Shotgun Honey has changed, grown, shrunk, and grown again.

Kent and Sabrina now have emeritus status, along with Chad Rohrbacher, Christopher Irvin, Joe Myers, Erik Arneson. The flashzine portion of Shotgun Honey is stalwartly guarded by current editors Jen Conley, Angel Luis Colón, and Nick Kolakowski. And for a while we even had Craig McNeely pinch hitting. These folks have helped give voice to 100s of author telling short stories in under 700 words.

To me, Shotgun Honey was created to give writers a voice and a venue in an overwhelming community of writers of crime, noir, and hard-boiled fiction. Short fiction builds the foundation of longer fiction. Teaches the fundamentals of story telling. If you can tell a story with a beginning, middle and end in under 700 words, there’s no reason you aren’t able to tackle longer short stories, novellas and even novels. Venues like Shotgun Honey build craft.

The benefit of being the managing editor, now publisher, of Shotgun Honey for the last 5 years is that I get to see writers build their craft, grow as writers, and make those big leaps.

December-Boys-high-res-copyThis week on my nightstand I have a copy of DECEMBER BOYS by Joe Clifford. My experience with Joe started with his first story on Shotgun Honey, “One Good Reason”. Since then he’s been a powerhouse, releasing a short story collection titled CHOICE CUTS, writing his memoir JUNKIE LOVE, followed by the over-the-top WAKE THE UNDERTAKER, to the first Jay Porter novel LAMENTATION. He was also editor for our insidious rival Out of the Gutter’s The Flash Fiction Offensive, not to mention one of the editors of TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLANDCrime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen.

DECEMBER BOYS is the follow up to LAMENTATION, and only being halfway through, it is already one of the best follow ups I’ve read. Still recovering from the events of LAMENTATION, Jay Porter is determined to derail his attempts at being a good father and husband, and even salvageable employee, as he is lured into yet another conspiracy. I don’t know how it turns out yet, but at least Jay has that bald co-worker named Ron to cheer him on.

I highly recommend you get both books in the series. LAMENTATION is only 99 cents for digital. I have it under good authority that there’s a book three in the works.

shotindetroit-patriciaabbottNot in my collection yet, but released this week from Polis Books is SHOT IN DETROIT by Patti Abbott. This is a sophomore novel release from one of my most admired Shotgun Honey alums. Patti has been a marvelous supporter and contributor, having contributed both flash fiction for the site and short stories for each of our anthologies. Last year saw her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, which was fantastic. Patti had two previous collections with Snubnose Press, MONKEY JUSTICE and HOME INVASION.

Texas-Hold-Your-Queens-Front-Cover-largeWhile you’re putting all these books on your reading list, please consider our newest release TEXAS, HOLD YOUR QUEENS by Marie S. Crosswell.

I was first introduced to Marie S. Crosswell with her submission to SHOTGUN HONEY PRESENTS: LOCKED AND LOADED (Both Barrels Vol3) with “Predators,” a story of female private detective helping the police infiltrate a sex-trafficking outfit in LA. Shortly after that, TEXAS, HOLD YOUR QUEENS was submitted for our novella line. A very similar themed story featuring a pair of female detectives in south Texas, Mason Page and Farrah Tyler, working find the killer of a supposed illegal working girl found near the Mexican border. As leads are found and choices are made, the real story unfurls. Choices are made and consequences are had.

And while you’re waiting to pick up these great books, don’t forget to read this weeks flash fiction: “Hongdai: 4:23 am” by Aaron Fox-Lerner and “A Better Job” by Charles R. Rutledge.

Until next week, I’ll be dodging bullets and reading adventures.

 


Preacher: Episode 3 – Possibilities

preaching-to-the-choir

We’re on a weekly schedule!

About damn time. So, do we finally get moving? Well, yes and no. I can still see folks being nonplussed with the momentum of Preacher so far, but ‘Possibilities’ presents, well, possibilities. A lot of them.

We open with Tulip making a visit to Houston. She’s handing over that Grail Industries map to a lady named Danny. When Tulip asks about the company, she’s told to mind her damn business and gets what she came to trade for; the last known address of someone who screwed her over many, many moons ago. Seems that mess was the day things went sour between Tulip and Jesse.

AMC_PREACHER_S1_102_SP-800x450This Danny, though. Interestingly, she’s driving a truck that provides Mitzvot On The Spot…interesting. She drives to a back alley where there seems to be a really creepy movie playing based on all the screams. She delivers the map to a silent fella in white suit (oh man) and he leaves—wide-brimmed fedora perched on his bald head.

Let it not be said these boys aren’t providing Preacher fans with a crazy amount of crumbs on the trail.

Back to the Sundowner motel. Seems the two guys Cassidy brutally murdered last week are explaining their government agent status to Sheriff Root. Root regales them with a story about child murder that’s dark as all fucking get out. Fun stuff.

Root leaves the miraculously living duo to reassess their plans. This time: ALL THE GUNS.

Man, no Jesse or Cass yet.

We get to jump over to the Loach household where Jesse’s right-hand lady visits and gets the rundown on Jesse’s experiment from last week. Seems the Loach girl opened her eyes, but that’s about that. She’s still comatose. Still, he’s seemingly reignited Mother Loach’s faith.

Aaaaand another jump over to our broken-armed butthole Donnie. He has a talk with his son about the whole arm break thing. Takes his kid to the bus stop and, oh hey, Pedo-Pete. Pete (I don’t remember his name) has forgotten the object of his lust, which another kid calls him out on right before the others make rabbit squeals at Donnie.

Seems Jesse and Genesis are making enemies.

Nearly fifteen minutes in and we finally get to Cassidy. Poor bastard’s got a coffin waiting outside in the sun and Jesse’s assistant sure as hell would like him to do something like work for his room and board. Cass goes to get the van keys and manages to find himself a nice outdoors hat. On his way out—while showing off his singing chops to a Dubliners tune—Cass finds Jesse skulked in the dark smoking a cigarette. Jesse has something to show him.

Before that, seems Tulip’s broken a few speeding laws on her way back to town. She talks her way out of a ticket by using some fake credentials and a false military history. Of course, she had a backup with that pistol she had under her leg the entire stop.

the-6-most-kickass-moments-from-preacher-episode-the-possibilities-1015479Alright, seems the boys have been playing with Jesse’s abilities. Poor Cass is hopping and admitting to his love of Justin Bieber. A few interesting things we learn here: 1) Jesse can’t make you do something you literally can’t do and 2) Seems this power comes off a little addictive—real slippery slope stuff. Cass seems completely enamored with it, though.

Over to Odin Quincannon; who seems to relax by listening to cows being slaughtered—as you do.

Back to Jesse and Cass. Cass posits Jesse may be a Jedi—which would rock. He’s excited about this strange turn of events. Maybe he’s finally found someone a little like him or maybe the idea of a buddy who can make people do whatever the fuck he wants sounds fun as hell. Jesse’s not as enthused, but Cass drives it forward. He wants to know how it feels and Jesse provides a poetic and disturbing account of what it is to have this being inside of him. Dark stuff, but understandably potent enough to be addictive. Cass can relate. The man knows what it is to suddenly be something MORE. He assures Jesse that he doesn’t have to feel cursed.

Fiore and Deblanc (our seemingly immortal men on a mission) are watching a memorial service for Tom Cruise and their all geared up.

Quincannon, in the meantime, ignores his right-hand man without a right hand, Donnie, and emasculates him. That’s not enough to make him happy, I suppose, so back to listening to the death rattle of cattle—it rhymes, see?

Aside: they’re setting up that Quincannon reveal, aren’t they? Christ.

Anyway, I think Donnie’s fit to burst about now.

Cassidy finally gets off his ass and gets rid of that body.

Meanwhile, Jesse’s driving and thinking. Tulip catches up for some more soul-searching conversation and lets him know that she has the last known address of a man named Carlos. Another flashback shows us a longer haired Jesse Custer at the better end of a gun. When Carlos ditched them, seems he had to kill a security guard. With Tulip’s new knowledge and an itch for revenge, he finally agrees to go on this job with her.

the-6-most-kickass-moments-from-preacher-episode-the-possibilities-fiore-and-deblanc-1015533

Back to Fiore and Deblanc. They’re armed to the teeth and ready to tear shit up. Unfortunately, Cass runs them over and they die…again. He figures these must be clones—I love that it’s just a given to Cass—and bemoans needing to get rid of another pair of bodies. He goes to get bags and cutting utensils, but is surprised by the now thrice-lived pair. This time, they’d rather talk—smart choice. The boys explain they need to get whatever it is inside Jesse out and back into its prison.

Jesse and Tulip make a pit stop and it seems Jesse’s ready to tell Tulip about Genesis, but he stops. Instead, he goes to take a leak and, boom: Donnie seems to be round with a gun and a chip on his shoulder. Again, we’re presented with Jesse using his power to nearly make Donnie eat a bullet. This ability doesn’t seem easy to curtail but just as he’s about to cross that line, Jesse realizes what he needs to do (does a lot of that, doesn’t he) and lets Donnie leave with his tail between his legs again.

I have a feeling that will be a mistake next episode.

Jesse comes back out and changes his mind; Carlos‘ fate can be left to God.

Damn, Jesse, you are really going to regret all these choices.

Cass manages to talk Fiore and Deblanc down while admitting they work for heaven. They’re also completely unfazed that Cass is a vampire. All they want is to lock Genesis back up and be on their way, so Cass offers to be a middleman. He’ll talk to Jesse and help them out.

We then get a small moment with Eugene Root. He wants to visit the Loach family and his father tells him to not dare do that unless he wants to get himself killed. Wonder if his condition has anything to do with that poor girl.

We finally end the episode with Jesse presiding over the funeral of that poor parishioner who tore his own heart out in the pilot. We see John Custer’s grave—but not Jesse’s mother’s—and as we pan out, a pipe opens ominously as Jesse speaks of the dead rising.

Wonder if that has anything to do with what happened back in 1881.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Jesse’s going to fail the fuck out of this town. It’s going to be bad, bad, bad.
  • Tulip is my new crush and I am not ashamed of it at all.
  • That man in the white suit…could it be? Am I using my inverted commas correctly? DOUBLE CHECK FOR ME.
  • Eugene’s story, again, a very interesting parallel to Jesse’s. Arseface may be the surprise breakout by the end of this season.

What did I love?

  • Houston’s 4th annual Snuff Film Festival—pure Ennis right there.
  • Quincannon is terrifying.
  • I sort of dig the idea of a group of people affected by Jesse and Genesis banding together against him.
  • Tulip and Cass have yet to bring me down.

My biggest gripes?

  • Let’s get on with it. I have a feeling whatever the BIG MOMENT that’s coming will be in episode 5. Has to be a reason to only provide four episodes to reviewers in advance.
  • Sort of letdown we didn’t get part 2 of The Story of You-Know-Who.
  • The new characters are growing on me, but they’re still a little meh.

Until next week!


Preacher: Episode 2 – See

preaching-to-the-choirTwo goddamn weeks we waited and well, we get a LOT more questions than answers on this week’s Preacher. Rogen and company seem to be fans of the slow burn and while we get a few pops this week, that fuse is still long as fuck.

That’s not to say ‘See’ doesn’t provide a great ride to those questions, but I can clearly see folks who haven’t read the comics may get that little scratching frustration at the back of their neck.

Ignore it. Onward!

So we open on…wait. What the hell is this? This an episode of Hell on Wheels? Why is there a cowboy? 1881? Does anyone even watch Hell on Wheels?

An aside—non-comic readers go away a second…

They gone?

HOLY FUCK OHMYGODMHMYGODMHMYGOD WE’RE ALREADY GETTING THE STORY OF YOU-KNOW-WHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem…anyway.

the-5-most-kickass-moments-from-episode-2-of-preacher-the-saint-enters-the-town-e-of-r-1005375

So, 1881. Gruff-looking son of a bitch needs to get medicine for his daughter. He’s not too talkative and seems pretty damn weary. I’m guessing having to go to a town called Ratwater and being greeted with a hanging tree—with appropriate ‘ornaments’—can do that to a guy. More to come from this guy soon and let me tell you; it’s going to be insane.

Back to present day and our man Jesse’s full tilt into being a man of God. This means outdoor baths for everyone! Jesse’s hell-bent on getting his town cleansed of their sins and making his church something special again, though it doesn’t seem as if Tulip or Cassidy necessarily believe him and the rest of the townsfolk may not either.

In the meantime, Cassidy’s gonna Cassidy and is trying to get a line on some cash and a means out of town. He’s also stealing communion wine—classy. Bright side: Cassidy meets Eugene and gets the ball rolling on branding the poor bastard by his true name. Jesse asks Cass to tone it down though, telling him that he likes him being around. Seems like that’s something Cass doesn’t hear. Jesse doesn’t seem to notice that he’s making a friend of the Irish bastard.

That’s okay, though, because one parishioner believes in Jesse and wants to bear his soul. He believes in in Jesse so much, he takes him aside for confession; though, you know, because it’s confidential and stuff. Also because he’s a creepy pedophile.

Jesse’s clearly unnerved and all that peace and love shit nearly goes out the window, but he finds his balance and makes this nimrod assure him it’s just feeling and nothing to ever, ever, EVER act out on. The scumbag ‘agrees’ and goes back to being the town school bus driver…

Aw crap.

Screen-Shot-2016-05-23-at-1.24.41-PM

Elsewhere, we meet a little man by the name of Odin Quincannon. He’s busy tearing down a house and being EXTRA creepy about his business. Looks like Jesse’s victim, Donny, from last week works for him and his arm is in pretty rough shape—and clearly his ego is still much bruised. Quincannon’s looking like he may be quite the presence very soon, but not today.

Back to Jesse handing out fliers and asking for suggestions at the supermarket. He spots Pedo-Pete’s school bus and that anger bubbles up. Too bad Tulip passes by—steering wheel stolen from Jesse’s car—and needles him a little. Looks like she even did him the favor of taping that wheel to the top of a street light. That may take him a while to get back.

And clearly it does, as Jesse arrives back to the church just in time for ‘dinner’ with Cass. Drunk heart to hearts always help and both men bare a little of their souls to one another. We get some hints as to how Jesse knows how to fight and Cass seems defensive about a Grandmother Jesse thinks he made up.

preach203Then, Cassidy drops the bomb: he’s a 119 year-old vampire on the run from a religious order of vampire killers. Also, he hates The Big Lebowski (what the fuck, Cass? I thought I knew you).  Jesse laughs it off, steals Cass’ small bottle of homemade drink, and promptly passes out. I have a feeling Jesse will look back on that moment and feel very, very stupid by next episode—and it won’t be because Cass stole his wallet and truck.

Oh hey, back to those weirdos from last episode and their location-appropriate fashion. Seems they’re ‘ready’ for something. They leave their hotel with a big chest and head on over to the church where they find Jesse fast asleep—interesting little moment where we get to see Genesis too.

The men prep and place Jesse on, a mat, put together a very archaic looking machine, and place a coffee can on his chest. Then one of them sings ‘Wynken, Blynken, and Nod’ with a terrifying musical accompaniment.  The song does nothing and while one notes it doesn’t make sense; his partner decides to go with Plan B: a chainsaw.

Well, sure, if that works.

Thankfully, Cass comes to the rescue. He’s figuring these guys are part of the religious order chasing him. He speechifies and gets interrupted with a Colt round to the gut. Then begins what may be one of the most violent fights I’ve ever seen on TV. It’s a marvel to behold. Bibles, teeth, and chainsaws; folks. Truly glorious stuff. Cass kills our mysterious attackers and figures that chainsaw may be damn helpful in sorting out the bodies, but first; a little blood to get those wounds healed up. Of course, the sun keeps him from finishing up everything. At least he mopped the floors!

And by the way, great camerawork during this scene. What a fun and frenetic fight.

the-5-most-kickass-moments-from-episode-2-of-preacher-1005272Meanwhile, at a whorehouse, Tulip plays cards and pisses folks off. She gets a call from a Danny about that map from last week. Curious indeed!

Jesse gets his ass kicked awake by his organist. She hates Cassidy or something (honestly, not loving these newer characters). She hands Jesse a casserole for his visit to the Loaches, a family with a daughter in a coma thanks to having an impressively dented head. Apparently, she can still hear. Jesse and the girl’s mother have a long talk and it’s looking like Mom’s just about spent of fucks to give. Jesse gives her his high and mighty spiel and she is not having it. Lot of foreshadowing here.

And again Jesse sees that damn school bus.

Shame he gets interrupted with a Taser and abduction on the road when he makes a stop to inspect a package lying there.

Jesse wakes up in a basement chained to a bed. His captor appears in a freaky mask and pulls it away to reveal: Tulip.

I think I love this woman.

preacher-episode-101-tulip-negga-jesse-cooper-photos-800x600Tulip’s disappointed in Jesse’s lack of enthusiasm for her games and her insistence that he is not this man of God he’s claiming to be. She lets him know her little map is going to lead to a deal. She’s going to get information that Jesse may be very interested in. Jesse says he doesn’t give a shit, but Tulip doesn’t care. Her plan’s to wear him down and remind him of the bad ass motherfucker he’s always been. Tulip leaves Jesse and he finds out he wasn’t as trapped as he thought he was.

Back at the church, Jesse works on the ankle bracelet Tulip actually locked and Eugene comes a calling. The poor kid’s still having a massive crisis of conscience. Even Jesse’s baptism didn’t help him to feel better. The poor kid’s desperate to feel forgiven, as if he has purpose. Jesse tells him change needs to come from God. Eugene counters with the question of what if God wants him to be the person he always was.

Of course, this inspires Jesse to finally give in and pay the pedophile a visit. The plan: another baptism. This time, the water’s going to be a little bit more on the side of scalding. It takes a few tries, though, and Jesse’s anger seems to kick Genesis awake as that voice emerges from him and forces the man to forget about the little girl he’s obsessed with.

This time, Jesse sees this power in action and he runs off back to the Loach house, taps into Genesis again, and says, “Open your eyes…”

Oh yeah, and Cass buries those bodies under an incredibly familiar looking tree—sans Native American corpses. I’d imagine a little over a century would mean those went away. What’s stranger is Sheriff Root happens to be interrogating those two men in their hotel room.

Wait, what?

I have a pretty bad feeling about all of this.

Some quick thoughts:

  • I think I see where some of these new pieces are going and let me tell you; Jesse and company are in for a hell of an awful time.
  • Pay attention to Eugene. His arc feels like it will be much more of a parallel to Jesse’s than I initially thought. There’s really a lot of interesting writing going on there. Should be real heartbreaking if what I think happens does happen.
  • 1881—god damn I am EXCITED

What did I love?

  • Negga and Gilgun can do no wrong. Tulip is officially my favorite character. She’s bursting with life and is so much damn fun.
  • That church fight was incredible. Hopes are high for some of the other insanity.
  • Quincannon’s intro, while short, heavily alluded to some deeply disturbing shit to come. If they go there…holy hell…IF THEY GO THERE.

My biggest gripes?

  • This episode definitely had some wheel spinning. I’m hoping we pick it up now.
  • The new characters are still sort of awful. I honestly don’t give a good damn about a single one of them. I can’t even remember their names.

I know part of Jesse’ arc involves some navel gazing, but I’m sort of longing for the take charge motherfucker Jesse to finally show his face. Let’s get on with it!


Preacher: Pilot – Time of the Preacher

preaching-to-the-choir

After what feels like many, many years of false starts and sudden deaths, AMC aired the first episode of Preacher Sunday night.

Aw man, there’s about forty different ways I can think of to start this…

I can make some fun referential jokes to the source material; cite my sad, sad, sad knowledge of the source material, or I can wax poetic (already did that on my own blog). Honestly, though, that kind of shit gets grating real fast.

635971782418409829-PRE-S3-Jesse-smoking-MC-0626-V2So, let’s get to the short of it: I’m recapping Preacher weekly (to the best of my ability) here at Shotgun Honey. As the show airs, I’m going to do my very best to avoid comparing the show and the comic. Yes, I have knowledge of where the story CAN be going, but I think it’s a disservice to do a recap and then focus on what’s come before. Let’s judge the show by its own merits.

Also, I feel this goes without saying, but SPOILERS will follow.

With that said, this is a damn strong pilot.

We kick things off in ‘Outer Space’ as seen through the eyes Wes Anderson (seriously, there’s a great little homegrown feel to the effects here, I really dug it) and the wail of a prison siren. Cue Genesis. This ball of fire makes its way through the cosmos and towards our little blue pebble. Genesis wails (literally) down into Africa and right into the breadbasket of an Africa preacher—who is ominously talking about the book of Revelations and a specific horseman.

Genesis’ stay isn’t very long as it seems the entity may be a little too much for our friend to handle and after displaying a very odd ability to make folks listen to what he tells them; the preacher explodes in a bloody mess all over his congregation.

Genesis – 1 Humanity – 0

Cut to West Texas. Big sky. Chapel in the distance. Willie Nelson strikes a chord and Time of The Preacher plays. We get a good look at the back of our main character, Jesse Custer. He’s scarred and sports an interesting tattoo on his back (we’ll get to this later). He’s a sullen guy. Seems to dream a lot of his father getting shot in the head (apparently also a Preacher—big shoes to fill).

Jesse’s not a very good Preacher, but his congregation seems to like him enough. After an awkward sermon, one of his parishioners, a kid, tells him about his father’s penchant for physical abuse on the family. He mentions Jesse’s past, about how the town knows he’s got a penchant for violence. He’d like Jesse to handle this problem, to make his father stop hitting his mom. Jesse gets a little cold when he explains the cycle of violence, then tells the kid he’ll do things the right way, much to the kid’s disappointment.

In the meantime, Genesis – 2 Humanity – 0. Poor Russian Satanists.

Preacher/ PilotWhile Jesse wanders about and deals with the idiocy of his small town, we take a trip back skyward to a private jet midflight. There’s an Irishman entertaining a group of drunken men. He seems to be a casino worker by the name of Cassidy. Comes across as the type of guy anyone would love within moments; charming, a laugh riot, and a hell of a lilt. Cassidy hits the head and finds a bible in a cabinet with all sorts of fucked up notes. Taking that as a sign of impending wackiness, Cassidy exits the loo with a joke and proceeds to beat the living shit out of a plane of men with bizarrely archaic weaponry. Also, he’s a vampire! We find this out as he tears an attacker’s throat open and partakes of some drink. Oh and there’s also filling up on some of the red stuff before leaping out of the plane with an umbrella and no parachute. Mary fucking Poppins, indeed.

Jesse pays a visit to an old drunk to check in. He goes to get the poor fella a shirt and cue ominous showering: someone’s there. Jesse gets the hell out of dodge and we’re treated to the back of a woman watching as he drives off.

Cut to not that long ago in the middle of a cornfield in Kansas where we meet Tulip O’Hare. She’s in the middle of trying to drive while murdering the shit out of two very irate men that seem to want a map. She makes short work of them and finds herself at a house where two kids are all alone. A quick message pops up on her phone giving her a short window before something comes and she takes the kids inside for some arts and crafts…

Well, homemade bazooka kinds of arts and crafts. I think it’s obvious with that Tulip is officially the most awesome and terrifying character on this show.

We then find out what happens to an Irish vampire when he hits the earth at terminal velocity. Apparently, it’s bad news for cows.

Back to Jesse. He pays a few visits on his off-day. Makes it over to a meat supplier by the name of Quincannon (here’s hoping this goes as bat-shit as it could) and meets with that kid’s mom. Another awkward conversation ensues (we’re seeing a pattern with Jesse here, no?) and he’s told all that physicality is something the lady likes. *womp womp*

tulipThe next stop of the sad sack tour takes Jesse to Tulip’s front seat. Seems she accidentally left some “lunch” in the car and really wants Jesse to buy in to a new scheme she has brewing—maybe involving that map—and is deeply disappointed in Jesse’s coiffure. There’s words, some definite hard feelings, and Jesse calls it quits. Jesse definitely has a rough past, and it seems a lot of it was shared with Tulip. She doesn’t believe he’s changed that easy, though, and is set on him coming back to his old ways.

Jesse finishes his town tour by visiting the root household, his presence requested by the Sheriff’s son, Eugene. Eugene’s got a bit of a thing with his face, but wants to know if God forgives him for what he did to look the way he does. Jesse assures him God holds no grudges but Eugene’s not so sure. He says he used to pray and God replied. After what he did, God no longer answers back. Slightly downtrodden, Jesse retreats the local watering hole where we found out Tom Cruise exploded.

Genesis – 3 Humanity – 0

You know what? Fuck that, it was Tom Cruise.

Genesis – 3 Humanity – 1

We also get the first meeting between the soon-to-be BROS FOR LIFE, Jesse and Cassidy. It’s a solid meet up; Jesse can’t understand the Irish bastard and Cassidy sinks to drinking out of a bottle labeled RATWATER.

Things go to hell when that wife-beating husband shows up—bonus douche points; he’s a Civil War reenactor—and he’s mighty pissed Jesse was asking questions about his rough and tumble redneck ways. Needless to say, the town finds out Jesse knows how to make a man sound like a rabbit in a bear trap, which lands him a prison cell with his new Irish friend.

06-Cass-and-Jesse-in-jail

Jesse’s bailed out. He gets a ride back to his church from his assistant/organ player and breaks the news: he’s quitting. Jesse’s realized he’ll never be able to keep the promise he made his father and figures the town is better off without him. He goes to his church, lights a smoke, and gives God one last chance to answer his prayers.

Enter, Genesis. Such a needy little fucker.

Jesse wakes up three days later, we get more of his dream: the night someone put a bullet in his father’s skull as he watched. He was still a boy. He cried, but his father told him that Custer men didn’t cry. He made Jesse promise him one thing: to be a good guy, because there’s already enough bad (kudos to Rogen and company getting what’s probably the most important line of dialogue from the comics in—I was worried).

So, back to the pulpit! But first, a parishioner that’s been on Jesse’s ass about his overbearing mother once again corners Jesse on the way to make his announcement. Fed up, Jesse takes a breath ad tells him one last time: “Be brave, tell her the truth, open your heart”—only this time, there seems to be more conviction there as our parishioner repeats the same words and ditches.

At church, Jesse’s got a full house. Tulip, the men he beat up, and Cassidy. He admits to his faults, but now, feeling something new; he’s decided to stay. He’s decided to do right by his town and live up to the promise he made so many years back.

It’s after all these events two very interesting things happen:

  • Genesis’ presence has not gone unnoticed. Two strange men with an affinity towards regionally appropriate attire have been tracking the events. We end our episode with both showing up at Jesse’s church—snazzy Stetsons and all.
  • That parishioner? Seems Jesse has a newfound effect on folks. This guy took a plane down to Florida and went to his mother’s nursing home. He told her to respect him, to stop criticizing his choices and very self, and promptly sinks a cake knife into his chest to tear his own heart out and present it to her as he draws his final breath.

In the words of one Sam Beckett—oh boy…

So, that’s the pilot wrapped up. What’s Jesse going to do when he realizes what happened to him? What’s Cassidy’s deal; who’s hunting him? Tulip: what’s her plan?

We’ll be back after the June 5th airing of episode 2. Thank Memorial Day for the break between the premiere and follow up.

Some quick thoughts:

  • Tulip’s map. Grail Industries? If you’re familiar with the comics, then you know she may be bringing some real fucking heat down on Jesse.
  • Cute bit with Ratwater whiskey. Familiar silhouette.
  • Who the hell was Cassidy calling on the phone? They found him again? Interesting to note: he called someone else with a lilt.
  • The tattoo. We see it on Jesse’s back in the open. You know where else we see it? On the forearm of the man who murdered his father. I may have screamed. That’s some deep shit.

What did I love?

  • Joseph Gilgun and Ruth Negga are a fucking joy as Cassidy and Tulip respectively. What phenomenal performances. That they steal thunder from Dominic Cooper is an accomplishment (he’s no slouch). I’m very confident in the leading cast.
  • The maintained spirit. There are MANY changes here, but it still feels like Preacher. The black humor is perfect and very well-realized.
  • The violence is there, man. Holy hell—open your heart indeed.

My biggest gripes?

  • Eugene/Arseface’s makeup? Terrible.
  • The rest of the townsfolk are fairly forgettable. Here’s hoping Odin Quincannon changes things. I mean, it’s Jackie Earl Haley. Still, I’m not attached to anyone in particular.
  • Accent slips can be annoying. This can improve, though.

2015 Merry Bookmas

With only days to the big gift giving event known to many as Christmas, you’ll see or have seen a lot of best of and recommended 2015 book lists. This is in general a nice nod to those who have given you a little literary enjoyment in the chaos of life. Book people love to read, and there isn’t a better gift (other than a winning lotto ticket) that they appreciate more. I know I’m thrilled my stockings will be filled with books this year.

I had wanted to pool the recommendations of my editors and close contributors to compile a 2015 Merry Bookmas list, but things have been crazy in the Earl of Rontown‘s life, and so I offer my meager opines on the books I’ve enjoyed in 2015.