Imagine waking up one day with the ability to do amazing things. What would you do? How would you share this incredible gift with a world that could sure use it?
This is what Jesse wrestles with in the third episode of Preacher, “The Possibilities.” He has full knowledge of the scope of this new gift and a crowd of devils on his shoulder. The power itself seems to have the temperament of a wicked child, escalating the danger with each consecutive usage until Cassidy “flies” into a wall or Donnie is in a bathroom stall with a pistol in his mouth.
Cassidy, of course, sees the hedonistic possibilities that the power to control minds can bring.
Then there’s Tulip, who received a lion’s share of the spotlight in this episode, and who pulls Jesse over with an offer he can’t refuse. The big plan Tulip has been trying to get Jesse to join her on, is to make right a wrong that sent this electrifying couple in opposite directions back in the day when Jesse styled himself after Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.
There was a job where Tulip and Jesse were double-crossed by a partner named Carlos. The flashback details are sketchy but we do know Carlos left the scene of a job with Tulip, Jesse and a dead security guard behind. Of all the moments of temptation Jesse faced in this episode, taking revenge on this past wrong was the one he nearly succumbed to. Once he knows the job is about Carlos, he’s riding shotgun in Tulip’s muscle car with revenge on his mind and malice in his heart.
Dimwitted Donnie nearly got caught in the crossfire when he jumped Jesse in the bathroom of the gas station trying to reclaim his manhood so he could save face with the town and his boss, who listens to the sounds of cattle being slaughtered the way some people listen to recordings of the ocean or the rainforest.
It is perhaps Jesse’s own restless mind that saves Donnie’s life, because despite joining Tulip on her mission, he is still wrestling with the decision. Just when the power inside Jesse, has Donnie backed into a corner with a revolver in his mouth ready to pull the trigger, Jesse has a first real moment of faith.
Jesse comes to the realization that wrath is really best left to God, which is why he lets Donnie scurry home, and he walks away from Tulip and her mission of revenge.
The new path Jesse treads isn’t going to be an easy one. Cassidy has joined the “clone angels” who are trying to jar up his power. Tulip is unwittingly working for a shadowy snuff film buff in Houston. The owner of meat and power has plans for Annville that are yet to be revealed. Yet, Jesse is going to try to save them all.
After two episodes establishing the world around Jesse Custer, this episode felt like it set the stage for what is to come. The major players are on the board, the key alliances have been struck and word of Jesse’s miraculous works are making their way through the town.
Episodes like this can often kill a show’s momentum, but that wasn’t the case here. So much around the show is either unanswered or shrouded in mystery that seemingly non-sequitur diversions like Tulip talking her way out of a ticket, or Jackie Earle Haley’s sadistic meat mogul in his office are riveting, rather than distracting. Jesse, with his internal and external challenges established, is in the right frame of mind to save the world, and this episode has the audience ready to follow.