After spending most of the early part of its run throwing out characters and situations seemingly at random, Preacher spent the bulk of its latest episode, “Monster Swamp”, knitting some of these loose threads together in interesting ways.
Preacher being Preacher, there’s still no clue if the end result is going to be a sock, scarf or toaster cozy, but that’s part of the fun of this show, isn’t it? Every question answered actually raises more questions and draws you deeper into this dusty Texas town.
Jesse of the present has very little screen time in this episode but the flashbacks that were peppered throughout were telling. Jesse was devoted to his father, served the church and took the corporal punishment for breaking the Ten Commandments. He was a true believer (with kleptomaniac tendencies, of course).
More important than Jesse’s faith, these flashbacks filled in the backstory (and finally name) of Odin Quincannon, sociopathic proprietor of Annville’s family power and meat supplier. Odin and Jesse’s fathers had some kind of run-in, which will probably only escalate as more of the background is shaded in.
Jesse’s plan to fill the pews to the levels of his youth is simple: lure the faithful in with the promise of a flatscreen TV and keep them in by using his power to convince Odin to serve God right in the middle of the congregation. Both parts worked, but Jesse’s power always seems to have a twist to it so we’ll see how successful the end results are.
This episode lacked much of the flash and energy of the show’s previous installments, but using the flashback and new pairings of characters opened up a whole new dimension to the show.
Church mouse April, for all her pining for Jesse and devotion to the church, hooks up with the mayor on the down-low after he babysits her kids while she pulls a double shift.
Cassidy and Tulip have a hilarious unintentional run-in, thanks to the Angels’ cash and Tulip’s temper. However, it does put the two characters in the same orbit and Tulip has seen Cassidy’s bloody secret firsthand. A spurned ex and hedonistic con-vampire are not a good combination for Jesse.
Cassidy is still milking his angelic marks for cash and the exact methods by which anyone can extract the entity inside Jesse Custer. The angels have problems of their own, seeing as how they can’t get a decent burger and the episode closes with the pair getting a call from the “home office.”
This was a very exposition-heavy episode which often got tedious before the hour was up. Once again Preacher‘s cast and the show’s ability to answer enough questions to keep you on the hook saved the day. A bunch more episodes like this might not keep the series sustainable, but there’s the feeling that this episode was more temporary breather than brave new direction.