Preacher, Season 2, Episode 4, “Viktor”
After three episodes that burned through plot at a roiling boil, Preacher turned down the heat and let its fourth episode simmer and pick up some additional flavor.
The story was divided into three parts: Eugene in Hell, Cassidy and Jesse together, and Tulip in Viktor’s mansion, with each adding interesting detail but not advancing the story all that much.
Eugene was getting to know his surroundings, and his tour guide is none other than Hitler (Noah Taylor) himself. This Hitler is less the nationalist demagogue and more of the artist he was in 1919, as Eugene learns when circumstances force him into Hitler’s cell to experience the dictator’s worst memory.
The whole scenario doesn’t play to completion before the system breaks down again. Eugene is given the lay of the land from the prison Superintendent. Hell is an overcrowded prison. It was never designed to house this many wicked souls, so the system fails often. The superintendent notices that Eugene seems like a kind, sweet guy, and that kind of behavior will not be tolerated and could be grounds to be thrown into the hole, the hellish part of Hell.
Eugene is released back into a holding area with the rest of his block. The resident block bully goes after Eugene again and Hitler stands up for him. The bully thinks Hitler is all talk and drops him with one punch. The rest of the block joins in on the beatdown. Eugene stops the struggle, seemingly to come to Hitler’s aid, but one glance up at the security cameras and it’s Eugene who starts the abuse all over again.
Back in New Orleans, Cassidy and Jesse discover that the guy who played God on their phone call in Season 1 was actually a New Orleans based actor, who shows up in a Hurricane Katrina infomercial starring Malcolm in the Middle‘s Frankie Muniz. They track down the actor’s manager to try to find the actor to ask him questions. The manager is evasive, and refuses to give up his client’s identity without a role. Quick-thinking Cassidy says it’s a role on Game of Thrones (where even Dinklage flies business class). After a quick negotiation, the manager says the actor went on one audition for the role of “God”, and he never saw the guy again. Jesse gets this actor’s audition tape and actually watches it. The actor, Mark, nails the audition and is offered the role right then and there. He accepts and is shot on the spot, sending him to the big studio in the sky to await a time to talk to the mortal masses.
Cassidy and Jesse also do a fair amount of bickering about Tulip, who still hasn’t come home. Jesse’s not terribly concerned because whenever they have a fight, Tulip has a knack of disappearing.
Tulip is in Viktor’s house getting the cold shoulder from goons, being spat upon by little girls, and generally worrying that Viktor is going to killer her at any time. Tulip can only take so much of not being in charge of her own destiny, and decides to make a break for it. She does a solid job of beating up on some goons before one knocks her out.
The episode ends with Jesse on a rampage after Cassidy spilled one of the secrets he promised he’d keep from Jesse – Tulip is in deep with Viktor. Jesse uses the voice to bully his way through Viktor’s mansion in an effort to free Tulip. This leads to a hilariously choreographed fight between Jesse and Viktor’s right hand man/torturer, that involves a Billy Joel song and a fresh corpse.
Ultimately, Jesse is directed to the bedroom where Tulip is located, where he romantically kicks the door in and promptly goes to work, trying to kill Viktor with his bare hands. Tulip tries to get Jesse to stop, but only manages to compound his rage when she says that Viktor is her husband.
Preacher managed to take a breather but still keep things interesting by introducing story elements that, while they didn’t necessarily advance the plot, certainly enhanced it. With The Saint of Killers on the outskirts of town, don’t anticipate Preacher being in neutral for very long.