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Preacher Recap: Good Lord – Vulture

Posted in Tattoo Nightmares on Aug 23, 2017

Dirty Little Secret Season 2 Episode 10

Editor’s Rating 3 stars

If Preacher were a higher-profile show, I suspect Dirty Little Secret is the type of episode that might inspire angry denunciations from Christians around the globe. This season is playing to the already-converted, so I suspect itll pass without much mainstream infamy but even if a cultural backlash doesnt follow, its pretty audacious to open a TV episode with an extended, porny sexy scene starring none other than Jesus Christ.

In its second season, Preacher has mastered the art of the stand-alone cold open, and this is one of its best. As this mysterious, handsome, long-haired man indulges in a lengthy one-night stand with a married woman, the scene cleverly lets the viewer add up the details and figure it out for themselves. Why does this scene seem to be taking place I dont know, around 2,000 years ago? Why does this guy keep talking about needing to do something for his dad? Why does he have all these friends lined up at the door waiting for him? And why are they talking about rounding up some getaway donkeys?

This, of course, is the secret that the Grail was organized to protect. In the Preacher-verse, Jesus Christ didnt spend the night before the crucifixion praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He spent it getting a woman pregnant, creating a secret earthly heir, and spawning a bloodline that the Grail has obsessively protected ever since. When the apocalypse happens, the Grail will finally reveal Jesus heir. Until then, theyll keep the bloodline secret and safe.

Cut back to the present, as Herr Starr having promised to help Jesse at the end of last weeks episode takes Jesse Custer all the way around the world so he can meet Jesuss 25th great-grandson, Humperdido. Jesse is understandably awestruck to be in the presence of the sole heir to Gods own bloodline, and he drops to his knees in reverence. At which point Humperdido starts to pee all over Jesses face.

As it turns out, the Grail has an unforeseen problem. Centuries of attempting to keep Jesuss bloodline pure have backfired. Due to inbreeding like a royal family or a Maltese puppy, Starr says Humperdido is physically and intellectually disabled. His greatest talent seems to be drawing pictures of dogs; other than that, hes mostly into peeing and humping things.

It must be difficult for a 2,000-year-old organization to change course, but Starr, unsentimental to a fault, recognizes that Humperdido is probably not the man who can save the world. And so he unspools his own pitch: Jesse should take Humperdidos place as the messiah. God is God, and nature abhors a vacuum, Starr says. Sooner or later, someone will fill it. So I ask you, why go on looking for God when you can just be him?

Theres a cold logic to Starrs argument that I hope Preacher continues to explore in the episodes to come. If Jesus was Gods only son, and Humperdido is his only heir, Humperdido is the rightful heir to the Kingdom of Heaven in a traditional patrilineal way. But if Jesses superpower is, essentially, the word of God well, doesnt that kind of make him God?

For now, Jesse rejects Starrs proposal as blasphemous, vowing that hell continue to hunt for the real God with the help of his friends. But having traveled all the way around the world over a course of a single episode, Jesse doesnt recognize the storm thats brewing in his own New Orleans apartment.

Tulip has been haunted by PTSD ever since her standoff with the Saint of Killers. When she sleeps, she has horrible nightmares, and when shes awake, she chases adrenaline and pain to tamp down her own anxiety. What she doesnt know is that shes been living right on top of the relics from that horrific standoff. Jesse lied about banishing the Saint to Hell as far as we know, hes still in the back of an armored truck at the bottom of a swamp and hid his guns and saber under a loose tile in the bathroom.

In Jesses single-minded absence, Tulip has become increasingly reliant on Jenny, the friendly woman who lives down the hall. Unfortunately, Jenny is actually Lara Featherstone, the Grail operative who has dedicated herself to undermining Jesse and Tulips relationship. The Grail has been monitoring Deniss apartment for weeks, and Lara is well aware that Jesse hid the Saints weapons in the bathroom. She just needs to coerce Tulip into finding them.

In the process, Lara almost gives herself away. As they play Guitar Hero, Lara absentmindedly makes a reference to Tulips days as a bank robber in Dallas something she knows from her Grail intel files, but not something Tulip has ever actually told her about. Tulip is immediately suspicious, but Lara exploits Tulips fragile mental state by convincing her that she mentioned it earlier and then forgot. (She also enlists fellow Grail operative Hoover to play her drunk, abusive ex Rodney and kicks the shit out of him which helps to sell the whole Jenny story.)

In the end, Laras plan works. Tulip digs up the bathroom tile and finds the Saints relics, laying them out on the table as she prepares to question Jesse about his lives. And heres the trickiest thing of all: Lara may have sinister motives about Jesse and Tulips relationship, but shes not wrong. Jesse is lying. His relationship with Tulip is, by any traditional standard, irredeemably dysfunctional. The whole season has been building up to this moment, and Im sure were in for one hell of a confrontation next week.

Throughout the episode, Cassidy makes up for lost time with Denis by treating him to a day with a prostitute. Denis promptly tries to suck the blood from her neck. How many more episodes until Cassidy will be forced to sacrifice his son to stop the carnage?

Denis also indulges in an appropriately outdated tattoo: a massive portrait of Shemp, the third of the Three Stooges.

Lara comments on how cute Cassidy is, presumably in an effort to exacerbate the Jesse-Tulip-Cassidy love triangle and get Jesse and Tulip to split up even faster.

Theres still no sign of God, though theories abound about why He vacated heaven in the first place. The Archbishop of Canterbury theorizes that God vacated heaven to flee from a group of traitorous seraphim. The Pope scoffs, arguing instead that God got sick of humans and left to create a new species: Theyre ten feet tall, with the prowess of a lion, the flight of an eagle, and the honey badgers sense of smell. Both of them seem to be full of it.

Jesus tells his disciples, Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, which will eventually turn up in the Bible as Matthew 5:10.

Lara is a more traditional chef than Tulip, but when she whips up a stack of chocolate-chip pancakes, Tulip promptly makes them into bread for a whipped-cream sandwich.

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Preacher Recap: Good Lord – Vulture

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