Preacher: Season 1 Episode 8 Review – El Valero
This week saw Jesse violently defend his church against Odin and his men, while having some form of Eugene by his side. It was certainly one of the show’s whackier episodes and it had almost nothing from the comic within its narrative. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
Due to their bet that saw Odin win the land upon which Jesse’s church is built, Odin marched his work force (and war re-enactors) upon Jesse’s church, in a rabble of a unified force. That’s where the problems lay here: in the jokes and the unrealistic shooting ability of Jesse. For example, there was a quip by man who had his dick shot off by Jesse. As he holds it in his hands he talks of how it barely hurts at all. He also doesn’t seems dismayed at the loss. While Ennis’ comic is indeed no stranger to dick mutilations, in our opinion, this joke was simply too heavy handed, serving only to detract from the quality of the scene.
Equally, Jesse’s shooting ability is portrayed as otherworldly (Genesis has nothing to do with this) and even in the comics you won’t find him as much of a sharpshooter as you witnessed here. His shots disarmed men of their weapons and sent those weapons spinning into the shoulders of other men, which is all too precise and in line with Jesse’s no killing mantra for our liking. No one could make such shots. We’d have preferred it if Jesse had fired some warning shots at their feet and that the men had understood Jesse’s the message that way.
Which brings us to Donnie’s choice to deafen himself. This too seems a bit unrealistic and nonsensical to us. Noise-cancelling headphones would have served just as well and Donnie had more than enough time to think on this, before marching on Jesse’s church. The character is not the brightest man in Annville, but we’d like to think that he would have spotted this alternative and that he might even have armed every approaching man with a set of headphones too.
Eugene returned in this episode, but in a strange fashion. We learn by the episode’s close that this is not really Eugene’s physical form, standing before Jesse, which makes him one of two likely alternatives: a creation of Jesses’s mind (bourn out of guilt), or that Eugene is able to project his form, from Hell. We’re going to assume that it is the former of these, which we prefer as an answer.
Whatever Eugene’s origin, we did get a few crucial insights into Hell here. Eugene revealed that Hell is “crowded” and when Jesse seemed not to believe that Eugene dug his way out, Eugene explained “it’s not that far,” which has some great connotations attached to it about how close our world is to being a Hellish place.
Removing Genesis from Jesse was another strange choice from the writers. We like that they corrected this almost immediately, however, by having Genesis actively return itself to Jesse. We’re still saddened by the writers’ mis-use of Genesis (among many other elements within the show) and we were sure that DeBlanc was going to ask Jesse why he hasn’t acquired the knowledge of Genesis too (going on to imply that perhaps Genesis does not want Jesse to have it). Instead, DeBlanc asked what good Jesse has done with the power, which is a powerful question in its own right and one that Jesse deserved.
We were also granted a flashback that showed Odin losing his entire family in one horrible accident. Following this the writers revealed exactly what a young Jesse witnessed in that room, as he walked by (during a flashback). This afforded us some great insight into Odin’s thoughts about religion (which align with my personal views). Odin honestly airs his views about the meat within a cow being no different to the meat within his little girl. He talks of how there is no soul and he later states that he wishes to tear Jesse’s church down because it’s a lie. All of this is very honest and powerful TV, in a world that is overly saturated by single-minded religious views.
This was another week that furthered out disappointment for the show. Almost nothing was utilised from the comics and the show seems to only get farther and farther away from the source material. We can see that the final two episodes of this season will simply keep us in Annville and will probably focus on Jesse versus Quincannon. The promo for next week’s episode does show The Saint of Killers, but it’s unclear if this is still a flashback of him as The Gunslinger, or if this is now The Saint entering Jesse’s world.
Image credits: AMC