Preacher: Season 1 Episode 4 Review – Monster Swamp
This week, Preacher offered up perhaps its most underwhelming episode to date. Titled ‘Monster Swamp’, after Hugo Root’s comment in the previous episode about the state of the world, it kept the narrative chugging along, but held almost no exciting pulls from the comic book, nor did much happen in the form of narrative progression. Below you will find out spoiler-heavy review of last night’s episode.
The episode opened with a group of red necks chasing prostitutes with paintball guns, all for fun, which leads to an accidental death of one of the girls. Hugo Root comments upon the body by saying “the world,” which echoes the choice of the title for the episode being ‘Monster Swamp’. As openings go for this season (which remember, included such scenes as The Saint of Killers in 1881), this is certainly the least impressive of the bunch. What it does do, however, is show how stupidity and randomness can result in horror.
The focus of the episode follows suit and hones in on a series of rather humdrum moments between many of the show’s lesser characters. Emily gets a stronger focus and experiences a brief moment with Jesse where she thinks he his offering a romantic gesture, when in fact he is simply pulling a band aid from her ear. This shows that Emily thinks of Jesse in a potentially romantic manner. However, this episode also appears to imply that Emily might be prostituting herself (or at the very least – sleeping with a man who she has no intent to have a relationship with) with a character called Miles, who looks after Emily’s children.
The prostitution theme for this episode is actually so heavy that it is threefold: the prostitutes in the opening segment and the whore house that they inhabit, Emily sleeping with Miles, and Tulip mentions that her Mother used to be a prostitute. The sexual focus doesn’t end there either – the episode uses subtle sexual references too, for example, an advert on TV about a burger claims in a sultry female voice: “wrap your mouth around this”, and someone else begins a speech with “in the mouth of..”.
For flashback content, we see a young Tulip, who is spoken of as being so bold that even her Mother couldn’t handle her. And, gladly, we saw a lot of John Custer this episode. We’re still not on board with John Custer being a Preacher (nor Jesse, for this long) and to rub further salt in the wound, they had John Custer beat Jesse in this episode, although we can see that this might just be a product of the times.
In one of these flashbacks, John Custer visits Odin Quincannon with a young Jesse in tow. This results in John leaving Odin’s office as Odin shouts: “Renounce him, John! Renounce him!” at John. Jesse then seemingly witnesses some horrible sight in Odin’s office as they leave – something signified only by the score that plays over the scene (this sight could be something to do with Odin’s sexual affinity for meat). This leads Jesse in the present to strive once more to convert Odin to the church. Now that he holds the word of God, he knows that he can make it happen, and by the episode’s end, happen it does.
In a way, we enjoyed seeing Odin and Jesse make toy models together, because these two characters are so at odds in the comic that we can see the merit in having them be almost friendly at first. We also loved Odin’s “what if…” monologue, which was Odin’s retort to Jesse’s attempts to persuade him of the existence of Hell.
One key surprise in this episode was having Cassidy kiss Tulip. While this might not seem that crucial to some, in the comics there is an important arc about how Cassidy is a great friend to Jesse, except when it comes to Tulip. Cassidy attempts to steal his best friend’s girl – and succeeds for a while – which ultimately turns this buddy character into somewhat of an antagonist by the comic’s close. So we were very interested to see Cassidy express an interest in kissing Tulip here, after she accidentally harmed him. This would feel like Cassidy stabbing Jesse in the back, if only Jesse and Tulip had more of a romance going on, which so far in the show, they really don’t have at all (which is one of our biggest gripes about the show).
Fiore and DeBlanc explained in a little more detail about who they are (babysitters for Genesis in Heaven), which no doubt added a little clarity for non-comic fans. Fiore also seems filled with an insatiable hunger. We feel that this might be the writers doing their own version of Fiore and DeBlanc’s fall from grace. In the comics, the two angels imbibe in the Earthly pleasures of sex and drugs, once they arrive, and forget about chasing Genesis at all.
The episode closes out with an apparent call from Heaven. Just who is on the other end of the line, however, we don’t know. God is supposed to have fled the throne and The Saint of Killers has assumably not been raised from his slumber yet, so we assume it will be one of the seraphim angels (who are far more sinister than Fiore and DeBlanc).
Image credits: AMC