Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Monster Swamp'

"It all comes together so seamlessly, to offer one surprise after another, keeping this show fresh and interesting." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim discuss Preacher continuing to be accessible and not predictable.

Shawn: This series started at 100 mph.  And now at episode four I feel like it's slowing down with each episode.  We started driving crazy through a corn field at seemingly faster than reality allows and airplanes falling out of the sky.  This week we slowly fell into a hole and built an episode around pooping and peeing and raffling off a TV.  I'm still in love with this show more than any other on the air right now.  I have a few thoughts about what we watched this week.

ODIN GETS PISSY.  I love Jackie Earle Haley.  He's the perfect foil for Jesse.  I think I understand that the beginning scene is some clever Hooker Hunt.  You have to be very careful how you pronounce that quickly.  That right there shows Odin as a man of questionable ethics but then his pissing on the new business opportunity cements his jerkhole status.  So we spend the first half of the episode turning an annoying character from the previous episodes into a truly evil presence.  Then he's just a tool to show us Jesse's powers?  I felt the whole time that he was going to be immune to Jesse's powers and I'm still not sure that he wasn't faking when he said he'd serve God.  This character is too good to waste.

OH HE'S A VAMPIRE.  The show works best when we get two of the three main characters together.  I love each different pairing in their own way.  Seeing Cassidy with the big floppy hat when he's outside with Jesse made me smile.  It has a very 1980s horror-film feeling.  The best pairing though was Tulip throwing Cassidy out the window and rushing him to the hospital.  Her panic showed us the underlying care for him she still carries around and his sly comments along the way are a wink to us that we are in on the joke that he's going to be okay.  Her reaction when she's trying to get him admitted to the hospital and he's already walked away are precious.

UNREQUITED LOVE, PHONE CALL TO GOD, SINK HOLE MONSTER.  The most amazing thing about this show and the other two shows I've liked this much recently - Fargo and Better Call Saul - is that I feel like I understand all the things going on.  It's empowering.  This isn't a simple show at all but I actually think I see what is happening.  The sinkhole monster helps keep the creepy factor of the show going but I didn't question it for a second.  The angels are trying to get back The Voice that they accidentally released, right?   And they can't be killed.  There's a theme of unrequited love too - some of it obvious and some of it more subtle.  I appreciate that the story is taking place at just the right pace for me to keep up.  Is it slowing down?  Yes.  But that's not a bad thing.  Multiple stories play out through the episode unrelated but the overall show doesn't feel disjointed yet.  Maybe another five episodes like this and I'll think differently.  But right now I feel guided towards an awesome adventure.

Jesse goes to see Emily and her kids says she's pooping.  That's the most real line in the episode.

The unanswered phone from God ringing at the end of the episode was an even better final scene than the initial episode.

Cassidy seems to get the best scenes consistently.  His dealings with the Angels show off his devious sense of humor.  The three of them are going to make an unstoppable team - I can't believe the writers have the patience to wait much longer to thrown them together consistently.

Is Jesse really going to give away the TV?

I'm super excited about where we are going the rest of the Summer.  And that's a relief since I'm not sure I can ride many more episodes with Reedus.  Where are you at?

Kim: I'm all about not ending a sentence with a preposition, that's where.  Kisses, hugs, and Cassidy for the win.

So, you're all thoughtful (I’ve always asserted that you were the A here, but apparently you’ve got the T). Here’s the thing: this show is pure fun and I refuse to overthink it.  I don’t want to know exactly what’s happening.  I want to just take my little clues and try to figure it out with whatever pittance they give me every week.  I’m not interested in discussing the strange guys with the coffee can and who/what they represent, because I like the mystery.  I don’t want to know what’s inside of Jesse either, I just want to see what he does with it. 

The most brilliant part of this show is that there really isn’t anything that gets answered or finalized in any episode and that is why it draws me in.  Most shows seem to run in a fairly cyclical fashion - they introduce an issue, they work through it in the episode, and then they tie it to the current running through the entire season.  The only real thing we tie up in this episode is that even moms poop and their kids are willing to tell anyone about it.  Well, that and a dead chick, but you know.  The point is, I still watch.  Happily.

Originally, I was concerned that this would be a show with hokey resolutions to problems the town faces.  One after the other, problems would just seem to line up in an endless parade, begging for help from the Preacher.  Once it became obvious that this is not a show about a serial problem-solver, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be any satisfaction at the end of an episode for me, and that would cause me to lose interest.  I’m a really big fan of conflict resolution.  I don’t get any of that in this show, and I still watch.  Someone knows what they’re doing and how to keep me coming back every week.  Writers, directors, and actors all turning in top-notch entertainment.  That shouldn’t be taken lightly because you know I dislike most TV.  But, you know, hot guys and all. 

I tried to think about what it is that is so satisfying about this show for me and I think I’ve gotten it.  It’s the juxtaposition of the characters in situations that feel so foreign to their being. It’s seeing the take-no-shit Tulip surrounded by misogyny in the town and whore house.  It’s watching her playing the part of the panicked caregiver when her temper gets the upper hand. It’s seeing Cassidy in the church, or dressed up to go out in the sun. It’s seeing Jesse wrestle with his past and trying to figure out how to use his powers for something other than being an asshole.  It’s seeing that one angel/demon hunter/spirit keeper/whatever order a Big A's Texas Burger, not knowing that you can’t get that from a hotel front desk and wind up eating a bag of Cheetos, while marveling at the cheese dust on his fingers.  It’s Odin suddenly bending to the will of whatever is coming out of Jesse.  It’s Emily, hopelessly in love with Jesse as she tells the Mayor she’s never going to be with him, then has sex with him.  Again. 

It all comes together so seamlessly, to offer one surprise after another, keeping this show fresh and interesting, while viewers sit on their hands as they wait to see who’s getting the giant TV and if Odin really will serve God.  Will Tulip accept Cassidy now that he’s not just a silly guy that hangs around the church?  And, does Emily have any other band-aids in her hair? Or maybe, just maybe, Jesse will actually kiss her next time.  Thank you, Preacher, for not being predictable.  

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