In my review of last week’s Preacher episode, I discussed how it mysteriously introduces a couple of characters who will be familiar to comics readers, but then not divulge anything much about them or have them appear again. Maybe this is going to be a trend with this season, as episode 3 (titled The Possibilities) does pretty much the exact same thing in its opening sequence.
A woman, who had just been seen speaking with Tulip in Houston about arranging the murder of her husband, is then seen entering a darkened cinema. The atmosphere of the scene is memorably uncomfortable, we never see what’s on the screen but the sound effects alone betray it as something horrific (a poster on the wall later reveals it to be a ‘Snuff Film Festival’). She briefly delivers a message to one of the patrons who never speaks himself and whose face never comes into view. Later he gets up to leave, walking away through the shadows into the light.
This man, dressed in a white suit and hat, is presumably Herr Starr, the primary antagonist of the comics. However this is literally all we see of him, he doesn’t appear again in the episode or get mentioned by anyone else. I’m again left wondering if unfamiliar viewers find teases like this intriguing or frustrating. Who knows, he might turn out to be a totally different character for all I know?
We do learn a little more about Jesse and Tulip’s past together over the episode, with a couple of brief blasts of flashbacks woven in, as Tulip references “where it got bad”, and the reappearance of an old, shall we say ‘acquaintance’ of theirs who forces Jesse to make a big decision about his future. There’s a definite progression in the Tulip/Jesse relationship here, and I was pleased to not see their previous status quo dragged out too much further, but then it seems to go back on it again by the end of the episode.
At least along the way we get one great Tulip scene, demonstrating skills she possesses beyond the physical, she gets herself out of a tricky situation using smarts instead of violence. In fact the whole episode has considerably less action than the previous two, but Ruth Negga is fantastic here, looking more and more to be spot on casting for this role.
Jesse does seem to be getting more of a handle on his powers though, and in an amusing montage tests them out on a willing if later embarrassed Cassidy. Cassidy scores one big laugh in the episode as well, a physical gag that comes out of nowhere but totally lands. This also leads to the one area where the show has opted to reveal a bit more in that we casually learn who the mysterious pair of Fiore and DeBlanc are for certain.
There’s still a great deal I like about this show, but I don’t feel like I’m hooked already, and there are signs that it’s still finding its feet even after such a confident pilot. I think I want it to progress a bit faster, but maybe this will all pay off by the end of this first, ten-episode season. I hope so anyhow, but the fact that I’m concerned this show might be treading water a bit only three episodes in after praising the pilot is perhaps less of a promising sign.