A mystical unearthly light streaks through outer space, past Saturn, through untold giga-miles of space dust, coming straight toward Earth. Africa, specifically: a church where a preacher sermonizes a great war coming. “The light and the darkness are at it again!” He quotes The Book of Revelation, the part about the white horse, that ride so faithful and true. The mystical light descends from heaven, and goes into the preacher. “Be quiet!” he declares — and everyone is quiet. “I am the prophet,” he says, “the chosen one!” And then he explodes in a supernova of blood and gore; the unearthly light departs, leaving the cross upside-down by the church.
Somewhere in Texas, a preacher named Jesse Custer sits, and thinks, and remembers. His father, kneeling in front of him; “Promise me, Jesse,” his father says. All that was years ago. Now Jesse preaches in a local church. He talks about salvation, but they don’t listen. The kids are buried in iPads; the adults are less distracted, and much worse.
A local boy comes to Jesse to ask for help. His father is physically abusive. Rumors are flying about what Jesse did before he was a preacher. “You did things,” the boy said. Can Jesse hurt his dad? “How hurt do you want him? How far do I go?” Jesse asks rhetorically. “Violence makes violence makes nothing much at all.”
Speaking of violence! Thirty thousand feet above it all, a man named Cassidy has met some new friends. Well, “man.” We quickly learn that Cassidy has powers not usually associated with humanity — loves blood, mostly invulnerable, not great with sunshine — and his friends pull out crossbows and spray holy water on him, to no great avail. Cassidy winds up jumping out of the airplane, without a parachute. He lands in Texas, a mess of intestinal overflow, still alive.
Speaking of “still alive!” We cut to Kansas, not that long ago, and meet another curious traveler. She drives through a cornfield and bites a man’s ear off and builds a bazooka and uses that bazooka to take down a helicopter. All with the help of a couple latchkey kids, to whom she gives some nice advice such as: “A girl needs to be strong. Stand on her own.” And also: “Don’t come out till the noises stop.” Her name is Priscilla Jean Henrietta O’Hare, but her friends call her Tulip.
Following the better angels of his judgment, Jesse decides to approach the abusive-dad situation directly. He goes to her wife, asking if she needs help. “When he hurts me, I like it,” his wife explains. “I do.” Jesse looks horrified.
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But not as horrified as when he discovers that Tulip has come home. (She’s currently crashing with her Uncle Walter.) She tells Jesse about a new job: Something about a map, how this isn’t just any old gig. But Jesse has turned over a new leaf. “More like trying to fill your daddy’s shoes,” says Tulip. They tell each other they’re sorry; for what, precisely, we’ll have to find out later.
NEXT: Hello, young man!