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By Clark Collis
July 29, 2018 at 11:29 PM EDT
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Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

In the course of the Preacher panel at the recent Comic-Con, executive producer Seth Rogen teased the introduction of actor Jonny Coyne’s All Father, who is the leader of The Grail and hence the boss of Herr Starr. “He is a disgusting mountainous thing of a man who just eats and makes himself vomit,” said the Knocked Up star. “There is a scene in which they eat a horse.”

“And that is a weird scene,” Rogen added, a tad unnecessarily.

The particular scene, which featured the All Father and Herr Starr, turned up in this week’s episode of the reliably strange adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic book saga. Was it weird? Definitely. But it may not even have been the weirdest consumption-related moment in a show which also saw an owl being eaten whole and — in flashback — the All Father killing someone for touching one of his Hot Pockets by sitting on the poor victim’s head.

Now, having suitably whetted — or extinguished — your appetite, let us detail what else this week’s episode, “Les Enfants du Sang,” offered on its menu.

The show opens with Eugene reaching the end of the road, literally, as he surveys the crater where Annville once stood. The discovery that his home town had been wiped from the face of the earth is a distressing one to our recent Hell escapee, and his decision to look on the bright side (“It means that God wants me alive!”) proves short-lived when the Saint of Killers arrives to claim him at the orphanage where “Arseface” has been relocated.

“Let’s see where this story takes us,” says Eugene, as he is led away in chains but sans pants.

“It takes us to Hell,” replies the Killer, instantly winning Worst Foster Parent of the Year Award.

You know which place is more fun than Hell? Well, any place obviously. But we are thinking of New Orleans, where we find that the mysterious group that rescued Cassidy from the hands of the Grail in last week’s episode is the titular Les Enfants du Sang. In the original comic book, this bunch of vampire-wannabes and their actual vampire-leader Eccarius is clearly a lampoon of the gothic neck-biters to be found in Anne Rice’s Lestat novels. That parodical vibe remains intact here as we are introduced to Eccarius, a.k.a. the Ninth Earl of Saxon-on-Thames. Throughout the episode, this vampire tries to lure Cassidy into a more gothically-inclined mindset by showing off his skills at flying, attracting members of both sexes, transforming himself into a cat, and, yes, eating whole owls. “See, brother, I’m no poser!” exclaims Eccarius. No, buddy, you’re a vampire with a belly full of big-eyed bird, overseeing blood sacrifices in the basement of a house belonging to Kevin’s “Mee-maw.” And that has to be worse.

Needless to say, when not being forced to chow down on one of Seabiscuit’s distant relatives, Herr Starr is keen to get Cassidy back in Grail custody. Alas, his minion Hoover is having no luck locating the lost vamp, much to his superior’s irritation.

RELATED: ‘Preacher’ Star Dominic Cooper On Getting Submerged Underwater for a Scene That Was Cut

“How hard can it be to find an Irish demon carted off by a hooting pack of cape-wearing nobodies?” demands Starr.

“Well, it is New Orleans, sir,” replies his underling.

Later in the show, the All Father reveals to Herr Starr that he has an even worse idea in mind than horse-eating.

“The apocalypse approaches,” says the Grail leader.

“Looking forward to it, All Father,” replies Starr.

“On our command, the world governments will loose their nuclear arsenals and the world will be made anew.”

“Nuclear?

“End of the world, as ordained.”

“I … I thought that meant a run on the banks.”

“Only fire can separate the true believer from the false. Only fire can pave the way for our Lord.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“Exactly!”

When last we saw Jesse and Tulip, they were getting physical with T.C. and Jody at Angelville. Well, apparently it was an encounter our heroes lost, as, back at the proverbial ranch, we find Ruth Negga’s character having her soul mechanically sucked out of her body for the benefit of Betty Buckley’s Gran’ma. Seems like the right time for a good idea from Jesse Custer, who does not disappoint.

“Let me ask you a question, do you want to buy Grandma some time by feeding her one soul?” Jesse asks. “Or you want to save her goddam life with a bunch of them? Because if you want to save her, we need to rob a bank.”

What Jesse has in mind is the heisting of Sabina’s cache of souls from the Bank of the Bayou. The problem? To get around the establishment’s security system, the crew need a sample of Sabina’s saliva. That ultimately proves to be more of a problem for Tulip as Jesse secures said sample by engaging in some kissy-face with his onetime girlfriend.

As Tulip points out, “The plan was for her to spit in your face.”

“Yeah, well,” replies Jesse. “I had to improvise.”

During the heist itself, T.C. keeps the cops busy by removing a goat from a petting zoo and a number of items of clothing from his body while Jody takes the opportunity to wipe out Sabina’s small army of henchmen. This sets up the episode’s climactic bait-and-switch, in which we are led to believe that Tulip is once more having her soul extracted, only to discover that the real victim is Sabina, whom Jesse ultimately puts out of her misery.

“Person ain’t nothing without their soul,” says the Preacher. “I will pay your debt, I will get you what you want. But not like this. It’s time to call the Grail.”

It’s time, too, for Cassidy to admit that maybe he does need a friend, and the episode ends with him being warmly welcomed back by Kevin’s Mee-maw: “Yoo-hoo, everyone! Look who’s home!”

Even by this show’s strange standards, “Les Enfants du Sang” was an entertainingly freakish entry in the saga, which, with the revelation of the All Father’s apocalypse plan, considerably increased the stakes in play. We would say the fact that part of the heist plan involved Tulip dying again — or at least the pretense of such — was beating a dead horse, given her track record of demises. But the show had Jesse jokingly reference that after her fake funeral (“Third time you died, Tulip. I’m all out of tears.”) and, to be honest, we feel that equine-kind has suffered enough for a while.

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