Ballad of a right-hand man with no right hand
Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC
S1 E3
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Tulip meets with someone: An exchange of information for information. Tulip wants to find someone from her past — someone whose mere existence defines the rift that has grown between Tulip and Jesse. In return, she has unknowingly gotten involved with a group called the Grail Corporation. We see a shadowy representative of that organization, in a movie theater: bald, well-dressed.

On this week’s episode of the Entertainment Geekly podcast, we talked a lot about Preacher and Preacher, the brilliant comic book that tore through the late ’90s, and the fine TV series which is trying to transpose that comic book into the present day. Whether you’re a Preacher die-hard or a newbie, you may enjoy listening to the podcast (you can also subscribe now on iTunes), since we address the most intriguing aspect of the AMC series: How it is simultaneously staying true to the comic book while completely up-ending the narrative structure of the series.

Another example: We see the well-dressed English (?) men in bolo ties, curiously not-dead despite all chainsaw-ish appearances to the contrary. They are in communications with the local Sheriff; they claim they are from the government.

Are they? Who knows anymore? Things have changed in this town. The Bad Dad and the Bus Driver exchange a glance at each other, confused about the wounds they both bear. Do they realize that they have both been pummeled by the same man? Can they conceive of the strangeness that has overtaken their town, and their town’s resident man of god?

That man of god can’t figure out the change. He tries out his new command skill on his pal Cassidy. Cassidy has some theories. Theory one: Jesse is reliving Phenomenon, the John Travolta movie about how a brain tumor turns a local man into the better version of Dark Phoenix. Theory two: Jesse is Jason Bourne, but definitely not Aaron Cross, never Aaron Cross. Theory three: “You’re a Jedi.”

The world needs a Jedi. On television, heads of state and Val Kilmer mourn the sad passing of Tom Cruise, beloved Hollywood icon, recently exploded by the force that currently resides within Jesse. Jesse doesn’t pay much attention. He’s entrapped, once again, by his former love Tulip. She knows he’s trying to be one of the good guys; she knows he’s trying to save the town. But she’s got information he wants: The location of a former colleague of theirs, a “rat bastard child-killing life-ruining son of a bitch.”

Jesse goes with Tulip – maybe against his better judgment. They stop at a gas station, and Jesse visits the restroom. Inside, he’s surprised by the Bad Dad, who’s had a bad day. His son’s schoolmates disrespect him; his boss, Mr. Quincannon, thinks he’s a joke. But he’s catching Jesse at a bad time. Using his powers, Jesse threatens to kill him. “I’ll make it look like a suicide,” says Jesse. “No reason for the whole town to know I beat you like a bitch twice.”

But Jesse holds back – and something in his interaction with the Bad Dad sets him back on a course of righteousness. He refuses to go with Tulip; he returns to his primary mission, saving souls, being a good man. But darker things are afoot. Bolo #1 and Bolo #2 run afoul of Cassidy, again. He thinks they must be clones. But they have another story. “We’re from heaven,” they say. Well, Belinda Carlisle did say it was a place on earth.

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