Preacher season 3 episode 2 review: 'Sonsabitches' brings back the hell-raising, fiery Tulip
You can trust the combination of Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen to deliver, and boy do they bring the apple of our eyes back in episode 2!
Not for no reason has 'Preacher' earned the reputation of being gory, gothic and grotesque. Filled with savage cruelty and outright imageries, which are very well capable of fueling your worst nightmares, the AMC thriller for the past two seasons has lived up (almost) to its comic book status, especially with the small screen iterations of the leading trio Jesse Custer, his rogue girlfriend Tulip, and his vampire buddy Cassidy.
One of the striking character arcs over Preacher's season 1 and 2 was that of Tulip O' Hare, the volatile woman Jesse has known all his life and has come to realize to be his one true love. Ruth Negga further breathed life into this hell-raising femme fatale with her raw and unhinged energy, which every once in a while takes over the screen whenever guns and firearms (of any size) are involved. Moving into season 3, though, the creative heads responsible for bringing to life the story based on DC's Vertigo comics failed to create the same impact as far as Negga's character is involved.
Perhaps, the fact that Tulip arrived in the third season, almost dead, stuck in "Purgatory" between life and afterlife could have something to do with the lackluster premiere episode. But, as always, you can trust the combination Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen to deliver and boy do they bring the apple of our eyes back in episode 2! Ironically titled 'Sonsabitches', the Sunday night's episode saw Tulip reigning supreme, even though she is getting accustomed to coming back from the dead - thanks to Gran'ma's seriously bizarre sorcery.
It takes just a split second for this brute of a woman to come back to her elements - mostly involving firing bullets, kicking ass, or raising hell. It's almost a relief and a bit of an alarm to see her bonding with one of Gran'ma's henchmen, Jody, a DC comics character that saw actor Jeremy Childs make his debut in AMC's 'Preacher'. Relief because Tulip is no longer portrayed in a passive reference - she is alive and ready to wreak vengeance - and alarming due to the tenacity of her personality, which coupled with Jody's outlandish way of life, means it's not going to be all sunshine and unicorn in Angelville (not that the town ever painted a picture less than grim).
It doesn't take long for fans to get a glimpse of all that could go wrong if Tulip were to get reckless again. Despite being pushed to the curb by Jesse (for good reasons), at least for the time being, Negga's angry woman doesn't waste a moment before jumping in on the action, killing a whole band of men who accompanied the ruthless leader of the Grail, Herr Starr (Pip Torrens), while he worked out the terms of his agreement with Jesse - a deal with the devil that could possibly free our Preacher from the clasp of his Gran'ma.
Going by her frail skin, one might be tempted for a moment to mistake Gran'ma for an aging old woman - but if the premiere episode is any indication, the boss of the Angelville plantation is nothing close to being weak or dependent. A character, whose very origin is steeped in ruthlessness and tyranny, Jesse's Gran'ma aka Marie L'Angell is aptly justified by the brilliance of theater veteran Betty Buckley on the small screen. Following that hair-raising flashback in episode 1, doubled up with scenes of the second episode - where the spiritist's youthful mystery is finally busted as she harvests souls to preserve her agelessness - it won't be much of a drag to say that Buckley is redefining the terms of villainy in 'Preacher'.
While all the anti-heroes of the small-screen thriller have so far been impressive in their own ways, it is particularly the femmes fatales who grab eyeballs - whether it is Buckley's witch or the outlaw girlfriend played by Negga or the recently-reintroduced, stand-out character from season 2, Lara Featherstone (portrayed by Julie Ann Emery). 'Preacher' has nailed its character-representation vis a vis comics literature but the subtle nuances that make a TV series more compelling and engaging are so far missing in the season. There are individual, over-performing stars, and an outstanding narrative and yet to string all this together would require the sheer craftsmanship of the showrunners trio - Catling, Rogen, and Goldberg.
Bringing back the character of Tulip from the dead, literally as well as metaphorically, was just job half done. Her history with treason demands that she would seek revenge and what better way to serve it than cold, the same way Gran'ma would approve.
Amidst all these striking ladies, however, Cooper's preacher has visibly taken a backseat in the season - an only exception being that black-and-white flashback from his childhood, where a glimpse of Young Jesse, as well as his ironic similarity in nature with Gran'ma, is put under the spotlight. There's a running mean streak in the Custer family and if the creatives bringing the story to the screen would please pay attention, Jesse's traumatic childhood could make for an impactful narrative, serving as the perfect appetizer to the fans of gore.
And one must not forget, there's a brewing conflict between the boys as well - Jesse and Cassidy. Both having fallen for Tulip, it is just a matter of time before a final showdown gets underway - and when that happens we would very much like to see what spices Gran'ma and her henchmen along with the violent members of the Grail would bring to the table.
One tip, make it hot, heavy and, action-packed. There is a reason every Sunday dedicated fans are tuning in to see the unrelenting barbarism of the comics-bound show. Remove the savagery from 'Preacher' and it's just another adaptation, thriving for viewership, still riding high on the loyalty of comics readers.
What happens next?
Preacher returns on AMC next Sunday (July 8), with episode 3 titled 'Gonna Hurt' and if the synopsis is any proof, the trip out of Angelville is going to hurt. "While Jesse works to pay back his debt to Gran'ma, Tulip and Cassidy risk their safety as they make their own plans to get out of Angelville."