'Preacher' season 4 episode 3: Jesse's murderous carnage at DeSade establishment could probably have God to blame
Episode 3 'Deviant' uncovers the flaws of the three main leads with Jesse Custer's hollow hero act, Tulip undergoing a psych evaluation and the back story to Cassidy's immense guilt
This article contains spoilers for 'Preacher' Season 4 Episode 3: 'Deviant'
The Grail's expert torturer, Frankie Toscani (Lachy Hulme), is just an honest man trying to make ends meet. While torture might be his main game, what is the harm in conducting a little side business back home in Bensonhurst, New York? A cheesy advertisement before Preacher's opening credits is about "Toscani's face cream - Now with more foreskin" for women obsessed with anti-aging beauty creams.
Yes, it is a yuck-inducing concept to think of vampire Cassidy's (Joseph Gilgun) foreskin pulp on women's faces. But it is simultaneously transgressive. "Fridging" women in films, on TV shows and in comics is a well-established trope where the torture, maiming and murder of female characters serve to advance the male protagonist's story.
But a man (if Cassidy can be classified as a man) being tortured for a beauty product meant for women? Well, that's a new one. The ad's final line, "Aging doesn't have to be torture" cuts to a screaming Cassidy on an assembly line machine calibrated to efficiently separate him from his foreskin as soon as it grows back.
The beauty industry is all about women suffering for beauty which makes this episode's cold open so delightfully subversive. Not that we are reveling in Cassidy's pain. We get a little backstory explaining Cassidy's guilt complex and honestly, there are worse crimes than turning your back on a mate in a war when you are shit scared and pitifully mortal.
The mortal part of his identity is soon rectified when he is bitten by a vampire on his long trek home. His cellmate in the Masada dungeon, a garrulous angel, on hearing the tale, assuages his guilt and releases a feather with a fart that Cassidy holds on to. He is on the way to forgiving himself.
And as far as we are concerned there is nothing to forgive as long as he does right by Tulip (Ruth Negga). Honestly, at this point, we are all about rooting for these two as Jesse (Dominic Cooper) is losing all the goodwill he has ever earned.
Turns out, the letter he wrote Tulip before he left isn't as fond a farewell as it is a slap in the face. The words "lying b***h" features prominently. But while Tulip O'Hare might be a screw-up, she has put up with Jesse's crap for far too long. And for a girl with abandonment issues, Cassidy is a helluva better choice.
Cassidy's physical torture is mirrored in Tulip's psychological torture as she is given a psych evaluation at the Masada's hospital wing. The verdict. She is a "deviant" but Tulip is used to being labeled a lunatic. Especially, if it means she gets to walk free. But by the time she gets to Cassidy's cell, he is already on his way to Bensonhurst, clutching his angel feather-shaped security blanket.
Speaking of lunatics, Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery) is losing it too in her vengeful hunt for Tulip. As the new Hoover puts it, she is "hysterical". Yes, Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) has a new Hoover whose coldly efficient and soulless ways make us miss the old, quirky Hoover (Malcom Barrett) with his little head umbrella.
Which is why it is splendid to spend time with the odd couple, Eugene (Ian Colletti) and the Saint (Graham McTavish). They are the perfect pair. While Eugene contains the Saint's more violent outbursts, the Saint protects him from the troubles his good-natured ways and naivete attracts.
A perfect example is the gloryhole sequence, where Eugene assumes (wrongly) that the man in the next toilet cubicle wants toilet paper. The obvious 'Arseface' and a**hole analogy is drawn before the Saint rescues him from being hauled away for being a sex pervert by killing his captor. We want only a happy ending (of the non-sexual kind) for these two.
But a happy ending doesn't seem to be in Jesse's fate as his hubris grows daily as does the height of his hair. We have a feeling that his turn towards the intolerable is just so he can have a satisfying redemption arc later in the season.
His obnoxious pride is perfectly captured in a little chat with Hitler (Noah Taylor), where he almost gets the Fuhrer to choke himself to death before losing interest. After all, he has a plane to catch. But before that, he becomes a patsy in the game Herr Starr and God (Mark Harelik) are playing when he enters Jesus DeSade's (James Smithers) House of Entertainment, a sex party house, to rescue the child - the child he was previously mugged by in Episode 2.
Once in the house, his rescue mission turns violent. Jesse likes fighting for fighting's sake, even though he tries to put a noble spin to it. He could just as easily Genesis-ed the boy out of there. But then we wouldn't get that crazy fight sequence. The result is that everyone, except him and his Genesis-compelled pilot sidekick, is dead. Even the boy he came in to rescue is killed by a stray bullet.
But that might not be entirely his fault as we see God peering at him through one of the windows as he leaves the bloody house. The disaster was obviously pre-planned since Herr Starr had dictated a sound byte about Jesse Custer being the "evil incarnate" behind the carnage, way before it happened. If God can't manipulate a few bullets, who can?
By the end of the episode, Jesse is closer to the frightening fall from the plane foreshadowed in Episode 1's opening sequence. Jesse white-knuckles it as the plane is rocked by violent turbulence and the on-board video screens erratically broadcast a news byte, blaming him for the carnage in the DeSade establishment.
Who wants to bet the turbulence has something to do with God? He was, after all, staring ominously at the diorama about Jesse's travel path in the closing moments of Episode 2 and we know he is prone to blowing-up his creations in a fit of anger.
'Preacher' airs on Sundays on AMC.