'Preacher' Season 4 Episode 5: 'Bleak City' takes stock as characters have both happy and tragic reunions
Jesse meets the Saint and Eugene, Tulip meets Cassidy and Jesus meets Hitler. Some are meet cutes, some are not.
Preacher's fifth episode 'Bleak City' spends most of its runtime spinning wheels (including showing ads for Australian tourism) but eventually sets some key stories into motion. It isn't the greatest of 'Preacher' episodes but at least it is coherent. Eugene's turn to vengeance in this installment was a long time coming and feels oddly satisfying. It is also nice to see Jesus share his daddy issues about what he means to his father even as Tulip reassures him that it doesn't matter since God is an asshole, echoing Jesse's words from the last episode. Overall, the episode is like a small breather before the real action begins as we take in where each character is emotionally, mentally and, in Jesse's case, physically as well.
Jesse's (Dominic Cooper) time in the sea with the unfortunate pilot seems to have done him a world of good. No longer so sure of his powers and extremely aware of the limits of what he can achieve, he dials back on the megalomania in this episode. In a quick succession of incidents in the previous episodes, his penchant for violence and his overeagerness to use his Genesis powers have backfired spectacularly. So he doesn't command the car rental guy for keys; he asks him rather politely though it is undercut with menace. He even uses the Voice to stop the poor bloke from stuttering.
Too bad that the rental guy dies just a few moments later at the hands of the Saint (Graham McTavish) who can track Jesse whenever he uses his power. 'Preacher' reaches into its comic book roots as two panels slam down onscreen - Jesse in one, smiling at his own benevolence toward the rental guy, and the Saint in the other, turning his head, knowing exactly where his prey is.
Nice guy Eugene (Ian Coletti) seems a little weary of the Saint's trigger happy ways by now. So when Jesse emerges from the parking and spots Eugene, who is a step ahead of the Saint, he shouts a warning before the Saint can send a bullet into Jesse's head. Jesse peels away telling himself Eugene will be fine. But he turns back once his good guy half kicks in, which is unfortunate for him. After he has rescued Eugene from the Saint and given him the most sincere of apologies, Eugene realizes it won't do. Even a good apology is not enough when you've been to hell and back. So he shoots him through the car seat and Jesse is left wounded on the ground staring into the grim faces of Eugene and the Saint.
The episode is also a reunion of another kind as Tulip (Ruth Negga) walks into Kamal's bar and motel to find Cassidy. While Jesus (Tyson Ritter) plays video games, the two shoot the shit, filling in each other on what they have been up to (Cassidy's encounter with a deranged vampire who killed his followers; Tulip fighting a load of Nazis). While the conversation isn't spectacular, their connection is genuine.
The sand hits the smoothly running gears when Tulip decides she wants to go on a little road adventure with Jesus and Cassidy, and Cassidy says they should find Jesse and get him out of whatever shit he is in. But Tulip is done being Jesse's errand girl and takes off with Jesus when it looks like Cassidy isn't coming with her.
Cassidy's angel cell-mate and now buddy is there to be the devil on his shoulder, telling him to take his chances with Tulip. Cassidy stays strong, steadily repeating his mantra - "She's my mate's girl". To make a point about taking a chance on love, the angel dances the waltz with his lady love, a demon, before proceeding to have "bedroom-breaking" sex (poor Cassidy). A point that he immediately muddies moments later when he aims a sword right in her heart because "she is a demon". I wouldn't be surprised to learn in later episodes that they are Genesis' parents. Of course, they can't kill each other, being immortal beings but they can have a jolly good time trying to.
Cassidy strolls out into the sun, covered from head to toe, as the bar is destroyed by the warring pair (poor Kamal). He finds Tulip outside, back from her little road trip with Jesus. Turns out "a road trip with Jesus" sounds more exciting than it is. The duo rides into the sunset to find Jesse in Australia because the world is ending and it only makes sense when the three of them are together. We approve!
Jesus gets a sudden urge to do his duty i.e. attend the Apocalypse conference with Herr Hitler. Just in time too since Herr Starr is tearing off his non-existent hair when he hears Jesus has disappeared. He is too distracted to shoot Featherstone for her incompetence, and who takes off using her flying suit trick, indignant that Starr has deputized new Hoover to kill her. Starr takes out his anger by spanking Hitler with a squash racquet for daring to check up on the replacement Humperdoo. (This show sure loves smacking Hitler around when it can.) But all is on track when Jesus returns and even hugs Hitler and the conference finally starts. Apocalypse 2020 is on track.