“I need a new briefcase anyway”
–Miles Person (Ricky Mabe)

We feared things wouldn’t end well in the 1800s, and we knew something would go horribly amiss with Odin Quincannon.

Title: “South Will Rise Again”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Craig Rosenberg
Adapted from the graphic novel by: Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer
Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy
Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare
Jackie Earle Haley as Odin Quincannon
Lucy Griffiths as Emily
Ian Colletti as Eugene Root / Arseface
Tom Brooke as Fiore
Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc
Graham McTavish as The Cowboy
W. Earl Brown as Hugo Root
Derek Wilson as Donnie Schenck
Jamie Anne Allman as Betsy Schenck
Bonita Friedericy as Terri Loach
Ricky Mabe as Miles Person
Tim Ransom as Mr. Murphy
Justice Leak as Ratwater Preacher
Biff Yeager as Pappy
Kristen Loree as Mrs. Root
Trine Christensen as The Cowboy’s Wife
Zachary Hinrichs as Pioneer Boy
Marie Wagenman as The Cowboy’s Daughter
Rhiannon Frazier as Mrs. Murphy
Audrey Walters as Jenny
Miles Elliot as Scott Loach
Christopher W. Garcia as Jack Loach
Forrest Fyre as Apothecary
Boots Southerland as Cooley’s Bartender
Jason E. Hill as Cooley’s Customer
Kyle T. Cowan as Pa
Beverly Sartain as Ma
Sean Dennis as Little Billy

Premise

In the 1800s, the Cowboy’s quest goes south.

Cassidy hooks up with Tulip and explains vampirism. Jesse becomes a small-town celebrity due to his dramatic conversion of Odin Quincannon, but the angels inform him things will end badly.

Jesse tries to reconcile Eugene with the town. The Schencks discuss the Preacher’s strange powers, and we learn their relationship may not be as it seemed.

High Point

The extended sequence in the 1800s has been beautifully filmed and heartbreakingly rendered.

They handled the what vampires can and can’t do in this reality quite well. I am, however, just a little sorry Cassidy isn’t afraid of religious symbols. That would have made for a nice sight gag or two, given that he lives in a church.

Low Point

I don’t object, per se, to Emily being on the toilet when Tulip turns up, but it feels like one of those things that they put in the episode because they could. We already had Odin peeing last week, and a kid announcing Emily was “pooping.” So does she get to insert a tampon next week? We get it. There are no taboos left in television. A good writer uses that fact judiciously.1

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 5/6

Acting: 6/6 The show is very well-acted. Dominic Cooper’s ability to show us Jesse’s relative lack of moral understanding makes Jesse downright creepy.

Story: 4/6 The show features excellent set-pieces. We need these to cohere, at least a little, into some kind of story.

Apparently, we’re still in the first issue of the comic.

Emotional Response: 6/6 The scenes with Eugene prove heartbreaking and have been well-played. It would have been so easy for the show to go stupidly over the top here.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 4/6 I’m glad we’re learning more of Eugene’s tragic backstory. I await the Cowboy’s return to Ratwater with fear and anticipation. But the show is moving very slowly– and I say this as someone who was a huge fan of Mad Men.

In total, “The South Will Rise Again” receives 33/42

Washroom Notes

1. In early American television, you couldn’t even mention a toilet. Jack Paar, notoriously, walked off his talk show in 1960 because the networked censored a joke about a “water closet.” Hitchcock and Joseph Stefano discussed whether it was okay to show a toilet in the R-rated Psycho. It was a big deal in 1971 when All in the Family introduced the sound of the toilet flushing to the sitcom.

And I suspect that somewhere, someone is noting that Odin peeing indicates his strength, whereas, with Emily, it demonstrates vulnerability.