Jesse Custer continues to act like a general horse’s arse while facing his past demons and recognizing his immediate adversary, Odin Quincannon. Meanwhile, our resident hedonistic vampire manages to be more of a Christian than the titular preacher.

The Mascot makes another gratuitous cameo, but Eugene, the angels, and the Cowboy all remain conspicuously absent this week.

Title: He Gone

Directed by Michael Morris
Written by Mary Laws
From the graphic novel series by Steve Dillon and Garth Ennis

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer
Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy
Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare
Lucy Griffiths as Emily
W. Earl Brown as Hugo Root
Derek Wilson as Donnie Schenck
Jackie Earle Haley as Odin Quincannon
Nathan Darrow as John Custer
Ashley Aufderheide as Young Tulip
Dominic Ruggieri as Young Jesse
Catharine Pilafas as Kathy
Hank Rogerson as Phil
Doris Hargrave as Mabel
Staci Robbins as Mrs. Douglas
William R. Stafford as the Principal
Ryan Jason Cook as Man with a Salty Wife
Philip J. Shortell as Play Narrator
Caroline Patz as Angie

Premise

Jesse recalls his past with Tulip, Cassidy urges Jesse to act on the Eugene situation, and Odin gathers up his troops.

High Point

The show takes its cue from last week’s juxtaposition of the Eugene’s last known whereabouts with the charred corpses. Whenever the show alludes to hell, we get something truly creepy to suggest Eugene’s current address, and the technique proves more disturbing than any attempt to show us a literal hell likely would be.

Low Point

You can’t fire me, I quit:

Cassidy is free to rant about the inadequacies of plot (as he sees it) in The Big Lebowski, but offering metacommentary (as it does) on the show’s plot issues doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

The Scores

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 5/6 Effects this week consist of chilling audio and a passable burn.

Story: 4/6 It’s good to see the specific source of Jesse’s guilt. I’m glad we know the backstory on our arse-faced, over-aged teen Eugene. Curiously, the former was shown but the latter was explained. Eugene’s story might have worked even better than Jesse’s as an extended flashback. Never mind. I’m glad we have those details.

The story really needs to move forward now– something the ending and the previews suggest it will do.

Acting: 5/6 The cast remains strong. Griffiths as Emily gives a solid and nuanced performance, especially in one of the great awkward dinner scenes. Cooper remains effective as Jesse, but he felt a little strained this week.

Emotional Response: 4/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 4/6 I don’t know how long it will be before I‘m gone. Preacher sports a strong cast and high production values, but it’s all over the map in terms of tone and story, and often seems to be weird for its own sake. With other oddball shows, like 12 Monkeys and Orphan Black I usually feel confident events and details will serve the story or characters. Preacher feels like it’s trying to make up for a lack of direction, despite having an established comic series as its basis. Direction is one thing this show shouldn’t lack. Still, other series have bloomed from slow openings.
For now, I’ll keep watching.

If nothing else, I want to know what happens to Eugene.

In total, “He Gone” receives 30/42

Most Bizarre Speculation

Did Eugene return from Hell to his own past, and dress up as a mascot to conceal the fact?
I doubt it, but it would make an interesting explanation.