Martin Carr reviews the fifth episode of Preacher…
There is a turning point in Preacher where the penny drops and things get intriguing. For fans of the comic book you knew it was coming, but for newbies this is a slap to the face, nut sack in an ice bucket sort of moment. However fear not I’m not one for spoilers.
As per usual Preacher plays with tone, timeframe and expectations like a seasoned card shark working his own rigged deck. Whether you are drawn in by the piecemeal approach to Graham McTavish’s ‘Cowboy’ flashback, or the family dynamic of the Root family there something here for everyone. Picking between the double act of Fiore and DeBlanc, Tulip and Cassidy or Jesse and everyone else, there is no denying the universal appeal.
Even in those moments between Eugene and his father there are elements of pathos which few will find it hard to deny. There aren’t many that involve a loaded shotgun, graffiti and a catatonic matriarch, but then no one said it had to be smooth sailing. Elsewhere the phone call from God weighs heavy on the theologically minded amongst us, as they try to decide whether Rogen, Goldberg and Catlin are being contentious or just poking fun. To my mind it remains clever, fresh, entertaining and a reminder what creativity can do when people get passed themselves.
As for Jesse and Odin Quincannon there is a something coming for them both. A God given gift bestowed on young Custer has converted many and controlled more than a few, which is starting to feel less like a divine deity and more like the other guy. A theory which is fast gathering momentum in light of escalating events. Beyond that the burgeoning relationship between Tulip and Cassidy adds a softly comedic element, with more than a touch of caustic undercurrent.
For two British actors who are still considered under the radar, Joe Gilgun and Ruth Negga continue running with these characters like they were born to play them. There is such a cock sure laddish quality about Cassidy, despite his age, that the world weary undercurrent is balanced and filtered through a thin veneer of cool. Negga likewise has her finger on the pulse of Tulip who can play any man she wants, except ironically the only man she wants. In both there is a loneliness and vulnerability which goes beyond mere acting.
As I said and continue saying these people are not nice. They have no right to our sympathy, can lay no claim to our empathy yet remain warm hearted and likeable. This then is the trick to making a marginalised, minority comic book into a mainstream ratings winner. Cast carefully and with the widest possible net. And more than anything be sure to take some risks, because what’s life without them?