“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18
This may be the first time I have quoted a Bible verse in a story. But when writing about a show called Preacher, it’s bound to come up eventually.
Jesse Custer was feeling a lot of pride in the season’s fifth episode “The South Shall Rise Again.” He’s got the hang of his power and thanks to the conversion of Odin Quincannon the previous Sunday, the good people are hanging on his every powerful word. Jesse was loving every single minute of it.
His demeanor in this episode is such a sharp contrast to the faithless, lost soul who dulled his inner pain with booze and was mere moments from walking away from his congregation. Although Jesse believes his power comes from God, its application is totally man made.
Jesse isn’t trying to rebuild the church to bring light to the people of Annville, he’s doing it to prove to himself and his dead father that he’s worthy of the promise he made all those years ago. He thinks he’s ministering to the people from that booth in the diner. He’s holding court; using his power to nudge people in directions they were headed anyway.
All the while, situations are starting to bubble over. Tulip has become more than a little chummy with a certain Irish vampire. April doesn’t like the change she sees in Jesse. Donnie is starting to piece it all together. Seemingly dozens of people around town are acting on the influence of Jesse’s power. If Odin’s reaction is any indication, Jesse has created a house of cards and a foul wind is picking up.
The only person around town who is sympathetic is poor Arseface, who is trying to make amends for gravely injuring Annville’s sweetheart. Unfortunately, even his own father wants him out of the picture.
At the end of the episode, the first rocks under Jesse’s feet started to crumble away when the angels inform Jesse that his power is not only not divine, but also extremely dangerous.
This was another talk-heavy episode which may further frustrate people. Thankfully the exchanges – especially the Tulip and Cassidy scenes – has some snap to them. Jesse’s turn from sullen to smug was abrupt, but understandable given the nature of his power. It may have ended up being totally frustrating had it not been for the extended series within a show with the backstory of the Saint of Killers. That provided enough action, suspense and horror to make all that talk after a little easier to swallow.