Preacher, Season 2, Episode 5, ‘Dallas’
It’s been well established through one and a half seasons of Preacher that under the collar and calm, Jesse Custer is a simmering pot of rage.
That rage has spilled over a couple of times, and men have suffered broken bones and egos from the business end of Jesse’s fists. While this episode is ostensibly about filling in the gaps of Jesse and Tulip’s past, it’s also very much about giving life to Jesse’s rage, which is now as much a character on the show as Cassidy or the Saint of Killers.
The episode opens with Jesse still beating up Viktor in his bedroom, so angry he literally can’t see or hear, not that he cares what Tulip has to say at this point. He eventually drags Viktor into his own torture room and strings him up. He’s so mad he uses Genesis on Tulip to make her go away.
The bulk of the episode is spent in the recent past, and shines a light on what happened with Jesse and Tulip after she lost the baby, following the job when they were double-crossed by Carlos.
Jesse fell into a funk after that day. He gave up the life of crime and expected Tulip to do the same. He allegedly tends bar, but mostly spends his days drinking beer and rolling joints in Bible pages with a Cassidy analogue named Reggie. Tulip gets a job helping out in a real estate office.
However, all is not domestic bliss and John Wayne movies. Jesse can’t move forward without regaining what he lost first, namely a child with Tulip. It all leads to the second-best monotony montage of the week, that is, in Preacher terms, a living, repeating hell where Jesse has the same routine of trudging to the corner store for a sixer, pack of smokes, and a pregnancy test. That is followed by anticipation for the results of the test (always negative) and another try at getting Tulip pregnant. Day after day, time after time … During this stretch of his life, Jesse is a rock being slowly eroded by the river.
This flashback also establishes Tulip’s history of keeping secrets from Jesse. After the botched job in Dallas, Tulip didn’t want to escape the life of crime and danger. She loved the risk but she mostly loved the energy it gave her and Jesse’s relationship when they are on the wrong side of the law. She starts to take jobs with Danni on the down low, as well birth control, and hiding all the evidence in the ductwork.
Jesse inevitably finds out everything and pretty well snaps, transferring violence probably meant for Tulip onto poor Reggie. Feeling betrayed and lost, Jesse makes the fateful decision to rebuild his father’s old church, while Tulip takes a job in New Orleans, where she meets and marries the crime lord, Viktor. It’s all domestic tranquility and bedroom Monopoly until Tulip gets a call from Danni that she’s found Carlos. Tulip drops everything, and presumably jumps into a purple muscle car to set her part of Season 1 into motion.
Back in the present, Tulip brings her stepdaughter Allie with her back to Cassidy’s crash pad for a bowl of Boo Berry and some TV with the comatose Denis. Tulip is angry with Cassidy for blabbing the secret and Cassidy, as always tries to talk his way out of the jam. He eventually decides to go to Viktor’s to talk Jesse out of killing Tulip’s husband.
Jesse’s still a cauldron of boiling rage when Cassidy arrives. Jesse is as angry as Cassidy as he is at Tulip, because he knows Cassidy was keeping the same secrets from him. Jesse knows that there’s no coming back from killing Viktor, but his rage demands that very outcome. Cassidy doesn’t plead either outcome, he just tells Jesse that he has his back no matter what he decides.
We get a mini-cliffhanger with Jesse swinging an axe in Viktor’s direction, egged on by some poor word choice on Jesse’s part. Jesse took Viktor down … from his harness, and got him to sign some divorce papers, much to the relief of Tulip and Cassidy.
The happy reunion between Viktor and daughter, Allie doesn’t last long. All of Jesse’s use of the Voice leads the Saint to Viktor’s bedroom. Viktor earns a bullet to the chest for balking on his answer as to the whereabouts of the preacher. The Saint turns to the closet, to find Allie, who looks very much like his own daughter, who is more than ready to spill Jesse’s location.
This was the second episode in a row that cared more about layering its primary characters than advancing the plot very far. The events of Jesse and Tulip’s recent past are worth telling, especially since it gave Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga a chance to really stretch their acting muscles with these characters.