Playing a Game Where Only Jesse Knows the Rules: Preacher, ‘The Tombs’

Preacher Season 3, Episode 4: “The Tombs”

Is Jesse Custer a good guy? Based on most of last season and most of this one, it’s a legitimate question. It’s also a question “The Tombs” artfully played with, jumping back and forth between past and present to make the muddy picture of who Jesse is just a smidgeon clearer.

In Hell

Before we get to life in Jesse’s personal hell, we’re taken on a side trip to actual Hell, where the Saint of Killers makes his first appearance of the season.

The Saint is called into Satan’s office for a little meeting and some old-fashioned puishment. With god on the lam, the devil has big plans to take advantage of the situation, but there’s one little matter that has to be taken care of first. Two souls escaped Hell (Arseface and Hitler) and it’s damaging the devil’s credibility. The devil needs the Saint to track down the escapees and bring them back alive, but the Saint won’t have his guns, because getting them back and resuming his hunt for the Preacher is his reward for a job well done.

Tulip

We pick up with Tulip where we left off last time; Madame Boyd on the wrong end of Tulip’s pistol. While they drive to Angelville to break the curse, Boyd tells the tale of why she hates Jesse so much. Jesse and Boyd dated in high school, Jesse initiated an awful breakup, and also murdered her brother in cold blood. This revelation puts Tulip on edge. She has always been supportive of her man, but there’s been too much doubt lately, especially after she walks into the Tombs and sees Jesse stake Cassidy in a fight.

Once that is worked out (details below), Boyd says one way to break Jesse’s curse is to kill the person who cast the spell. Given Boyd’s hatred of Jesse and his entire family, Tulip immediately questions if she’s getting the whole story. But, Boyd assures her, kill Jesse’s grandma and all their troubles go away.

Jesse

Jesse is back playing a game he thought he mastered years ago. The ultimate goal is to get free from the grip of his grandmother, but Tulip and Cassidy complicate matters.

Cassidy has no idea of the kind of danger he is in, and his first thought whenever Jesse tried to get him to safety is that Jesse is trying to separate him from Tulip. So, after Jesse hacks Cassidy up to mail him back to New Orleans, Cassidy returns to the Tombs for more.

The two battle it out, and that’s when Tulip walks in. Of course, Jesse’s act of inhumanity is just another ruse to smuggle Cassidy away, and to save face with Jody and TC. Cassidy finally agrees to hop the bus back to the Big Easy after a heartbreaking conversation with Tulip, when she admits she doesn’t love him.

Once that is over, Jesse and Tulip have words of their own. Tulip lays out her recent mistrust, and Jesse tries to allay those worries by giving his side of the Boyd brother story. Tulip says she wants to be in on any future schemes. They are partners after all.

Thoughts and Impressions

The introduction of the Tombs has been a clever way of introducing more action elements, without sacrificing the windows into the souls of our main characters. The reintroduction of the Saint feels like it’s going to work similarly, injecting more comedy into the series, as it feels like he is being set up as a gunless Elmer Fudd to Hitler’s Bugs Bunny.

With Jesse and Tulip truly on the same page, and Cassidy sent off on his own adventure, it feels like the pace of the show is going to pick up a little. This slow pay has been great for character development, but Jesse and Co. can only run around in circles in Angelville for so long.

Craig Wack

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