Preacher: 2.07 Pig
The following review contains full spoilers for the seventh episode of Preacher season two.
Since Preacher's second season was announced, the creators have been hyping the introduction of Herr Starr, a most well-known villain from the comic series. However, if you haven't read the source material (like myself), the only things you have to go on the German baddie is the word of the writers and a very brief introduction several weeks ago. So Pig was faced with the daunting task of fleshing out this new villain and proving that he's cooler than the Saint of Killers in one hour.
Good news, everybody: they nailed it. Through a series of very effective flashbacks, Herr Starr gets a succinct origin story that not only explains his conflict with Jesse, but also shows that he is a very crazy, very evil force to be reckoned with. Pip Torrens is exceptional in the role, showing no emotion other than a deep fascination with pain. Sadistic, masochistic, and ambitious, he will literally do anything without the blink of an eye.
The best part is how well he fits in the Preacher universe. Underneath all of his horrible actions was a current of dark humor, from the wild nipple rings to his unique brand of seduction ("Give me the microfilm, you bitch, or I'll kill you and your entire family"). He would actually be pretty funny, if he wasn't maniacal and intimidating.
Compared to Herr Starr's scenes, the rest of Pig felt slightly underwhelming, but not unimportant. The weakest link of the episode is Jesse, who is in a kind of limbo after his decision to remove a piece of his soul to defeat the Saint of Killers. In this episode, he visits the last jazz club in New Orleans and comes up short. The fruitless attempt to find God reminds us of Preacher's endgame, which has been lost the past couple of weeks. His biggest concern is the long-term effects of the soul removal: will the loss be as unsubstantial as promised, or are things, as Tulip noticed, different?
Meanwhile, Tulip is haunted by her near-death encounter with the Saint. While Ruth Negga puts in as strong a performance as ever, it's been disappointing to see such a bad-ass character be so vulnerable and fearful ever since arriving in New Orleans. That being said, her final scene was a nice redemption of sorts. What better way to conquer your fear of a gun-toting madman than to strap on a bulletproof vest and have someone light you up?
Of all the emotional turmoil experienced by the trio, Cassidy gets the worst of it: just when he thinks that he's finally bonding with his son, a translator informs him that Denis is dying, and unless Cassidy grants him immortality, he will die hating his absentee father. Cassidy is clearly haunted by his vampirism and is trying to do the right thing, but that morality is clashing with his love for his son. And to add insult to injury, Tulip declares her love for him during a con before passionately kissing him. And while she might have been hustling, he meant ever second of it. Poor guy.
Thanks to Pig, we now know what Herr Starr and the Grail are after: they want to protect God's lineage (Jesus had a kid. So... that's a thing) and wipe any false prophets off the face of the Earth. Jesse is their next target, and we've seen how ruthless and efficient Herr Starr can be. To top it all off, there's some serious foreshadowing about the end of the world being seriously nigh. Looks like Preacher's going to have his hands full.