Preacher: 2.08 Holes
The following review contains spoilers for the eighth episode of Preacher season two.
Preacher's first season suffered from a back half that sometimes felt like it was running in place, biding its time with character ruminations before launching into a very exciting finale. Basically, there just wasn't enough story to keep up the fast, action-heavy pace of the first few episodes. Holes demonstrates that the creators didn't seem to notice any issues and, in extending the second season to thirteen episodes, may have exacerbated the issue.
Nothing happens in Holes. Nothing. You could argue that it added a layer of emotional depth to the characters, but it really didn't, because we already knew everything this episode had to say. Tulip spends the hour patching up the bullet holes in the wall, still scared of the Saint of Killers. Cassidy still refuses to immortalize his dying son, although each passing moment finds him closer to giving in. And Jesse still can't catch a break, as his only remaining lead doesn't pan out, leaving him without direction.
Even Eugene's stint in Hell hits all the same beats it has before. Who would've expected a story featuring Arseface, Hitler, and Hell to be boring? And yet, every time Eugene is onscreen, it's just to reiterate that Hell is for bad people, and Eugene is not a bad person. This time, he's sent into what is called an Extrapolator, which sounds terrifying but basically adds an extra layer to the "relive your worst memory" torture, twisting the memory so it includes your worst fear (so, Eugene was scared that Jesse would steal his girl? That makes total sense and is definitely in line with everything we've learned about both characters).
It's a good thing that the excellent lead actors make the roles feel so lived-in. Ruth Negga approaches every scene with that unique brand of Tulip charm, so she's never difficult to watch. And Joseph Gilgun, having already won over our hearts as Cassidy, proves himself capable of giving emotional performances, too. I don't watch Preacher for sad characters, but at least Cassidy's plight feels believable and poignant enough.
Two minor developments regarding the Grail occur in Holes. On one hand, Tulip meets her new neighbor, who also happens to be fake-lounge-singer Lara Featherstone. On the other, the audience learns as "The God Audition" is destroyed that it was made by Grail Industries (the irony being that there wasn't an answer on the disc, but there was an answer literally on the disc). This means that the Grail definitely knows that God is missing and either had something to do with it, or were charged with cover-up.
The next episode promises to have more action and some screen time with Herr Starr. After his stellar debut in last week's Pig, you would've thought that he would've been used right out of the gate, but what're you gonna do. Thirteen episodes is a long season for most hour-long dramas. It's funny that Preacher, which is better the faster it moves, would be the show that gets drawn out.