Preacher: 2.10 Dirty Little Secret
The following review contains full spoilers for the tenth episode of Preacher season two.
Preacher's season one finale ended with a theory, of sorts, about the end of the world. It posited that the worst and most hopeless situation for humanity is not that there is no God, but that our God abandoned his creation. In their final days, the residents of Annville, Texas knew that God was real but missing, and that led to the town's complete destruction. For a show worried about the effects of faith and theology, this would pose a juicy bit of thematic content. But Preacher is not that show, and the cautionary tale of Annville was left in its own ashes as Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip drove away, literally, without looking back.
Dirty Little Secret steps up the show's provocative take on religion by opening on a graphic sex scene with none other than Jesus, who was ironically committing adultery and getting tangled up in some very, uh, involved positions. It was all for a righteous cause, though, because Jesus wanted to make sure that the messianic bloodline continued before his inevitable crucifixion. It is that bloodline that the Grail has protected for centuries. Now, that duty falls upon Herr Starr.
But now, Jesse is entangled in that very sacred duty, as Starr informs him that the blood of Christ is alive and well, and may even know where God is. So of course, Jesse eagerly goes along, and of course, Herr Starr wasn't telling the whole truth. The revelation that Jesus's last remaining family is a volatile inbred named Humperdoo is the exact kind of sinister, shocking humour that keeps Preacher fun and compelling. And we finally learn why Starr is really after Jesse; since Humperdoo isn't really Messiah material, Starr wants the humble Preacher to become God himself.
Part of his plan involves alienating Jesse from Tulip and Cassidy, a plan that Lara Featherstone and Hoover have already set in motion by making Tulip doubt Jesse's assertion that the Saint of Killers is back in Hell. The funny thing is, they aren't even manipulating Tulip, and planting the Saint's guns and saber in the bathroom floor isn't even false evidence. Jesse has actually been lying this entire time. In fact, he's pretty much been a terrible boyfriend to Tulip--and, for that matter, a worse friend to Cassidy--this entire season.
Two things have continued to amaze me about Preacher. One is how relevant the Saint of Killers is stayed to the plot. You would think that, having utilized him to a very satisfying extent, they would've shifted their focus entirely onto the Grail, who have proven far more dynamic and compelling. However, the Saint's ambiguous departure pretty much guarantees that he'll return, and the show has been teasing this for way too long by painting Tulip as a psychological victim. I've harped on about that whole PTSD situation for a while now, so I won't really go into it here. But it was nice to see her whack Hoover over the head with a Rock Band guitar.
The other surprising element of Preacher has been the complete and utter mistreatment of its core trio. They haven't been working together and firing on all cylinders since that final episode with the Saint, and the show is worse because of it. Cassidy and Tulip, who are arguably cooler in action than Jesse, have sat around Denis's apartment since they arrived there. Plus, why would you sacrifice their friendship for a basic plot point, when the best thing the show has going for it is that group chemistry?
Finally, I'm not sure if this is an intended effect or not, but I definitely get the feeling that Cassidy and Tulip would be a better couple than Tulip and Jesse. They are teasing an inevitable rupture between that core romance, but I won't be disappointed when it happens, simply because Jesse is a total turd in the romance department. But amidst all the great scenes and moments of Preacher, its inexplicable desire to tamper with its very solid foundation continues to keep me from loving it.