Preacher stands apart from other television series due to the manic energy it can create when it’s characters are fighting for what matters most to them. ‘The Coffin’ opens with such a scene as Jesse and Tulip enter into a violent brawl with the L’Angelle clan after Jody realizes that Cassidy has been set free. They protected their friend and now have to face the consequences for their actions. It was a brutal and darkly clever opening to a great episode. Tulip’s confrontation with T.C was especially enjoyable as the two created weapons using objects found in the bathroom.
Jesse and Tulip are both locked up afterwards because no one has yet to defeat Jody in a fight, the former being placed in an under-water coffin while the latter is handcuffed in their room. Meanwhile, in New Orleans Cassidy mopes around the city as he attempts to move on from Tulip. Fun times for all.
The titular coffin offers some insight into Jesse’s mindset and the influence of his father. Reverend John Custer instilled in a young Jesse a love of John Wayne movies, so much so that the legendary actor is Jesse’s imaginary friend. The cowboy got him through a rough childhood and shows the important role Jesse’s father played in his life despite losing him at a young age. Jesse was never truly a L’Angelle and the imaginary figure represents resistance to his maternal family’s intentions. John Custer — as season one has shown us — was not always the best father, but he loved Jesse and always wanted the best for him. The same cannot be said for Jesse’s grandmother.
The choice to shoot Jesse’s fantasy like a western film recalls the simplicity of those times — something that’s reflected in Jesse’s personality. Jesse sees himself as cowboy, who is someone that strolls into unfamiliar territory to right a wrong and knock someone on their ass. That is the entire conceit of Preacher, with the place being all of America and the person getting knocked on their ass being God. Preacher is a western and Jesse sees himself as the person who is meant to bring order to the lawless land. He isn’t quite there yet, but hopefully by the end of this season Jesse will have worked through his internal demons so he can finish his quest to find God — or at least realize that the almighty creator is hanging around the plantation to talk with Tulip.
Starr is a character that’s always been one step ahead of Jesse and co., so seeing him show hints of fear from the All-Father’s plans for the messiah is immense fun. Not only does it provide an interesting story-arc for Starr as his plans for Jesse now come with a deadline, but it also establishes the All-Father as a grave threat for all those not on his side. D’Aronique’s belief in the messiah despite all the noticeable deficiencies, beyond rudimentary tap dancing, is a fanatical devotion. Religion and belief can be dangerous, something that the Preacher comic and AMC’s adaptation pay particular attention toward.
The one thing that connects Starr and Jesse is their mutual desire to bring order to lawless world with Starr focused on using a messiah figure. He believes people should be herded like sheep and has a lack of faith in humanity — a feeling that Jesse shares as well. It will be interesting to see how the series shows their world views diverge as time goes on, with this in fact already happening as in the previous episode Jesse acknowledged the idea of a dead beat dad-esque God.
Cassidy’s heartbreak is portrayed realistically and is all the more convincing because every part of him wants to go back and be the selfish dick. His disillusion with his vampire nature is a natural progression from season two where he was forced to kill the son he had abandoned and later turned into a monster. Now he misses Tulip and realizes he will have to live an eternity without her. Immortality is easier when one is not attached to things or people, so for Cassidy his vampire existence is becoming pointless. It’s an existential crisis that adds layers to a character who is slowly coming the most captivating part of the entire series
Tulip and Jody are an interesting pair as they both love guns, hitting people and share the same fierce loyalty to those they love. This is a dynamic not found in the comic but proves to be an intriguing divergence from the source material. I have no idea how long the series plans to spend on Jesse’s childhood nightmare home, but hopefully before it’s over we’ll see more of Tulip and Jody.
Les Enfants de Sang are straight out of the comics as is their relationship with Cassidy. There isn’t much to say about them at present, seeing as the group only appears at the very end of the episode, but the writers seem to be setting up a crucible for each character this season. Tulip, Jesse and Cassidy are dealing with some powerful demons before they continue their quest to find the earth’s dead-beat creator. In the case of Cassidy it seems that before this season is over he’ll have to confront his true nature and whether he can form relationships with humans.