In “El Valero,” the latest episode of AMC’s Preacher, Jesse shoots a guy’s dick off. No sense wasting any time getting into those bits there. The man, one of Odin Quincannon’s employees/lackeys from Quincannon Meat and Power, tries running up alone on the preacher and his church like the setting isn’t Texas and like Jesse Custer is in any way your average, neighborhood preacher. Tulip tried telling y’all: he’s a bad, bad man. Well, that henchman, Clive, doesn’t even make it to the bad man’s doorstep before Jesse sends him stumbling back to Odin with his tail between his legs and a bullet hole above his balls. And there’s plenty more where that came from, folks.
As bad as Jesse is, the preacher finds his conscience at the bottom of a whiskey bottle in this episode. He comes to be so distraught over using the power of Genesis to send Eugene to literal Hell that he prays and then promises to return Genesis in exchange for Eugene. Well, old Arseface himself comes rising out of the exposed dirt underneath the floorboards immediately after that promise, and like Jesse, you start to believe in miracles for a second because farfetched things like that just seem to happen on this show. But alas, turns out this Eugene is just a manifestation of all that guilt the preacher is carrying. About time he felt a little bad for all he’s done, I guess, but maybe start making amends with something a little smaller next time like, I don’t know, apologizing to your vampire friend for leaving him out in the sun to burn to death. Baby steps, Preacher.
That vampire friend didn’t die, though, and thank God for that. Still, the only time we see Cassidy this episode is when he’s pissing off PETA and using an innocent dog as his protein shake. That prolonged workout in the sun broke down all of Big Cass’s muscles, see? Lactic acid and shit, bro. Of course, we’re assuming that was Cassidy. It’s either that or Tulip keeps something else in one of her bedrooms that enjoys sucking the blood out of live animals from time to time. Better yet, who cares? I’m not exactly easily repulsed – if I were, I certainly wouldn’t have made it through eight episodes of this bloodletting – but killing man’s best friend? Not cool, man. Except that one time Bill Burr shut that fucking dog up on Chappelle’s Show. That shit was hilarious. But let’s just agree to leave the puppies out of this from now on, okay Preacher?
Not all the violence in “El Valero” is so glib, and the crowning achievement of the episode is its characterization of the antagonists. None other than Donnie Schenck shares a downright sweet moment with his wife, looking over his shoulder and smiling at her as she beams back at him, proud that he’s about to exact his revenge on the preacher and take his church. This is still Preacher, though, so Donnie follows up this moment of endearment by blowing his own eardrums out so as to be immune to Jesse’s mind control. And, hey, it works, so you have to admire the man’s commitment to the cause.
That cause is Odin Quincannon’s, and in this episode we finally meet the man behind all that mystery. We learn that his entire family, immediate and extended, perished all at once in a tragic accident when Jesse was still a young boy. In fact, upon receiving their corpses, shipped to him in wooden crates, Odin’s first reaction was to call John Custer, Jesse’s father. This is the moment we saw a couple of episodes back, only now we see it from John’s perspective rather than Jesse’s and we learn that grief made Odin totally unhinged, comparing the entrails of his daughter to those of a cow he just slaughtered. “Which is my daughter? And which is the cow?” he asks John, holding up their respective large intestines. “Exactly. There’s no difference. It’s just meat.”
It’s this experience that led Odin to denounce John Custer’s Christian God and begin serving his own god, “the god of what’s tangible. What’s touchable, and true. The God of Meat,” as he puts it to Jesse. This is why Odin was able to seemingly resist Jesse’s command to “Serve God.” And this is also why Odin, with Jesse’s signature on the papers and the church finally in his grasp, still can’t resist Jesse’s final gambit. Preacher wants one more Sunday. Having failed to bring Annville to God, he’ll instead bring God to Annville and make him answer everyone’s questions. And if Jesse can’t, or if God doesn’t, then he will denounce God publicly for the whole town to bear witness.
Now I can say I have at least one thing in common with Odin Quincannon: we both anxiously await next Sunday.