PREACHER: THE POSSIBILITIES
Developed by: Seth Rogan, Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joe Gilgun
Air Date: 13th June
There’s something definite about having a theme tune and screen titles that announces a show as being truly past the pilot phase. After two killer (excuse the pun) episodes, Preacher has earned its titles and nestled itself into the preliminary 5 star territory of Amazon Prime. In the latest episode, “The Possibilities”, the set-up seems to have been concluded for the most part and the themes from the opener are finally beginning to be explored. Jesse, with an excited Cassidy, explores his new powers, unwitting of the two men who return to track him this episode. The show shifts its focus away from Jesse a little too, regaling some of the missing background on Tulip. The mystery behind Tulip is steadily building and heading towards something impressive, so long as the show maintains the delicate balance between mystery and revelation. While there are fewer moments in the episode that one can point to as particularly special, the episode feels more narratively sound and a little less sporadic.
Certainly, this episode is more settled. After the initial confusions and introductions in the preceding episodes, “The Possibilities” feels more stable. Instead of hitting the audience hard with violent set pieces and unanswered questions, the third episode pulls on the reins a little, slowing the show down to a less breakneck pace. That’s not to say that the episode feels overdrawn in the slightest, to the contrary it feels all too short, but the narrative slows to bring us some much needed exposition. Many of the mysteries we’ve been facing have the beginnings of an explanation in this episode. While some of these answers are a little vague, there’s the definite lines of story being drawn here and it’s gratifying to see that the show will be drawing some of these together to satisfying ends.
It’s becoming very clear that the defining feature of this show is balance. The writers have to be given credit for their understanding of it because the whole show rests upon a very small margin of error. Too dark and it becomes commonplace, another dark supernatural show in the vein of The Walking Dead or Fox’s new Outcast. Too light-hearted and it becomes a parody of itself. Everything in Preacher is finely balanced and, so far, it’s working out. The script is evidently counterbalanced in its mix of dark comedy and drama, but everything that makes up the show follows suit. The catchy soundtrack (harmonicas and gospel galore here) adds levity to what could otherwise be silent, brooding moments. The bipolar cinematography is at once glaringly bright, with sun-saturated scenes that make us squint in the Southern sunshine, before dropping us back into the shadows of churches and moonlit graveyards. But even in the darkest interiors, the sun is almost always visible, scorching through a window (much to Cassidy’s dismay). I could make an allegorical reference to the characters but the show makes it very clear: Where there is darkness, there is always light and vice versa. We see that nicely summed up towards the end of this week’s episode, in which we get another glimpse of Jesse’s dark side, but also get the pleasure to see his light shine through too. The conflict within his character is going to be an integral piece of this show’s soul, so it’s comforting to know that it is in Dominic Cooper’s capable hands.
There are a few eyebrow raising coincidences in this episode which, regardless of otherwise intriguing storytelling, feel like clumsy problem solving. It’s quite hard to imagine that anyone was expecting Donnie’s convenient appearance at the end of the episode and it’s easy to pass it off as a bit of a get-of-jail-free card. But it allowed for some interesting character exploration and progression that makes it (almost) forgivable but, of course, one has to hope that other story lines are more satisfying in their conclusions. Although, it served to make a valuable point about Jesse’s priorities and sets up his standpoint for the foreseeable future, so one can perhaps excuse the minor slip in nuance for now.
With Tulip thrown for a loop and Cassidy being in the unusual position of having clarity on Jesse’s situation (and will most likely be sharing the information with his new “best mate” next week), we’re obviously expecting some more answers in the coming episodes, particularly in terms of Tulip’s grudge against Carlos and the two angels following Jesse. While this episode did have the feel of an expositive filler at points, it’s a necessary catch-up for the audience and a still thoroughly enjoyable watch.
I give “The Possibilities” 3 Crosses