Preacher Season 1 Episode 8 Review – ‘El Valero’

Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of Preacher…

Things came to an intestinal head last week with El Valero’s combining form and one pissed off Preacher holed up in his chapel of love. Hallucinations, theological discussions and mad beggars on diggers turned episode eight into yet another what the hell happened sort of affair. Combining flashbacks with human remains and offal tainted scenes of grieving, we are set up for the conclusion of a series which has gained quite a following.

 

For those who doubted the ability of Preacher to get away with murder, mayhem, blasphemy and all manner of seriously sordid segues here is my wake up call. I have spoken to a few friends who claim that this type of belief trashing, vampire snacking undermining of the almighty is not their cup of tea. There was a time when I would defend my opinion with rows of sandbagging, verbal Bren guns and enough scene by scene examples to wear them down; but no more.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs even if they should deviate from mine. That being said there are few if any so called graphic novel adaptations which do things the same way. There is an undeniable Coen Brothers influence especially in reference to Raising Arizona. Extremes of character present within Preacher are peppered throughout their films, making this at once predictable yet totally leftfield. Unlikely friendships, attraction perpetually in denial lace each Preacher plotline giving us just enough to hook, but never oversaturating to the point of switching off.

DeBlanc and Fiore are the Abbott and Costello of evangelical private detectives, always a touch too trusting always moments behind Custer or Cassidy throughout. While both actors never play them for laughs making those scenes all the more effective. While Gilgun, Negga and Cooper have such a chemistry on screen and realisation of these people, that however odd the moment it never felt unnatural. However if one were to point the finger at a stand out here it would be Gilgun.

Since bursting onto the screen via a frenetic fist fight on a passenger jet Cassidy has continued to be worth the admission fee. His use of pathos, emotional honesty and bat shit crazy moments of frenzy are balanced by a believable humanity in spite of his undead status. Elsewhere Jackie Earle Haley has turned Quincannon into a truly original villain of consequence, forever scarred by upbringing, tragedy and deeply unsavoury interests, he has become fascinating. Not for the depth of degradation but because Haley has made this monster almost sympathetic. It is a trick which the writers have managed to pull off with anything liable to leave a bad taste.

 

Cassidy, Donny, the aforementioned Quincannon and especially Eugene ‘Arseface’ Root. If anyone should be beyond empathy then he should be front and centre. But that has as much to do with Ian Colletti’s performance than anything else and remains a discussion for another time. All I will say is that Preacher continues carving out its own brand of originality piece by piece. Thank God.