Review: Preacher 3×04, “The Tombs”

Aaron Neuwirth reviews Preacher, season 3, episode 4, "The Tombs" in which Jesse helps out a friend, the hard way.

It looks like “The Tombs” may be my favorite episode of Preacher’s third season thus far. While I was happy with the premiere placing Angelville as the setting to keep track of, and as much fun as Herr Starr can be, “The Tombs” felt more complete. I’ve had issues with the show’s ability to make Angelville feel like a real threat and effort was done to help with that. Jesse hasn’t been the best element of this series lately, and he had more to do this week that I enjoyed. Cassidy and Tulip got to be involved in some fun ways, which certainly used the atmosphere to its advantage. Oh, and we got to see The Saint of Killers go to the lowest level of Hell and meet up with Satan, while some wild imagery surrounded them.

Since the episode starts off in Hell, it makes sense to discuss this first. Seeing Preacher depiction of Satan is far more entertaining than the whole Dog God thing. The firey world that exists on the -9th level of Hell was a great comic book look for the environment and then seeing the actual Satan was plenty satisfying. Rather than go for scary or intimidating, it’s a guy in a decent-looking costume with the attitude of a character from The Big Short. It works, and seeing The Saint of Killers back, complete with a new goal, was worth this separate detour took for the bookends of this episode.

Back on Earth, Jesse is working as the ringmaster of The Tombs. His whole goal is to save Cassidy, which is pretty noble, all things considered. Sure, his plan amounts to cutting up his best friend and shipping him off, only to have to fight him and stake him, but it works. There’s a lot of cool imagery mixed with gross visuals that play well to the style of the show. There’s also the sense of dark humor that crops up, along with a real sense of the kind of person Jesse doesn’t want to be.

This is benefited by Tulip’s part of the episode, which is learning about Madame Sabina Boyd’s past with Jesse. Having worked The Tombs when he was younger, Jesse knew all about the horrible things this place was doing to people and tried to break it off with Sabina, who was going steady with him for a bit. Essentially, trying to keep her away from the bad things in his life, the plan backfired, as Sabina’s brother Kenny confronted Jesse, and Jesse killed him for his troubles. Or that’s at least one way to look at it.

Pulling a bit of a Rashomon, we hear another version of this story where Jesse was reluctant to kill Kenny, allowing for room to question what took place. It’s more likely the second story, but that will be interesting in the coming weeks since Madame Boyd is still very much against Jesse (though she hates his grandmother even more). Regardless, it gives this character a chance to grow and allows Tulip to, once again, seal the idea that she and Jesse belong together no matter what.

This is a problem for Cassidy however, as the episode ends with him boarding a bus and leaving. Featherstone is there as well, but let’s worry about that later. What matters is Tulip making Cassidy aware that she does not love him as she loves Jesse. Fortunately, Cassidy doesn’t use that love potion, but it makes me wonder what is coming next. Having barely understood why Cassidy and Jesse need to be somewhat at odds with each other, I continue to wonder what these steps have been leading up to when it comes to pitting these guys at opposite ends. Sure, the nature of a TV show means creating drama, but it’s feeling like a chore to have Jesse and Cassidy not be as friendly as they have been in the past.

“The Tombs” still gets by on all the production value, in addition to some solid acting from everyone, given the consistent craziness of this series. The Hell designs are fantastic, but getting across the ugliness of The Tombs was quite effective as well. There’s even a lot to say for the simpler things, such as the car ride Tulip and Madame Boyd were on for most of the episode or the postal shop Jesse went to with pieces of Cassidy ready to ship. Much like The Walking Dead, even when Preacher’s narrative isn’t at its strongest, there is excellent production value to admire.

With The Saint back on a mission and some more direction as far as Jesse and Tulip in Angelville, hopefully, Preacher will start moving things along. “The Tombs” had a great sense of pacing, even with the flashbacks to fill in some backstory. Let’s see if that can turn into some more forward momentum for other present-day actions involving all of these characters.

Preachin’ To The Choir:

  • Satan makes a Midnight Run jokes, so of course, he’s a great character for this show.
  • “Are you not entertained!?” – Young Jesse was a big fan of Gladiator.
  • Cassidy was so obsessed with the skin suit plan, but didn’t reference Silence of the Lambs?
  • “Oh yeah, my wand from graduating Hogwarts.” – Tulip always ready with a smartass remark.
  • I assume The Saint is going after Hitler and Eugene. However, if Eugene was never supposed to be in Hell, I wonder what the big plan is if Satan should already know this…

Written by
Aaron is a movie fanatic and loves talking about such things…a lot. He is from Orange County, California, but earned a degree or two at UC Santa Barbara. He describes himself as a film reviewer, writer, podcaster, video game player, comic book reader, disc golfer, and a lefty. His mind is full of film knowledge and random trivia, but he is always open to learning more, whether it’s through box office stats, reviewing Blu-rays from The Criterion Collection or simply hearing first hand from filmmakers and others about various productions and behind-the-scenes tidbits.

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