Review: Preacher 3×09, “Schwanzkopf”

Aaron Neuwirth reviews Preacher, season 3, episode 9, "Schwanzkopf" in which Jesse deals with the Allfather, Cassidy deals with more vampires, and Tulip is stuck on a bus.

We’re firing on all cylinders at this point in Preacher, which means saying goodbye to fat weight and hello to straightforward storytelling. “Schwanzkopf” doesn’t take too much time to get rid of the Allfather (ye be missed…), and spends the rest of the hour building up more excitement, and occasional releases to satisfy those of us who have been waiting all season to see some really crazy moments that feel earned in their own way. While the finale is adequately set up to deliver the goods next week, this was a fine episode capitalizing off of what we have seen take place throughout the season.

So, Jesse finally got Genesis back, and there was much rejoicing. It was not without effort. Following a tricky fight with the vile Allfather, a Kangol hat-wearing Starr arrives, relieved Jesse has done what was asked. Seeing the reveal of Jesse’s soul come out of…the remains of the Allfather led to another darkly comedic fight in entrails, ultimately leading to Jesse’s recovery of his soul. There’s such an immense relief to be found in this, as the series relies on this ability as much as anything to function.

I can’t say I need a superpowered Jesse for this show to work, but it does feel like a constant kick in the nuts for our lead anti-hero when he’s stripped of a critical feature of his in a series that feels like it could work a lot better if it had more “on the road” type episodes. Still, we’ve been building up to seeing Jesse finally have the means to deal with Marie and Angelville, so getting to this point will hopefully be worth it.

This in mind, seeing Jesse also deal with Starr and Humperdoo was a nice twist on the scenario. Starr and Jesse are really against each other again, but Jesse cleverly finds a way around true destruction. Setting all the Humperdoos free, and forcing Starr to keep from wearing hats was a fun touch that subverts expectations and plays well the sort of absurdity this show can deliver on.

Speaking of absurdity, Tulip finds herself in quite the predicament. While it feels like the writers really wanted to get a lot from this set of characters on a bus, complete with cutely animated escape plans and the comedic tension that can be built from Tulip, Eugene, Hitler, the Saint of Killers and Sydney, it only works so well. Most likely because of how many questions this whole setup raises, it’s hard to get behind the work the show needed to do to land these characters in this position.

At the same time, this plotline ends with a bunch of Nazis blasting at the Hell bus, knocking it over in the process. As I’ve mentioned before, the idea of Hitler being portrayed as he is (no matter how well Noah Taylor is doing here), is not my favorite thing about this series, and the advent of more Nazis isn’t all that thrilling either. That said, Tulip and Eugene make for an interesting pairing for now, given how Jesse has been responsible for wronging both of them, and the Saint seems to have a bit of conflict going on to increase my intrigue in him as well.

With all the characters disconnected currently, let’s not forget about Cassidy. In the most straightforward of plots, he’s now dealing with Eccarius, whom he knows to be evil. I quickly realized that this episode wasn’t going to tie up this story, so we’re still going to have to wait and see how Cassidy gets out of his situation. Despite being a character that I don’t think ever really lies about his intentions (at least not to those he barely knows), it’s a bit frustrating not to use his personality to his advantage and make a better case for himself with the Children of Blood. That said, I’m continually pleased by how effective the Eccarius character has been. He’s an Anne Rice rip-off that benefits from making that type of personality work as both parody and credible threat.

“Schwanzkopf” has a lot going for it. As the penultimate episode of this season, I’m happy to see just how fine a job it has done of being exciting to watch and working as a proper setup for closing off these various arcs. There’s also the fact that I’m not entirely sure how things will play out. Yes, I suppose certain characters will have to die/be sent to hell/be inactivated for the sake of this series, but I am very excited to learn what the new status quo will be when all is said and done. Until then, just know that Jesse has Genesis back, and maybe a few bets will now be off.

Preachin’ To The Choir:

  • Starr’s last hat before being forced to no longer wear them – a cowboy hat.
  • Hipsters, Presbyterians and the Danes are all undesirables according to Starr.
  • “But I earned these” – Hitler is a big fan of the buttons he got at work.
  • Vampire Hoover better get something fun to do next week.
  • A soul-powered Marie vs. Genesis-wielding Jesse should be fun to watch.

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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