Review: Preacher 4×03, Deviant

Aaron Neuwirth reviews the season four premiere of Preacher, which featured episodes "Masada" and "Last Supper" back-to-back.

There are some really baffling editing and writing choices made for this week’s Preacher. “Deviant” is not a terrible episode, but it’s the kind of hour of television where watching a well-acted, well-produced series only goes so far when the story doesn’t really go anywhere and the time being spent seems more about delivering gags over clarifying any motivations. It’s especially notable as this is the last season of Preacher. With only so much time left to offer one last stand for Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, it’s irritating to continue to see the show flounder so much with episodes that feel like extended padding.

After last week, where we see Jesse’s knuckles bloodied up from dealing some damage, I didn’t expect an elongated flashback showing what happened when he found himself inside Jesus De Sade’s sadist party. What could have been a fun nod to comic fans turned out to be the opening for this week’s take on the character and what comes with him. To the show’s credit, it does allow for a hallway fight that looks pretty cool.

While last season wasn’t lacking in action (Jesse certainly had his share of throwdowns with Jody), it feels like it has been a while since we’ve seen some really elaborate fight sequences stylized in such a way. Whether you thought of Oldboy or Kingsman: The Secret Service, director Kevin Hooks had a lot of fun letting this massive battle between Jesse and these deviants led to some fun camera tricks, perspective shifts, and soundtrack choices. But did this add anything else to the overall story?

That’s the unfortunate thing here. Last week we left with Jesse on a flight to Australia, and this week we end with Jesse still on a plane to Australia (though it appears some disaster is about to strike). The only difference is having a bit more context, which includes the ironic death of the little boy Jesse wanted to help, and a brief run-in with Noah Taylor’s Hitler. I couldn’t recall where we last left Hitler, and since I haven’t been a big fan of this cast addition (Taylor’s fine, performance-wise), there’s only so much joy I can get from anticipating whatever is next for this new character relationship (however brief).

Meanwhile, Tulip is placed in waiting mode, as she’s mostly confined to a hospital bed. Her plan to rescue Cassidy is at a bit of a standstill, which is already a flawed situation since Cassidy rejected help the first time. Not helping is the strange solution to find a new way to tell us everything we already know about Tulip. Understandably, this show is finding things for each of the three lead actors (and co-producers) to do, but I again wonder why waste so much time with a 10-episode order of the final season of this series.

Connected to this storyline is Featherstone, who’s still on the hunt to find Tulip. The jig appears to be up, but even this pursuit has been mostly rendered moot, given Herr Starr’s lack of care for Tulip’s whereabouts. He has things under control with Cassidy’s torture and appears to be more concerned over what “Hoover 2” thinks about his current appearance.

At least this show can rely on Joseph Gilgun to deliver some meaningful dramatic looks while contemplating his life. When not being tortured by way of a deli meat slicer that ends up turning his “pieces” into a face cream (delivering on a running joke about Cassidy’s thoughts on foreskin being used in such products), he gets to think about what led him here. That allows for a flashback to 1916.

Once again, this feels like a stall, but at least there’s some importance coming with it. The flashback shows the basics of how Cassidy became a vampire. It’s pretty straightforward; he went off to war, got scared at what he saw, and was then attacked by a swamp vampire, only to let his family think he had died. That’s a very Cassidy-like series of events, and if we’re meant to believe he has guilt about his past that has him submitting to this torture…well, that’s a painful way to give in to guilt.

The only other area of note is the pairing of The Saint of Killers and Eugene, but this is the most far-out subplot taking place. We know the Saint wants to kill Jesse for reasons. Eugene apparently just wants an apology. Bad luck follows Eugene everywhere, but he’s insistent that God has a plan. The joke wears thin pretty quickly with regards to Eugene, but here’s hoping these two have something more to offer in the weeks to come.

With a lack of forwarding momentum, it’s a shame “Deviant” couldn’t make the most out of all it currently has going for it. Even if our leads aren’t all currently together, it seems like their current positions could allow for some fun that plays into the anarchic nature of the graphic novel, while adding something for us to chew on. Instead, we’re going in circles when the show needs to push ahead. Maybe Jesse’s airline trouble will get us somewhere useful next week.

Preachin’ To The Choir:

  • Cassidy’s stay at Bensonhurst is very productive.
  • “Everything’s a part of God’s plan.” Eugene, the eternal optimist, even when the undead cowboy takes headshots to keep the boy with him.
  • “No whiskey.” – The Saint nearly ripping his table in two was a fun touch.
  • “What kind of preacher are you?” – Questions that highlight the show’s theme are always fun, aren’t they?

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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