One of the best things that can be said for Preacher is that, even when it’s a mess, you can kind of tell what it’s trying to do.
Which is to say, though “The Tom/Brady” is packed with good moments, it doesn’t entirely cohere. I assume it’s because it’s setting up for the last two episodes of the season, which, given the number (and caliber) of players involved, are probably going to be nuts.
For starters, the Devil is back in the picture. The weird phone that Tulip picked up when she went snooping around the house a few episodes ago is actually a direct line to Hell, and the Devil comes calling when Gran’ma decides that she can kill two birds with one stone. The Devil wants Genesis (which is what gives Jesse any power to retaliate against Gran’ma), and Gran’ma wants Tulip gone. It’s a deal the Devil is all too happy to make, even though it means it’ll be even longer before Gran’ma makes her way down to Hell. He’s the one who gave her soul-fueled longevity, anyway. And so, as soon as he gets back down to Hell, the Devil dispatches the Angel of Death to go get Tulip.
Tulip, meanwhile, has landed in Osaka along with Jody and Featherstone. Though they’re a tense bunch at best, they make a pretty good team, delivering a sexual harassment seminar to maintain their cover as Grail HR folks — and to steal a security card. Jody makes sure that Tulip and Featherstone don’t have to worry about security showing up (sending along a smiley face emoji to let them know they’re in the clear, and making me wonder if he’d get along with bitmoji enthusiast and fellow henchman Noho Hank on Barry), though he lets them handle the soul vault on their own. (He’s got crossword puzzles to do.)
Though the robbery is a cinch, the animosity between Featherstone and Tulip only gets worse and worse with every moment they spent together. It’s a little saddening because it seems like the chance for a true friendship might exist — when Featherstone tells Tulip she did a nice job on the heist, Tulip seems genuinely touched, though it’s ruined in the next instant as Featherstone says she was joking.
Well, it’s the nail in Featherstone’s coffin. When the Angel of Death comes calling, looking for a woman with brown hair dressed in Grail clothing, just back from Osaka, Tulip uses the stolen security card to pretend she’s someone else, and fobs off Featherstone as the woman the Angel is looking for. But, the O’Hare curse being what it is (at least in Tulip’s eyes), Tulip ends up taking the suitcase full of their heist gear instead of the suitcase full of souls. When she reconvenes with a bewildered Jody, he spills the beans, having been brought up to date by Gran’ma over the phone — the woman who’d come looking for Tulip wasn’t a cop, and she (and the suitcase) is going to be a hell of a lot harder to track back down. No pun intended.
For her part, Featherstone is still in the dark about who she’s with, which explains her willingness to hand over her phone to Hitler when she and the Angel meet up with the Saint of Killers and his two prisoners at the bus stop to Hell. Hitler, being a little more aware, phones one of his impressionable former co-workers in a last-ditch attempt at delaying his return to Hell.
The rest of the episode is a little more scattershot, and more obviously ramping up towards a big finale. Cassidy figures out what Eccarius has been up to after Hoover is caught trying to infiltrate Les Enfants. When given the choice between being killed and being turned into a vampire, Hoover chooses the latter, saying that he can’t die because “my mom would be upset.”
As with those who’ve been turned before him, Hoover is taken up to the garage by Eccarius under the pretext of being driven to the airport. But Cassidy finds a bloody neck pillow in the garbage, and arrives in the garage just in time to see Eccarius begin making a move on Hoover. (As it turns out, Eccarius uses the same moves on everybody: same song from Don Giovanni, same cheesy monologue — it’s kind of disappointing.) Unfortunately, Eccarius is still much, much stronger than Cassidy, and knocks him out in an instant.
Jesse, the last part of the triptych, isn’t doing much better. Though he shoots the Allfather, there’s just so much of the man that the bullet doesn’t manage to kill him. For his trouble, Jesse is strapped up to a device that sucks Genesis right out of him and into whichever lab subject the Grail deems fit, which in this case, means a parade of Humperdoo clones. According to the Allfather, religion’s secret weapon is science.
In my notes on what happens next, three consecutive lines just read:
‘Blue Danube’ of exploding Humperdoos
Stanley Kubrick must be rolling in his grave
This should give you an idea of what we’re dealing with, as Genesis rejects host after host in one of Preacher’s patented “something horrible but set it to cheerful music” sequences. (Don’t get me wrong; I love them.) Each Humperdoo is injected with a specific ratio of good to bad in an attempt to replicate Jesse’s, and thereby make him an acceptable host. After countless tests, a working DNA cocktail is finally made. It’s a cross between Thomas Jefferson and Wayne Brady, hence the episode’s title. (Congrats to Wayne Brady, I guess?)
• I genuinely admire Hoover’s ability to remain optimistic. Before attempting to storm Les Enfants, he looks into the mirror and tells himself, “I believe in you!”
• He also almost dies by bees when Starr leaves him for dead. When Cassidy sends Starr a picture of the captive Hoover, Starr’s response is to tell them to go ahead and kill him (“That’s fine”). And so Les Enfants set about cooking up different methods of murder. “Did you just say bees?” “Yeah, like The Wicker Man.” “Where are you even going to get bees from? You’re a beekeeper, are you?” “Yes, I am.”
• I would gladly take a million HR seminars from the Tulip-Jody-Featherstone trifecta. The office roleplay between Tulip and Jody is some of the weirdly, sweetly funniest stuff I’ve seen on the show.