It’s the showdown we’ve all been waiting for: Odin Quincannon leads his men into battle against Jesse Custer for the church land in this episode of Preacher, “El Valero.” But Jesse isn’t about to go down without a fight. Meanwhile, Jesse is facing another dilemma — is it time to give up Genesis?
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Quincannon’s Tragic Past
Remember that flashback we saw of little Jesse waiting outside an office marked “Quincannon” while his father talked inside? As it turns out, John Custer was talking to the same Quincannon we know and hate — Odin — and the man’s life was in total disarray after a terrible tragedy that claimed the lives of his whole family.
The episode opens on a family enjoying a ski trip, with the whole clan riding up a ski lift, and a woman commenting on how her husband, presumably Odin, couldn’t pull himself away from his company to join them. But before the group makes it to the top, a cable snaps, and the whole thing falls into the emptiness below, their descent masked by the tumultuous snow blowing around them.
Later, Odin’s office is filled with the bodies of his family members when he demands that John come see him, as something terrible has happened. When John gets there, Odin is covered in blood and holds up two different sets of entrails in his hands — one belonging to his daughter and one belonging to a slaughtered cow before him.
What Quincannon wants to know is, which is which? He can’t tell the difference, and he doesn’t sense any sort of spirit or soul from the one that is his daughter’s remains. As a result, Odin has totally turned on his faith, and he demands that John denounce God entirely as a result of his revelation. John Custer, of course, will do no such thing, and Odin screams after him to “denounce Him!” as John collects Jesse and leaves.
So we now know why Odin Quincannon has no faith — pun intended — in Jesse’s work or in the value of church at all. Later, when the Sheriff makes a comment to him about how it’s shameful for him to be trying to take the church since it is holy ground, Odin shoots back that it’s no such thing, that that’s all a lie. I think it’s safe to say he won’t be joining in on a psalm recitation anytime soon.
First Try, Second Try
When Odin leads his men to the church grounds to take over the land, the men are cocky and go in with extreme confidence. We don’t see what happens next, but they all come back out, and most of them don’t have their weapons and have been beaten up by Jesse. Donnie demands to know what was said to them, but they claim Jesse didn’t say anything; he just beat them up good.
After preparing with a gun and a molotov cocktail, when the men next charge on the church after a pep talk from Quincannon, Jesse is more than ready for them and starts shooting from the top floor of the church. Most of the men run after he starts shooting, but the one in a bulldozer keeps advancing until Jesse throws the incendiary device and it hits the machine, causing a giant fireball just as the man jumps out to safety.
One man keeps running towards the church, with the promise of a food court in the new facility Odin plans to build fueling his bravery. And this time when Jesse shoots, he doesn’t fire a warning shot meant to miss. No … instead, poor Clive literally gets his penis shot off — a fact that he seems in total denial about when he walks calmly back to the other men with the appendage in his hands. Ouch.
Bringing Back Eugene
Meanwhile, before the second assault on his church, Jesse sits in the church with the weapons left from the first attack and begs God to bring back Eugene. He promises to never use his power again, and just then, he hears scratching below the floorboards. He rushes over to the hole in the floor he dug and digs until a hand breaks through, a hand that is soon followed by the rest of Eugene.
At first, Eugene thinks this is all a trick because, as he explains to Jesse, “they” have tricked him before. After Jesse gets Eugene multiple glasses of water, Eugene explains that he dug his way back up after hearing Jesse’s voice commanding him to come back and that Hell is actually not that far away at all.
After calling Eugene’s father, Jesse tells the boy that he was right — what happened with Eugene and Tracy is not his to judge, it’s up to God — and that what he’s doing with his powers is like cheating. He was told that there’d be consequences, he says, and, referring to the group outside, he believes they’ve already started.
But when Jesse says he should give it back, and Eugene brings up the men at the motel, Jesse quickly realizes that he never told Eugene about the angels and that maybe it’s not Eugene being tricked at all. He realizes that the water glass he brought Eugene is still full, and the young man isn’t there at all; it’s all in Jesse’s head.
After the Sheriff drives up and tells Odin that Jesse called him because he has Eugene, Jesse yells through the speaker he has set up outside that he wants to speak to the agents, and the Sheriff knows who he’s referring to. Fiore and DeBlanc are called in, but are they too late?
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No More Trying
The angels have to be commanded to come into the church by Jesse, since they had previously been commanded to stay away from him, but they show up nonetheless. Outside, the crowd has a sort of tailgating party while they wait to see what happens, and Odin waits impatiently for Jesse to give in.
Jesse admits to the angels what happened with Eugene — that it was an accident and he should’ve listened to them — and quickly realizes that they can’t see the boy at all. When he asks if it’s possible to bring someone back from Hell, he gets a mixed response. It’s possible but difficult. But Fiore and DeBlanc refuse to help him with Eugene until he gives up Genesis, so Jesse agrees to do so.
Even as they tell Jesse to lie down on the altar, he continues to ask questions and wonder aloud whether God actually wants him to have Genesis. But when DeBlanc asks him what good he’s actually done with his abilities since he gained control of them, Jesse has no answer.
Finally, after DeBlanc sings to Genesis and the men get Jesse to let go of the last of his resistance, the force makes its way out of the preacher and into the coffee can they use to house it. The angels start to pack up, and Jesse asks about Eugene. They basically blow him off, saying they’ll look into it and that they never actually made a deal. Understandably, this pisses Jesse off.
And as Jesse gets angry at the angels, the coffee can bursts open, and Genesis seems to shoot its way back into the preacher, causing him to fall backwards. The can is destroyed, and Fiore and DeBlanc are resigned. They leave with all their tools, despite Jesse’s protests, saying there’s “no more trying.” Jesse is left alone because not even Eugene is there anymore.
Elsewhere, when Miles shows up at Emily’s house and lets her know that Jesse is giving the church to Odin as a result of their legally binding “verbal agreement,” she storms out to make her way to the church with the rest of the town. After seeing for herself what’s going on, Emily keeps defending Jesse, saying he’s just fighting for his home like anyone would.
But Miles, who joins her after dropping her kids off at school, tells her that the whole deal will be good for the town and that maybe this is a sacrifice that has to be made for the good of the community. He then goes one step further and says that they all thought Jesse was a criminal anyway; this is just proof.
Speaking of sacrifices, after witnessing the two attempts by the men to take the church, Donnie quietly makes his way to the trunk of his car away from the crowd and methodically takes off parts of his outfit. He then sticks his head in the trunk, points a gun at his head and shoots.
I really thought the guy had shot himself, but as we quickly learn, he just shot his eardrums — which are very vital when it comes to Jesse’s ability to command someone to do something, you see.
Jesse’s Last Stand
Before Odin’s men make their way to the church for a third time, Jesse is sitting in the church alone, getting drunk, when he hears a noise and turns around with his gun to find Donnie in the church with him. And since he’s deaf, it doesn’t work when Jesse commands him several times to drop the gun. But instead of shooting him, like Jesse asks him to, Donnie just pistol whips him into unconsciousness.
After Jesse wakes up, Odin meets up with him, along with all his men. He has the papers for Jesse to sign to turn over the church, and Jesse questions once more why Odin isn’t serving God as he told him to. Quincannon tells him he is serving God but not the God that Jesse refers to. Odin believes in the “God of meat,” of “what’s tangible,” in reality, so in a way he is serving God in what he’s doing.
When Odin tells Jesse that it’s insane to follow a God who is silent, at first Jesse agrees and goes to sign the papers, but he stops. He then requests just one more Sunday before signing, claiming that all this time he’s been trying to bring the townspeople to God, and now? He wants to bring God to the town instead.
Jesse tells them all that they’re going to talk to God and ask him questions, and if they don’t like His answers, then he swears he’ll denounce God right then and there. Odin apparently agrees to Jesse’s deal because he’s driven away in the Sheriff’s car as the people of Annville swarm the vehicle.
There’s also a subplot in this episode of Preacher involving Tulip adopting a bloodhound named Brewski at the pound and bringing it home, only to feed it to a mysterious creature in a room that I want to say is probably Cassidy, critically hurt after Jesse let him burn in the previous episode. But I won’t go into it any further because the whole thing is pretty upsetting. Why a dog, Preacher?!
Finally, some sort of alarm seems to go off in a control room at the end of the episode, but it seems to be taken care of by a worker in the same room. Is the alarm in Quincannon Meat and Power? What does it mean? With only a few episodes left in this season of Preacher, it shouldn’t be long before we find out.
Preacher airs Sunday nights at 9pm on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)