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Preacher - Holes - Review: "Cassidy"

Preacher 2.07 Holes - Review:
Directed by Maja Vrvilo & Written by Mark Stegemann

After the action packed, fast paced tone of the previous episodes it's understandable that Holes took a slower turn this week even if it was somewhat frustrating to see that the momentum has stalled again. But this was an overall more effective episode than the last time that the show slowed down, with the series taking its time to explore the characters of Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip as they all pursued their various activities in New Orleans. And all the while, Eugene's worst fears are slowly being twisted, so he's starting to believe out of all of the people... it's Jesse who is to blame.

Cassidy himself is wrestling with the dilemma about whether or not to turn his son Denis into a vampire. Denis desperately wants the eternal life and to be saved, but Cassidy realizes that being a vampire is no life for his son especially when Denis has already lived most of his. The flashbacks to Cassidy's past helped add emotional depth to his character as Joseph Gilgun put in a fantastic performance as he tried everything, even asking Jesse to use Genesis, something that Jesse brushed off quickly by saying he wasn't sure it was meant to work like that. One of my favourite scenes from this week was the scene where he talked about immortality with Tulip, but of course Tulip was distracted dealing with problems of her own. Cassidy can't catch a break it seems, and it really showed us that no matter how hard he tries, he just can't achieve the role of becoming a good, reliable man. Something's always there to make sure that he screws up at some point, but whilst that isn't for his benefit it certainly did work in favour of the audience as it seems whenever Cassidy's at his lowest, he gets the best storylines.

It was interesting to note that he hadn't actually become a vampire in 1946 despite looking the same when he had Denis, judging by his ability to walk in the sun, and this look into the past, even a brief one, really help flesh him out as a character beyond just someone who has a crush on Tulip. The show, don't tell approach is utilised here to great effect as well in that we don't actually see what happened between Denis and Cassidy to break down their relationship, or Cassidy's transformation, but there are hints dropped here and there. Even if these hints are explored in more flashbacks in the future, something that I'm not completely against, this direction really emphasised that Cassidy's emotion-heavy story was pretty much the best part of this week's outing.

After being dropped a hint as to what The Extrapolater was like a few episodes ago in hell we also got to explore what it was well and truly like this week with Eugene after he makes a mistake helping someone, buying into Hitler's comments that even now the people in command of Hell are aware that they have someone there who doesn't belong there, raising his hand will not necessarily gain him his freedom. Whether this is true or not depends on who you want to believe - Hitler or hell itself, neither of which feel like trustworthy sources at all leaving Eugene in a very poor spot. Eugene himself isn't helping his case by insisting that he's the most evilest person in here, apart from of course, Hitler. Whilst this storyline does have the novelty of taking place in a mundane version of hell compared to what we've seen before in other shows, it doesn't quite fulfill all the potential that it could have done and is moving at a relatively slow pace. We're seemingly building up towards a collision course between Eugene and Jesse when Eugene is inevitably released (or escapes) from hell at some point in the future - maybe next season if not this one (will Jesse's search for God somehow lead to the gates of hell being opened?) if this episode was anything to go by, but the show will have to do something to shake up the game to keep hell interesting.

Jesse's storyline was the third of the main three threads this week with Tulip's side story not getting as much attention. His quest for God is slowing down, and maybe, like the slower paced episodes, is an intentional choice by the writers, but on the whole it works for the most part as it helps the audience get inside Jesse's head and understand why he's so frustrated about not finding God anytime soon, we want Jesse to find him as much as Jesse does himself. But the New Orleans setting is kind of wearing thin at this point and the show is at its best when it is on the road, and hopefully the series progresses forward in the near future to fresher locations as the city hasn't quite been utilised as well as it could have been so far, feeling like the same storyline could take place exactly the same way if it had been set in places like New York or Chicago. We didn't necessarily have to go to New Orleans, but now that we're there, I'm hoping the show gives us a good reason to stay there.

One scene that I did like was Jesse trying to find out the serial number on the gun that was used to kill the actor who played God. The employees quickly decided that it was Jesse who was trying to find out so he could cover up his own murder despite Jesse's insistence otherwise, and they eventually believed him. They didn't seem suspicious or startled at all as Jesse reminded them that these events might appear out of context for some, but eventually Jesse was able to work out that whilst the serial number had been removed, there was a face in the background, giving him the next clue.

It's also worth mentioning again that even though Tulip is still dealing with the PTSD effects of the Saint of Killers incident, it's a mostly effective way of exploring her character and how she's affected by it in the long run. This is in part helped by the fantastic acting from Ruth Negga who really deserves a lot more attention for this show, especially as she is an Oscar-nominated actress now for her role in Loving (go check that out if you haven't already seen it, it's powerful stuff anchored by her terrific performance), and I feel like if more people were watching this her name would be floated around as a Dark Horse for an Emmy nomination. Week after week she excels as the character, and even though the storyline does feel a tad repetitive at times, it's thanks to her character that this storyline feels watchable and engaging.

On the whole, Holes was a flawed but promising episode of Preacher that dug into the characters and fleshed them out a bit. It still needs a bit of work but the show has displayed in the past that it is capable of bringing greatness to the table, and I'm still really excited to see where the Hunt for God goes now.

What did you think of Holes? Let me know in the comments section below and check out the next episode of Preacher at 9pm this Monday on AMC.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, Black Sails, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Preacher, Star Wars Rebels, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Krypton, Marvel's New Warriors, Rise, Marvel's Runaways, Succession, Star Trek Discovery, and Trust. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 300 favourite movies here.
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