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Preacher - Puzzle Piece - Review: "I Hear You're Looking for God, Preacher"

Preacher 2.09 "Puzzle Piece" - Review:
Directed by Michael Dowse & Written by Craig Rosenberg

It's all about Herr Starr this week. It feels like he's been around since the start of the season already and the show has done a fantastic job at building his character up over the past few episodes and as a result The Saint of Killers hasn't been missed at all. The fact that Puzzle Piece is the first time Jesse and Starr have met feels way overdue, but now that they have, it opens up a whole world of potential. The dynamic between Jesse and Starr will no doubt be different from the one that he shared with the Saint of Killers when they clashed recently, but one thing has quickly emerged to be pretty clear so far is that the show's best episodes have come when the villains have been pushed front and centre. It delights in fleshing them out and you have faith in the writers that no matter how long Starr sticks around for, you know when he eventually is dealt with a new villain will step into the frame and he'll be just as intimidating, if not more so, than the last two. The way the structure of the Grail has been established has been an effective one as we've got to see a vast variety of their members, with people like Hoover proving that they're not all cut from the same cloth, his comic relief moments being used well. But at the same time, you also get people like Lara Featherstone, who are willing to do anything and anything for their Master.

The way they handled Julie Ann Emery in particular in this show has been interesting and to see her play a different role from the character who we've previously met as Tulip's new friend showed how good she can be as an actress. The way the show saw Hoover accidentally order a group of male prostitutes for Starr played into the comic relief angle really well, as the absurd ideas that the show brings to the table each episode reminds us as well that usually, the more absurd it gets the better it is. So the combination of an absurd villain like Starr can only yield great results, and now that he's about to play a more important part in Jesse's life going forward, hopefully that means the series can combine what it's good at together and keep delivering entertaining episodes like this one.

The way the show handled the first person approach was an effective one that actually worked, showing how the other side would view Jesse or Cassidy. We've been used to seeing the friendly side of their characters but when they're unleashed in a fight not holding anything back they can still be pretty lethal, and for some, that's the only side they see of them so whilst unexpected, it was cool to see the show experimenting in its direction if only for a few scenes. Jesse's storyline was probably the weakest of the episode unfortunately with the attention largely focused on Starr and The Grail, but at the end, the way the two characters were brought together is tantalising and and certainly sets the stage for what could be the final arc of Season 2. But then again, Preacher is just as likely to kill off Starr in the next couple of episodes and move on, something that you're never sure about with this show, especially if you haven't read the comics like myself.

Cassidy himself had a big moment this week as Denis was turned into a vampire. It was something that was teased for a while and this almost certainly was a bad move for Cassidy to make when he gave into his son's wishes. I can see this ending badly for both Cassidy and Denis, the question is of course how many people will get dragged into this mess as well. The consequences facing Cassidy and whether he'll be able to forgive himself will no doubt drive his character in the future, so this arc is certainly something to keep an eye on as his storylines usually head into the more emotional side of things fairly quickly.

Tulip's PTSD arc continues and it's not showing signs of improving for her. It's made only worse by the fact that Jesse has now used his powers again, and it really shows that the relationship between the three characters isn't what it used to be. They've evolved with different problems of their own that have each driven them apart from one another, and you have to wonder whether Cassidy may well yet be proved wrong in his belief that nothing can separate Jesse and Tulip. There's plenty of potential for things to go south, especially with the baggage that each of the characters are carrying in their different arcs. I love how the show has managed to find time to flesh out all three of them rather than shorten one of them in favour of the other, because it would have been so easy to just focus on Starr and Jesse this week, but the attention to Tulip's and Cassidy's storylines has really helped, especially in Cassidy's case, as he's no longer the comic relief character who happens to be a vampire, and his arc may yet just be as important as everyone elses.

Overall, Puzzle Piece was one of Season 2's better episodes. it tackles imaginative ideas, showing just how far the Grail is willing to go, with Starr not shying away from dropping a bomb on American soil to get his job done. The comic relief moments worked well as did the attention to each of the core trio, and now as a result we're left with a really interesting prospect going forward. I can't wait to see what direction the show goes from here now that Jesse and Starr have finally met.

What did you think of Preacher's Puzzle Piece? Let me know in the comments section below and check out the next episode tomorrow 9pm on AMC.

Note: I thought I'd give you the heads up that I'm going to be without internet until the 2nd of September from Monday as I'll be abroad, but I'll have a double review of 2.10 and 2.11 up as soon as possible when I get back. Apologies in advance for the delay!

This article was updated on 20/08/17 to update the correct title of the episode from Puzzle Pieces to Puzzle Piece.

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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