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Preacher - Angelville - Review: "The Prodigal Son Returns"

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Preacher 3.01 "Angelville" - Review:
Directed by Michael Slovis & Written by Sam Catlin

The third season of Preacher kicked off in a grand, epic fashion, introducing us to an extended black and white cold open that set us the tone for the season. The introduction of Miss Marie, played by Betty Buckley, was one that set the tone for the antagonist in true Preacher fashion. Joined by TC (Colin Cunningham) and Jody (Jeremy Childs), the voodoo magic of her family may have slowed down over time in Jesse's absence, but it plays an important factor in their life. If anything based on the villains that we've had in this far in Preacher, Herr Starr & The Saint of Killers being among the more notable ones, one of the show's biggest strengths is its villain game. I'm already getting a Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Resident Evil 7 vibe from the house and its inhabitants, especially given the rural feel and hopefully it won't be long before the show delves into full horror territory. It isn't exactly a show to play by the rules and it doesn't hold much back, so it'll be interesting to see what direction the show takes going forward.

One of the big talking points at the end of last season was the death of Tulip O'Hare. Of course, especially given that this is a comic book show, there exist endless potential ways for her to return even after Jesse refused to let Cassidy to bring her back by turning her into a vampire. Of course Miss Marie is going to be alive after all these years and of course, by the end of the episode, she's able to bring back Tulip - arguably one of the best characters on the show thanks to Ruth Negga's always brilliant performance - and her absence was definitely felt here. But the wedge driven between Jesse and Cassidy in the wake of Tulip's death remains at this point, almost irreparable, especially thanks to Cassidy finally dropping the revelation that he and Tulip slept together after they initially don't find anyone in Angelville. The fight that ensues between the two is well-directed - but it's no surprise considering Preacher probably has the most consistently awesome stunt work on any show at the moment and I always look forward to its fight sequences.

Jesse has a habit of falling in with the wrong crowd. His grandmother has him down to a deal where he has to do anything that she wants him to do, and the eerie comment at the end of the episode suggests to her that she's far more than she appears and that if he tries to get out of his deal and kill her instead, there will be consequences. It instantly sets the tone for the season ahead - and it's also important to remember that we still have more characters who we've yet to catch up on whose fate remains unknown. Adolf Hitler is up out of hell and walking on the streets in 21st century America - and I wouldn't put it past the show to treat his storyline similarly to the brilliant German comedy Look Who's Back, and it'll be interesting to see how they incorporate him and Eugene into the main storyline too. There's also Herr Starr that needs to be taken into consideration - and how he'll factor back into the plot remains to be seen. There's plenty of problems for Jesse to take into account and hopefully the show has learned its lesson from the relatively slow-paced Season 2, which really dragged in the middle, as the shorter, 10-episode count for this season suggests.

Tulip's time in purgatory was something that proved to be a traumatising experience for her, as it is for everyone. This was an interesting way to learn a little more about her past and between her convict father and her distant mother who works as a prostitute, it's safe to say she didn't have the nicest of childhoods. It's great to see Ruth Negga commanding the screen when she's on her own with Tulip's younger self, and thankfully, she doesn't spend as much time trapped in hell as Eugene did. I'm glad that Preacher didn't repeat itself here. It's also worth taking some time to mention The Southern Gothic look and feel of Preacher's Angelville set-up that not only helps create a distinctive look among other more city-oriented comic book shows at the moment, but also paves way for an interesting structure for the season. Its ability to move between storylines has been effective, and it's created a promising opener that should leave to an exciting, bombastic season if this premiere is anything to go by.

What did you think of Angelville? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to stay tuned for this Sunday's episode airing on AMC.

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