Preacher Viktor Review

(Each week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Preacher season 2 by examining the differences between the original comics and AMC’s television adaptation.)

When Preacher’s second season started, longtime fans of the comic were really excited. Here was the road trip story we were waiting for, the one that started in the very first issue of the Preacher comic but somehow got ignored as the first season was an extended stay in one town. Most of the comic book run sees our heroes getting into adventures on their journey across America. They’d have brief stops in cities, but they kept moving and kicking ass. Nothing could stop them from finding God.

The first few episodes of the show certainly felt like that, but it wasn’t meant to last. “Viktor” slows down the proceedings and the show feels seems doomed to repeat itself, as if it were trapped in a hell of its own creation.

Preacher Hitler

Arseface, Friend to Hitler

Eugene is the most trapped of all. Our poor puckered pal’s arc has gone completely off the rails from the comic. Last week, we remarked how his origin story was heavily changed from the book, but here we find that there is a much, much darker path for him to follow.

Heaven may be having problems with leadership, but things are falling apart in Hell too. Now, we’ve found out that the guy with the toothbrush moustache is none other than Hitler himself. Hell looks like a solitary confinement block in a prison and since their personal hell machines are on the fritz, everyone comes out to see what’s going on. A big ol’ bully starts mocking Arseface for his appearance and the only person that stands up for him is Adolph himself.

Most amusingly, Eugene gets trapped out of his room and runs to the shelter of Hitler’s, and sits through the Fuhrer’s own personal hell. “That was brave,” Hitler comments. After all, Eugene’s hell is reliving the day he watched his friend blow her face off and then attempt the same himself. What could Hitler’s be like?

But the show goes for the easy joke. Once the hell starts, they’re in a fancy restaurant in Munich in 1919. Hitler’s eating plum cakes and having a chat with his beloved Elsa when a man wearing a kippa bumps into him and apologies. Hitler stares at him, then brushes it off, and they return to their conversation in which Elsa seems much more forceful about what Hitler should be doing with his life.

The story in Hell ends as Eugene gets coerced into literally kicking Hitler while he’s down, all while punctuating each kick with “Seig! Heil!”

Ok, Preacher. That’s one way to go.

Now, I shouldn’t have to say how different this is from the comics, which sees Eugene becoming a famous (if ironic) rock star, but one who will always taken advantage of because he’s just a good-natured fool that loves being with people. It will just be interesting to see who else Eugene encounters down there (perhaps his old friend from his personal hell?) and how changed he is when he eventually gets out.

Preacher Tulip

A Rose by Any Other Name

Meanwhile, Tulip is in her own personal hell as well. After being cornered in the laundromat by Viktor’s goons, we still don’t know much about what they want. We just know they’re heavily armed, bad people.

Once again, this part is completely a surprise for comic readers, as Tulip’s backstory isn’t as complex. She never actually got involved with bad people – she was just about to. Her story with her father still hasn’t been revealed, however, so it will be curious to see if that portion stays the same.

She gets taken some palatial mansion and sat down in front of Viktor, who has a man hung on a meathook getting tortured next door, but something else is strange. Tulip looks more guilty than scared and won’t make eye contact with him as he asks her to explain himself.

He leaves her to roam the place and although she knows every single person there, no one will talk to her. Even Viktor’s young daughter tells Tulip that she hopes her dad kills her. Tulip tries to make a run for it but can’t make it. And there’s a reason for that.

Preacher Fight

Downtown Boy

Jesse and Cassidy have their own downtime this episode as their search for God leads them to the actor that portrayed him in the angel’s video (seen in the finale of season one). This is another divergence from the comic, but they find that the poor guy playing God was some low-rent actor that’s local, so they go and find his audition tape for the “part.”

The whole episode finds Cassidy peppering Jesse with hints that Tulip went off to get into some trouble, but it’s not until the end that he finally spills the beans. Although Jesse was saying that Tulip could take care of herself, he goes into full-on Texan Man mode and storms Viktor’s mansion himself. He uses the Word of God with aplomb, making people freeze where they are before getting knocked out by Viktor’s sociopathic torturer.

Jesse wakes up sometime later and becomes Jesse Custer, Ass-Kicker. That fight against the white-suited religious nuts last episode might be more effective, but we are given another long, brutal hand-to-hand battle in the torture room. Preacher is getting really damn good at these fight scenes. This one uses the entire room and all of the many pointed objects in it, all the while our combatants dodge the corpse hanging from a hook in the middle of the room, even making use of it in the fight.

Did I mention this is all set to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”? Cause the torturer is listening to it in his headphones, which is why Jesse can’t use the Voice on him. We can only hope more people use this trick in the future, because it’s real fun to watch Jesse fight. Jesse and Cassidy are constantly getting into brawls in the comic and are almost ridiculously good at doing so.

Anyway Jesse wins (of course) and finally finds Tulip, who is calmly sitting and talking to Viktor. Then she drops the real bombshell – they’re married. If that wasn’t enough of a shock, the Saint of Killers has now keyed in on the location of the team thanks to his overuse of Genesis. Whoops.

Did it really need a whole episode to get to these revelations? It didn’t feel like it. Let’s see if they can’t get the show moving a little more next week.

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