'Preacher' Review: A New Big Bad Is Introduced As The Cast Wrestles Their Demons

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

Herr Starr! Everyone's favorite sexually deviant German villain finally made his proper debut in this episode of Preacher after we were given just a small glimpse of his gloriously scarred face earlier this season.

Newcomers could tell that the white-suited operative for The Grail was going to be a big player in the show, and hoo boy, is he ever. You thought the Saint was persistent? Just wait.

Head Scar

This Herr Star isn't quite on the top of the totem pole just yet, but he's quickly on his way. We are given a glimpse into his life back in 2004 as he joined The Grail. True to the comic, he doesn't seem that interested in the Grail's goal, just in finding some way to pay for his own sexual proclivities.

Comic fans will be pleased to note that Pip Torrens is perfect in the role. He's physically menacing, his accent is strange, and his speech somewhat clipped. Oh, and he's a complete sociopath. The show also doesn't shirk from the fact that he's a sexual freak. When faced with a strong wrestler choking him out, he starts...choking himself out. When his fellow contenders are keeling over dead from a car battery attached to their testicles, he sits back in smug satisfaction. If it's anything like the comics, we have only seen the start of his weirdness, and AMC is about to push some more boundaries. Because as Starr says in the comics, "[T]he pressures I operate under can only be relieved by regular and sordid sex."

The mission of The Grail has finally been revealed, and it's the same as in the comic. They are the keepers of Jesus Christ himself, who, it turns out, actually had a son. The TV Starr is less devout and only says he's religious to get a job, and when he finds out the true nature of the organization, he just goes with it. He also immediately kills his boss and takes his seat. He's a real go-getter, that Starr.

Regardless of Starr, it's going to be really interesting to see reactions to the show when it's revealed what has become of Christ's lineage...


Tulip Fading

Jesse and crew haven't been able to find God, even though they went through every jazz club in New Orleans. So why can't they have a little fun this episode? They've earned it after all that trouble with the Saint. Rather than just start a bar fight, they decide to take their entertainment to a nearby bar that they heard was paying people to get shot in the chest. They use a bulletproof vest (for safety!) and they pay out increased odds for larger caliber pistols. They can't lose with Cassidy on their side and Tulip and him play it off like he's a hapless boyfriend not knowing what he's getting into. They pick the biggest gun and blast him right in the chest, blood splattering everywhere, sending everyone scrambling after Tulip threatens to call the police.

It's a great scam. Not only do they get all the money the derelicts left behind, they get all the booze in the bar. Tulip gives Cassidy a little nip of a blood bag and he's ready to get back to proper drinking.

But Jesse wasn't too keen on how it looked when his gal and best mate were kissing when they were acting, particularly seeing how Cassidy's hand strayed a little too far down.

But it turns out that Tulip is really messed up from being in close contact with the Saint. She's drunk throughout most of the episode and that night experiences a delightfully freaky nightmare sequence full of repetition and the steely-eyed demon gunslinger himself.

She tells Jesse in the morning that she had the dream again, the one where she sees "Cassidy's fingers falling like french fries on TV." She takes that moment to plead with him to reassure her that he sent the Saint to hell (he lies, but doesn't really say specifically what he did with him), but she isn't convinced that he won't be hunting them again soon.

Tulip decides to take up this newfound fear in the way any normal person would – by going back to the little gun club, revealing her scam, and signing up to get shot in the chest over and over. She pictures the Saint doing it as she does. That's one way to achieve systematic desensitization.


Cassidy’s Mortality

Jesse is having some seller's remorse for getting rid of a fraction of his soul, so much so that he seeks solace from a street preacher talking about the end of days. It really does seem to be coming soon.

Meanwhile, Cassidy has a little adventure on the streets of New Orleans when he passes out drunk and is hauled to the morgue thanks to his lack of a pulse. "Not again," he moans from inside body storage. He had a rough night when a random stranger in the bar that they otherwise cleared out revealed himself to be a French translator (quite fortuitous!) for his estranged son, allowing them to finally talk for the first time ever.

It turns out that Cassidy's son is dying of congestive heart failure, hence all the awful hacking and coughing. But he wants something from his dear ol' da – eternal life. Cassidy can't do it. He's horrified at the very thoughts of it.

While leaving the morgue, he walks past a room where he sees two people mourning a recently deceased man. Cassidy looks in, sad, but it's not clear if he's more envious of the peace that the dead man was able to find.  It's a small but poignant moment, the kind that this show is getting increasingly good at handling.


Piglateral Damage

On the other side of things, we have floating pigs. It turns out that Herr Starr's Samson unit was created with the concept of eliminating false prophets, as they have throughout the years. (Lincoln's assassination? Their doing.) Now the prophets are getting a bit ridiculous, which is why Starr is checking out a remote Vietnamese village that has a flying pig . Starr doesn't want to waste time on this, so he does the obvious thing and poisons the entire village's water supply, leaving dozens of corpses behind him as he sets off on his next quarry: Jesse Custer.

There's one catch. In the comic, he wants Jesse for other reasons.


The lineage of Jesus is not doing too well in the comic. 2000 years of inbreeding to keep the lineage pure has led to a royal family-esque situation and they all have some severe...issues. Since The Grail believes that the apocalypse is coming (in the year 2000, in the comic) they need a savior, someone that will take the sins of humanity rather than the inept great-great-great-grandson of Christ. Guess which supernaturally gifted individual he wants for the job?