Preacher – S2 Ep 12 – On Your Knees

Review: This was a “getting from point A to point B” episode. Only worth your time if you’re a completist.

Spoilers ahoy:

This episode was basically a return of the plot device that could control Jesse – the Saint of Killers. I’m pretty un-enamored with this episode as a whole. Again, the most interesting part was watching Eugene in Hell try to escape from his own Hell and stand up to the girl who killed herself and blamed Eugene for it.

The Saint of Killers made an agreement with the Grail dude from Better Off Ted, and got himself out of the lake. Jesse and Tulip almost get killed by the Saint of Killers but that lady from Hell who’s like the jailer saves them both by telling the Saint of Killers that she’ll put his wife and kid in there now that God’s gone. As a Deus ex Machina moment, it’s pretty good in that it serves to combine the two storylines together.

The fight scenes in this episode weren’t as cool or painful as in the first episode of the entire series. Remember that fight on the plane with Cassidy? Or the fight with Tulip in the corn field fighting off 3 guys? The series just lacks the punch (pun) of the first season.

At the end of the episode, Jesse talks about taking the place of the Messiah on Earth and Tulip and Cassidy are not on board with it. The Saint is back in Hell.

Watch this episode only if you’re super into seeing things through to completion.

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Preacher Season 2 Episode 11 – Backdoors

Review: Worth your time more so than previous episodes, if you like moral puzzles and butt jokes.

Spoilers as usual.

Tulip and Cassidy react to Jesse lying to them about the Saint of Killers being in hell. We learn more about Jesse’s backstory. Starr tries to recruit Jesse. At the end of the episode, it appears the Saint of Killers is back. Meanwhile, in Hell, Arseface is conspiring with Hitler to get free. We learn some of Hitler’s back story.

For me, the most interesting part of this episode was watching Eugene in Hell with Hitler. They do a very good job of making (I can’t believe I’m going to write this) Hitler a sympathetic character. The Preacher version of Hitler turns out to be a struggling artist, that we see in a flashback, who was fearful and bullied and his girlfriend left him for another man and he didn’t get the last piece of plum cake. Somehow that amounts to Hitler being sympathetic in the moment. When Eugene asks Hitler why that was his worst moment in life, Hitler responds with: “That was the last time I was good.” (Or words to that effect.) The asshole bully in hell seems to me to be the Internet incarnate. And in Hitler vs Internet comments, well, I don’t want to choose sides on which I like better. Definitely not the historical Hitler, that’s for sure.

Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy get mad at each other and Jesse runs out to find God who he’s pretty sure actually IS the pervert in the dog costume. In the process, Jesse makes his way back to Starr, and we hear his prayers. That’s where another piece of the Jesse Custer history is revealed: either before or after his death, someone who identified herself as his grandmother makes Jesse renounce his name and thank god for killing his father. Starr thinks this will break Jesse, but it just serves to piss Jesse off and the “Starr taking things up his butt” jokes continue.

I like that both characters – Hitler and Jesse – are looking for redemption (or at least that’s what they’d like us to believe in this episode). I imagine the writers are leading us down the path to sympathy for Adolph, and then they’ll reveal that he’s the evil sonofabitch that we know he is. There was already a glimmer of this in Hell when he switches from the meek to Hitler the orator and rouses his fellow Hell-mates into creating a diversion.

But the other theme that this show brings us is being absorbed and haunted by our past. I suppose that’s what redemption is all about- feeling guilty for moments of weakness, or evilness, or failure, and then wanting to make amends. And making amends or redemption – it all amounts to time travel in one sense or another. Doing something now to somehow rectify your past actions. The more I think about guilt and feeling sorry for your actions, the more I think it’s not that great of a motivation to live by. (TV- and plot-wise seeking redemption and feeling guilty are great character motivations.) Creativity and moving forward seem to produce better results than wallowing in mistakes and looking for a DeLorean to go into the past and change things for the better.

Anyway- this episode was much stronger. Definitely worth watching. The weakest part of the episode, in my opinion, is the Tulip-what’shername storyline. Tulip’s smarter than that and I don’t buy the whole thing.

 

TV stuff: Marc Maron – Too Real (Netflix)

Rating: Worth your time. Watch it or listen to it while you’re doing something else and you’ll still get a lot out of it.

I think I liked this special more than any of Marc’s other specials. It felt, as the title suggests, pretty real. I’m sure he wrote this whole hour plus up and performed it based on what he wrote, but it felt like him just getting up there and saying things off the cuff, but in a good way.

He recorded this special right here at the Pantages in Minneapolis, but I didn’t get a chance to go see it. He kind of nailed the reason why I didn’t go- he joked about it in the midst of his set. I’m in my late 30s. I hate dealing with parking, and I figured I’d get as much or more enjoyment watching it at home on Netflix than paying $35 and sitting WAYYYY up in the rafters of the Pantages. (That’s what I did when I saw him the first time, here in Minneapolis.)

Was his shirt weird? I kept getting distracted by his shirt.

The bit about the Stones was pretty great. And I totally agree with his assessment of Dave Matthews fans. You’ve got an uphill battle on your hands, friends. (I also made a Dave Matthews joke later in the day. Sorry man, didn’t mean to steal your joke when I was at Midtown Global Market getting burritos.)

Talking about a standup special is more difficult than talking about a piece of scripted TV, I think.

Marc’s one of my favorite comedians and personalities. I listen to his podcast a bit, so I feel like I’ve heard some of these jokes in different forms as he tries them out on his show, it seems.

Anyway. Great special. Go watch it. It’s worth your time.

Preacher – Season 3 Episode 10: Dirty Little Secret

Spoilers spoilers spoilers-

The introduction of the Jesus having sons storyline. The directors decided to forego making the historical part feel real and instead gave Jesus and all of the other characters a modern surfer-dude dialect. It felt different than the first season with the flashbacks for the Saint of Killers. The show, overall, is taking on more of a comedic vibe than a horror / intense vibe that the first season had.

Denis continues more down his evil vampire path. Tulip and the Grail lady are playing Rock Band and becoming better friends (meaning she’s manipulating Tulip). Herr Starr shows Jesse Humperdoo the Messiah. I’m not thrilled with that portion of the storyline. I mean I get showing the Messiah as the inbred son of 20 centuries of incest, but there was something that felt kind of like picking on the disabled for a laugh. It felt wrong not in a funny or shocking way, just in a cheap privileged kind of way.

Tulip finds the guns and the sword underneath the floorboard and the episode ends. Still not that thrilled with this season.

Oh but I do love the addition of Malcolm Barrett into the show. He was great on Better Off Ted. He doesn’t have much to do but that guy is just super charismatic, in my opinion.

Preacher – Season 2, Episode 9 : Puzzle Piece

(Spoilers ahead!)

This season had gotten bogged down so much that I stopped keeping up with it as the episodes were airing. This episode introduced a few more elements that kept it more interesting, though: The FPS – video game style scene was cool and fun. The mystery of who B.R.A.D. was was pretty good. (Although I kind of wish it was the big crazy ogre-looking dude.) Jesse’s power of The Word and using Genesis is getting very boring to me. A Deus Ex Machina is only good for like one or two uses at best. Jesse can tell Tulip to fall asleep, can tell cops to obey his orders, can have one of the crazy Grail officers kill his friends? I mean if he’s having the cops work for him in a protective capacity, why not just order all of the Grail guys to be on his side and help him find God? I’m trying to suspend my disbelief, but it’s wearing kinda thin on me.

I can’t stand New Orleans anyway. Can we move on from this city, please?

I loved the comic book series, but it’s been years since I’ve read it so I can’t remember how they kept things fresh. I do remember that it didn’t feel as stale as this does.

The Americans – End of Season 2 and S3 E1

(Spoilers ahead for Season 2 of The Americans, and S3 Episode 1 of The Americans.)

The Americans season 2:

This season was a bit confusing for me, but got a lot better at the finale. The idea about recruiting Paige into the Russian spy network made things really interesting. Best part in the last episode of Season 2 was when Philip says about Paige: “If she didn’t shut up about passive resistance, I was going to punch her in the face.” I replayed and listened to that line and guffawed out loud to myself each time.

The big reveal about the other spies’ killer being their son was chilling as hell. I didn’t see it coming at all. It kind of retroactively explains the weird acting job of that kid. I thought he was too cardboard-y in the previous episodes. A recap I read on Vulture said that the kid had a tough job of explaining everything that happened while bleeding out from a gunshot wound to the jugular. Very true.

The Americans Season 3, Episode 1:

They upped their game as far as interesting camera shots go. The opening scene was great, too. I had to replay it to make sure that it was indeed Agent Gad that Elizabeth punched in the face, and it sure was! The removal of Nina is proving to be a good ominous motivator for Oleg. Again, this series makes the killing of a character – this time Annalise – feel really impacting. I had the death of Annalise spoiled for me through a random internet search earlier in the week. I knew it was going to happen but I didn’t know HOW. And of course Philip will use the death to manipulate Yousaf.

I’m also happy to move on to season 3 because it looked like there were some quality recap podcasts to listen to once season 3 rolled around.

I’m sick. So here’s what I’m watching.

I’m working on the second day of being sick- a head cold- the dog’s helping, of course. He’s laying on the couch in front of a space heater, and nudging me to take him out on walks. I’m Google Hangout-ing into my work meetings and keeping my microphone on mute so they can’t hear me hack and they can’t hear me talking to the dog as he’s pestering me.

When you’re sick, it’s the best time to binge watch TV. That’s definitely what I’ve been doing.

Community – Last part of season 1: 

My friend dog-sits for me and lets me use her Hulu account. I log in and see the “Shows You Watch” category. We have clear differences in what we like. You can pick them out: Hers- Kardashian things, Grey’s Anatomy, uh… actually I have no idea what else is on there because they all seem like variations of those two things. Mine: Community, Seinfeld, Adventure Time, Stephen Universe, Samurai Jack.

Community is finally getting good. I’ve heard friends say how they love the show because it plays with the format of the sit com itself, but I hadn’t gotten to that part until now. The first part of season 1 is kind of mood-setting, treating the characters as you would in any sit com: the weird one, the shy one, the cool one, etc etc. But after a certain point in season one they start being self-referential. It’s starting to get good. I dose up and… oh great my ADD or cold meds are kicking in. Here’s what else I’m watching-

Hell On Wheels : 

Cheesy at parts, but then it redeems itself with some beautifully screwed up racial politics and dynamics. It’s like Deadwood-light. With less likable characters.

Batman: Year One : 

I’m sure I watched this before at some point, but I can’t remember. This is the adaptation of the comic that began my love of Batman and gritty comics. It’s a faithful retelling of the comic book story. The best part is Bryan Cranston as Gordon. Oh and you wouldn’t know it from listening to her, but it’s Katee Sackhoff as Ellis. Or is it Ennis? I’m still on cold meds. I can’t wait for The Killing Joke to be released next month, even if Rotten Tomatoes did rate it pretty harshly.

Sleepy Hollow (the Tim Burton movie) : 

I rated this on one of my blogs a couple of years ago and I think I was more disturbed by it back then as opposed to now. It’s a good movie. Bloody as hell but that’s part of the fun. It’s cool to see Christopher Walken have no lines in the movie and yell like a madman. Netflix informed me that Big Eyes was also directed by Tim Burton, and I’ve yet to see that so I suppose that’ll be coming up soon in my sick-watch list.

Soundbreaking (PBS series): 

It looks like George Martin (Not R.R.) helped fund this cool series about music that’s kind of divided up into weird sections. Voice, electronic music, producers- each episode takes a different facet of each of those and then lets the pros in the field do the talking. There’s no voice over narrator. It’s great zoning-out TV, with a parade of all these people from every musical genre talking about how they make music. It made me plug in my guitar and pedals and start noodling around on it. My dog woke up and gave me the stink eye for a bit so I stopped.

Spotlight:

Holy shit, this movie is fantastic. (No pun intended there.) It’s along the lines of Woodward and Bernstein uncovering stuff, but it’s great and if you’re like me and despise organized religion, this will just get your ire up even more. I love watching Michael Keaton act in just about anything (maybe Mr. Mom is an exception). It’s appalling how many priests got away with molesting kids and how the Catholic church covered it up. The movie making is kind of on the dull side, as my friend Bill pointed out when I texted him about how great this movie was. He’s right, but I think it works for this narrative. There’s also only one black guy in the whole movie. Hey if we’re making a movie I think it’s okay to cast against type and race every once in a while. Just try that more, Hollywood. Okay?

I’m sure there’s more but I can’t remember them. Didn’t John Donne keep some kind of diary about when he was surviving the plague? I’m sure if he had Netflix, he’d be much happier. Did he have a dog? He needed one of those, too.

(Forgive all the misspellings in this post. I’m not 100% with it.)