Episode four, “Monster Swamp,” opens with a scene that looks like it came straight out of an episode of “Supernatural.” A woman, clad in only underwear and a tank top, is running from a group of men with guns. She bumps into a couple of other women with fearful expressions who motion to her to not stop, but keep going. Eventually, she’s caught and then shot. Turns out, their guns are paintball guns and what she’s been shot with is nothing but paint. But this is “Preacher” we’re talking about, so we know it won’t end well. And of course, it’s all fun and games until the young woman, Lacey, falls into a sinkhole and dies. Lacey is one of the girls from the local brothel and her death prompts a visit from Quincannon, who brushes it off and asks everyone in the group to be careful because they don’t want to be drawing attention to themselves.
Quincannon comes off as a very cold and ruthless man who doesn’t care about anything or anyone. His primary concern is still real estate and buying and selling it. People dying on his property because unexplained sinkholes have started appearing? Nah, why would he be concerned about that? The man barely twitched after Lacey died. New things about Quickcannon have come to light this episode. He shares a past with Jesse and he used to go to church during the days when Jesse’s father was still preaching in Annville.
Cassidy strikes a deal with Fiore and DeBlanc. For money, he promises to get them Jesse. But they don’t really trust Cassidy, nor can they rely on Heaven for help. Especially since they’re on an unapproved mission. The only direct link they have with Heaven is an old phone box (a suitcase that opens up to reveal the form of communication) and they’re terrified of what would happen if it rings.
Cassidy tries to convince Jesse to run because Fiore and DeBlanc are after what’s inside of him, but Jesse is on a new mission: He wants to draw people back to the church. And he knows just how to do so. By having Emily buy a large TV to put in a raffle because there’s nothing like having people join something by offering them the possibility of a free gift. Emily doesn’t always look happy to be doing what Jesse asks of her, but does it anyway. For whatever reason, she supports him. The relationship between Jesse and Emily is the least developed. They’re friends, but until there’s more character interaction and we discover why Emily is quietly loyal, then there isn’t very much to be discussed about their relationship.
Emily is developed only slightly further, however, when she interacts with Miles, Annville’s mayor. The pair have a physical relationship, but Emily assures him that there’ll never be more than that. Miles, having gone to Quincannon to let him know about the sustainable farming company of Green Acre Group. Miles is hopeful that Quincannon could have a partnership with them, but Quincannon isn’t pleased and, in turn, urinates all over Miles’ briefcase. So, this partnership between the two is tense, to say the least. Quincannon is very controlled and always gets what he wants, but there’s a rage somewhere underneath and whether that will rear its head or not, we’ll see.
Elsewhere, Tulip is back in Annville and not very happy with the brothel’s customers and residents’ lack of action after Lacey’s death. She’s angry that Quincannon has them all wrapped around his finger and, in fear, they’re just willing to sit around and do absolutely nothing. We learn that Tulip basically grew up in that brothel, where her mother worked. Her anger management issues get the better of her here and wanting to go after Clive for his treatment of Lacey, she ends up throwing Cassidy out of the window instead, mistaking him for Clive. Freaked out and apologetic, Tulip races Cassidy to the hospital only to discover that he’s a vampire. This looks like the beginning of an interesting and unique friendship. Now that Tulip is in the know and they have Jesse in common, I foresee some good times ahead. Perhaps they can team up?
The biggest thing we learn in this episode is that Jesse’s dad, John, is not exactly the nicest man there ever was. And after watching, I’m no longer sure why Jesse wants to follow in his footsteps. Flashbacks to Jesse’s childhood depict John as an overly strict man. He whipped Jesse for smoking with his friends–including a young Tulip–and when Jesse accompanies his father to a visit to Quincannon’s office in the middle of the night, Jesse steals an ashtray and Quincannon is heard yelling after John. John is firmly in the belief that some people can’t be saved.
In the present, Jesse pays his own visit to Quincannon. He’s insistent that Quincannon should return to church. The older man won’t go, no matter how much Jesse tries to coax him into it. But Jesse is out to try and save his congregation and, with the help of his newfound gift on his side, whose to stop him really? At this point, it’s clear what Jesse is going to do, but first he convinces Quincannon to come to church by promising him that if he comes to church on Sunday, Jesse will hand over his 20 hectares of land. This is exactly what Quincannon wants to hear–it’s the largest amount of land in Annville that he doesn’t own and the greedy man wants it. So he comes to church, where Jesse turns his powers of persuasion on him and asks him to serve God. At first, the deep and dark voice of the thing speaking through Jesse doesn’t work on Quincannon. Trying again and again, Jesse asks, impatiently, “Will you serve God?” “Of course,” Quincannon replies readily.
While “Monster Swamp” took an interesting turn of events, “Preacher” is still moving at a glacial pace. Episode four of ten episodes, it still doesn’t feel like it’s really building up to anything significant. With only six episodes left, will “Preacher” have to cram in a lot of information in the already compressed story? There still isn’t any real tension and there should be, otherwise the payoff won’t be significant. “Monster Swamp” moves the plot forward, barely, and there is still a lot of ground to cover before the season finale approaches, so here’s hoping the pace will speed up a bit in the final stretch of episodes.
"Monster Swamp" moves the plot forward, barely, and there is still a lot of ground to cover before the season finale approaches, so here's hoping the pace will speed up a bit in the final stretch of episodes.