Tulip O’Hare and Cassidy are by far and wide two of the biggest draws of AMC’s “Preacher.” And episode five, titled “The South Will Rise Again,” finally sees them interacting. After last episode found Tulip discovering Cassidy’s true nature, the two connect on a substantial level. Tulip tells Cassidy of a boyfriend (aka Jesse) who’s lost his way and she’s waiting for him to find it so they can go off and kill Carlos together. We find out a bit more about this mysterious Carlos, whose face we’ve yet to see.
Working for the Mexican cartel down in Miami, Tulip and Jesse wind up on the wrong end of the bargain when Carlos runs off on them, taking everything with him. Everything probably includes money. Cassidy suggests that she shouldn’t wait around for this boyfriend of hers to get his stick out of his ass and that she should go after Carlos herself. Cassidy isn’t aware (or is he?) that the boyfriend in question is Jesse, but the advice sticks with Tulip. And she goes after Jesse one last time to try and convince him of his true nature–he’s just a bad man and no good he does will ever atone for his badness–but Jesse is still unswayed.
You see, Jesse has now become Annville’s most wanted. Nah, he’s not getting arrested for anything, but ever since that act of God he whammied Quincannon with at church the week before, he’s been sought after for advice. The man can’t even enjoy a meal to go over finances with Emily, who finds his recent behavior odd and off-putting, to say the least. Suffice it to say that Jesse is enjoying his newfound fame and is using it to his full advantage, believing he’s doing God’s work. That is, until Fiore and DeBlanc find him and sit him down for a rude awakening. They tell him they’re from heaven. Jesse barely bats an eye at this new information. But what he does find unsettling is the fact that he thinks God is inside him, helping him out. Nope, Fiore and DeBlanc confirm that what’s inside him is not God, but rather something else. Something that is powerful and needs to be locked up in a… tin can? The significance of which is yet to be explained, along with the actual being inside Jesse. And they’ve been carrying around that can for ages. Must be tiring.
Elsewhere, Quincannon calls back Miles to his office, apologizing profusely for urinating inside his briefcase the week before. It seems Quincannon is a changed man after he vowed to serve God in church, having been influenced by Jesse’s new gift. Miles is surprised by his sudden change of heart, but doesn’t really question it. I mean, Miles is all of a sudden dealing with a kinder, more mild-mannered Quincannon. Why the hell would anyone open their mouth and possibly shatter the illusion? Or is it a permanent change? Regardless, Quincannon has requested that Miles bring in the Green Acre Group so they can strike a deal. Donny, having been missing from the action last episode, is back and is the only one visibly rattled by Quincannon’s sudden personality change. Donny is the right-hand man after all, and once he finds out that all of these changes began after he visited Jesse’s church, he begins working out that something just isn’t right. Especially since he realizes that Jesse’s mojo has also affected him from their fight earlier. In the end, however, the effects of Jesse’s words don’t last very long and Quincannon winds up shooting all four of the Green Acre employees in cold blood.
Elsewhere in the episode, Arseface is struggling to make due with his dad’s sadness and disappointment, all while dealing with his own guilt. His dad, in anger, tells him he should’ve finished the job and killed himself. Arseface seeks Jesse for advice and Jesse’s solution is forgiveness. By force. Jesse is really taking this newfound gift and rolling with it, testing the waters and then giving what he believes people should receive–quite literally. But is it really what his parishioners want ultimately? Is this really God’s way of letting him have power over people’s will? It’s all too literal at this point, but it does always loop back around go Jesse’s promise. In being broken himself, Jesse is finding solace in helping others, but Tulip’s presence and questions always come back to him. He’s trying to fight what he feels by tempering it and focusing on others, but his anger is starting to make itself known and, coupled with the power he has, it isn’t going to end well.
Coma girl’s mom blames Arseface for what happened to her daughter, who’s now awake but there’s nothing else going on with her. Jesse forces her to forgive Arseface and she does. What the repercussions of all of this will be is still up in the air, but Arseface doesn’t look as pleased as one would think after having received forgiveness for something he takes partial blame for. Of all the members of Jesse’s church, Arseface is certainly the most sympathetic. He’s genuine and kindly enough, guilt-ridden, doubtful, and is the only one who questions Jesse’s powers in a deeper, thoughtful manner. He’s also the only one whose questions Jesse refuses to dwell on.
In the past, we’re back with the Man With No Name. He’s made it to the local town. There, the preacher is an alcohol-swigging man with a terrible temperament and it’s easy to see that the Man With No Name sticks out like a sore thumb amdist all the chaos. He doesn’t say much, but finds himself coming back almost immediately after leaving to try and help a woman being raped right in front of her son. How he fits into the larger narrative is still unknown, and his scenes in this episode only provide more mystery. The kind that keeps stacking up with no hope of release.
“The South Will Rise Again” isn’t an entirely wasted hour. It’s still slow to pick up on many story threads and honestly, how many times do we have to see certain characters go around the same bend several times? Cassidy, other than being relegated to the role of comedic relief, struggles to be more relevant to the overall story. The same goes for Emily. It’s unclear where the writers are going with their characters at this point, but since Cassidy has interacted with just about everyone at this point, it’d be nice for him to develop a bit more. Tulip continues to be awesome, but the Carlos story is weighing her down a bit because nothing seems to be coming from it. Jesse has also become a bit stagnant in terms of where he fits in the midst of all that seems to be happening. Regardless, we are, slowly but surely, getting somewhere. I hope.
"The South Will Rise Again" brings us only a tiny bit closer to the big showdown. If there is one. There is a lot of talking and meandering about and certain characters could benefit from a bit more development and interaction, but the episode works better than its predecessor.