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‘Preacher’ 2×12: Jesse Changes His Name to Ben D. Knee

‘Preacher’ 2×12: Jesse Changes His Name to Ben D. Knee

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The second to last episode of the second season of Preacher opens in hell. Eugene and Hitler are in the hole. Eugene has to break them out by finding a way to subvert his personal hell. He has to confront his demons: Tracy, his old troop leader, and his father. This opens a back door in the system that they sneak through. Cue credits.

What happened to the Saint after Jesse drowned the van? He raged, trying to punch his way out for a week. The show gives us a little more backstory for the Saint in the form of his interactions with his wife and daughter. At his wife’s urging, he gets baptized. We get to see his entire clean face and him be with people he doesn’t intend to kill. She tells him that if he stops drinking, stops killing they can all be together in heaven. Too bad she was missing one crucial bit of information that would make that impossible.

Back in the present, the Grail divers find the armored van. They are in white and red dive suits. They are really sticking to this aesthetic. The divers find and raise the van leaving a decoy behind. Poor Hoover has to offer the Saint a deal. After another week of fighting the van, he accepts.

Graham McTavish as The Saint of Killers – Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

There’s probably some kind of symbolism behind Tulip fixating on Cassidy’s chopped off finger and then throwing it out. Something about healing and finally moving on. Unfortunately, that’s exactly when the Saint returns. Based on her arc for the past few episodes, I would have expected her to freeze in terror or run. Instead, she fights him, determined to protect Jesse. Makes me wonder how much that PTSD subplot was necessary if they were going to drop it so quickly.

Genesis no longer works on the Saint. What proceeds is a brutal fight between Jesse, Cassidy, Tulip and the Saint. The Saint knocks everyone out. Surprisingly, he doesn’t kill anyone. He ties up Jesse and talks to him. I mean, full sentences. I didn’t know this man could talk this much. Sadly, it’s a story about scalping that precedes him starting to actually scalp Jesse. Just in time for Jesse, the warden from hell shows up to take the Saint back. That was anti-climatic. I say that a lot in these reviews, don’t I?

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Starr had something to do with saving Jesse and most likely why Genesis doesn’t work on the Saint. Earlier in the episode, he had Cassidy and Tulip brought to him so he could fill them in on everything Jesse left out. Cassidy and Tulip confront Jesse. God is kinkier than he would like so Jesse is starting to come around to the idea of being the messiah. Cassidy asks the important question – if Jesse does this, what does that mean for Tulip and him? Jesse thinks nothing will change but they know better. The episode ends with Jesse going to Starr. Not in anger or confusion. He sees the path Starr laid out for him and he’s ready to start on it. “What happens next,” he asks. Starr answers by dropping to a knee and placing Jesse’s palm on his head in a clearly penitent pose.

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare – Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

The characters have to face hard truths in this episode. Eugene has made mistakes but ultimately he isn’t a bad person. He needed to accept that and fight for his way out of hell. It was driven home to the Saint that no amount of holy water, following rules or making deals was going to get him back to his family. Hell is where he belongs. Jesse had to realize that his search for God is futile. He knows that the current Messiah isn’t able to help the people feeling the loss of the deity at all. It makes Starr’s plan look like a good idea. As for Tulip and Cassidy, they’ve been skeptical of the search for God all season. It’s not surprising they don’t see a place for themselves at the side of Jesse the Messiah.

The season of Preacher is almost over and the main point, the search for God, ended with Jesse sitting forlornly on a couch previously inhabited by the deity in a dog costume. The ridiculousness of it is somehow perfect for this strange, slow season.

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