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Preacher Recap: ‘Back Doors’ Don’t Lead Anywhere Good

by  in TV Reviews Comment
Preacher Recap: ‘Back Doors’ Don’t Lead Anywhere Good

This week opens with the horrific explanation behind Jesse’s continuous flashbacks to an underwater cell of some kind. It appears after his father’s death, when he arrived in Louisiana to be cared by his sociopathic maternal grandmother. Having refused to stop using his father’s last name in favor of adopting L’Angell, Jesse is locked in a metal coffin and lowered into a swamp for days at a time with no food or water. Looks like we might finally get to the bottom of Jesse’s rage issues soon… but not before Jesse has to deal with the fallout of lying to Tulip about sending the Saint to Hell.

After the credits, we cut to present-day Jesse hauling the sokosha out of the swamp, all the while assuring his friends that there’s no way the Saint could’ve escaped. Spoiler alert: the Grail helped him escape. Tulip and Cassidy are understandably pissed about this, and Jesse looks like he’s finally wearing down. He starts to suggest that they all go on a trip, but doesn’t get to the “when this is all over” part before Tulip and Cassidy get all excited about leaving immediately. When Jesse clarifies he didn’t mean right away, another fight between the trio arises. This time Tulip and Cassidy finally call it quits on helping Jesse. This comes at the same moment Jesse finally has an epiphany — God really was Man-Dog in the first seedy club they visited. Unfortunately, as Jesse discovers, He’s long gone now.

He confronts the Grail about their knowledge of this fact, and Starr admits they had none. The Head of the Samson unit then takes his shot to try and convince Jesse to join his operation as the faux Messiah by gaslighting Jesse with his own prayers (which he has on tape). Starr points out that Jesse’s asked for forgiveness for some terrible things, and perhaps only doing something monumental will clear him of his karma. When Jesse seems unfazed, pointing out many people have done much worse than he, Starr plays his trump card and we finally see the end of the earlier flashback. Jesse’s brought out the swamp once more, but this time he capitulates. He calls himself Jesse L’Angell, and tearfully obeys his grandmother when she orders him to thank God for killing his father and bringing him home. It’s very, very messed up.

Afterwards, Starr, at his most frightening, sneers at Jesse that the preacher will need to store up some serious good karma to win forgiveness for such a terrible thing. Jesse looks forlornly at his prayer tapes… and commands Starr to shove each and every one up his ass. Zing! For just a moment, Jesse was an underdog hero again, and it was wonderful.

It would have been more triumphant if Jesse hadn’t immediately discovered he couldn’t order the guards to let him out. The Word malfunctioned for a moment, and while he was able to leave, it’s looking like that missing 1 percent is starting to have practical effects.

In other news, Tulip decides to destroy the Saint’s weapons, and takes Jenny with her. At this point, it needs to be said that Julie Ann Emery is slowly becoming this show’s MVP. She has a scene with Starr that’s very brief, but she still manages to steal it using with Featherstone’s hilarious, violently naked ambition and aggressive sycophantism. There is literally no line this woman wouldn’t cross, mostly because she really, really likes crossing lines.

Then, when she’s posing as Jenny, Emery gives new meaning to multifaceted performance as she flawlessly executes Julie’s sweetness, all the while low-key weaving in Featherstone’s subtle manipulations and utter savagery. Every few minutes she throws a dig at Jesse’s character, but doesn’t push when it’s clear Tulip’s still very much committed to him. And when the smelter initially refuses to do the job, she surprises everyone in the room by threatening to falsely accuse him of sexual assault if he doesn’t do the job.

In any case, as luck would have it, the Saint’s weapons are impervious to the 4000 degree molten metal bath the smelter uses. In a last ditch, very sloppy effort, the women shove everything in a blue mailbox all wrapped up to go to Brazil. Odds are, they won’t make it…

Finally, in Hell, testing has begun to see which soul doesn’t belong. Most inmates are excited for the chance get out, but it’s obvious to Eugene that such a thing would never happen. He tells Tyler who demands to know where he got the information. Eugene nods toward Hitler and explains the Führer used to be a custodian in Hell and saw all sorts of things.

Tyler insists they can’t trust the man (foreshadowing?), and insists they see his personal Hell to verify Hitler’s current sweet nature. They watch his worst memory, which is a shockingly benign, but heartbreaking afternoon for a young Adolf. His artwork is rejected by a gallery owner, he makes a fool of himself in front of his girlfriend, who then dumps him, and, finally, the Jewish man who bumped into him earlier, eats his plumcake. Tyler is amused, but Eugene is curious as to how that could be Hitler‘s worst memory.

The former custodian simply says that it was the last day he was “good.” It’s sad and sincere enough to convince Eugene to join in on the escape plan, and the two get to work. When Eugene is called in for his screening, Hitler asks the other inmates to help him create a diversion. They laugh him off, so Noah Taylor breaks out his actual Hitler impersonation as the late-Führer goes full Hitler and terrifies them all into going along. It’s really uncomfortably triumphant.

When the coast is clear, he and Eugene jump down the hole to… freedom (?), and we get to wait another week to find out if Hitler is now a man of his word.

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