WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Season 5, Episode 5 of Preacher, "Bleak City," which aired Sunday on AMC.
The version of Jesse Custer in AMC's adaption of Preacher is not a good guy. Not by a long shot. However, by the end of the fifth episode of the show's final season -- appropriately titled "Bleak City" -- you might feel a little bad for him. Of course, the person whose anger finally catches up to Jesse in the form of a bullet is kind of justified in his actions. After all, the titular unholy man did literally send his assailant to Hell in Season 1, so you can't completely blame them for pulling the trigger.
When Arseface finds Jesse and his friends in the comics, they laugh at his threats and eventually deescalate the situation. Jesse saw the good in Eugene and brought him into their cadre of vampires and assassins. Things in the show play out very differently.
Eugene (played by the wonderful Ian Colletti), being the same kind soul we loved from the comics, was on the fence about enacting vengeance. But when the gun was in his hand and he had Jesse dead to rights in the show, there was no yucking things up. There was no levity to the situation. Just a confused young man in the back of a car with a gun aimed at the back of a man who he once thought to be his friend.
And then Eugene did the unthinkable. He shot Jesse Custer in the back. After thwarting an attack from The Saint of Killers, Jesse scoops up Arseface and flees. The Saint, you see, wants Jesse's head as much as anyone and was wisely using Eugene as bait to lure the Preacher to his ultimate demise. Of course, Eugene was playing both sides of the table, and when push came to shove, the poor disfigured boy chose violence, which is as tragic as it is seemingly out of character -- perhaps this is why is feels tragic.
Of all the characters in Preacher's rogues gallery, Eugene "Arseface" Root has always been a symbol of innocence -- even when he became a huge rock star and got into his own brand of debauchery. It's hard not to love the guy, warts and all. The version of the character in AMC's adaptation is even more charming, innocent, and kind, which makes his transgression all the more shocking. Seeing him pull the trigger was a pearl-clutching moment and arguably the most shocking thing the show has ever portrayed, specifically for fans of the source material.
Before you go pouring out a little whiskey for poor ol' Jesse Custer, don't worry. He's fine. Well, as fine as you can be after getting shot in the back. After all, Arseface isn't known for his marksmanship. But despite surviving the gunshot wound, Jesse now has bigger issues. The Saint of Killers still wants his head and thanks to Eugene's sudden change of heart, it looks like the invincible cowboy killing machine (great band name, by the way) is going to get what he came for.
AMC's Preacher stars Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Ruth Negga as Tulip and Joe Gilgun as Cassidy the Vampire, Pip Torrens as Herr Starr, Malcolm Barrett as Hoover and Julie Ann Emery as Featherstone.