WARNING: The following contains spoilers for this week's episode of Preacher, "The Coffin," which premiered Sunday on AMC.
Despite the quality of its writing, execution and performances, AMC's Preacher continues to alienate fans of the comic by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon with its somewhat-odd avoidance of its own source material. The first two seasons were peppered with storylines and references from various points in the comic, but they were rarely if ever as straightforward an adaptation as shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. The upside of that creative choice is that it’s allowed the series to develop new arcs that arguably enhance the source material instead of betraying it (Hitler and Eugene represent the perfect example), but the downside is the alienation of what could’ve been a core fan base for a show that’s struggled a bit to find its audience.
Thankfully, Season 3 appears to have achieved a solid balance between new material and old, and this week Preacher continued that trend by introducing three classic characters from the comics.
As foretold in the teasers, Jonny Coyne finally appeared as Allfather D’Arronique. Whereas Betty Buckley (Gran’ma) tempered her brittle comics’ counterpart with a touch of misery and desire, Coyne blows out every depraved shade of the Allfather, lifting him off the page and presenting us with something palpably grotesque. He’s impossibly obese and indulgently disgusting, but beneath the layers of fat, greasy skin covered in whatever food is lucky enough to miss his mouth lurks the spark of something powerful and frightening. There’s a reason he’s in the position he is, despite that he’s physically incapacitated by his girth.
He might be the closest thing to Jabba the Hut that humanity’s ever seen, but he’s also formidable enough to put the literal fear of God into Herr Starr. Watching the head of the Grail's Samson unit squirm for once was a refreshing departure from Starr's normally unflappable and bored countenance. And it didn’t hurt that D’Arronique’s debut came wrapped in a tap dancing Messiah sequence that perfectly illustrated Preacher's disturbing and playful sense of humor.
Elsewhere, in New Orleans, Cassidy’s attempts to move on from the loss of what amounted to his family up until a few days before. That lasts for about 12 hours, until he’s kidnapped by the Grail and held for ransom to induce Jesse’s return to the fold. That lasts for about 12 minutes, and then he’s whisked away by Les Enfants du Sang, a vampire-worshiping cult led by Eccarius (Supernatural's Adam Croasdell). In the comics Eccarius is a young-ish vampire who learned everything he needed to know about vampirin’ from pop fiction. Cassidy attempts to show him a more realistic, less-douchey existence, and it goes … not great. But his appearance this week is minimal, so we’ll have to wait and see how the show will adapt his storyline.