Last week, Preacher introduced the Tombs -- an original element to the Angelville fans know from the comics.
The Tombs hold victims of Marie L’Angell’s machine, a soul-sucking contraption she sics on her customers who can’t pay the fee for whatever voodoo she's performed for them. After they’ve been for a treatment, the victims are led down to the dungeon-like basement and chained, presumably until Madame L’Angell says otherwise. However, this week’s episode revealed the Tombs’ true purpose -- a demented fight club that pits the soulless against the soulless (or Cassidy in this case) for sport. It’s also a necessary source of income for the struggling plantation, now that the mysterious Madame Boyd has eaten up all the voodoo business in town.
However, the Tombs have been around since before Jesse was born -- Gran’ma would need some kind of insurance that her customers wouldn’t cut and run, and just sending Jody around to collect delinquent payments isn’t really her style. Gran’ma’s the kind of woman who hopes her customers screw up just so she gets the chance to torture them in some horrific and profitable way. After all, this is a woman who cut open her daughter’s stomach just to find a photo -- she doesn’t need much of an excuse to be the worst. Plus, considering Christina handed Gran’ma a big one by trying to hide Jesse away in Texas, it’s not even the slightest surprise that the girl would get sent to the machine as soon as Gran’ma could give the order.
Unfortunately for her, that means there’s a good chance audiences haven’t seen the last of Jesse’s mother.
An ironic side effect of the machine is that it appears to grant its subjects some kind of eternal life. None of the prisoners we saw this week looked like they’d aged at all between the time of Jesse’s flashbacks and the present-day. That could just be because it’s only been 10-15 years since Jesse’s escape from Angelville, but both of those possibilities allow for Christina Custer's continued existence. Plus, as we’ve previously discussed, Madame L’Angell is a terrible, terrible person who would absolutely keep her own daughter prisoner for the sake of fun and/or utility.
Considering Jesse’s barely hiding his intention to escape from Angelville as soon as possible, a long-lost mother would make an excellent trump card should Marie ever need to play it.
It should be said, though, that seeing Jesse come face-to-face with his undead(?) mother is pretty dark, even for Preacher, and it would put Christina in the position of being a hugely victimized woman on a show that isn’t really known for its wilting flowers. But, it would also be an excellent opportunity for Jesse to finally meet a family member who didn’t represent absolute purity or absolute depravity, as well as possibly give him a break from trying to be one or the other.
Jesse’s not the demon his grandmother is, but he’s not the saint his father was, either. That’s his whole thing.
From what little we saw of Christina, she was far more like her son than his father was. She rebelled against her mother and eventually sacrificed herself to protect the people she loved, but despite her contempt for her family, she’s still a little culpable for their actions. Jesse’s faced with a parallel situation in the present day as he tries to keep Tulip and Cassidy safe from the evil in Angelville, but there’s a part of him that’s at home at the plantation and acting as ringmaster for the perverted circus that goes on underneath it.
Given Preacher's penchant for high, sick drama, Christina’s potential return seems very likely, whether she serves to keep him in his grandmother’s clutches or winds up inspiring him to break free once and for all.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, Preacher stars Dominic Cooper as Preacher Jesse Custer, Ruth Negga as Tulip and Joe Gilgun as Cassidy the Vampire. Betty Buckley (Gran’ma), Colin Cunningham (T.C.), Jeremy Childs (Jody) and Liz McGeever (Christina) also join the cast.