SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Sokosha,” tonight’s episode of Preacher, which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
For everyone’s edification, “sokosha” is Japanese for armored car. The sixth episode of Preacher‘s second season is aptly named given all the action takes place around it, but it’s also a brilliant foreshadowing device for Jesse’s continued descent into blind arrogance. More on that later, though.
“Sokosha,” written by Mary Laws (co-writer of Neon Demon), employs Preacher‘s “show now, explain later” style to great effect. We open on a shot of a drip coffee maker in the home of a down-on-their-luck couple about to lose their house. They agree to what appears to be a benign medical procedure, but no medical procedure advertised to poor people and that pays $150,000 is ever benign. A kind, friendly Japanese man explains that it won’t hurt and that most people “don’t even miss it.” We don’t find out what “it” is until later, but the palpable apprehension and foreboding present in this scene warn us that someone, at some point will miss “it.” The Japanese man extracts something from the husband, pays the wife and hightails it uptown. He establishes that what he’s extracted is a match for a woman named Mildred who is clearly suffering from dementia. She ingests it, and in seconds recognizes her husband again. They cut a check for $2.7 million and the Japanese man drives away in a sokosha driven by two men armed with what look like Kalashnikovs. Won’t even miss it, our ass.
The rest of the episode finds the Saint of Killers led to Denis’ apartment by Allie, the late Viktor’s daughter. She directs him to the wrong apartment either because she doesn’t remember or she’s forgiven her stepmother enough to give the trio a head start. It works, and while the Saint is killing everyone in his path, Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy are able to escape. They decide they can no longer keep running from the killer cowboy, mostly because Jesse is still intent on finding God and needs to use the Word to do it. Also, let’s be real — he likes his superpower, and it’s showing.
But despite what an arrogant asshole Jesse is this week, he’s still very competent. Knowing they can’t defeat the Saint as they are, he, Tulip and Cassidy invoke their inner Scooby Gang and head to the library. (Giles would be proud.) In a gorgeous montage that tells the Saint stories over three different mediums (an audiobook narration, graphic novel illustrations and text from history books) the gang learns what we already know about the Saint and just a scoche more. They read about his history as a bloody war criminal, the loss of his family and his eventual damnation, but they also learn, as do we, that he is the only living man without a soul. And if the Saint wants to return to Heaven to be with his wife and child finally, he’ll need one to do that.
Just as Jesse realizes this, Cassidy immediately remembers that he hasn’t told Denis that the apartment is compromised. Terrified for his son’s well-being, he calls Denis and tries desperately to warn the man… in English. But it’s too late, and Denis becomes the leverage that (finally) gets Jesse face-to-face with the Saint of Killers.
The confrontation we’ve been waiting for is very reminiscent of Jesse’s face-off with Susan in “Sundowner.” This is not a man who intimidates easily, and he doesn’t blink at the Saint. He tells the cowboy that whatever deal he thinks he has with God is bullshit because God is missing. Then they watch the video together and the Saint realizes he’s been duped. Furious, he acquiesces to Jesse’s alternative — the preacher will procure a soul for the cowboy and reunite him with his family. Cue Tamashi Uresii Iku Iku — Soul Happy Go Go — the corporation running the armored truck operation we saw in the cold open.
Jesse has an hour to find a soul, but considering New Orleans has a host of voodoo practitioners well-versed in such things, he doesn’t look long. Also, he name drops his family for the first time out loud, introducing himself as Jesse L’Angell to the clerk at Papa Bebe’s voodoo shop. But the clerk tells him that a massive Japanese corporation has put all of the mom-and-pop soul dealers out of business. The scene reminded us of that Sopranos episode when Paulie Walnuts tries to shake down a Jamba Juice.
Conveniently (a little too much so, tbh), the sokosha is parked across the street from the shop Jesse’s in, so he’s able to get inside and force the salesman we saw in the cold open to take a piece of his own soul to give to the Saint. They can take as little as 1 percent, but even that much makes Jesse uneasy. Then the salesman utters the line that will no doubt come back to haunt all of us at some point: “You won’t even miss it.”
Meanwhile, as Jesse rushes back to Tulip, Cassidy and Denis (held hostage by the Saint), Denis falls quite ill due to his lack of inhaler. That’s when we finally learn the nature of his relationship with Cassidy — he’s his son. If you don’t have feelings about Cassidy nursing his aged son, you don’t have feelings. Eventually, Jesse makes good on his promise to return by 6pm, soul in hand. He feeds it to the Saint, and while we didn’t need proof it worked, Jesse immediately uses the Word on him, and it finally succeeds.
Then, in a double-cross that leaves a seriously bad taste in our mouths, Jesse goes back on his word to send the Saint to heaven, and instead self-righteously condemns the Saint for his evil deeds, locks him in the sokosha and drives it into a swamp. It’s a moment that should feel triumphant, but it doesn’t. It’s just more evidence that Jesse is sliding further and further into darkness. There’s a reason souls were kept on an armored truck — without protection, they get lost, and they most surely will be missed.
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