Recap: Preacher – “Backdoors”

By Miclpea

SPOILER ALERT-Preacher- Season Two-Do not read if you have not seen episode 11 of Preacher.

Quote of the Week- “There is a backdoor.”

Coffin being pulled from swamp 

The episode, “Backdoors,” opens with a wooden box being lifted out of the swamp. The box contains a boy who is asked his name by a silhouetted woman. The boy answers “Jesse Custer.” He is put back into the box and lowered into the swampy water.

In the present day, Tulip and Jesse watch as divers recover what appears to be the armored vehicle that Jesse sank in the swamp with The Saint of Killers locked inside. Tulip is understandably upset with Jesse for lying about The Saint of Killers (TSOK). She asks Jesse why he did not send TSOK to Hell. He misleads her by telling her he could not send another soul to Hell. He does not tell her that TSOK has part of Jesse’s own soul. When the truck is on dry land, Jesse looks in the truck before he opens the door. There is only swamp water inside.

At the Grail headquarters, Lara and Hoover report to Herr Starr on what transpired at the swamp. Herr Starr tells them that he is not a homosexual. Hoover apologizes and offers to get the tarpaulin but Herr Starr tells Hoover that he is missing the point. He reveals his plans for Jesse as he tells them that the Messiah is an idiot. He wants to replace Humperdoo with Jesse. He tells them that they can go along with his plan or suffer a horrible death. They agree to his plan and Lara leaves. Hoover stays to tell Herr Starr that there may be a better person suited for the job. Herr Starr agrees but he tells Hoover that Hoover will have to do, as the smarter person is occupied.

In Hell, Tyler is being tested by Mannering to determine if he belongs in Hell. When Tyler is returned to the holding area, Eugene tells him that he does not believe that the person, when found, will be released. Eugene believes what Hitler told him: that the person will be sent to a worse place. Tyler tells Eugene that Hitler is a liar and that Eugene should not believe him.

Meanwhile, in Denis’ apartment, both Tulip and Cassidy are mad at Jesse. Jesse suggests that they take a break, possibly in Bimini. As they prepare to go to Bimini, Jesse tells Tulip that they cannot go until he finds God. Jesse tells them about his meeting with Jesus’ descendant. This leads to an argument, which escalates when Jesse attacks Cassidy for buying Denis a dog. As the dog barks louder, Jesse stares at the dog as he has an epiphanic moment. He finally connects Humperdoo’s drawing of Dalmatians with the man/dog from the New Orleans club. Jesse tells Tulip and Cassidy that he knows where God is but they refuse to go with him.

Jesse goes back to the club where he originally saw the man/dog. The man/dog is gone.

In Hell, Eugene and Tyler force Hitler to open the door to his private hell. Once they are in his cell, Hitler’s private hell starts. Tyler and Eugene see Hitler having lunch with his date. His date insists that Hitler show his drawings to the head of a famous local art gallery. The gallery owner critiques Hitler’s work. He tells Hitler that his drawings are “bloodless.” When Hitler returns to his seat, Communists push their way into the restaurant and start harassing the clientele. One of the Communists drops his pistol, which Hitler returns, instead of using it to stop the Communists. Hitler’s date is obviously disappointed that Hitler did not confront the Communists when he had the gun. She tells him that she was not helping at her family’s shop the previous day but was actually dating someone else. She tells Hitler that she is leaving him because he has no ambition. In the final insult, the plum cakes, which Hitler had ordered earlier, were given to a Jewish man. This same man had bumped a seated Hitler earlier.

Noah Taylor as Adolf Hitler

When Hitler’s private hell replay ends, they return to the cell block, Eugene asks Hitler if he really started WWII because he was not given a plum cake. Hitler explains that the memory is his personal hell because it is the last day he was good. Eugene asks Hitler to help him escape. Hitler explains that there is a backdoor. Before Hitler can explain more, Eugene is called for his screening. Hitler tells Eugene that he will come for him.

Hitler gets up from his bunk after Eugene is taken. He asks for the attention of the other inmates. He is ignored twice before he yells at them. Once he has their attention, he tells them what he wants them to do. Tyler asks why they should listen to him. Hitler responds not in the voice he normally uses in Hell but in the powerful voice that energized a nation to commit horrible atrocities. He yells at them that he is “Adolph Fu**ing Hitler!”

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, Tulip returns after trying to find Jesse. After talking with Cassidy, she decides to take TSOK’s guns and the sword to have them destroyed. Tulip tells Cassidy that Jenny (Lara) will be going with her. After Tulip leaves, Denis asks Cassidy why he does not just take her, since he is a vampire. This enrages Cassidy, who demands Denis’ dog. Cassidy is beginning to realize that he may have created a monster when he turned Denis.

The Cassidy and Denis relationship is typical of a father and son, except that appears to be backwards. The older-appearing man assumes the role of the son while the younger-appearing man assumes the role of the father. This is Preacher’s strength; the show can take tired old tropes and rewrite them to great comedic and dramatic effect.

At the Grail headquarters, Jesse uses the voice of Genesis to ask Herr Starr if he knew that the man/dog was God. Herr Starr truthfully answers that he did not know. Jesse feels that he failed a test of God when he failed to recognize Him. Herr Starr says that there had been rumors that the burden of creation had caused God to become “disenchanted.” Herr Starr explains to Jesse that after observing him, he has come to the conclusion that Jesse wants forgiveness for killing his father. The shocked look on Jesse’s face clearly shows that Herr Starr’s assessment is correct.

This insight into Jesse’s psyche is only Herr Starr’s opening salvo. Herr Starr explains to Jesse that Heaven decided to develop a ‘backup system’ to make sure that none of the billions of people fell in-between the cracks. Herr Starr picks up a reel-to-reel tape from a stack marked ‘Jesse Custer’ and puts it on a tape player. He tells Jesse that the tape contains Jesse’s prayers.

At a smelt shop in New Orleans, Tulip and Jenny arrive with the sword and guns for destruction. The owner insists that Tulip empty the guns before he will melt them down, since he does not want any bullets exploding in his smelter. Tulip is unable to fire the guns to empty the chambers. The owner refuses to destroy them but Jenny offers to engage in a sex act in exchange for him melting the guns. Jenny is just using this as a ploy to blackmail the owner, as she explains to him that she will tell the police that he forced her to have sex with him. The owner agrees to their demands to melt the gun. Later, he calls them back into the shop. He takes the gun out of the red, hot smelter with tongs and drops it into Tulip’s hand. The gun is not even warm!

In Hell, Eugene is screened by the use of a lie detector and slides to test his reaction to different scenes. As Mannering is about to discover that Eugene does not belong there, the guard shows Mannering a scene of the prisoners holding hands singing “Michael Row the Boat Ashore.” They rush to break up this riot of ‘goodwill.’ Hitler uses this diversion to grab Eugene and escape down the Hole.

In New Orleans, Tulip and Jenny drop the sword and guns into a mailbox. They are wrapped and have been addressed for someplace in Brazil. Meanwhile, in Herr Starr’s office, Jesse is listening to a lifetime of prayers. Herr Starr Explains to Jesse that he if he wants to save his soul that he has to go “big” and join the Grail. When Jesse is reluctant, Herr Starr plays one last recording. The recording is from a time when Jesse, as a boy, was taken from the wooden box again but this time he said that his name was “Jesse L’Angelle.” This is the family name of his mother and his grandmother (she was the evil person who had Jesse placed into the box in the first place). Jesse also thanks God for killing his father. All of this takes place at a dock in Angelville.

Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare, Julie Ann Emery as Jennie 

Herr Starr has overplayed his hand because this last tape causes a change in Jesse. He quietly stands and touches the tapes that contain the recordings of his prayers. Herr Starr offers to make copies but Jesse uses the voice of Genesis to order Herr Starr to “shove them up your ass.” Jesse leaves the office as the noise of Herr Starr complying with Jesse’s order is heard coming from the office. Jesse has to use the voice of Genesis twice to force the secretary to call the elevator to let him out.

In the final scenes, the mailman picks up the guns and sword. Herr Starr calls Hoover and tells him that Jesse has left them no choice. As he is talking to Hoover, Herr Starr is still disposing of the tapes per Jesse’s earlier command. At a Grail warehouse, the original armored truck which contained TSOK is parked. Hoover tells someone in the truck that he is glad they could reach an agreement. The doors are unlocked and Hoover jumps out of the truck before he runs wildly away.

“Backdoors” introduced one new character, Jesse’s grandmother, who will play a pivotal role in the future. It is clear that any person, who can torture their own grandson is not a good human being. Additionally, Jesse has made powerful enemies with the Grail and it appears that the Grail has released TSOK to hunt him again. If this is not enough for poor Jesse, both Tulip and Cassidy are mad at him. Jesse is not the only one with problems. Cassidy is going to have to deal with the problem that he may have created a monster when he turned Denis. What happens if Tulip discovers that Jenny is Lara? There are two episodes left this season and yet so many issues and questions to resolve. This is what makes Preacher such a fun show.

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Miclpea

I love going to conventions around the US. I’m an ardent fan of all things science fiction and especially The Expanse. I write for Friends of CC and I have written a science fiction script with a friend.