Written By: Philip Buiser
Directed By: Michael Morris
Sometimes, it’s hard to forget that these characters are, at their core, deeply fucked up people. “Dallas” reminds us of that by way of an emotional gut punch and the crushing weight of Jesse’s depression and anger. “Dallas” offers no insane fight scenes. No gay angels or cowboys from Hell. The usual manic energy of the show is absent here, replaced by tedium and routine. And yet, “Dallas” is the most intense episode of Preacher yet. It shows the nasty, dark heart of the characters we’ve been following, and the usual laughter and shock that’s typical of watching an episode of Preacher is replaced by a growing feeling of dread as things come to head, and a side of Jesse yet unseen is revealed.
After finding out that the mob boss Viktor is actually Tulip’s husband, Jesse loses control, dragging Viktor into the torture room, and using The Word on Tulip to make her leave. As Jesse thinks about what to do with Viktor, his mind goes back to three months after Tulip’s miscarriage in Dallas that was revealed last season.
After Carlos betrayed them, causing Tulip’s miscarriage, Jesse and Tulip have retired from crime and are now living in a crappy apartment in Dallas working at crappy jobs they hate. Tulip works during the day a realtor’s assistant, and Jesse works at night as a bartender, spending most of his time with his stoner buddy Reggie watching John Wayne movies. Every so often Tulip takes a pregnancy test that comes out negative, she and Jesse have sex, and he goes out to buy beer, cigarettes, and pregnancy tests. This look into Jesse and Tulip’s past is depressing and completely lacking the sense of larger than life action present in even the slower episodes of the show. It’s a look at two broken people stuck in place, living lives they don’t want to leave, and the emotional impact of that hits hard.
In the present, Cassidy promises to fix the mess he made and talk to Jesse, but his intentions may not be that clear. There’s room for interpretation, if Cassidy is simply giving the best advice he has or actively trying to ruin Jesse and Tulip’s relationship. I prefer to have faith in Cass, but it’s definitely something that will be explored in future episodes.
The flashbacks become more intense, and eventually build to what is possibly the most depressing montage in television history. The routine of an unhappy life flashes by as discordant music plays at increasing speed. Pages torn out of a bible, failed pregnancy tests, sex without passion or love, walking by a church at night, watching movies that’ve been seen dozens of times. The cycle repeats, and repeats, everything stuck in place.
The way things come to head in the past between Jesse and Tulip is intense and horrific, and I wouldn’t dare spoiling it for anyone.
By the end of the episode, we’ve seen a different side of Jesse, and we understand Jesse and Tulip’s relationship a little more. Looking back on it, not a whole lot happened, but the intensity of the feeling I had watching that episode is unmatched by almost anything else.
The final moments of the episode show the Saint’s arrival in New Orleans, and the promise that the coming episodes will be full of the usual action and insanity that defines Preacher, but I’m more than glad for this detour into the past.