Written by: Mark Stegemann
Directed by: Maja Vrvilo
Jesse’s search for God continues as Cassidy comforts his dying son, Tulip tries to take some control back in her life, and Eugene struggles to survive in hell.
“Holes” has most of the characters off doing their own thing this episode, but unlike the previous episode, none of it clashes, and while some storylines seem little more than filler or take up too much time, on the whole, this is a well-balanced if a little slow paced episode that takes the time to check in on our cast of loveable anti-heroes.
The episode opens on Eugene, now buff and with prison tats, and outwardly very mean, but we swiftly find out that he’s still the same nice Eugene. However, he quickly finds out that this could get him in trouble, as good behavior is punished in Hell. Which, honestly, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Hell is overcrowded, but they actively punish good behavior? Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to try and rehabilitate prisoners to at least purgatory level to start alleviating some of the budgeting issues they face?
Then again, Preacher has always had a loose grasp on realism or logic at the best of times, so this is mostly played as a joke(“That was nice of you” is probably the worst thing a prisoner could hear in Hell), and as a way to raise the stakes for Eugene, the nicest person in Hell.
Unfortunately, aside from a couple good gags, the Hell storyline has probably been the least engaging this season, not to mention this episode. For one, it’s been given the least amount of time and some things don’t… quite work. A scene this episode where Eugene’s worst memory is distorted to be even worse is caught between being a sincerely horrible moment for Eugene, and a joke. But, the biggest problem with the Hell storyline is Hitler. While I was cautiously pessimistic about Eugene’s dynamic with Hitler to start with, that’s just turned into pure pessimism at this point. I’m sorry, but Hitler just doesn’t work. This may be my fault for not being able to separate real world implications from fiction, but that doesn’t stop it from making anything with “good-guy Hitler” feel extremely uncomfortable as I’m watching the show.
Thankfully, the other storylines far a lot better.
Surprisingly, Cassidy ends up being the heart of this episode. His relationship with his elderly, and now dying son Denis is genuinely sad and gives us some insight into Cass that we haven’t had up until this point. Hints at his past, his relationships with others outside of Jesse and Tulip, and his self-hatred are played almost completely sincerely. Even the jokes here manage to be both funny and sincere(of course Cassidy’s idea of a lullaby is a rhyme about a whore. Of course it is).
We also see him more distant from Jesse and Tulip than ever before, absorbed in his own problems as they deal with theirs. Speaking of…
Little progress is made in Jesse’s search for God, and his growing anger and frustration starts to be felt in this episode as he misses obvious clues right in front of him, lashes out at others, and in what is maybe his most pathetic moment, prays to a God he knows is missing from Heaven for lack of anywhere else to turn.
Tulip, meanwhile, decides to do something about her nightmares by fixing the holes from when the Saint of Killers murdered all of Denis’ neighbors in “Sokosha”. There isn’t a whole lot to this, but it does give her the chance to cross paths with a disguised Featherstone.
“Holes” may be one of the most filler-y episodes this season, but I find myself glad for a chance to check in on all of these characters individually while waiting for things with Herr Starr and The Grail to kick into high-gear.