AMC’s Preacher came roaring back this week with a fantastic second-season premiere, which puts the characters where they should be: on the road searching for God. Having disposed of the prequel season set in Annville, the episode essentially picks up where the comics do, and Preacher finally becomes the show it should have been all along. The Saint of Killers is also where he should be: on Earth, ripping out tongues and creating crater-sized holes in anyone who stands between him and Jesse Custer.
It’s hard to know exactly where this season is headed, but a trip to New Orleans at least suggests that fan-favorite Cassidy will be heavily featured in the “Dixie Fried” storyline from the comics. However, an Easter egg in last night’s season premiere also alluded to one of the most memorable storylines in Garth Ennis’ series: Jesse’s backstory; Jesse’s grandmother, “Miss Marie L’Angell”; and the “All in the Family” storyline.
In the “All in the Family” storyline, Tulip and Jesse are captured and brought back the place of Jesse’s upbringing, Angelville, where Jesse reveals to Tulip his secret past. In the comics, the woman who raised Jesse, Miss Marie, is basically a monster who killed both Jesse’s father and mother and insisted that one day Jesse become a preacher (in the comics, Jesse’s father was not a preacher; Jesse was put on that path by Miss Marie).
After the death of his mother and father, Miss Marie raised Jesse. She was very strict, to say the least. When Jesse “misbehaved” — by cursing at the man who killed his dog, for instance — Miss Marie would force Jesse into an airtight coffin with an air hose that she would submerge at the bottom of a swamp. Jesse had to live in the coffin under the swamp for long periods of time (a week once, a fortnight in a second instance) and stew in his own urine and feces until Miss Marie brought him to the surface.
Miss Marie is beyond evil.
Last night’s season premiere made a subtle reference to that form of punishment. In the scene, Tulip and Cassidy were talking to Jesse about his parent’s wedding photos. Cassidy asked why his mother’s family, the L’Angells, weren’t in any of the pictures.
“They weren’t invited,” Jesse said, while behind him a coffin-like treasure chest at the bottom of a fish tank audibly opened and closed, alluding to the coffin Marie L’Angell had forced Jesse to live in at the bottom of a swamp.
The second season of Preacher has been expanded to 13 episodes, so we may very well see that storyline play out later in the season. However, first we can look forward to some vampire poseurs, a voodoo priest and a gigantic snake in the coming episodes set in New Orleans.