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The Significance Of The Tattoos In ‘Preacher’ And What They Might Mean For Season 2


In last week’s episode of Preacher, “Sundowner,” we caught a glimpse of a tattoo on Jesse Custer’s back, the very same tattoo that we saw in the very first shot of Jesse in the pilot episode.

Here’s a close-up of the tattoo from last week’s episode.

Asked by Cassidy where Jesse got the tattoo in last week’s episode, Custer only offered, “From a mean old lady.”

In tonight’s episode, we saw that tattoo once again, only it wasn’t on Jesse’s back. It was on the arm of the man that killed Jesse’s father when Jesse was 10 years old.

One doesn’t need an understanding of Garth Ennis’ source material to put two and two together here and surmise that the mean old lady who gave Jesse the tattoo on his back is in some way related to the man who executed Jesse’s father.

Readers of the comics, however, know there’s more significance to that tattoo, and are probably relieved to know that this particular storyline will make it into the television series.

(Comic spoilers ahead, if you don’t want to find out the full connection).

The mean old lady, of course, is Marie L’Angelle, the wretched grandmother of Jesse Custer and like in the comics, it’s L’Angelle’s enforcer, Jody, who kills Jesse’s father. In the comics, there was no real rhyme or reason for why Jody killed John Custer, other than the fact that Marie L’Angelle was a terrible woman and, once Jesse was born and could carry on the family line, had no reason to keep John around anymore. Interestingly here, showrunner Sam Catlin appears to be fleshing out a more substantive motive for the execution of John (in the comics, Jesse’s mom didn’t leave until after John was executed, although in the television show she is already gone at the time of the execution).

The tattoo, by the way, is the same insignia from Marie L’Angelle’s Angelville home in the comics.

What it means for this season of Preacher, which only has three episodes remaining, is uncertain. We may meet Marie L’Angelle before the season is over, but the series is unlikely to fully explore that storyline until next year. It might be interesting to see who they cast as Marie L’Angelle, however. The pilot episode featured a brief shot of Elizabeth Perkins, who was cut from the series. She was set to play a female version of Odin Quincannon, and it’s possible that Catlin had originally conceived combining Odin Quincannon and Marie L’Angelle in the first season. Theoretically, Perkins could come back in that capacity.

However, there is one actress who I think would be absolutely perfect for the role, a 90’s sitcom actress who reappeared in the last season of The Leftovers looking completely unrecognizable:

Here’s a more recognizable photo of her:

That’s Brett Butler from Grace Under Fire. She had a rough go of it after her drug addiction forced the cancellation of her sitcom. She eventually blew all of her money on drugs and ended up homeless. She has since returned to acting, appearing in the aforementioned The Leftovers, Young and the Restless and ironically enough, Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management.

She’d be a brilliant Marie L’Angelle.

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