Viewers of AMC’s Preacher won’t find many answers to what’s going on with Odin Quincannon and the town of Annville in Garth Ennis’ source material. Aside from owning a meat processing plant, generally looking creepy, and perhaps having a sexual fascination with livestock, there aren’t many similarities between the Odin in the television series and the Odin in the comic book. In fact, at no point did Odin Quincannon ever agree under Jesse’s command to serve God in the comics, as he did in tonight’s episode, “Monster Swamp.”
To figure out what’s going on with the sinkholes, the Green Acre group, and the mystery behind how Odin Quincannon processes the meat, we have to look to the television series for clues.
This may seem like a far-fetched theory, but stick with it for a minute.
We do know both from the comics, and from the context of the series, that certain environmental regulations are not being followed in the processing of meat in Odin’s plant. The townspeople — and the Sheriff — look the other way. However, it may be why the mayor of Annville, Miles Person, sought to persuade Odin to partner with Green Acre Group to help with “soil sustainability” and “sustainability silos.”
What does soil sustainability have to do with meat processing?
There’s something called the “soil to manure ratio.” In certain parts of the country where there are too many cows, there can be too much manure for the land to absorb. Here in Annville, we see that Odin Quincannon continues to buy up land in order to provide more space for his livestock. With that many cows, there’s going to be a lot of manure, and the problem is when the manure-to-crop ratio gets too high, the manure seeps into the ground and into the groundwater. One way that manure can quickly get into groundwater is through sinkholes. They are basically a direct line into private wells, which is where a lot of the drinking water comes from in a rural place like Annville, Texas. Those sinkholes can also be man-made where, for instance, there’s are a lot of pipes underground, pipes that might be used to evacuate thousands of gallons of blood and other substances when dealing with the slaughter of cows and other livestock.
In other words, what we may be dealing with here in Annville is a groundwater problem. It might be filled with poop. When they pulled up Lacy from the sinkhole, for instance, she was covered in a brown, sludge-like substance. It might be mud, but it might be manure. Or it might be both. Recall, however, what Clive said when Lacy fell into the sinkhole. He said, “Sh*t,” which could have been a simple exclamation or it could have been describing the contents in the sinkhole.
There is one other clue that brings this all together: When Tulip confronted Mosie — the owner of the brothel — about Odin Quincannon’s casual dismissal of the death of Lacy, recall what Mosie said. “What’d you expect? It’s Chinatown.”
That’s a strange reference to Jack Nicholson’s 1974 film, until you recall that Chinatown is about a seemingly unrelated murder that results in an investigation that reveals a huge conspiracy involving land deals and the water supply. My hunch is that an investigation into Lacy’s death might reveal a similar conspiracy involving Odin Quincannon, land deals, and a water supply being tainted by cow manure.