Preacher: S02E09 “Puzzle Piece” Review

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By Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)
 
The second season of Preacher is winding down, this week with “Puzzle Piece.” The ninth episode of the season sped things back up after last week’s emotional episode, giving us some fun and action to enjoy with a lot of material to cover! Find out how this week went!
 
If you were hoping for more odd-couple comedy from Eugene (Ian Colletti) and Hitler (Noah Taylor), I’ll be upfront about it and let you know that “Puzzle Piece” left them out of the picture this week. If you were curious about how the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) is doing at the bottom of a swampy lake in an armored truck, you should probably just assume he’s still sitting there fuming over Jesse’s (Dominic Cooper) double-cross. Preacher has moved on from these stories for the time being. (I’m still waiting to see what Eugene’s story has to do with Jesse, anyway.)
 
Last week, the trio of God-searchers each had their own emotional issues to deal with, embarking on individual journeys. Tulip (Ruth Negga) was suffering through the emotional ramifications of her near-death experience with the Saint of Killers (McTavish), and those issues carried over to this week. Ruth Negga gave an outstandingly beautiful performance in “Puzzle Piece” during an interaction with an apologetic Jesse (Cooper), showing an honest vulnerability that was refreshing to watch. While Preacher deals in the ridiculous and off-the-wall, Tulip’s reactions this week danced dangerously close to normal, allowing the audience to relate and bond with the character without being inundated with normalcy.
 
Meanwhile, Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) proved once again in “Puzzle Piece” that he is a character true to the spirit of Preacher. His nonchalance in the face of extremism and a deadpan delivery are so darkly humorous and off-kilter, you almost find yourself rooting for him! Starr’s date with a beautiful woman this week started normal enough, but quickly ran head-on into the unexpected and strange. Unfortunately, the weird date was interrupted, so we’ll never know what the butter under the chin was about! But on the bright side, the events of this week’s episode brought Starr face-to-face with Jesse (Cooper) and a potential alliance that will likely test the boundaries of the God-hunting team’s already questionable morals. A little Angelville clue was thrown in with Starr as well, so it’s clear there’s a plan set to unfold during the remainder of the current season, or perhaps (if we’re lucky) a third season of Preacher!
 
“Puzzle Piece” worked toward a chaotic closing this week. Mayhem inside and outside the house of Denis (Ronald Guttman) in New Orleans built up anticipation for an O.K. Corral showdown between the trio and the organization of white-suited individuals and a mysterious Guild operator named Brad. The absolutely genius of the build-up was that almost nothing ended up happening! “Puzzle Piece” was in line with the expectation of the unexpected that has become a hallmark of Preacher. The episode looked to be headed in a certain direction, with more than one misdirect for the audience to fall for, but Brad was not who we thought he would be and Herr Starr (Torrens) had some interesting twists and turns along the way as well!
 
The highlight of this week’s episode of Preacher was easily the sequence in which a hit team from the white-suit organization, The Grail, set out to take down Jesse (Cooper), Tulip (Negga), and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). The sequence was filmed like a first person shooter video game, providing the audience with a unique perspective through the eyes of a member of the hit team. While there have been some movies that have ventured, unsuccessfully, into first person perspective shooting, “Puzzle Piece” hit all the high notes without overextending itself. Even more striking was the near-silence that came along with the unique perspective, as the tactical team attempted to shield themselves from the power of Genesis, wielded by Jesse. Even when the picture wasn’t clear and the fighting wasn’t easy to follow, the novelty of the filming perspective more than made up for it, adding an unexpected and fun flair to the sequence! (We did get a fairly clearly clear look at the hit team making bloody work of Cassidy and were later treated to the gory aftermath left in the kitchen after the battle.) The fight also served as a dramatic reveal for the audience about the fate of Denis (Guttman), after Cassidy was forced to make a difficult decision concerning his son.
 
While Jesse (Cooper) doesn’t seem to be any closer to God, even resorting to looking for evidence of the deity on YouTube, this episode finally connected Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy with the strange religious organization, introducing them with a bang. It was all done with the fun expected of Preacher and the unexpected twists we hope for each week! “Puzzle Piece” felt like a possible new start for all the characters, opening up new avenues with new struggles for them. It was another episode of season two of Preacher that kept the steady rhythm and pace going, for all to enjoy!
 
If you want to get in on the shenanigans or if you like cats (hardy har har!), Preacher is on AMC every Monday night at 9/8c.


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