AMC’s Preacher Season 2, Episode 3: Viktor
This week’s episode of Preacher features God casting, Hitler-bashing, and Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl.”
This week, we are still in New Orleans and Dennis still lives! “Viktor” mostly explores the revelation that God has left Heaven and Tulip’s past. The Saint of Killers continues to have an issue with modern day transportation as he closes in on our trio. We also check in with Eugene as he finds out maybe Hitler isn’t quite the same man in Hell as he was with a German army at his back.
We pick back up with Tulip as she gets captured by Viktor’s goons. Viktor is effectively intimidating and gives Tulip a chance to think about what she’s done to him (something the show is keeping close to the vest.) She tries to reconnect with the people from Viktor’s gang, but they shun her completely. Eventually Tulip decides to go for the power play: stealing a gun and holding it up to Viktor’s head until he agrees to let her go. Unfortunately, he calls her bluff and she fails to stop all of Viktor’s thugs that come in to take her out.
Eugene’s run-in with Hitler takes a weird turn. In Hell, Hitler turns out to be not as sinister of a man as he’s known as on Earth. He comes to Eugene’s aid and lets him share his hell when he ends up locked out of his own. It seems Hell is run much like a prison and the warden tells Eugene to stay in line or he’ll end up in the pit. Faced with the choice of defending Hitler or joining in the attack against him after it becomes clear that he doesn’t carry the same threat as he did on Earth, he questions what he should do. He ultimately comes to the conclusion: when has beating up Hitler ever been the bad option?
Back at Dennis’ home, Jesse arrives having only barely made a dent into the number of jazz clubs that remain to be seen in New Orleans. Cassidy spends the majority of the episode trying to hint to Jesse that he’s worried about Tulip, but Jesse doesn’t feel like it’s a good use of time to worry about Tulip (and in most other circumstances, he’d probably be right.) Cassidy notices the actor on a local Katrina disaster relief commercial is the same person who played the role of God in last season’s infamous heavenly call. Intrigued by what actor Mark Harland might know about the actual God, they seek out the actor’s agent.
When they find Mark’s agent, he tells them that Mark’s been missing since he auditioned for the role of God. Thanks to Cassidy, however, they are able to get a copy of his audition tape. It turns out that once Mark gets the role, he’s immediately shot by the casting director. Jesse surmises that he had to die to get into Heaven (as good a guess as any, I suppose.)
Cassidy eventually caves and spills the beans about Tulip. Jesse spares no time in getting over to Viktor’s compound, dispatching a number of his thugs in the process including a weapon-obsessed torturer who discovers a loophole around Jesse’s ability: headphones. Unfortunately for him, Jesse is a capable fighter without it and stabs him with a foosball pole (…through another guy.) Once he finds out where Tulip is being held, he storms up there and promptly starts beating the crap out of Viktor. That is, until Tulip asks him to stop because Viktor’s her husband.
It’s really hard to say anything bad about an episode that manages to fit in a Frankie Muniz cameo. There actually a lot of storylines being juggled in “Viktor” and Preacher really balances them out well. Honestly, it’s a pleasant surprise, since I’ve been such a strong proponent of the single focus storytelling.
I was particularly enjoying the scenes with Eugene and Hitler. Leave it to Preacher to make me feel sorry for Hitler, but it definitely makes sense that he’d kind of be a pushover without his ability to manipulate people (which I’m not entirely sure if he’s not trying to do that to Eugene to some nefarious end.) It’s also kinda surprising that Eugene jumps in on the beat-down considering he’s loyal to a fault. Then again, he is in Hell. Maybe he’s just acting accordingly.
The suspense being built around Viktor is quite intense. I mean, Tulip crying at the thought of what he might do to her is very telling (unless, of course, it was an act to get out the punishment, something we’ve seen her do before.) I started picking up on there being a relationship between her and Viktor early on, but the marriage angle is quite the twist. I can’t imagine Jesse handles that news in a saintly manner.
Speaking about Jesse, the quest for God is still trucking along. I have a lot of questions about that phone call from last season. I just assumed the person Jesse called with Fiore and DeBlanc’s phone were angels, but they seemingly were just people who passed away. But there are still so many questions. Why fake the phone call at all? Was it specifically to trick Jesse into searching for God? Definitely an intriguing development we get to learn more about.
All my fears of balancing issues in Preacher have, at least for the time being, been put on hold. There was some weird pacing on Jesse and Cassidy’s adventure this week but, on the whole, this was a solid showing all around. Jesse getting to take off the gloves a little bit at the end was awesome but, as I’m sure was intended, his use of Genesis triggered my “oh god, when is The Saint of Killers going to show up and start shooting first and asking questions never” reflex. We do get to check back in with The Saint at the end of the episode walking down the interstate. Talk about stubborn. He’s literally surrounded by a more viable mode of transportation.