Backdoors: Escaping Hell and Drinking Catamarans in ‘Preacher’

‘Preacher’ finds God and loses Him again.
By  · Published on August 29th, 2017

‘Preacher’ finds God and loses Him again.

“Backdoors,” the 11th episode of Preacher, finally reveals the whereabouts of God… sort of. At the very least it shows that He’s become a little bit of a pervert.

The episode opens with ten-year-old Jesse being pulled from the bottom of the swamp, finally paying off all that foreshadowing and giving the Saint’s imprisonment there some horrifying context. It seems that Jesse’s picked up a thing or two from his childhood.

We don’t have all of the information about Angelville yet—everyone’s faces are still obscured. But the pieces are definitely coming together. And their implications are starting to take on new weight.

We know for a fact now that Jesse’s prayers were heard. It’s no stretch of the imagination to believe they were answered.

Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper)

Herr Starr’s reveal of Jesse’s prayers is lovely—it makes the supernatural extra real. Eugene hanging out in Hell with Hitler is nice, but it’s full-blown fantasy. I much prefer these lighter touches, these small otherworldly tidbits that are tied to our world. Even when a prayer is whispered in the middle of a swamp, it’s recorded on a reel of tape. It’s a lovely and effective way of rooting Preacher‘s fantasy in reality, and its reality in fantasy.

I don’t know what course the show will take with the L’Angelle family, but I would hazard a strong guess that they had access to ten-year-old Jesse’s prayer and took it upon themselves to answer it.

Jesse’s childhood guilt may prove to be a lot more deserved than we thought.

On the home front, Jesse isn’t fairing much better. The truth about the Saint of Killers has come out, and Cassidy and Tulip put up a strong front against him. It’s the most life we’ve seen out of both of them for a long time, and it’s very satisfying. Cassidy and Tulip have been depressed and alone for so long, it’s wonderful to see them excited and interacting again, even if it’s because they’re furious.

They have some lovely back and forth about God sitting on the beach drinking a catamaran.

Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga), Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun)

After pitting themselves against Jesse, they diverge and spend the rest of the day with their respective foils. These foils, however, are encouraging them to spend more time with each other. Last week Featherstone tried to push Tulip toward Cassidy for very clear reasons. But this week Denis is pushing Cassidy toward Tulip because he’s gotten used to seeing the world through the eyes of a predator.

If Cassidy likes Tulip, Denis says, he should just take her.

This brings up, yet again, questions of Cassidy’s intentions. As he always does when confronted, he insists that Tulip is just his friend. And this time it seems a bit more believable—when he addresses Jesse and Tulip together, he calls them “boys.”

The fact that they’re being goaded from both sides doesn’t bode well, though. There’s going to be some kind of eruption—there’s been entirely too much buildup for there not to be.

And speaking of buildup, Eugene is finally making his getaway from Hell, with Hitler in tow. Seeing the rest of Hitler’s hell offers a surprisingly neat explanation for his eventual mindset. Everyone who helped make his bad day worse—Communists, homosexuals, and especially Jews—were tied up intrinsically with it in his mind.

It’s a wonder he didn’t target waiters.

Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor)

But as Tyler says, “everyone knows you can’t trust Hitler.” He used to have the run of the place—who’s to say he didn’t doctor his own hell, maybe to dupe some poor sucker and escape with him? That would be the more predictable and safer route for the show to take. World War Two was a long time ago, but making Hitler completely likable is still a bold move.

Last week we had Jesus sex, though, so who’s to say? Maybe the show will take the road less traveled and make Hitler a sympathetic, reformed man.

I hope so.

The season feels like it’s building to a final conclusion. God has sort of been found, which means my Dog Man prediction all the way back in episode three turned out to be right… or at least Jesse thinks it’s right.

I’d be willing to bet that it is.

It’s fitting closure that the very first place our heroes looked wound up being the right place. Of course, it’s not really closure since God isn’t there anymore. But the fact that we’ve come full circle in that regard makes me think that our final two episodes will move in a different direction. I’ve heard from an interview with Dominic Cooper that the finale will end on a shocking note, and I have a strong guess as to what it is.

(For those who’ve read the comics, I’m thinking of a very specific event at Angelville).

Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper)

“Backdoors” is another strong episode that has the feel of the beginning of the end. Eugene is finally out of that holding cell, the Saint of Killers is back in the mix, and God has (kind of) been found. Things are ramping up for what should hopefully be an exciting and, in Dominic Cooper’s words, “brutal” finale.

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Liz Baessler is a frequent contributor and infrequent columnist at Film School Rejects. She has an MA in English and a lot of time on her hands. (She/Her)