Despite the sun gleaming down on the parched earth of AMC’s Preacher, one cannot help but notice the encroaching darkness seeping in from the corners. Whether it’s the arrival of the mysterious “agents” (whom are more celestial than political), the strange happenings with meat-packing plant owner Odin Quilcannon (who enjoys sitting back and enjoying the soothing sounds of cow slaughter) or the ever-present threat of The Saint of Killers (who has inspired plenty of intriguing questions about his place in the world), there’s plenty of dark powers lying in wait within, or just outside, the city of Annville. With “The Possibilities,” another of Jesse’s enemies emerges, one with a dark past.
From the earliest parts of “The Possibilities,” Preacher throws viewers further into the cesspool in which these characters live. After a short conversation between Tulip and the mysterious Danni, one of the comic’s most well-known antagonist appears — the perverse soldier for The Grail, Herr Starr. Those with sharp ears can even tell that these scenes with Starr are happening right in the middle of a smut film, telling viewers quite a bit about this new, mysterious figure. Though little emerges about the character itself, those who’ve read the comics know just what a horrific force he is.
Jesse’s battles with his own darkness in “The Possibilities,” as his faith is tested when Tulip arrives with the location of their old accomplice, Carlos. In a past job, Carlos left Tulip and Jesse holding the bag while he took off with all of their money, leaving a dead child in his wake. Though he has been declined Tulip’s advances throughout the series to this point, in this episode, Carlos seems to have hit his breaking point.
Unlike its comic counterpart, Even Goldberg, Seth Rogen, and Sam Catlin inject a sense of hope into the series. As he’s about to leave town after Carlos, Jesse comes across Donnie — the perpetual thorn in his side — at a gas station bathroom. This leads to a potentially violent confrontation, during which Jesse discovers the true possibilities of his powers and finds his faith redoubled. He’s realized the chance he has to do good with these powers by returning to Annville, leaving Carlos’ fate “to God.” Of course, with so many dark and mysterious elements in play, this hope and faith may not be built with as strong a firmament as he’d hoped.
“The Possibilities” is bookended by a pair of conversations from Sheriff Root, explaining his worries about what his town is turning into, and he makes some good points. Jesse’s arrival alone, and his subsequent discovery of powers, has led to unrest in the town, and that’s without taking into account his and Tulip’s own dark past (or the appearance of angels and vampires). Strange, dangerous things are happening, and as Root mentions early in the episode, he’s seen himself how normal people get caught in the crossfire when things get unusual. With most of the series’ major villains now in play, if not all, it’s only a matter of time before Annville becomes the “Monster Swamp” Root so fears.
Ryan E. Johnson (@atxtheaterguy) is a theatre and film critic from Austin, TX. He enjoys the films of Sion Sono, Wong Kar-Wai, Ingmar Bergman and loves experiencing films told from bold, new perspectives.