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Evil Gran’mas and Voodoo Disneyland

When I was a kid,  I was convinced my grandmother was a witch, but she sure as hell had nothing on Marie L’Angell, Jesse Custer’s Gran’ma on AMC’s Preacher.

I didn’t like my grandmother much and the feeling was mutual. She had a knack for upsetting me, like telling me I looked like I was pregnant when I’d wear a bathing suit as a teenager, leading to the inevitable body image issues I’ve had since then. Her taunts later progressed into calling me an old maid, in front of my parents and younger siblings, because I was still single at the ripe old age of 30. I would dread special occasions and big family dinners because she would be there.

I was even stressed out before her wake a few years ago – right up until the moment I looked into her coffin and realized, with sweet relief, that she was dead and I’d never have to put up with her bullshit ever again.

Jesse's Gran'ma Preacher
Betty Buckley as Marie L’Angelle. Photo: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures Television.

Preacher is one of those shows that’s an acquired taste. I took a pass when it first aired and then binge-watched the first season during an AMC marathon right before Season 2 began. It’s based on a comic book series about a not-so-pious, you guessed it – preacher. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon wrote the comics. Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin developed the comics into a TV series.

Season 3 has been outstanding so far and damn, Betty Buckley has rocked the role of my evil, er, Jesse’s evil, Gran’ma.

Tulip Ain’t No Delicate Flower

Last night’s episode, entitled Gonna Hurt (season 3, episode 3), begins with Tulip (Ruth Negga) driving around town, looking for a way to break Gran’ma’s blood compact curse on Jesse (Dominic Cooper). As an aside, the next time a man suggests to me that women can’t drive, I will cite Tulip’s amazing driving skills as an example that he is completely full of crap.

Tulip heads into The Grail and clocks the first guy she sees in the head with her pistol: “I was just sweeping,” he says sheepishly, and Tulip finds nothing but a box of business cards, and a print of Jesus on the wall, which looks very much like the picture of Jesus my parents had hanging on their bedroom wall when I was a kid. As she makes her way back to Angelville, she is followed by Dog, aka God (Mark Harelik), who is driving a motorcycle.

God tells her he is creating a test for humanity: “A pass or fail.” Any guess how we’ll do? Yeah, we’re probably all doomed. Not one to give up easily, as he drives away, Tulip says a little prayer, “One way or the other, I will find you and I’m gonna kick your …”

Magic and monsters

Meanwhile, T.C. (Colin Cunningham) removes a bullet from Cassidy’s (Joseph Gilgun) shoulder and it looks like they’re bonding. Cassidy brags about how many times he’s been shot and stabbed and T.C. finds this hard to believe, as he sees no scarring on Cassidy’s chest.

Cut to Jesse and Tulip together in a bedroom and Tulip fantasizing about kicking God’s ass (haven’t we all?). Jesse says she will never help him break the curse because “I’m stuck here.”

Jesse then visits Cassidy’s room, expressing his worry that his family will find out his “best friend” is a vampire. Cassidy wonders why he’s so concerned. “I’m a bloody vampire in Voodoo Disneyland,” he counters. “I should be their main attraction.”  Cassidy is offended when Jesse tells him: “Magic is one thing, monsters are something else.” Then Cassidy remembers a picture he’d seen in the house, of a man hanging upside down from a tree. He realizes that man had been a vampire, hanging there until sunrise.

Gran’ma Candies

While Jesse goes out with Jody (Jeremy Childs) to attend a Glue Sniffers Anonymous meeting, Tulip snoops around Gran’ma’s room. First she finds a brass dish with what looks like black and red gummies, so she tries one. I guess all evil old ladies have candy dishes in their homes – my grandma had butterscotch candies in hers. Then – paydirt – she finds Jesse’s blood compact napkin in a filing cabinet. But when she opens another drawer she realizes the entire cabinet is full of said napkins.

Cassidy - Preacher
Cassidy – rockin’ a Journey t-shirt. AMC

A little while later, Cassidy pays Gran’ma a visit, and asks her if she’s a witch. “I’m a healer,” she responds. Sure Gran’ma, so was Hannibal Lecter. “I’m not a bad guy,” he says. “But I’ve done some bad things.” He asks Gran’ma for a love spell, which she gives him. But what will she expect in return?

Tulip arrives at London Lodge, looking for Madame Boyd (Prema Cruz). She’s hoping to help rid Jesse of Gran’ma’s curse. After kicking ass and taking names, she comes face to face with the woman she’d met when she first arrived.

“I’m Madame Boyd,” the woman says. Tulip pulls out her gun and points it in her face. “Pleased to meet you,” she replies.

From Preacher To Ringmaster

Cassidy is wandering around outside, looking for a snack. He finds a live chicken and bites its head off. Unfortunately, T.C. and Jody come across him at this very moment. Oh no! Then we see a rope strung from a tree and hear Jesse deny that he knew his friend was a vampire. Luckily (?) Jesse comes up with a better use for his best friend.

Cut to The Tombs. A crowd gathers round and Jesse puts on his top hat. For better or worse, he is now the ringmaster of a deranged fight club that matches the spiritless against the soulless in a blood sport where the audience consists of very stoned glue sniffers.

Et tu Eugene?

The only missing elements this season is Eugene (Ian Colletti) and his not-so-trustworthy side-kick, Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor). When last we saw them, they had escaped hell, but Hitler had abandoned Eugene, leaving him to his own devices. Both are featured in season 3’s opening credits and should appear soon.

But for now, we’ve got Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy, Jordy and T.C. to entertain us. Hopefully, by the end of Preacher season 3, Jesse will get to enjoy the same sweet relief I did, of looking into a coffin and seeing his evil Gran’ma lying inside it.

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