This episode opens with a flashback, revealing what actually happened the day Eugene and Tracey both received shotgun wounds. The story around town was that Eugene was angry Tracey rejected his advances and proceeded to attempt a murder-suicide, but failed on both counts. It’s confirmed now that the story the town has been fed wasn’t actually accurate. Upset that her boyfriend cheated on her with a “five out of ten” girl, Tracey decided the best course of action was to just end it all before the rumors started to spread around school and town. She already has her dad’s shotgun ready and suicide notes written and wants Eugene to be in charge of them. After brushing up on what the notes say, however, Eugene is able to convince her that God has a plan for her and she needs to live to be able to see it. This calms Tracey down, but Eugene takes this moment to sneak in a kiss. Tracey possibly takes this to mean that Eugene just didn’t want her to kill herself so he could get with her, so she restarts her plan and quickly shoots herself before Eugene can do much of anything.
Sadly for her, her shot leaves her alive as the bullets mostly pierced into the top part of her skull, leaving her in the comatose state that we saw her in for the entire duration of Season 1. Eugene tries to remain calm and scoop brain matter back into her head, but then hears Tracey’s mother return and ask for her. Despite Eugene’s attempts at distraction, Tracey’s mother demands to have the door unlocked and begins to assume (rightfully) that something bad has happened. After trying to leave out the window fails, Eugene feels he has no choice but to also kill himself after Tracey’s mother mentions she’ll go get Eugene’s father. He pulls the trigger, but the shotgun doesn’t go off and in the moment that he investigates why, it finally blasts. This mishap explains why he also ended up surviving his suicide, but at least in a more functioning matter than Tracey. The scenario begins to repeat itself over and over, which we learned in Season 1 is what happens to people who have gone to Hell: reliving their most painful memory for eternity. Luckily this isn’t as drawn out as The Saint of Killers one we got last season though, since we saw that entire flashback TWICE and it isn’t really a short one. It’s shown that Hell is made up of simulation cells which is how the memory is replayed, but Eugene malfunctions and he is told to remain put while the Warden investigates what happened.
Returning to Earth, Tulip tries to convince Jesse that New Orleans is a dumb plan, which we know is actually because Viktor is waiting for her there. She hints that Jesse previously stated he hated New Orleans, but we learn that he actually just hates the swamp sections of it due to “family reasons”. After a funny conversation about the fact that Jazz exists in other places, like Mexico with their “Mexi-Jazz”, Jesse puts his foot down and states he just has a good feeling about New Orleans and so they should continue on there. Upon arriving, they have 187 jazz bars to look through as Jesse looked it up online, so they start with the nearest one. It turns out saying you’re “looking for God” in this first bar means something completely different though as the trio is led through hallways and corridors to a sex dungeon consisting of a man dressed as a dog and his owner “and doggy style is $12,000”. Jesse informs the men that he’s looking for the actual God and is kicked out, humorously being the ones called the “freaks” as they’re escorted out.
This doesn’t stop Jesse as he elects to keep going, but Tulip becomes increasingly paranoid as she notices a car looming the streets in the distance. She tries to play off that she doesn’t feel good and after a talk with Jesse, she heads off to look for a motel. Cassidy decides to go with her as they’re actually staying with his old friend Denis and he doesn’t want her checking into a motel, so Jesse is left alone to roam Bourbon Street and the jazz clubs. We see him enter his second bar, to which he is heckled by a couple. His temper begins to come out and he proceeds to slide a Hand Grenade drink down the bar to smash into the man of the couple. Meanwhile, Cassidy tries to discuss things with Tulip, but she wants no part of it. The roaming car returns, and while Tulip dodges that, she runs into Mrs. Barbaret. She seems like a nice lady, but Tulip’s exclamation of “Shit!” after the conversation hints otherwise. They reach Denis’ place, but it’s revealed he’s a aged Frenchman who proceeds to go on a tirade to Cassidy, despite neither Cassidy or Tulip being able to understand him. For some reason, he does allow them both to come inside, but it seems there is more to Cassidy and Denis’ past than Cassidy lets on.
Once inside and settled in, Cassidy resumes the one-sided conversation with Denis and bribes him with some peanut M&Ms. When it’s obvious Denis wants no part of the conversation or possibly even Cassidy’s presence, Cassidy begins to leave and notices Denis harshly throwing the M&Ms to the side. Tulip is in a deeper panic now that Mrs. Barbaret saw her and lets slip that whoever Viktor is, she screwed him over and New Orleans is his backyard. Cassidy offers that maybe opening up to Jesse about her situation would result on something good, but Tulip declines and states Jesse would just make matters worse if he knew what was going on. Tulip even rejects Cassidy’s help, which annoys him due to how many times he actually did help her, so he demands to know what the hell Viktor is capable of and why she’s so afraid of him.
Elsewhere, Jesse moves through jazz bars and clubs in order to learn any leads on God’s whereabouts. The montage fades between drinks, neon lights, and sounds of tussles that assuredly occur as Jesse’s anger rises. The drinks finally get to him and he passes out at a bar, to which the tender wakes him. One more attempt of asking about God to the tender finally gets him somewhere though as the man offers that Jesse should talk to the singer at Le Chamonix. Jesse arrives and takes a seat while Lara, the singer, is on stage singing “Almost Blue” by Elvis Costello. After the song, another patron attempts to hit it off with Lara, but fails a test she gives him. Jesse asserts that the patron was actually right, but Lara explains he didn’t sound sure of himself when he answered. This gives Jesse an in to strike up conversation with Lara and he asks her about God. To avert attention, Lara throws a drink at Jesse after telling him to meet her outside after getting cleaned up, but while Jesse is in the restroom, he notices Lara is escaping in a cab.
Upon running outside, Jesse turns the corner to see the taxi hit by a van and Lara being kidnapped by a group of men dressed in all white. He uses Genesis to stop the van and then gets in a 4v1 fight, surprisingly holding his own pretty well against the outnumbered odds. Seems Tulip was right about Jesse being more dangerous than he lets on. Jesse rescues Lara and they then escape to her apartment, where it’s revealed she has a child. She no longer feels safe in New Orleans and is going to depart to her sister’s where the men shouldn’t be able to find her. Lara explains that the men are part of a “super-secret crypto-religious fascist organization with designs on total world domination” which is quite the mouthful. She first heard about them when a man used to come into her bar and also told her God was missing. He later turned up dead and Lara felt the white men’s presence ever since, but they never struck until now. Jesse offers that she was lucky he was there to stop them, but Lara doesn’t buy that they were men that could just be told to stop. Surprisingly, Jesse reveals that he has Genesis to Lara and uses it on her to stop her attempt to kiss him.
Lara prepares to leave in a cab, but has one last chat with Jesse, hoping he will complete his mission to find God. Stealing a kiss from him, she then gets in the cab and departs. As the car rolls off, Jesse’s gaze is averted to something across the street. A poster for Angelville, which offers for people to “experience the magic of the bayou”. The sound that was played last episode when Cassidy asked Jesse why his mother’s family wasn’t in attendance at her wedding is played again, tying into Jesse’s earlier comments this episode that he just didn’t like the swamps of New Orleans. The L’Angelle reside in the New Orleans bayou and definitely are responsible for something bad in Jesse’s past. Seems New Orleans isn’t really a great place for the group after all. Jesse is broke out of the daze by Tulip, who is calling on his phone. Tulip checks up on Jesse’s progress and fills him in on the situation at Denis’. Jesse knows there’s something else and tries to get it out of Tulip, but she struggles to tell him about the Viktor problem. Angered, Jesse retorts that he has to go, which upsets Tulip as well. She decides to go out for some smokes and declines Cassidy’s offer for company.
Back in Hell, Eugene is still waiting for the Warden to return and learns that the door to his cell is no longer locked. Moving out into the long hallway, Eugene calls for anyone’s presence and a reply is given from behind him. Turning around, the German voice is revealed to be that of Adolf Hitler. As the two exchange glances, all the other cell doors around them begin to open in unison. Back in New Orleans, Jesse is still out and about and asks a jazz band to play “A Walk to the Peak”, which was said to be God’s favorite song. A fellow patron commends him for his deep cut and Jesse says he’s still not sure what the song is actually about. The patron tells him to really listen and as Jesse focuses on the chaotic jazz that is playing, the patron exclaims “it’s the end of the world”.
In another part of town, it is revealed that Lara actually works with the men in white and was in disguise. The driver of the van asks if the intel they were given is legit and Lara agrees. Seems they heard about Jesse’s power of Genesis and wanted to confirm it. Lara is asked how they should proceed and she replies to “kick him up to Samson unit”. We cut to an all-white office, occupied by Herr K. Starr. A woman arrives and places files on his desk, one of which reads “Jesse Custer”. Elsewhere, Tulip strolls through the streets and reaches a laundromat. After getting quarters for the cigarette dispenser, we hear the car that had been roaming the streets pull up outside and the men enter the building. They demand for everyone to leave, but Tulip continues to insert quarters into the dispenser. Upon getting her cigarettes, she turns to the group of men and they call in Viktor.
“Damsels” was another solid episode of Preacher and is starting to get the ball rolling on plot elements that will surely play a big part in Season 2. While the main “finding God” arc didn’t get much info this episode besides the fact that his favorite song depicts the end of the world, we got the introduction of the “Men in White” team that Lara is revealed to be a part of. And now that they’ve confirmed Jesse has Genesis, it seems a higher-up in the group known as Herr Starr will be taking things from here. Being in New Orleans has triggers for the main trio as well. Tulip has Viktor, Cassidy has whatever went on with Denis, and Jesse has the L’Angelle. And we can’t forget that The Saint of Killers is still on the way, especially more so since Jesse used Genesis twice this episode. I’m betting New Orleans will be the main location for a bit, taking references from what I know about the comics and the fact that the opening credit sequence had a focus on NOLA locales. It was also nice to check in on Eugene and see how his stay in Hell is going, though hanging with Hitler doesn’t seem like it’ll result in good times.
Damsels – 4 out of 5
- Eugene flashback
- Jesse’s fight with the “Men in White”
- Tulip accepting the inevitable and letting herself be captured (I don’t like when plots drag, so this is nice)
- The dog man
- Kinda wish we got a little more about Denis and Cassidy’s past here, but I’m sure it’ll come up more soon
- Not sure how I feel on Hitler being a character now, but that’s a minor con