Fitting in with tonight’s title, the episode begins in Vietnam with a shot of a pig. The owners of the pig are having some dinner when suddenly the wife begins screaming after looking out the window and the husband comes to investigate what is going on. The next day arrives and so has Herr Starr. Turns out the pig somehow learned to levitate overnight, causing the owners and the rest of the locals to worship it. Herr Starr seems less than enthused, however, as his only response is to mutter “Shit.”
Back in New Orleans, city workers are gathering the passed out drunk on Bourbon St, while a homeless man talks about the end of the world. Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy have finally visited every single jazz bar in New Orleans and still don’t have much to go on. Cassidy figures they might as well have some fun now that the work is over, so they head to the Hurt Locker, which was briefly mentioned in a previous episode. Besides being a bar, there are also gun lovers who place bets on if you can stand up in 10 seconds after they shoot you with a gun while you’re wearing a bullet-proof vest. This is light work for Cassidy since he’s a vampire, so the trio decide to have a little fun with the locals and have them shoot Cassidy with the biggest gun they have, which actually ends up puncturing the vest. Jesse and Tulip fake that Cassidy is dead, which empties the bar as nobody wants to get in trouble. This allows an open bar for them and all the cash in the prize pool. It was also good to see that the kiss between Cassidy and Tulip that has been teased in trailers and previews was just them pretending to be in a relationship, though it looked like it meant more to Cassidy.
Tulip has a conversation with Jesse about the Saint of Killers after he notes that she’s been acting strangely ever since they dealt with him. She wants to know that he’s back in Hell where he belongs and Jesse agrees that he’s simply gone as we know he actually isn’t in Hell, but instead the depths of an Angelville swamp. Jesse decides Tulip needs to call it a night and sleep, so they depart leaving Cassidy with Denis. The continued lack of understanding between them finally comes to an end though as it just so happens that a French speaking local is frequenting the bar as well. He translates to Cassidy that Denis has been telling him how unhappy he is in life and that Cassidy was a horrible father, but there is one thing that he could do to make up for it all: Denis wants to become a vampire too. Cassidy immediate shuts this down, refusing to let his son live the lonely life that he has, so Denis tells him through the local that he’ll die hating Cassidy then since he doesn’t have long to live anyway, slowly dying from a heart issue.
In Vietnam, Herr Starr is speaking to his employer on the phone while having his shoes shined and eating some local flavor. He explains he’ll need assistance in whatever the hell is going on with the floating pig, but upon drinking the water with his meal, he decides he’ll handle it alone for some unknown reason. He informs the child shining his shoes that he missed a spot and when the child apologizes, Starr says it’s alright as he was also young once. A flashback of Herr Starr’s introduction to the Grail is shown, back when he was a German GSG 9 officer. Saltonstall, the leader of the Grail, informs him that he’ll be a good fit for the company as they are more in line with his desires, but questions if Starr is a Christian man or not as they prefer those that are. To make things simple, Starr agrees that he’s Christian and become inducted into the new order.
Without Jesse and Tulip to supervise him and having Denis give him an ultimatum, Cassidy basically drank himself to death at the Hurt Locker bar. Turns out the city workers don’t only pick up the drunk off the street, but the dead too. So off Cassidy goes. Meanwhile, Tulip is having a nightmare about her experience with the Saint of Killers, mostly the moment that he lifted her up by the neck, which is very understandable. She gets up to make some tea, but notices that Denis had left the window open and goes to shut it. Upon returning to the kitchen, she begins to hearing knocking and clicking noises in the hallway and leaves to see a light malfunctioning. The tea kettle goes off back inside Denis’ apartment, so Tulip returns and then notices that the window she had previously shut is open again. Returning to the kitchen one more time, Tulip has a run in with the Saint of Killers, who lifts her up again and then shoots her in the stomach. Turns out it was a dream within a dream as Tulip wakes up again, but this time it’s morning.
Tulip informs Jesse that she had the same dream again and can’t help to think that if Cassidy wasn’t there to stop the Saint’s sword with his own hands, she would likely be dead since Jesse was late. He tries to apologize in the best way he can and states that he was wrapped up in thing as well, but everything worked out in the end. Tulip asks if Jesse feels like something is off, but he disagrees and brushes her off again. Putting his jacket on, he informs her that he needs to go talk to someone about the end of the world and if she’s interested in joining him, but Tulip stays behind. Elsewhere, Cassidy finally wakes up from dying, but he’s trapped in the morgue.
We return to Herr Starr’s training to get into the Grail, where he has to go up against several other applicants in obstacle courses, hand-to-hand combat, seduction, and other tests. It is shown that Starr exceeds in every aspect, sometimes taking unorthodox methods in order to pass the test, such as masturbating as a distraction or being intimidating rather than flirt. Eventually, it is between Starr and another applicant with the final test being a shooting range. While the other man actually shoots the target and gets a perfect score, Herr Starr instead just shoots his opponent. With this, he is selected to head the Samson Unit of the Grail, who are sent to deal with false prophets that rise up in the world. The Grail’s real mission is to find the son of Jesus, so they obviously have to get rid of the fakes in the meantime while they wait for the real son to arrive. After informing Herr Starr of his mission, Starr repays Saltonstall by killing him, effectively taking over the Grail for himself.
Jesse meets up with the homeless man who was yelling about the end of the world earlier in the episode and asks him what he knows about it. The conversation doesn’t really net Jesse much, but when he asks the man what he thinks about the soul selling business that has started popping up in New Orleans, the homeless man states that people should give their kidney rather than ever consider giving even 1% of their soul. This gets to Jesse as he currently has 1% missing thanks to the Saint of Killers and the homeless man offers that if Jesse wishes to learn more about the end of the world, he should talk to those that do consider giving up their soul.
Cassidy is finally let out of the morgue by a nurse who explains that it’s a common problem that has been occurring ever since the drunk and dead carts began traveling at the same time. They both pass a room where a family is mourning someone who has died, which starts to get to Cassidy as he thinks of Denis and the ultimatum he gave earlier. Cassidy doesn’t want to lose Denis, but he also doesn’t want him to become like him. Time is starting to run out on the decision though, so he needs to make it fast. In a completely different downward spiral, Tulip is still suffering from the Saint of Killers’ encounter and decides to return to the Hurt Lock, except with her as the one being shot at this time. In the final moments leading up to her taking the bullet, she sees a vision of the Saint being the one who fires at her. I was expecting her to stay down due to that, but he rises right back up and asks for another bullet. Seems Tulip deals with depression through hurt…a lot of it.
Herr Starr’s story has finally returned to the present at the end of the episode and it is shown that he has finally dealt with the floating pig incident…by murdering it and the entire village that was worshipping it as a false idol. He is then given his next mission, which is to head to New Orleans and deal with Jesse Custer since Lara moved his case file to the Samson Unit after learning he had Genesis. Jesse watches the news to close out the episode, where it is being reported that the Vietnam village was taken out by poisoned water. The water was also what gave the pig the ability to levitate, but it’s unknown if it’s just a cover-up for Herr Starr’s massacre or there’s truth behind it. Starr looked at the water given to him funnily before coming to his decision to deal with the incident alone, so I’m not too sure.
I have to say that “Pig” was probably the first major dud of the season for me. Besides the formal introduction to Herr Starr and getting his backstory to how he was inducted into the Grail, every other plot point in the episode felt like filler. Jesse still doesn’t have much to go on and is grappling with the fact he gave up part of his soul, Tulip was suffering from the aftermath of her near-death experience with somewhat long sequences that could’ve been cut down, and Cassidy has to decide what to do with his son. It was character development, but it was also beaten over the head in several scenes when each only really needed one. When shows get extended season orders and then end up having episodes like this, I can’t help but feel they would’ve been better getting the same amount of episodes they did last season.
Pig – 2 out of 5
- Herr Starr’s training montage
- Basically everything else