Man, did Jesse make it hard for us to like him this week. I wanted to but this was the first episode where I felt that maybe Jesse can’t be redeemed. Now granted a part of this has to be the work of Genesis manipulating him into this power hunger super faith savior, but it’s only able to do that because at his core, Jesse is not a good man. Despite how badly he may not want to be one. And yes I do believe that he can be saved, but the bigger question is does he want to be? I’m not so entirely sure.
Let’s look at the flashback first because it explains why Jesse is back home being the local preacher, and it’s not just a promise that keeps him there but a promise forged in guilt. We knew early on this season that Jesse’s father held him at a pretty high standard, and my experience in life (and stories in general) is when the good guy is also a parent it leads to rebelling children. Those two things tend to go hand in hand. While Jesse is able to keep his nose relatively clean (minus a scuffle here or there) it’s his anger he needs to contain. Tulip clearly had a rough childhood and is loosely adopted by Jesse’s father. Well, until he turns her into child protection services which leads to Jesse praying to God to kill his father. Eeeeep. I’m pretty sure that’s not how you use God. It’s like asking Santa Clause to bring you the head of your mortal enemy. That’s the type of thing you ask a highlander for. Kids.
Think back to the moment before Genesis took over Jesse’s body. He was in church asking God to hear him, and at the time he seemed like someone who never had any real faith asking for God to pay attention. But think of it now. It’s quite the opposite. Jesse honestly believes that his prayer got his father killed and that God has stopped listening to him ever since. Not only is his promise soaked in guilt and to make amends to his father but I also think it’s to save his soul. If he can save the town then what’s to say he can’t be saved. What’s to say that God won’t forgive him? Jesse is broken and doesn’t understand the concept of how faith and being saved work (you have to really believe it) and then out of no where he gets this quick fix. This space demon.
But there’s a price there, and it seems that Jesse isn’t the one paying it. Not directly any way. The episode started with Eugene’s banishment to hell (still awful) and Jesse’s immediate reaction. Which at first seemed to be shock and fear at what he had just done. It was there for a minute, I swear it was. Then just like that (insert Kevin Spacey gif here) it was gone. Whether that was Jesse convincing himself that Eugene deserved it (and maybe now that we know what he did. But that’s not Jesse’s choice to make that choice belongs to God) or Genesis taking over, I’m not entirely sure. I think it might be a mixture of the two. Clearly this bothered Jesse all episode but he rationalized it as just and part of his new super God powers.
Even with Cassidy (who was the emotional center for this week. Who thought non glittering vampires could have this much emotion?) seeing the whole thing go down from the balcony. The scene between him and Jesse, as he pleaded for Jesse to see the error of his way, outside the church was fantastic. I believe that Cassidy really does think the two of them are best friends despite the fact that Cassidy thinks his favorite actor is Ryan Philippe (I mean, isn’t he yours?), and he thought he’d be able to talk some sense into Jesse. Wrong. Cassidy threw a pretty big Hail Mary (see what I did there) in order to get Jesse to understand the world he’s living in as he stepped out into the sun, throwing himself at the feet of his best friend, and what did Jesse do… well we’re not entirely sure are we? But it was heavily alluded to that he let Cassidy burn. I mean, it was the overall metaphor for this episode.
Take, for examples, the number of bridges Jesse burned this week. Let’s look at the obvious with Tulip where he more or less called her trailer trash without actually calling her trailer trash. That was hurtful. Be honest Geeklings, who isn’t curious about vanilla extract on their home fries? Then there was Emily, who chose the absolute wrong time to come on to the preacher, who opened her heart to him about her feelings and only to get shut down hard. It was like watching a puppy get poked in the eye. Damn you Jesse.
Don’t forget Odin who honestly believed that by going to church and saying he was won over by God entitled him to Jesse’s church. Jesse seemed to disagree with that, and it left us both a little confused as if Genesis has a long term effect on people or does it ware off after awhile. For example, if you kill four people with a shotgun and then make it look like they died in a car crash. That would probably hurt the cause. As the episode ended, Odin and his men were marching on the farm in full Civil War style. Because reasons.
As the episode drew to a close it seemed that Jesse had sort of come back a little. After lying to the sheriff about seeing his son (Eugene) which in turn made Emily lie to cover for Jesse (stop ruining everyone preacher!), it seems that the gravity of sending a kid to hell finally caught up with Jesse. Tearing up the boards in the floor trying to dig Eugene up reminds me of a kid at the ocean trying to dig to China. Sorry, I don’t care how much you dig, it’s not going to work. But the attempt makes me at least feel that Jesse isn’t totally gone. At least not yet.
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Images from AMC