11 Forgotten Vertigo Comics That Would Make Awesome TV ShowsThe Greatest Romances in Comic Book History It’s summertime, and while most of our favorite shows are on hiatus, one is just coming back. AMC’s Preacher had its third season premiere last night. Rather than a fast-paced, violent action-based episode, this premiere threw us right into the thick of the story. It also let us know exactly what kind of show it still is. This episode opens with a contorting naked man. He’s standing in front of an old woman, who appears to be conducting him. We learn it’s a sobering ritual. The old woman is Madame L’Angelle, and she’s just about the creepiest old lady you’ve ever seen. Nothing really feels right about this place, and it looks like L’Angelle’s daughter agrees. She’s caught looking at a piece of paper that she quickly hides from view. She goes as far as eating it so her mother won’t see it. It doesn’t work. L’Angelle cuts open her stomach to see what she’s hiding. It’s a photo of Jesse as a baby. L’Angelle’s daughter is Jesse’s mother, and she begs L’Angelle to leave Jesse alone.That was all in the past, we come to realize. In the present, our heroes are in the same terrible predicament we last saw them in. Tulip is dying, close to dead. Jesse stopped Cassidy from turning her into a vampire to save her, and Cassidy hates him for it. Now, Jesse’s forced to come back to Angelville and give his grandma his blood so she’ll save Tulip. So how is it possible that Tulip can still be saved? It turns out she’s in purgatory. We already saw what Hell looks like in this world, and Purgatory is just as darkly funny. Jesse and Cassidy may be at their gloomiest, but this show hasn’t lost its sense of humor. Where Hell was a repetitive bureaucracy, Purgatory is a cheap sitcom. Tulip relives her father coming home from prison, getting a job and falling back into murder and crime. It’s clearly a traumatic memory, but it’s treated with a lightness that reflects how Tulip has hardened herself to it. That lightness makes the scene all the more unsettling for us. For Tulip, there is still pain, but she’s somewhat numb to it. That’s why this is Purgatory, and not Hell for her.Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) (Photo by Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)L’Angelle sends Jesse and Cassidy off to get ingredients for the spell to bring Tulip back. If you were missing the over-the-top violence of this show, this is where the episode starts to deliver. It’s nothing as wild as the shootout between the Saint of Killers and the police that opened last week’s episode, but it’s pretty fun nonetheless. To get the final ingredient needed to wake Tulip, Jesse has to talk to another Angelville resident: Jody, Madame L’Angelle’s enforcer who killed Jesse’s father. They go get the ingredient from a rival gang, and it’s cartoonishly funny how the bodies rain down from the sky. Back in Angelville, we get a much more serious fight scene. Jody makes Jesse fight for the stuff that will save Tulip’s life. It’s a bloody, evenly matched fight, but the stakes are higher than in the scene before it. Jesse almost wins when he puts Jody’s face through the truck window. Then, a few headbutts later, Jesse’s on the ground. L’Angelle stops the fight just before Jody puts a truck on Jesse’s head.With everything they need, Jesse, Cassidy, and L’Angelle set about bringing Tulip back. Just in time too. Her Purgatory’s just about run its course. CPS is busting down the cheap sitcom set door, and the little girl version of Tulip tells the adult one she needs to go. (And in a suddenly deep voice, reminds her she’s just a reenactor. She works here. I’ll admit, that made me jump a little.) Through a combination of Cassidy playing her favorite song, and Jesse whispering in her ear, Tulip is able to figure out how to escape Purgatory. Inserting a key into the cat clock in the wall, she suddenly finds herself on a forest path. There, she meets God. Remember God? From last season? It turned out He was the gimp dog Jesse walked away from in the first episode. Well, He’s here, still wearing that suit. He has a message for Tulip. An important task she must fulfill. His eyes glow red, and the scene becomes just a little scary for a second. He screams “Get Those…” and then Tulip wakes up. Of course.Photo by Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures TelevisionIn past seasons, the first episode has always made the biggest impression. It’s usually been the fastest, most bonkers, silly-violent episode of the season. That wasn’t the case here. It’s probably better for it. In each of the last two seasons, the first episode made us think we were getting a different type of show. They always felt more like the comic: violent, irreverent and blindingly fast. While the violence and irreverence remained, both the first and second seasons took things slow. The road trip aspect of the comics was gone. Instead, the show forced us to steep in this scary, funny, dangerous, disgusting world. It’s a great show in its own right, it just isn’t the Preacher comics, and it’s not what either of the past two season premieres made it out to be.This season, we’re already into the thick of things. We spend almost the whole episode in Angelville. We’re introduced to characters who will become very important as the series goes on. The show doesn’t spend any time on the other loose plot threads. Hitler is still out there somewhere. As is Herr Starr. We’ll deal with that some other week. This episode focused on what was important: Saving Tulip and establishing Angelville. It did both jobs remarkably well. It also set a few interesting dynamics up for the rest of the season to play with. Madame L’Angelle thanked Cassidy for bringing Jesse back to her, promising a favor at some point in the future. I’m going to bet there’ll be a lot of drama, probably involving Tulip, around how he uses that favor. Then there’s Tulip’s mission from God. She was pulled out too early to hear the whole thing, but she’ll be searching for whatever “those” are.Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) and Gran’ma (Betty Buckley) (Photo by Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)Finally, there was Jesse’s last exchange with his grandma. He’s grateful that she saved Tulip, but he knows he’s gotten himself back into a deep mess. He even contemplates killing her to get out of the deal. But she reminds him she’s thought of that. They both know that wouldn’t end well for Jesse. For now, he’s stuck in Angelville. We’ll just have to wait and see what that entails.While I miss the ridiculous action Preacher started its seasons within the past, this slow open fits the show much better. It leans into the horror right away, where past seasons would save that for later episodes. From moment one, it puts us in a strange and unfamiliar place. It disturbs us and tries to make us laugh at the same time. Which just makes everything that much more upsetting. That’s Preacher’s strong suit. It’s not the comics. It’s something else. Opening with an episode like this shows us that it’s finally comfortable with that fact. There’s still room for over-the-top violence and offensive gross-out humor. But that’ll come when the story is ready for it. Preacher the TV show has found its own identity. That could lead to an exciting season. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.