Spoilers for Preacher Season 2, Episode 8, “Holes,” below
Preacher is the kind of show where an entire town and everyone in it are leveled in an explosion of feces, heavenly angels use their immortal powers to titillate gore-hungry audiences, and Hitler is by far not the worst person present. This week, in Season 2, Episode 8: “Holes,” Preacher showed us possibly the most messed up scene yet, equal parts disgusting, shocking, and just plain mean-spirited.
What else could it be but Eugene’s trip down the Hole?
After last week’s fantastic introduction to The Grail, Preacher once again found itself stuck firmly in a mid-season slump with “Holes” overall. Jesse spent the entire episode sitting in a Best Buy, for no reason, getting nothing done, with no news or advancements on his end whatsoever, the only clue he might have received to God’s whereabouts sent screeching down a shredder. Tulip’s scenes mostly involved spackling walls, and Cassidy made aggrieved faces while he agonized over a choice that really shouldn’t be this difficult.
But Eugene, man. Poor Eugene.
In Preacher‘s version of Hell, unlucky residents experience their worst living memory over and over again. This torture isn’t as mystical as you might think, though; it’s all orchestrated via creaking, crystalline mechanisms that, it turns out, are prone to breaking down should Hell’s careful balance be disrupted. Eugene’s arrival via the preacher’s careless curse was apparently disruptive enough, as we learned this week. And thanks to Hitler (what a thing to write!) Eugene finally got a taste of what happens in the Hole, which is surely where he’ll go if Hell’s weirdly terrifying superintendent, Miss Mannering, learns that he’s the culprit.
The first time we saw Eugene in Hell, we learned that his worst memory is also how his face got messed up. The scene, in which Eugene attempts to kill himself after the girl he loves kills herself because he tried to kiss her, was incredibly screwed up. It’s a big change from the books–where “Arseface” and his friend Pube resolved to commit suicide to emulate Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain–and one that makes Eugene’s plight much, much sadder. But in the Hole, it got even worse, Eugene’s most painful memory twisted into something unspeakable.
Instead of rejecting him and subsequently blowing her brains out, Tracy reveals that she feels the same way and, incongruously, they sing a brief duet. It’s a fleeting flicker of hope for Eugene that, as the audience, we knew wasn’t going to last. But it still came as a shock when Preacher Jesse Custer entered the room and starting enthusiastically making out with the high school girl.
Her hands fumbled at the preacher’s big, silver belt buckle. Eugene screamed at them to stop. He picked up the shotgun, Jesse egging him on. Her arm started moving up and down. Mom pounded at the door. Eugene raised the gun to his chin. Jesse visibly climaxed, oh my god. A bang, and Preacher cut to commercial.
That must have been an awkward scene to shoot. More importantly, it was incredibly hard to watch–the kind of scene where you’re caught between laughing and cringing and your face just kind of scrunches up in horror instead. And it must count as one of the most messed up sequences ever to air on television.
This will doubtless serve as the impetus for Eugene (and Hitler!) to attempt to escape from Hell. The question is: How will Eugene confront the preacher if he ever makes it back to the world of the living? Was his latest Hell-vision simply a twisted version of that memory, or did it reveal something deeper within Eugene–like some anger at the man who sent him to this place to begin with?
Whatever Eugene winds up doing, it looks like Hitler’s going with him. So that should be fun, at least.