Season 1, Episode 1
We get our first glimpse of the enigmatic Cowboy whose story of the past parallels the present-day. Jesse is hunted by two angels looking for the escaped entity inside him. Then, meet the richest, most sinful man in town.
Preacher is currently not in season.
In 1881, a mother nurses her sick daughter in a farmhouse cabin. The cowboy father leaves on horseback to get medicine.
The cowboy rides day and night through the desert. He encounters a group of pioneers who’ve left St. Louis to stake their own claim in the wilderness. The patriarch of the group asks the cowboy if he believes the West is paradise. He finally utters his first words: “It ain’t,” he says.
The cowboy passes a tree with Native Americans hanging from the branches, their scalps removed. “Towne of Ratwater,” reads a sign as the cowboy presses on into town.
In the present, Jesse baptizes his parishioners in the church yard as the two mysterious men (who showed up previously in Africa and Russia) surveil him from a distance. Tulip coyly requests a baptism. As Jesse begrudgingly dunks her underwater, she asks him to help with her next job. He refuses again. Jesse’s assistant Emily watches them closely and later asks Jesse about Tulip.
Inside the church, Miles, the mayor, tries to help Emily as she struggles with the new cappuccino maker. She brushes him off. Cassidy asks Emily for an advance payment for his work, but she points out he hasn’t completed any jobs for the church yet.
Emily tells Jesse that Cassidy drank a cask of communion wine and asks him to have a word with Cassidy. She also advises Jesse to visit the Loach family. Jesse comments on the good turnout for the morning’s service.
In the next room, Cassidy gasps at Eugene’s grotesque face. Jesse tells Cassidy that Eugene tried to kill himself with a shotgun, then asks Cassidy to stay out of trouble.
Outside, Sheriff Root and Eugene pass a group of parishioners. “Murderer,” a man snickers. Eugene urges a defensive Sheriff Root to let it slide.
In the chapel, Linus, one of the congregants, confesses to Jesse that he’s attracted to a young girl on the school bus that he drives. Jesse sternly warns Linus against acting on his urges.
After everyone’s gone, Jesse sits out on the porch steps, in the dark, smoking a cigarette. “Quiet!” he hollers at a barking dog. The barking stops immediately.
A convoy of Quincannon vehicles head down a road. Odin Quincannon sits across from a husband and wife in their living room, flanked by a team of Quincannon employees. He issues a spiel about purchasing their land. Donnie pulls out a contract but drops his pen. Clive, a co-worker, picks it up and hands it to Quincannon. Donnie glares at Clive. The husband signs the contract. The Quincannon team promptly demolishes the couple’s home.
In a Quincannon van, Donnie violently shoves Clive’s face into the steering wheel until his nose breaks.
Jesse and Emily stand outside a grocery store and solicit suggestions for the church. Jesse looks upset after he sees Linus’s school bus drive by.
Jesse gets in his truck only to find the steering wheel missing. Tulip pulls up, mocks Jesse’s dull life, then drives off. He sees the steering wheel hanging from a street light.
Jesse drives to church and finds Cassidy waiting on the front steps.
Jesse and Cassidy drink inside the church, sitting in two pews they’ve turned to face each other. Jesse deflects Cassidy’s attempts to get to know him, asking why they’re always talking about him and not Cassidy. Cassidy tells Jesse that he’s a 119-year-old vampire from Dublin City on the run from religious vampire-hunting vigilantes. Jesse laughs believing Cassidy to be joking. Cassidy pulls out a flask and despite his attempts to keep it from Jesse because it’s too potent, Jesse snatches it. Jesse takes a swig and drops to the floor of the church. Cassidy thinks for a second before stealing the keys to his truck.
At the Sundowner Motel, a maid offers towels to the one of the mystery men. She runs off when she sees he has a gun. The men leave the motel with a large trunk.
Cassidy zooms down the highway in Jesse’s truck.
As Jesse lies unconscious on the church floor, a mysterious blob pulsates somewhere inside of him. Meanwhile, the mystery men arrive at the church and find Jesse. They open the trunk and crank music from a contraption while one of the mystery men sings “Wynken, Blynken and Nod.” When Jesse doesn’t respond, the man playing the music contraption grabs a chainsaw and heads toward Jesse. Cassidy returns with a fresh bottle of liquor. He thinks the men are after him, not Jesse and threatens them. One of the men shoots Cassidy in the stomach. Cassidy bites the man who shot him and bludgeons him to death with a hymnal. Then, he wrestles the other man with the chainsaw before cutting off the man’s arm, killing him as well.
At Toadvine Whorehouse, Tulip beats a group of Quincannon employees at poker. Clive storms out. Tulip receives a phone call from someone named Dany and tells her that she’ll see her soon.
At the church, Cassidy cleans up the bloody aftermath and cuts up the men with the chainsaw. He puts their body parts in a trunk and starts to drag it outside only to find that it’s daylight. He stays inside, hidden from the sun.
Emily finds Jesse sleeping on the church floor and reminds him of his appointment with the Loaches.
Jesse visits the Loach residence, where Mrs. Loach nurses her comatose daughter, Tracy. Jesse tries to comfort Mrs. Loach, but she says words cannot heal Tracy.
Outside, Jesse again sees Linus’s school bus drive by.
That night, Jesse drives down a back road and spots a car seat in the middle of the road. When he stops to investigate, someone attacks him with a Taser.
Jesse wakes to find himself chained up at Toadvine Whorehouse. Tulip, his captor, tells him that she’s going to Houston to give the stolen map to Dany in exchange for some valuable information. She refuses to do the job without him and predicts that he will revert to his old ways. Jesse insists he’s not interested and Tulip lets him go, revealing his chain was never actually secured in the first place.
Eugene visits Jesse at church and tells him that he still feels bad, even after the baptism. He says he stays the same no matter how hard he tries to change. The words stir something in Jesse.
Jesse goes to Linus’s house and punches Linus. He fills a tub with scalding water and dunks Linus’s head in the water, ordering him to repent for lusting after the young girl. “Forget her,” he bellows. Jesse falls back, hit by his own words. Linus asks what happened. “I told you to forget her,” says Jesse. “Forget who?” asks Linus.
Cassidy buries the trunk of body parts on a hilltop that features the same tree seen outside of Ratwater in the flashback. The next day, however, the mystery men are back in their motel room, being interrogated by Sheriff Root. “We’re from the government,” one of the men explains.
Jesse visits the Loach residence and tells Tracy that he’s going to try something new. “Open your eyes,” he whispers into her ear.