The title “He gone,” on the face of it, may seem like it’s talking about Eugene.
But it isn’t. Not completely.
It’s at least in part talking about Jesse. It turns out Cassidy saw what happened to Eugene, and when he confronts Jesse, the Preacher barely acknowledges it, instead scurrying off to teach a class and avoid further discussion of the matter.
It’s clear Jesse thought better of using his power on the whole congregation, perhaps Eugene had an effect after all, because he prefaces his sermon with “The Word” the name of his power, he doesn’t use it.
The church is still packed, as are the bible study group, and religious theatre group.
There were a few huge reveals this week: Tulip doesn’t believe Jesse really knows what Cassidy is.
Jesse’s Father took in Tulip for a time, but eventually gave her up to foster care because she was an “O’Hare.”
After Tulip left, Jesse prayed for God to kill his father.
Quincannon doesn’t believe Jesse won the bet and wants Jesse to transfer it.
One of the biggest, however, is that we finally know the connection between Eugene and Tracy Loach, the girl in the coma.
In past reviews I spoke about how Jesse was getting more accustomed to using his power and that he was using it liberally. In some ways he was losing himself. That’s why I believe the title “He gone” is related to Jesse as well.
It’s primarily because Cassidy again approaches Jesse about Eugene, offering to help get Eugene back.
Instead at jumping at the opportunity, however, Jesse explains why perhaps Eugene deserves his fate in the behind the great hot gates saying “better men than Eugene Root have been cast down.”
We learn of Eugene’s sins and how they relate to Tracy Loach. She was the Prom Queen, and more; she was a really big deal, everyone loved her. Eugene especially. When he confessed his love, she rejected him. He responded by shooting her with a shotgun and turning the gun on himself.
Cassidy is in disbelief. He can’t believe Jesse has convinced himself that this is okay.
So he needs to shock Jesse…by tossing the Preacher a fire extinguisher and running into the sun, setting himself ablaze.
We don’t see what happens to Cassidy (much like we didn’t see what happened to Eugene) but it’s safe to say he’ll be back.
Jesse comes back inside and pushes both Tulip and Emily away, leaving himself alone.
It’s not until he’s alone that he realizes what he’s done and begins tearing up the floorboards of the church, and digging into the dirt with his bare hands shouting: “Come back! Come back!”
There were a few REALLY nice moments in this episode, which has been a hallmark of the series so far.
When Sheriff Root comes looking for Eugene, the fire alarm goes off, and it cuts to the inside of the oven showing a tray bathed in fire. It was a beautiful piece of visual storytelling.
One of the things that I’ve said about the series is how effectively it’s managing a “slow burn” approach to the story. In fact, all the way back in the pilot we saw what happened to Jesse’s Dad: murdered. His final words: “promise me.”
We finally know why Jesse was so hellbent on upholding that promise: because during the day his father had sent Tulip away, and Jesse had prayed to God to kill his Daddy. And here it was, happening.
So when his father made Jesse promise to be one of the good guys, the audience is finally starting to understand why coming back to Annville was so important.
And the fact that the flashback to his father’s murder is followed IMMEDIATELY by Jesse digging for Eugene is just such a nice touch; like perhaps after the jerk Jesse’s been the entire episode, finally he is remembering who he is…and who he is supposed to be.