Hoover

The second character appearing in Preacher episode Damsels is another operative of The Grail, the mysterious organization we now know is on Jesse Custer‘s trails. When Lara Featherstone pretends to escape from New Orleans leaving Jesse, she’s taken aboard a truck by F. J. Hoover, portrayed by Malcolm Barrett. Hoover is the one who reveals Featherstone is actually part of The Grail, and that the two of them have been investigating on Custer and his Word of God from the beginning. In the comics, Hoover is indeed a member of the organization, but he’s also one of the unluckiest men ever seen in the entire series. Let’s see together.

Hoover’s life is quite a tragic one, with the only constant of him wanting to do the right thing and to help other people, but proving to be completely unable to do something good. Since his childhood, Hoover (first name unknown) wanted to help people, but only caused messes while trying to do it. As a young man, he studied to become a lifeguard, always with the intention of being helpful. As usual, however, he screwed up, and some guy ended up drowning while he was on guard. He was obviously fired, and he started wandering looking for purpose…and that’s when The Grail found him. Not exactly a pious man, but religious nevertheless, and bent on helping humanity any way he could, Hoover felt affinity with the Grail’s mission of saving mankind from itself by organising an “artificial” Armageddon and starting a new era of peace and understanding with their own Messiah. He enthusiastically joined The Grail and became one of their operatives, albeit from time to time he questioned their methods, as they seemed in contraddiction with their declared objective; believing it was his fault as he couldn’t understand such complex and brilliant plans, however, Hoover obeyed like a good soldier, and never created troubles (not willingly, however). This kind of loyalty couldn’t go unnoticed, and it attracted the attention of the Sacred Executioner of The Grail, Herr Starr: Starr made sure Hoover entered his personal service, and albeit not losing an occasion to remark on the man’s stupidity and uselessness, he made sure to obtain his total loyalty, even by entrusting him with “delicate” missions, such as providing him with prostitutes for his “unusual” desires…only, Hoover made a huge mistake even this time, and he brought a transvenstite to his boss. Starr never bridged over it, and his despise for Hoover only grew exponentially.

Despite being constantly humiliated and scolded by his boss, Hoover remained with him, both because he truly believed in Grail’s mission, and because in the meanwhile he had fallen in love with Featherstone, another adjutant of Starr…who actually was in love with the Executioner. Because of his huge mistake with the hooker, Hoover was reassigned to Starr’s personal protection, and in this occasion he actually achieved his first success, as he saved his boss from a murder attempt at the hands of Gallico, a mobster whom Starr stumbled upon while looking for Jesse Custer, the man he wanted to use as Grail’s new Messiah. Of course, Hoover had to kill him to save Starr, and this was the very first time he took a life: from that point, there was no return. With blood on his hands, he put up his mind to follow Herr Starr in everything, and so he did when his boss started a conspiracy against the Allfather D’Aronique, wanting to take Grail from his hands: he joined Featherstone in an attempt to capture Jesse Custer while he was in Jesus DeSade‘s mansion, but, as usual, he failed. Wanting to appear brave in front of Featherstone, he followed Custer alone on a beach…and this proved to be a grave mitake in a long series of grave mistakes: using his Voice of Command, Custer told him to count the grains of sand until he reached three millions…something that Hoover immediately started doing. Left for dead by his colleagues at Grail, Hoover spent over a year on that beach counting sand, barely interrupting himself to eat and drink. Finally, when he found the last grain, he looked like a cheap copy of Robinson Crusoe: dirty, emaciated, with long beard and hair, he came back to Grail’s offices in San Francisco, where Featherstone was quite surprised to see him alive. Albeit scarred and with a mind put to the test by a year under the sun, Hoover had now a personal grudge against the Preacher, and he looked forward to obtain his revenge…

Hoover’s story is a long collection of bad decisions and of good intentions leading to awful results. A good man at heart, he’s not the killer The Grail needs him to be, but he’s not smart enough to realise he’s working for the wrong side. With no particular skill to offer but his unshakable will to do good, Hoover is quite out of place in a secret organization of murderers and history-manipulators, but as long as he’ll believe The Grail is trying to do some good for humanity, he’ll be the most loyal agent they’ll ever have.