Preacher Season 2 arrived to a conclusion, and it was quite a cliffhanger. Next season promises to introduce Jesse Custer‘s family, and it won’t be a pleasurable reunion. We got a glimpse of Jesse’s grandmother in the episode Backdoors, enough to see she wasn’t the most lovable grandma, locking her grandson in a coffin in a swamp until he didn’t give up to his father’s name and embraced his mother’s. In the finale, The End of the Road, we also learn she’s a voodoo witch able to bring back the dead (a skill that will come in handy, after this episode…). We still don’t have a clear look at her, but Julie Oliver-Touchstone‘s silhouette will suffice: let’s take a look at Jesse’s family’s monstrous matriarch (the show isn’t following the comics strictly, but be warned of possible spoilers ahead).
Marie L’Angelle was born in what could easily be the most conservative family between Texas and Louisiana. The L’Angelles had always been seclusive and misanthropic people, so much that they built their own sanctuary in a swamp, Angelville, starting from the family’s old plantation. The rules and beliefs of said family were pretty easy to understand, but not as easy to accept, especially for the L’Angelle women: seen as little more than breed mares, the female members of the family were used to give birth to male children who could continue the family tradition and become preachers, while they had to be submitted to the family’s men in everything. The L’Angelles made quite a name for themselves in the years, and eventually people started saying that, if it was true the Devil had created Texas, Angelville was the place he stopped to rest on the seventh day. In this kind of environment, things weren’t obviously easy for Marie, but her personality was strong, and her determination even stronger: more evil and cruel than any other male in the family, she managed to bury them all (in a way or the other), and became the head of the family, the first woman in a couple of centuries. Despicable and authoritative, Marie was pretty much impossible to love, and she was unable to find somebody willing to marry her until she got fifty years old; she kind of reverted the family’s tradition as, when she gave birth to a daughter, she killed her husband, as he had finished his purpose. She named her daughter Christina, and she meant her to become the next head of the family… but as a teenager Christina rebelled to her and ran away from home, refusing to take her mother place in leading the most wicked family in the United States of America, preferring to escape with the love of her life, John Custer, a soldier and a good man. Worst of all, they didn’t even get married. Obviously, Marie couldn’t accept any of this, so she sent her two best henchmen, Jody and T.C., on their tracks. It was only a matter of time before the duo came back with their preys… and a little surprise: a baby.
Finally back in power, Marie imposed her conditions in exchange of her “hospitality”: she forced Christina and John to get properly married, and she even brushed up on the old traditions deciding that their little son, Jesse, would have become a preacher. Of course, the two lovers weren’t exactly happy of being in Angelville, and Marie was aware of it… but she promised she would have killed John if any of them ever tried to escape. And so she did, as soon as John and Catherina tried to run. With John gone, daughter and grandson were under Marie’s control, and she made sure Jesse grew up as she wanted him to: she taught him about God (a fearsome, vengeful version of Him, at least), and gave him presents when he accepted her teaching… punishing him in a terrible way when he didn’t: she had the boy locked in a weighted-down coffin with an air tube in it, put at the bottom of the swamp, without food nor water, and she left him there for days suffocating in his own urine and feces, letting him out only long enough to make sure he would stay alive. The one time she punished Jesse for cursing with a week in the coffin, Christina tried to step in for her son, but Marie ordered Jody to dispose of her, as she didn’t need her daughter anymore, now that she had her grandson: Jesse went into the coffin as she ordered, and he never saw his mother again. Unfortunately, with no parents anymore, Jesse wasn’t subject to his grandma’s threats anymore: when he was sixteen, after T.C. killed his best friend Billy-Bob Bobbs, the young man escaped from Angelville. Furious, Marie sent Jody and T.C. once again on his trails, and when they returned they had wonderful news: Jesse had met a girl he had fallen in love with, some Tulip O’Hare, and he was about to marry her. This meant Marie had a leverage on him once again: menacing to kill Tulip, Marie convinced Jesse to come back home, and left him a month in the coffin. When he came out of it, his will was completely subjected to his grandmother’s: finally, he completed his studies and became the preacher Marie had always wanted him to be. Now, things were truly going the right way.
Marie L’Angelle is a horrible woman, a tyrant on a wheelchair who has absolute authority over her family and the many henchmen who work for her; clever and unscrupulous, she’d do anything to fulfill her wishes and desires, and she uses other people as pawns in her personal chessboard. Made immune to Genesis by God Himself, Marie is a living nightmare back from Jesse’s past, a cruel and brutal woman who controls the destiny and life of far too many people.