amc-preacher-donnie-schenck-derek-wilson-insideThus far, Preacher on AMC has thrown a ton of stuff our way, and to be honest, there ain’t a whole lot connecting the dots, is there? There are a lot of moving pieces right now, a lot to digest, and even if you can somehow figure out who everyone is and what they are doing, the overall plot of the story (not to mention the branching sub-plots that seem to be forming) remains elusive. To me, this isn’t entirely unexpected. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I kind of mentally prepared for this actually. There were multiple reports from various media outlets prior to the show airing that had mentioned just this thing: the show takes its time in setting things up. Those reports, thus far true, were based on the four episode media packages that AMC made available to pundits, so what happens after that, only the cast an crew know for sure. I expect, and hope, the bigger pieces will start falling into place soon.

One of those aforementioned pieces is interesting to me to say the least. I’m not going to lie, I thought I had Donnie Schenck figured out right from the start: an abusive, wife beating, stuck up father that had no other purpose in the show other than to provide Jesse Custer with a side antagonist, an obstacle to overcome as he works towards achieving his main goal in the show (whatever that is).

Well, we all remember Donnie’s son Chris asking Jesse to hurt his father, we saw the altercation in the bar between Donnie and Jesse, we heard the bone snap and the ensuing sound Donnie made, that of a bunny in a bear trap apparently.

Need a refresher? Okay, here you go…

So, this is all good right? The bad guy gets what he deserves, the good guy wins, and all is right and good with the world. The end.

But still…

What tipped me off originally to the fact that Donnie might not be your average protagonist’s punching bag was the fact that he attends church with his family at the end of the pilot episode, after his altercation with Jesse. It’s only for a second, you see the family sitting there together in the pew, but it tells us there’s a lot more to the character than meets the eye. I mean, who would sit patiently and listen to the man who just put them in the hospital? Not many. His attendance speaks of a strong ulterior motive, he has to have a reason for being in church that outweighs the hit his pride took in the bar fight…

Then, this just last week…

I was sure poor Chris was in for a beat-down, but no… instead his father tries explaining to him why he hurts his mother (totally consensual if Betsy’s confession to Jesse is genuine, and I think it is), without a whole lot of success it seems. But Donnie does emphasis one main point: that he loves his wife, and he obviously wants his son to know it. It hits me then: he is sitting in church for the good of his family.

What this does is blur the line between good and evil with regards to the character. Sure, we know Donnie is Odin’s muscle and is extremely short tempered, but instead of having what we thought was an open-shut case of good guy vs bad guy in the bar fight, we learn that this bad guy actually seems to have a heart. He also seems to be a family man who loves his wife and son very much. To add to this, Derek Wilson is a terrific actor who really makes the different sides of the character’s personality tangible and believable. Hmm, he’s not such an easy guy to root against all of a sudden, and now I find I’m interested in this characters future and role in the show a million times more that I had been before…

So, what about Donnie? Where does he fit into season one? What doe’s the future hold for him? Well, we all know that the second altercation with Jesse, fueled by the embarrassment cause by the pair’s first clash, didn’t end well. Jesse used his power and really scared the crap out of Donnie, forcing him to put a loaded hand gun into his mouth among other things. What this has done mentally and emotionally to Donnie is anybody’s guess, but I am thinking that once Donnie settles down from the shock of it all, he will see this as a threat to the community, and more importantly a threat to his family, and he’ll take desperate measures to try and stop Jesse from using this power on anyone else. I think the whole thing will come to a boiling point in the season finale, an epic altercation that may very well end up being the last time we ever see Donnie Schenck, a character end that might not have as many people cheering as I had originally thought…

So what do you think folks? What do you make of this complex character? Where do you think he fits into the show?