AMC's Preacher has struck an interesting balance between paying homage to the original Garth Ennis comics, and doing entirely its own thing - and this week's episode continues that mix with a scene pulled straight from the books. Since the beginning, and the decision to set the entire first season in Annville (which is destroyed in the opening pages of the comics), Preacher has been happy to create its own story while also staying true to the spirit of the source material. As the series comes to a close, it is definitely creating its own ending, but "Fear of the Lord" still manages to fit in a comic-accurate moment in which Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) loses yet more body parts...
Starr may be a villain, but he has had a particularly rough time of it. At the start of the series, he is already disfigured, with a star carved into his face and through his eye. As the show goes on, however, things just get worse. At the start of "Fear of the Lord", he has an unfortunate scar carved into his bald head, a missing ear replaced with a vampire foreskin, and as punishment, God has set a dingo on him... which has bitten off his genitals and run away with them. And as if that's not bad enough, things are about to get much, much worse.
The episode starts after Starr has run into the desert, trying to chase down the dog that stole his manhood. He's been picked up by three brothers, who have him in a dark underground room, and are installing a tap where his genitals used to be. Horrifying enough, but that's just the start. After a flashback/dream to the loss of his eye, Starr wakes up to discover that he is a missing a leg. Which has been intentionally cut off, so that the brothers can cook and eat it - and even feed it to him.
This is an almost-identical adaptation of a comic storyline that takes place after the explosion in the desert, but there are several key differences. In the comics, the scene goes on much longer, over several issues, as he first thinks that he lost his leg in the crash, then realizes they are eating him, (then briefly fears that they are also rapists). His escape is also changed, as in the comics it is Starr who rescues himself - stealing a gun from his captors and shooting them all dead. In the series, however, the Grail finds him thanks to an embedded transponder. It is the operatives who kill the brothers, and he is carried back to Masada, weeping.
While this may seem like a minor difference, it actually makes a huge difference to the character. In the comics, Herr Starr remains almost impassive, utterly unemotional, and extremely capable. In the series, he becomes increasingly pathetic, needing to be rescued, sobbing when rescued, and then later in the episode, trying to kill himself (and instead having his nipples ripped off, as though he hasn't lost enough). The show has made the decision to make him weaker, and more obsessed with his looks, which is an interesting one. While Starr is increasingly unhinged in both versions of Preacher, the series makes him significantly sadder. Fans are going to have to wait to find out exactly how this change will play into the show's endgame, especially as the end of the episode sees God restoring Starr's body and looks. Could Starr manage to stay whole and in control, or is this going to blow up in his temporarily-handsome face?