It’s been an interesting ride watching the first season of Preacher. On one hand, it’s a show that’s pretty much unlike anything else on television, with some truly insane moments and incredible production value. On the other hand, as a lover of the Preacher source material, some of the decisions made this season have been… erratic. Luckily, the finale was pretty damn good, and sets us on the road we’ve all been waiting for.
One of the problems with this season of Preacher has been some unexplained narrative gaps. We start this week with one, as Jesse is (inexplicably) hiding out at Donnie’s. Why? That’s a great question.
Cassidy is in jail, being interrogated by Sheriff Meat Loaf – still trying to find out what happened to Eugene. He’s got a thermos full of blood, and a thick file on Cassidy that goes back to the 40’s. Turns out the Sheriff is a better gumshoe than we gave him credit for. After shooting Cass, proving to himself that Cassidy is more than he seems – he settles in for an extended interrogation.
“C’mon, Vampire. It’s gonna be a long night.” – Sheriff Root
Tulip finds Jesse at Donnie’s. It turns out Donnie is showing mercy to Jesse in return for Jesse not killing him earlier this season. Of course, nothing in Donnie’s actions up to this point have pointed to this, which is one of the ongoing problems: characterizations really have to be more consistent in season 2. Jesse and Tulip have a heart to heart, where Jesse pretty much expresses his love for her. Then why has he been avoiding her all season? Weird. This relationship is the cornerstone of the comic, but on the TV show – I’m just not feeling it as much as I should. Here’s hoping it gets better in season 2.
Anyway, Tulip has a present for Jesse. Junk in her trunk, literally: Carlos, Jesse & Tulip’s former partner, trussed up in the trunk. We finally get the full flashback to Jesse and Tulip’s past – which shows not only that Carlos betrayed Jesse & Tulip, but also that Tulip was pregnant and lost the baby. Yowza, didn’t see that coming. Again, if the show had done a better job on the Jesse/Tulip relationship, this would’ve had more impact. That being said, we now understand a little more where Tulip’s anger comes from. Jesse, looking at Carlos in the trunk of the car:
“Why?” – Jesse
“You were happy,” – Carlos
In other Annville related news, we get a quick shot of Quincannon’s subterranean factory that’s been hinted at all year – overflowing with cow manure. Alert! – this will be important later.
Back at the jail, the Sheriff is getting nowhere fast. Cassidy, smarter than the average vampire, tweaks the Sheriff’s guilt over Eugene, eventually pissing him off enough that he shoots him a number of times. Realizing he’s not going to get the answers he wants, the Sheriff lets Cass go. Yet another good scene for W. Earl Brown, who gets the season 1 award for underutilized talent.
Free to join Jesse and Tulip at Donnie’s, Cassidy promptly tries to dissuade Tulip and Jesse from killing Carlos. Jesse, conflicted as always, picks up a gun and strides out to the car.
“I’m goin’ to hell anyway.” – Jesse
Just as Jesse is about to do it, Tulip stops him, telling him that the fact that he was willing to do it for her is all she really needed. Ohhhhhhh-kay. Not sure if that makes total sense, but I guess I get it. That doesn’t mean he’s getting off scot-free, they hand him a crowbar and a gun, and ask him if he’s ready. We get a cool shot of Jesse and Tulip standing together, with the Preacher wearing the trademark smirk on his face comic lovers know so well. Later, we see Carlos disfigured and bloody limping through Annville. Still alive, for the moment.
With all the foreplay over – it’s time for the main event: Jesse vs. God. The whole town is in attendance. Tulip, now starting to figure out there is more going on here than she thought – asks Jesse what he thinks will happen. Jesse isn’t sure.
“Well, no matter what, we’re getting French fries after.” – Tulip
Jesse then picks up the Batphone – using the severed angel hand, and places a call to heaven. God does indeed appear – a very stereotypical God with a long white beard and a robe ie: the first clue that something isn’t right. The congregation starts peppering God with questions, to which he gives comforting answers. But our erstwhile Preacher ain’t buyin’ what he’s sellin’ and uses his knowledge of Eugene being in hell to confirm that this God is indeed an impostor. The Preacher then uses the Word to ask where God really is. The impostor is then forced to reveal that no one in heaven knows.
“He’s missing. God is missing. We don’t know where he is. Maybe he’s down there. We don’t know!”
Cue pandemonium: Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy leave and the people of Annville, faced with the realization that God is missing, lose their collective sh*t. They attack each other; the pedophile bus driver is killed by the young girls he lusted over; comatose Tracey is smothered by her mother and Quincannon – in perhaps the creepiest scene all year – makes a meat doll and dresses it up in his daughter’s clothing. Yup, that happened. Lastly, the methane from Quincannon’s underground factory overflows into Annville and is ignited via a burning cigarette, blowing up Annville and everything in it – including the church. That was cool.
Luckily, our heroes (sort of) are in a diner outside of town eating French fries. A food item suitable for any occasion. At long last – they decide on their next move.
“The plan is simple. Find God.” – Jesse
Tulip isn’t completely sold, but is happy to go along with Jesse. Cassidy is, naturally, all in. As they go outside, Jesse uses the Word to command Tulip to kiss him. She does, then slaps him. Heh. We then cut to the three of them speeding off in Tulip’s car – starting their quest to find God. Say it with me everyone: “Finally!”
But we’re not done yet: As the episode ends – we see the blonde Seraphim angel wandering the broken streets of Annville. Suddenly she’s shot from behind. By who? The Saint of Killers, aka The Cowboy. As the show ends, he stands above the fallen angel and says only one word: “Preacher”
Ok – incredibly strong finish to a very entertaining, funny, and perplexing season of Preacher. Obviously it was Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s plan all along, for better or worse, for the first season of the show to take place entirely in Annville. While this strategy did let us get to know the characters well, it often felt like the plot was spinning its figurative wheels a bit. The good news: the slate is clean. The only people (presumably) left alive are Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy, Eugene (in hell), and the Cowboy. Now the real story can begin. The bad news: What was this all for? Yes, we got to know our characters well. The adventures yet to come will probably be fuller now that we know who they are, and where they came from, yet I do believe it was possible to get them to this point in less than ten episodes. A lot of the residents of Annville that were invented for the TV show, who had side stories that took up time, kind of feel like a waste.
All in all, it was a wildly entertaining season that I enjoyed very much for the most part. The actors were fantastic, really growing into their roles by season’s end, particularly Dominic Cooper as Jesse. Despite some sloppy narrative gaps and weird character decisions, this was a gorgeously produced, fun season of television that I looked forward to every week. For lovers of the comic, this season serves as a prequel of sorts – in that the end of the season is where the comic pretty much begins. Will the show be a little more faithful to the source material going forward? Will it follow through on the teases of Herr Starr and Jesse sadistic grandma? When will Jesse and the Cowboy meet? All questions I look forward to finding out the answers to in the season(s) to come.
Finale: 4 out of 5 Arsefaces
Season: 3.5 out of 5 Arsefaces
- The sign outside the was great: Today: Meet God. Tomorrow: TBD.
- Fiore is alive, but it looks like DeBlanc is dead, courtesy of the Cowboy. Let’s all pour some out in memory of DeBlanc.
- Apparently, Tom Cruise’s ashes have been shot into space. The running Cruise gags have been fantastic.