NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Preacher” are present in this review
When it debuted last year, AMC’s Preacher quickly become one of the strangest and yet most compelling cable shows on television, quickly standing apart from the many other comic book shows that currently clog the primetime airwaves. That said however, despite an otherwise superb first season in most respects, Preacher didn’t ultimately start by fully following the progression of the Vertigo/DC comics that inspired it last season, since it planted the lead characters squarely in Annville, promising the proper road trip to find God that founds the source comics in a sophomore season.
Fortunately, that sophomore season has finally arrived, and it didn’t come at the expense of this show’s usual high quality either! With Annville now obliterated, and Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy hitting the road to find the missing God, “On the Road”, the first of two season premiere episodes spread across two nights, before Preacher properly adopts its new Monday night timeslot tomorrow, kicks off the second season of Preacher on an enjoyable and delightfully twisted note, establishing everything that viewers need to know with the show’s new road trip flavouring, while more actively emulating the progression and style of the source comics. That means more over-the-top violence, more bizarre humour, and more embracing by Jesse of his selfish personality.
All the while, the Saint of Killers also prepares to stalk Jesse and co., after being unleashed upon Jesse by DeBlanc and Fiore towards the end of last season. The Saint of Killers wastes no time making an impression either, as he suddenly starts shooting up some helpless police officers that make the mistake of driving after Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy after they decide to have some fun and start a chase. This sequence with the Saint of Killers and the highway patrol officers was a great way to kick off the second season premiere of Preacher on an exciting and effectively crazy note, especially when Jesse doesn’t waste much time making use of Genesis to humiliate the cops, not knowing that a divine killer is coming for him in mere moments.
Already, despite the fact that Season One was still very strong, Season Two of Preacher does even more to grab and enthrall viewers with its extra energized new direction. The Saint of Killers’ tenacious pursuit, which sees him violently murdering anyone that either does or doesn’t give him directions to Jesse, quickly establishes him as a dangerous new threat most notably, now that he’s not largely relegated to foreshadowing like he was throughout much of Season One. The show does beg the question of why the Saint of Killers needs to stop to ask for directions in the first place when he already homes in on Jesse’s location to begin with, beyond creating a few more moments of shock violence, but that’s ultimately a fairly minor issue, especially when the character is more badass and imposing than ever now.
As you can imagine, Jesse’s search for God doesn’t get off to the smoothest start either. After consulting a so-called religious scholar that points the group to a strip club that God apparently attended, Cassidy goes off to get a lap dance, while Jesse and Tulip start humourously debating about whether to use Genesis on the owner to get the dirt on God. This hysterically culminates in a scuffle with security started by Cassidy that results in the owner accidentally getting shot through the wall, which gives Jesse another tenuous lead before the woman expires. Preacher has always used violence as a key humour device throughout Season One, but the show seems to be aiming even higher with it here, as Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy all become gradually more disconnected from the rest of the world around them, as well as the demands of civilized society.
On this note, the way that the destruction of Annville is addressed also feels humourously fitting, as the rest of the world learns about the destruction of the town from all corners of the media, with Jesse’s crew all being distracted and pulled away right as they would have been informed of it. The same thing occurs when Jesse just barely misses the fairly obvious Fiore masquerading as a stage performer on the television, right before Tulip tempts him with some surprisingly destructive sex. Cassidy catches a glimpse of the disguised Fiore before fading out, but there isn’t much time to explore this, as the Saint of Killers finally corners Jesse in the hotel parking lot, whereupon Jesse discovers that Genesis is useless against his divine pursuer. Uh oh!
This predictably leads into a cliffhanger ending that paves the way for tomorrow’s second season premiere episode for Season Two of Preacher, and already, it’s safe to say that I’m hooked on the sizable re-invention of the show’s dynamic in Season Two. “On the Road” made for an exceptionally violent, twisted and ultimately highly entertaining way to have Preacher much more closely emulating the style of the source comics, finally taking Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy on the all-important road trip to seek out God, and find out why he went missing. The season is already beginning on a very strong note with this episode, which once again effectively blends violence, philosophy and humour to keep Preacher staying strong as one of the most delightfully strange comic book shows to ever grace television, as well as one of the best!
- Road trip revamp is much more in line with the source comics
- Cranks up the humour and violence to strong effect
- The Saint of Killers is a very imposing and badass pursuer
- Why does the Saint of Killers need directions when he always finds Jesse anyway?