NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Preacher”, including multiple major character deaths, are present in this review
Preacher didn’t seem to have the strongest momentum coming into this week’s season finale. “The End of the Road” has quite a bit to wrap up as well, considering the increased scope and depth of Preacher’s second season, so the odds initially appear to be against this being a fully satisfying end to the season. Fortunately though, this week’s season finale of Preacher manages to beat the odds, providing a wholly satisfying and effectively shocking wrap-up to the show’s current arc of events, while also setting up some strong promise for the still unconfirmed, but likely Season Three.
Things begin with the Grail quickly trying to settle Jesse into his new life as the messiah, complete with staging a fun and over-the-top publicity stunt, whereupon Jesse appears to take out Armenian invaders in a grade school. This is also the first interesting hint of trouble to come, as we see that Jesse is unable to use the Word against the thugs, something that Herr Starr also notices. Jesse tries to claim that he simply didn’t want to use his power against the goons, but Starr naturally suspects that something is up. Jesse also seems to be confused about why Genesis is suddenly acting up, but disappointingly, we don’t get the answer to that yet.
At the same time, Tulip and Cassidy prepare to leave New Orleans, complete with Denis in tow, to go along on their planned beach trip. This results in a standout selection of scenes, as Cassidy discovers that Denis is getting into some really creepy violence porn, while Tulip discovers the hidden camera left by Featherstone and Hoover, and begins to suspect her neighbour. It initially doesn’t seem to matter, since the group is leaving New Orleans anyway, but this definitely doesn’t happen without incident, as two final dramatic turns exceptionally cap off both characters’ ongoing story arcs for the season.
To start, Cassidy finally confronts Denis in his bedroom, appearing to give his son one last chance to be a better vampire. Denis appears unrepentant however, which forces Cassidy to push him out the window and lock him onto the balcony, having to listen as his son quite brutally burns to death in the sun! We likely all knew that this was coming, since Denis was clearly not going to change, and Cassidy would have to face his mistake sooner or later. Still, Cassidy’s character arc has been one of the most steady and reliably strong story elements of this season, and seeing this painful choice take a toll on him was very rewarding, and also genuinely sad. With the destruction of Denis, Cassidy now likely has no other family connections, making Jesse’s crew the only family he’s got now. The tragedy of this turn was nicely compounded by Jesse apparently running off with the Grail too.
Tulip, meanwhile, interacts with the disguised Featherstone one last time, which Hoover humourously walks in on, cementing Tulip’s suspicions that ‘Jenny’ is not who she says she is. The two suddenly attack each other before a commercial break abruptly cuts the result away, but when the show returns, a frantic voicemail on Jesse’s phone left by Cassidy seems to confirm that it didn’t go Tulip’s way. Jesse having to quickly rush back to New Orleans seemingly cements an enemy in the Grail, especially when Herr Starr quickly flashes the missing piece of Jesse’s soul before Jesse rides off, likely extracted from the Saint of Killers before he was booted back to Hell! Looks like the Grail has a big piece of insurance to make sure that Jesse comes back to them, meaning that they’re far from defeated, and poised to become major foes in this show’s third season, whenever AMC decides to renew it.
It was the end of this episode that shone most though, despite so many strong moments before it. When Jesse does manage to return to Cassidy, he sees Tulip shot and bleeding out on the floor, with Featherstone clearly being the victor in their brief duel. Cassidy begs Jesse to use the Word to save Tulip, but of course, the Word no longer works, and Jesse doesn’t know why. Cassidy then decides to take drastic measures, though Jesse makes the shocking decision to hold him back before he can turn Tulip into a vampire, thus forcing the two to watch Tulip die. Yes, in an especially shocking twist, Tulip actually dies in this season finale! Of course, if you’ve read the source comics, you’ll know that Tulip died in them as well, and was eventually resurrected, and that possibility seems to be the plan for a third season of Preacher, since Jesse and Cassidy drive towards Angelville, the secret hideaway of Jesse’s mysterious grandmother. The fact that a chicken that Jesse accidentally killed as a teen runs behind the car as they enter seems to provide a very strong hint that Jesse’s grandmother can resurrect the dead, but of course, this will likely just provide another antagonist for Jesse to deal with, come next season.
Even the season-long Eugene subplot saw a surprisingly fitting and rewarding conclusion in this episode, despite the fact that Eugene’s story arc has often been Season Two’s biggest weak link. The tense and amusing final escape from Hell is very entertaining, especially when Ms. Mannering corners Eugene at the River Styx, and seemingly kills Charon to prevent Eugene’s escape! Hitler manages to clock Mannering however, allowing Eugene to get away, though Eugene insists that Hitler escape Hell with him. This initially sets up a fun premise of Eugene going back to the modern world with Hitler, but in a final standout twist, Hitler flees from Eugene as soon as they get off the bus, even getting hit by a car and pushing down a cripple to get away! Eugene’s final utterance of, “… Shit” was hilarious icing on the cake too, as the harsh reality dawns on him that he just unleashed Adolf Hitler on present-day society! Even considering the frequent issues with Eugene’s storyline this season, I must say that this payoff was very much worth it, especially as Eugene has no choice but to sheepishly slink away, with his next move unknown until next season.
The episode and the season ending with confirmation that God was the man-dog from the season premiere, complete with the dog costume’s eyeholes spying on Jesse and Cassidy as they drive towards Jesse’s grandmother, perfectly topped everything off. Will we finally see God properly in a third season of Preacher? We can only hope! For now though, “The End of the Road” actually did a superb job of tying up Season Two, even managing to provide an unexpected and very funny payoff to the formerly struggling Eugene storyline! There’s a lot to look forward to in the likely third season of Preacher as well, considering that Jesse’s crew now has more enemies than ever, and Jesse no longer has the aid of Genesis to boot. Before that though, we’ll have to see if Tulip manages to cheat death, especially since, as Jesse’s grandmother indicates with the once-dead chicken at the start of the episode, there will be a price to pay.
- Jesse strengthening the Grail as an obstacle
- Cassidy having to deal with Denis once and for all
- Tulip's shocking fate, and how it leads into next season