NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Preacher” are present in this review
After a rather busy episode that laid the foundation for the ultimate endgame of the show, Preacher went in the opposite direction for the next episode, “Fear of the Lord.” At this point, now that we know where the show is heading for its last bow especially, Preacher delivers something of a filler episode, savouring its present circumstances a bit, sometimes to a fault. We still get moments of sporadic humour that work well, particularly between Jesse’s and Herr Starr’s repeated humiliations at the hands of God, but for now, Preacher feels like it’s simply killing time, before it can properly execute its overall climax.
Even with the slowed storytelling, there are still quite a few plotlines to go around here, even if the plotting does focus a little more in this episode, compared to the previous one. Most of all, Tulip and Cassidy take Humperdoo to a nearby house, and plan to execute him, calling God to come and witness the act. After God fails to appear however, Tulip and Cassidy simply decide to live with Humperdoo at said house, until God decides to show up. This never happens though, resulting in Cassidy in particular developing a strange sort of bond with Humperdoo. It’s suggested that this may be due to his divine innocence, but either way, it’s a little frustrating that we didn’t get more time to explore Tulip’s and Cassidy’s living situation with Humperdoo, which feels like it was originally envisioned as a larger idea within its own season.
This is naturally because the Grail eventually comes to take Humperdoo back, though the circumstances that lead to this result feel a little rushed and unsatisfying. Things at least begin humourously enough with Herr Starr, who is rescued and nursed back to health by some primitives in Australia, only to discover that they are cannibals who are also eating one of Starr’s legs! Featherstone nonetheless kills the cannibals and rescues Starr however, who is once again denied his beauty for failing to find Humperdoo. This eventually leads to Starr attempting suicide with his old talent show ribbon from 1979 (admittedly, Starr looking basically the same, only having a blond mushroom cut and both eyes pigmented, is pretty funny), only to botch it and rip off his nipples, in a horrific and hilarious turn that must be seen to be believed!
Again, it’s both squeamish and amusing to see Preacher no longer holding back with going all in on the twisted spirit of its source comics, despite the fact that AMC still seems to be policing the cursing, and some of the sexual themes. Regardless, after Starr’s failed suicide attempt, God says that Starr could be pointed to Humperdoo if he simply asks, but this feels pretty annoying. I get that God is a tyrant who is very cruel to his subjects in the Preacher universe, but in that case, what was the point of torturing Starr so much, if God already knew where Humperdoo was, and could very easily point Starr to him? Doesn’t that just mean that God’s working against Himself? This plot turn doesn’t really hold water. Worse still is that Tulip predictably can’t find it within herself to detonate Humperdoo after he’s taken by the Grail either, despite putting an ax in Cassidy’s chest mere minutes beforehand! Tulip and Cassidy at least subsequently return to the Middle East in preparation to take back Humperdoo, but like I said, it felt like this whole forcibly truncated story element was meant to be spread over a full season, not just a couple of episodes.
As for Jesse, he continues to languish in Hell, refusing to take God’s throne. In response, ‘Fiore’ and the other projected angels decide to torture Jesse until he complies, with the whole, “Film strip” angle of Hell apparently no longer being in practice. This is implied to be a new policy by Hitler, who has substituted psychological torture for literal torture, but again, it ultimately amounts to nothing in the end. Fiore simply has the angels force Jesse onto the throne, which in turn restores him to life. Well, why didn’t the angels just do that to begin with then?! It amounts to more wasted time, particularly since Jesse’s resurrection feels more than a little narratively convenient, because the show would have written itself into a corner if Jesse didn’t ultimately have a means of escaping from Hell.
This also once again presents a weird, head-scratching instance of God appearing to work against Himself to boot. Shortly after Jesse crawls out of his grave, God goes to meet him in the desert, whereupon Jesse relays that he refused God’s throne, and in turn passed God’s tests. Inevitably though, Jesse’s faith ends up being misplaced, namely when God declares that Jesse was, “So close” to passing his test, but didn’t ultimately pass, because he was tempted, and thus, “Sinned in his heart.” This has Jesse coming to the conclusion that there is no reliable way to pass God’s tests, which God responds to by angrily chewing out one of Jesse’s eyes! God then teleports Jesse back to the Middle East so he can meet up with Tulip and Cassidy, presumably confident that he won. While it’s nice that we can get the protagonists together again for the final duo of Preacher episodes, this once again begs the question of why God went through all the trouble of torturing Jesse and resurrecting him, only to taunt him and put him back with his friends. Why not just leave Jesse in Hell? Doesn’t that more efficiently solve the problem of Genesis being able to be wielded against God?
The overall narrative of Preacher’s final season may still be entertaining to experience, but the actual integrity of said narrative feels like it’s beginning to come apart, as the show approaches the finish line. “Fear of the Lord” tries to hold true to Preacher’s source comics by portraying God as a fickle and unreliable tyrant that’s more cruel than He is kind, but in the process, it also ends up portraying God as something of a mystifying idiot at times, which doesn’t really represent the character effectively. God being arrogant is one thing, but it also feels like the show is transparently setting up God’s undoing through extra steps and head-scratching taunts. Perhaps the end of Preacher can tie all of this craziness with God together, especially since He supposedly has a plan for everything, but I guess we’ll have to see what the final two episodes hold. Fortunately, with Jesse having now returned to life, and Tulip and Cassidy once again standing at his side, the three of them can finally storm Masada in earnest, and hopefully bring the Grail down for good, before they take the entire world down with them.
- Comically touching moments between Cassidy, Tulip and Humperdoo
- Amusing dark humour with Herr Starr
- Jesse finally making his way back to his friends
- Tulip and Cassidy living with Humperdoo is over too quickly
- Jesse's tortures are ultimately pointless
- God's actions are beginning to make less sense, to a fault