NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Preacher”, including multiple major character deaths, are present in this review
Preacher has been building up to a very ambitious season finale over the past several weeks, and now, that season finale has arrived this week. It doesn’t disappoint either, especially in terms of crude chuckles and outrageous shocks, as Jesse starts to follow through with his plan to call God forth to address his clergy in Annville. Just like Annville’s citizens, this show’s entire audience, whether they’re familiar with the source comics or not, are no doubt pretty curious, especially about how exactly Preacher will portray God and Heaven in its universe, or if Jesse’s plan will even ultimately work in the end.
Before all of that business though, the show has to wrap up its handful of remaining plot elements from the season, primarily Tulip’s quest for revenge against Carlos. This season finale finally revealed exactly what went down in Jesse’s and Tulip’s former life with Carlos, namely that Carlos betrayed them during a bank robbery, which we might have already guessed. What we didn’t know beforehand however is that Tulip was pregnant at the time (a nice callback to Tulip’s claim about a child that is gone from the pilot), and lost the baby during the botched robbery, which she blames Carlos for. A lot of this is stuff that the audience could feasibly fill in though.
What really made this flashback effectively impactful is Carlos’ reasoning for betraying Jesse and Tulip; They were happy. That’s it. Carlos was jealous of their happiness as a couple, being proven by his inability to attract the interest of women, and sabotaged the two of them when he got tired of them raiding safety deposit boxes at the bank, and cracking jokes about someone’s rather incriminating double-fisted marital aid. This helps to explain exactly why Tulip was so obsessed with the past, and why Jesse was so desperate to forget it and rediscover his roots in finding God; Carlos destroyed both of their worlds, and they both dealt with it in opposite ways.
The way that the show portrayed Jesse being the surprising guest of the Schenk family was also initially weird, but quickly made sense, especially when Donny brought up Jesse showing him mercy in the truck stop bathroom several episodes back. Sure, Jesse has the advantage of Genesis if anything goes wrong (making one wonder why he cares about the police manhunt in the first place), but it was interesting to see Jesse’s restraint end up paying off in the end, just as karma also haunts Jesse with the pursuit of Sheriff Root, after Jesse’s accidental damning of Eugene to Hell.
The one sour note in the episode came from a bit of hokey drama with Jesse initially insisting that he can’t kill Carlos at Tulip’s behest, only to later decide that he can, only to have Tulip then say that they shouldn’t. This debate might have been interesting in an episode that was fully devoted to it, but frankly, this season finale awkwardly tossed in this Carlos conflict and rushed through it, which made the whole Carlos capture kind of ring hollow. The two compromising by beating Carlos half to death and stealing his clothes was a logical middle ground for Jesse and Tulip, but considering how much the Carlos capture was built up, the way that it was ultimately executed was pretty mixed.
Fortunately, the other big character-driven scene before the big climax, Sheriff Root interrogating Cassidy, was a lot better. Root has somehow put together that Cassidy is a vampire, and brings a supply of blood to Cassidy’s jail cell, before continually shooting him with his gun as a means of torture, in an effort to discern where Jesse hid Eugene, feeding Cassidy blood to keep him healthy enough to talk. Cassidy insists that Root won’t believe the answer even if he heard it though, and manages to end the exchange by probing Root’s apparent sub-conscious happiness that Eugene has vanished from his life. This leads to Cassidy getting shot by a full clip, but then being allowed to leave. I suppose that’s a fair enough result, especially since Root still left the blood for Cassidy to heal with.
After the season’s other lingering story elements are resolved however, everyone comes to Jesse’s church for the main event, leading to one of the coolest moments of the entire season; God addressing Annville’s citizens directly, including Odin Quincannon, who showed up simply to profess his love for the, “God of Meat.” A rather traditional depiction of God is called forth by the angel hands and the divine phone, who answers some questions for the clergy, and for Jesse, though it somehow seems too easy… Too straightforward. The way that the scene gradually drew suspicion to the divine figure before the clergy was excellent, with viewers becoming suspicious alongside Jesse, until Jesse simply directly comes forth before his church and calls out the figure as a fake, which he puts together after asking about Eugene. Using Genesis, Jesse forces the figure to confess to the town that God has disappeared, and not even Heaven knows where He is anymore, prompting the nearby angels to forcibly end the call.
This of course has Preacher moving towards a huge focal point of the source comics, as Annville begins to riot in response to the announcement that God has abandoned the world. Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy leave town, and that’s where they hatch their plan from the comics to go on a crazy journey and locate God, wherever He may be hiding. This is a strong setup for the already-confirmed Season Two next year, and would seem to position Preacher to more directly adapt the crazy misadventures of the source comics going forward. This is also illustrated by a seemingly disconnected series of scenes about Annville’s manure-powered methane reactor, which eventually lead to a massive explosion that seemingly wipes out the entire town, conveniently fixing the problem of Annville being told directly by Heaven that God has gone missing!
This was a very bold move for the show, but also a logical one, since it seems like Preacher is going to become a travel-style show next season, akin to AMC’s other comic book-inspired darling, The Walking Dead, and its spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead. The violent explosion of literal shit, just as Annville descends into riots, crime and anarchy, seemingly kills everyone in the entire town, including Emily Woodrow and her kids, Sheriff Root, Odin Quincannon, and whoever else was lingering around. The news report addressing the situation says that any survivors are unlikely, though the show did leave some wiggle room, in case they want to bring back key characters from Season One later in the show’s run. The quick peek at the devastated town seems pretty absolute though, with only the stray Seraphim wandering around, until a hole is blasted through her chest by the Saint of Killers, now on Earth, and muttering about hunting down the local preacher, once again moving this character properly into his key arc from the source comics. On the note of the Saint of Killers as well, it seems like DeBlanc might actually have been permanently killed when the Saint of Killers shot him in Hell in the previous episode, since Fiore is dropped back on Earth by himself. Whatever the case, I guess we’ll get the next batch of answers in Season Two next year.
Preacher has had a superb debut season, and it closed out that first season with an equally exceptional season finale this week. The shocks, humour and drama all worked very well for the most part, beyond the mixed resolution to the Carlos arc, and even as the show finishes the season by completely obliterating Annville, it feels like the series is only going to get better when Season Two begins next year. With Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy properly beginning their journey to find God, and the Saint of Killers now directly pursuing Jesse, we’ll finally get a proper look at this show’s crazy world beyond Annville, and that should make next season very much worth looking forward to indeed!
- Sheriff Root confronting his feelings about Eugene's disappearance
- Fantastic scene of Jesse calling the false God to his church
- Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy beginning their journey to find the missing God
- Carlos debate is hokey and tedious