NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Preacher” are present in this review
Preacher has made it to its final season, a final season that feels like it’s coming sooner than this great AMC series possibly deserved. Still, with the world itself now threatened by total destruction, at least, if Preacher’s two-part final season premiere is any indication, we will at least have plenty of violent, eccentric excitement to look forward to, before AMC’s cult favourite Vertigo/DC Comics-inspired dramedy series goes off the air for good.
The first season premiere episode, “Masada” appropriately kicks off Preacher’s final season with plenty of thrills and perverse charm, as Jesse and Tulip naturally conspire to break Cassidy out of the Grail’s secret Middle Eastern headquarters, Masada. This begins with a rather humourous use of Jesse’s Genesis powers, which he can now wield with reckless abandon once again, in a nearby, “Bar and Grail” establishment, which handily allows Jesse to put a whole squad of Grail soldiers under Tulip’s command. The next morning, Jesse then meets with Herr Starr, who has taken precautions, including employing a deaf old lady, to make sure that Jesse can’t use Genesis on him or his men. In failing to account for Jesse sneaking in compromised soldiers already however, Starr threatening to carve a vagina into Jesse’s head thus sparks a big firefight.
Diplomacy failing at Masada is something that anyone could have guessed, though fortunately, Preacher did find an effective way to make this inevitable turn both funny and engaging. Even Cassidy’s torture manages to go the extra mile at Masada’s ‘university’, wherein Cassidy’s vampire regeneration is exploited to teach Grail students advanced torture tactics, which apparently involves repeatedly circumcising Cassidy without apparent end. It’s squeamish and comically disturbing, but fortunately, Jesse manages to show up, and break Cassidy out of his imprisonment, following a brief melee. Weirdly, the torture professor and students don’t appear to be protected from Genesis, so one has to wonder why Jesse didn’t just immediately use the Word of God to make them stand down, but whatever. It’s tough to complain when we get a pretty solid fight scene out of this strange oversight.
Inevitably though, complications still arise, even when Jesse appears successful in rescuing Cassidy. Jesse and Cassidy once again begin to squabble, with Cassidy continuing to stoke tension with Jesse over Tulip, as well as Jesse’s increasingly extreme rescue methods. Tulip, meanwhile, ends up getting unexpectedly ratted out by one of her Genesis-controlled minions, forcing her to break cover as a prisoner, and resulting in another firefight, one that Tulip manages to escape, only to discover her minion crushed within a door. This provides more amusing gross-out humour, while also pointing Tulip to the nearby door switch, which just so happens to be covered by Featherstone! Unfortunately though, Tulip’s latest confrontation with Featherstone ends up being a bit of a dud. The two inexplicably mush bullets together, Wanted-style, before simply throwing their guns away, only for Featherstone to escape in a wing suit once Tulip drops her off of a ledge. Frankly, this small bit of fisticuffs might as well have not happened.
Regardless, Tulip manages to get the headquarters’ front door open again, and Jesse is about to lead Cassidy out, only for Cassidy to stop at the exit to Masada. For some strange reason, Cassidy refuses to leave, with Jesse having to watch the door shut on him again, before he and Tulip have to beat a hasty retreat. It seems truly inexplicable that Cassidy would want to stay and be tortured by the Grail, but he nonetheless claims that he’s, “Got this”, mystifying both Jesse and Tulip alike. Does Cassidy have his own plan for striking back at the Grail? It seems like a strange choice, but it does create an intriguing initial mystery. Jesse and Tulip nonetheless resolve to break Cassidy out the following day though, even if fate once again intervenes here.
There’s a few scattered teases for later in the season as well, including the Saint of Killers and Eugene making it to Angelville, only to find it in ruins, and Jesse’s crew having long since abandoned it, as well as Herr Starr conferring with God at the end of the episode, where they both decide that Jesse has to suffer. The most important tease however comes via a nightmare that Jesse has while in bed with Tulip the following night, wherein he witnesses the world seemingly being destroyed. Jesse hears his father, as well as Genesis, claim to him that it’s time to wake up, prompting Jesse to leave Tulip, for unknown reasons. This makes for another mostly intriguing mystery, particularly when Jesse ends up hitching a ride on a mysterious chicken-filled truck towards the end of the episode, while Tulip finds a letter from him, presumably explaining why Jesse has to strike out on his own again.
“Masada” kicks off Preacher’s final season on a reliably fun note, and as the first half of a two-part season premiere, it’s a very entertaining one. The characters are certainly acting strangely in some instances, what with Jesse abruptly leaving Tulip after an apocalyptic nightmare, and Cassidy deciding not to flee from the Grail with his friends, but strange isn’t really anything out of the ordinary for Preacher. As much as it ended up being an unsuccessful rescue effort, the attack on Masada made for a thrilling way to kick off the season nonetheless, without completely trouncing the Grail in one fell swoop. Now that we’ve seen God Himself on Herr Starr’s side as well, Jesse had better have a hell of a plan for whatever he’s doing! Fortunately, with a second episode also serving as the season premiere on the same night, viewers can immediately get some more insight into what’s going on, or, at least as much insight as Preacher’s usual weirdness would be willing to allow.
- Violent, entertaining attack on the Grail's headquarters
- Cassidy weirdly refusing to leave Masada
- Jesse's strange apocalyptic warnings
- Tulip/Featherstone duel feels anti-climactic