Preacher‘s first season has been filled with twists, turns, deep dives, and flat-out surface level kicks. “Call and Response” brings a lot of what we’ve seen so far to a close and opens up a whole new set of reasons to want to watch a second season of this show.
From its slow open, to the chaos at the church, to all of the small background details, Preacher‘s season one finale was good TV.
Starting with Carlos, the person who may very well be responsible for this whole mess to begin with, fans are finally given an explanation as to why he betrayed Tulip and Jesse in the Dallas bank heist that changed their lives. The flashbacks take us back to the moments before the alley scene that has played a few other times throughout the season. Back to a time when Jesse and Tulip were happy together — Well and truly happy. Something that irked Carlos, their wheel man, so deeply that it gave him reason enough to take the money and leave them behind.
Last week’s “Finish The Song,” saw Tulip finally make her way to Albuquerque to confront Carlos. But she just couldn’t kill him. Instead, she brought him back and asked Jesse to deliver the death blow. After having seen what really happened between the three of them, it’s easy to want Carlos dead as well. And when Jesse finally makes peace with what has been asked of him, Tulip stops him from shooting the traitor. Saying, “It’s the thought that counts,” was a huge let down, but still a perfect testament to the weird and deep relationship Tulip and Jesse share. While they might not have killed Carlos, they gave him the beating of lifetime, even though he had a tire iron and a gun to defend himself.
Sheriff Root has completely lost his way now. Still chasing Jesse since he escaped custody, Root does manage to catch Cassidy (at the whorehouse, of course) and pulls out all the stops as he tries to get answers about his son. Not nearly as thick-headed as he seems, Root has caught on to Cassidy being a vampire, and brings along a thermos full of blood and a pocket full of bullets to question him. Despite Annville being as off the rocker as it is, I still find it interesting that everyone is OK with a vampire walking among them. Not one person has even batted an eye when they learn about Cassidy’s true nature.
After Root begins questioning Cassidy and getting nowhere, he shoots the vampire, then offers him a cup of blood so he can continue his questioning. The Sheriff was a far more despicable character in the comics, but we have seen glimpses of Root’s darker nature once when he told Eugene he wished he was dead and again when he strangled the woman in the bathtub. But his treatment of Cassidy is born of desperation, knowing he’s run out of options for finding his son.
The one low-light, which is forgivable given its context, is the Heaven phone scene in the church. When “God” picks up the call, it’s an absurdly laughable moment. Cheesy doesn’t begin to describe the scene that unfolds. An old white dude (Tulip was right about that) with a scraggly beard and untamed hair sits upon a throne wearing all white robes. He’s got a booming, robust voice and an authoritarian, and aloof, quality about him. There’s something so out of place for the whole sequence, sub-par visuals aside, but that’s the whole point.
Just as quickly as the congregation has turned into believers having seen “God” for themselves, the skepticism we’ve come to love about Annville returns. Jesse tells this imposter that Eugene was sent to hell at his behest, and uses Genesis to command the angel to tell him the truth. When pressed for answers, he cracks, revealing that he is not God, and that neither he nor the rest of the angels know where the almighty has gone.
Here we have Annville in a nutshell. First the town is preyed upon by an overbearing, egotistical man who uses the citizen’s gullible nature to his advantage, only to be revealed for the fraud he is. It parallels both Jesse Custer and Odin Quincannon simultaneously while also showing exactly why Jesse has never quite fit in here. As the fake God is pulled off camera by other angels, Jesse doesn’t revert back to doubt. Instead, he is incensed at the news that God is missing and vows to do something about it. “C’mon, we’re leaving,” he says as he leaves his father’s church and his own congregation behind. “Tulip wants french fries,” he adds, which draws a smile from his long time girlfriend.
After the debacle with a non-existent God, Annville descends quietly into chaos to the sounds of an acoustic version of Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” Townsfolk react differently to the news that God is missing. First, Quincannon destroys the church, then makes his his daughter out of meat. Which is not the “meat-woman” fans were expecting, but begs the question of whether or not that woman was too much for AMC. To clarify, in the Preacher comics, Odin Quincannon builds a larger than life-size woman out of meat so he can have sex with her/it.
Donnie is lethargic and despondent; Emily tries to reassure her kids “nothing has changed;” The two mascots hang themselves under the giant tree; Elementary girls who ride the bus finally had enough of Linus and sodomize (and murder?) him; Tracey’s mother finally puts her daughter out of her misery; And the man who keeps Annville safe, has a heart attack after kinky sex with Pearl, one of the Toadvine Whorehouse girls. With no one to release the pressure at the methane reactor, Annville is wiped off the face of the earth with a catastrophic explosion. All that’s left in the wake of the disaster is The Saint of Killers who has one mission: kill Jesse Custer.
It’s not uncommon for shows to kill off characters fans have come to love, but for a series to kill off all but three characters? That’s new. Preacher ended with a bang, the same way it started, and brought viewers along for one of the weirdest journey’s we’ve seen adapted for TV. Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip leave Annville in their rear view as they burn out of town on a mission to find God. Their arc in the first season can be summed up in this exchange between the three characters the second season will center around.
Tulip: “So what’s the plan, Jesse?”
Jesse: “The plan is simple: Find God.”
Cassidy: “No offense, Padre, but I’m tired of the God-talk now.”
Jesse: “I am too. That’s why we’re going to go out and actually find God.”
Cassidy: “What, like a road trip? With buckets of guns, sex, drugs, and shady characters dressed in bikinis?”
Jesse: “Yea, I imagine there’ll be a bit of that.”
Cassidy: “I’m in, done.”
Tulip: “I’m sorry. We’re just going to drive around, shooting people, getting wasted, and looking for God?”
Cassidy: “Oh, I am so in!”
Tulip: “And what are you going to do when you find him?”
Jesse: “Well, if God wants our help, we’ll help him. If he doesn’t, we’re going to kick his ass.”
Tulip: “Hmm… Alright b—hes, let’s go!”
Preacher returns for a second season, bringing back its unique brand of sarcasm, violence, humor, and all-around weirdly lovable characters. And now that the Saint of Killers has returned to Earth, it’s really going to be a wild goose.
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