Preacher’s Full of New Beginnings in Season 2 Finale “The End of the Road”
Season 2 began with the promise of the grand road trip to find God that comic fans had been hoping for. There was shenanigans, explosions, stylized violence, and one liners to boot. The beginning of the second season was as perfectly “Preacher” as it could get. After some pretty poor missteps toward the middle, plot and pacing began to return to normal in the back half of the season. Though while the finale kicked off several new story arcs, “The End of the Road” hit every speed bump, pothole, and took every detour it could find in a messy and frustrating finale.
This review contains SPOILERS for the season 2 finale…
Tulip is dead. There was a time when she was the most enigmatic, most interesting, most mysterious, and strongest character on the series. Tulip is dead, and I’m not happy about it. Before anyone gets sanctimonius, yes, Tulip dies in the comics as well and is resurrected. Which seems to be the entire point that is being hinted at for what is to come in any potential third season. As of the time of airing, Preacher has not officially been picked up for a third season even though the series itself filed paperwork with the state of Louisiana to film there beginning in 2018.
The Featherstone v Tulip showdown has been brewing since “Dirty Little Secret” when Tulip questioned how Jennie knew about Dallas. And for Tulip to have gotten sentimental enough to want to tell her neighbor Jennie bye before leaving for Bimini, getting shot feels much worse than it should. The sentimentality alone shows how far Tulip has progressed this season, and though she’s still terrible about expressing herself and being open and honest, the connection (even though it was faked) proves how much she needed someone else in her life to give a damn. Her arc has Greek tragedy written all over it, which is what makes her death such a hard pill to swallow.
After the group has made its decision to part ways, the three of them are having a hard time letting go. Not being able to completely cut and run is what got Tulip killed in the first place. Cassidy not being able to let Denis go is how he wound up with an uncontrollable vampire whom he had to eventually kill anyway. I don’t think Cass ever wanted to truly turn Denis, but he, too, was desperately in need of someone to occupy his time. With things falling apart between Jesse and everyone else, Cassidy chose poorly but had the good sense to correct his mistake in pushing Denis into the sunlight.
What about Jesse? Pick an episode, any episode, and it will be abundantly clear that Jesse has been wrong about everything since before he acquired Genesis. But it isn’t until this point where Jesse begins to realize that he, Tulip, and Cassidy are all in this mess together. It feels weird without them, and it should. He doesn’t trust Starr or The Grail, but after giving a piece of his soul to The Saint, he doesn’t trust himself either.
Genesis is not working properly, and Jesse is too scared to tell anyone else. He doesn’t have to tell Starr because he can sense something is off. Instead of using the word to stop the “kidnappers” in the school, Jesse instead leans on his skills as a fighter to best the group of men. I wouldn’t call Starr overly confident, but he knows that he’s succeeded in driving the wedge between Jesse and his friends, but he has sorely underestimated Jesse’s devotion to Tulip. One phone call from Cass is all it takes for Jesse to spring into action, leaving Starr and the 1% of his soul that was extracted from the Saint.
So far, the Saint is back in hell thanks to the clout that Herr Starr has; Tulip is dead because of Featherstone’s trigger happy, murderous desires; and Jesse has to literally fight Cassidy to keep him from turning Tulip into a vampire. It may be easy to sum up the events of the finale, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an arduous task to sit through the hour on television.
Going back to when Jesse was a teenager, we get to see just how weird his life in Angelville was. The submersible coffin from “Backdoors” was a torture method of choice for his sadistic grandmother in the comics. This story also looks to have changed a lot from the source material with matriarch Marie L’Angell as some kind of occult figure instead of just being a psychotic traditionalist. She brought life back to the rooster Jesse killed in a fit of rage, and now the audience is left to assume she will be the one to bring Tulip back to life.
By now, the story has veered far away from the comics, and the series looks poised to create its own mythology with the occult aspects and introduction of trade soul trade. “You think you hate me now, just wait,” Jesse tells Cass as they make their way to Angelville with Tulip’s lifeless body in the backseat. Of all the things that could happen to a character on TV, death is the least permanent. I’m sure they will find a way to bring her back, but it still upsets me that Tulip was the character who got crapped on the most in this second season.
Lastly, the story that I hated from the moment it was introduced: Hitler and Eugene in hell. I just can’t turn off my bias and utter detest for the real Hitler. I’m the first to admit that it has clouded any fairness that may have been given to another character, and in the end, what was the point of the overblown redemption arc?
If there was one satisfying conclusion he reached in hell, it was that her condition is not his fault. After learning that Tracy actually shot herself, and how much of a brat she really was, it’s easy to see why Eugene didn’t think anyone would believe him. Yes, it’s easy to feel sorry that Eugene got stuck in hell in the first place, but exactly how naive is the kid in the first place? All of the empathy fades the closer and closer he gets to Hitler. Bypassing Charon, ferryman of the dead, and asking Hitler to come back to earth with you? No. Just, no.
It’s not surprising, but why was this necessary? To show that not even hell could change a man like Hitler? I think each of the millions of viewers all knew Hitler would abandon Eugene the minute he got topside. Lapse in judgement or pure, unadulterated innocence, but this is exactly the reason that Eugene wound up in hell in the first place — he doesn’t know when to quit.
Preacher‘s second season may have started with a bang, but it certainly ended with a fizzle. “The End of the Road” falls flat in creating good drama that makes me want to come back if AMC renews the show. About the only thing this episode does well is leave itself plenty of room to maneuver should there be another season. This is not to say that series’ shouldn’t evolve, but that evolution should feel like a natural progression instead of something clumsily clomped together in the hopes that writers and producers can finish it next season.
Who, if anyone, will bring Tulip back? We now know that God is ManDog, but exactly who is in the suit? Will Jesse ever get Genesis working properly again? What does it mean now that Hitler is free to roam again? I would love definitive answers to these questions, but I’m not sure I’m willing to invest another 13-weeks to get them.
At the time of publication, Preacher has not yet been picked up for a third season on AMC.
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