Side Note: A recap for the second episode of Preacher season 2 that aired on the 26th will be coming later this week.
Hello, Preacher fans! Welcome back to the congregation! Reflecting back, the first season of Preacher had a lot to live up to. Being based off a great beloved comic, fans were very skeptical about how it could adapt it. So, executive producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin decided… kinda not to. The first season basically served as an extended prequel to what the main point of the comic from issue 1 was. This initially made Preacher a bit of a slog that showed the constraints of its budget. By the end of the season though, the show hit a groove that felt natural. Now with a 13 episode second season that seems to have a higher budget, AMC may allow the show to spread its wings.
With the first episode of the season “On The Road,” Preacher starts on a confident second season note. We see Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) on the road towards their goal of confronting God. However, their goal is stopped by God himself, in the form of police operatives. The three mutually decide on a police chase set to “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners. It’s a moment of rebellious mutual integrity, before Jesse unveils his powers. Our trio engages in a disturbed lack of concern for the law. Which results in an officer literally whistling Dixie and another getting pepper sprayed in the balls. This is the type of mutual greeting that shows how Preacher can match its showrunners in type of humor with Rogen and Goldberg’s rebellious sense of immaturity.
Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy are caught up in a rather tense example of road warfare. Cassidy has to fighter to stay away from the sunlight under a cop car as officers explode in gloriously gory fashion that’ll appease any horror fan. Tulip and Jesse have to find a way out during a rather convoluted shoot out towards freedom. Preacher shows a very clear lack of clarity that the late Steve Dillon was able to portray in his art with the is sequence. The chaos is inherent to the scenario, but there’s still an awkward progression shown here by directors Rogen and Goldberg. Some of this is obviously intentional, yet we’re still unsure as to how this sequence is supposed to continue on a basic level with how this is all shot. When Cassidy is eventually rescued, we’re still unsure as to how our main group is even alive at the end of the whole sequence.
Then again, Preacher being met with the type of killing that evokes The Cowboy – now finally called The Saint of All Killers – can’t be washed away. The trio stops at a restop to recall their limitations. The fact that they don’t have to pay shows Jesse’s stretch of abilities. Cassidy and Tulip are able to get their weight in convenience items – as well as a kitten – without fuss thanks to Cassidy’s powers. Both show a bit of confusion over the convenience, but aren’t too proud to get hell out thanks to Cassidy’s influence. All of this shows a relatability that endears us to Cassidy and Tulip, while still giving us intrigue into the limitations to the powers of divine intervention. At the very least, the keep our heroes away from the tongue ripping action that befalls out clerk once he encounters The Saint of All Killers (Graham McTavish). McTavish has grown fully into this role, doing these horrific acts in Terminator-style nonchalance.
The trio of Preacher finally find their way towards a safe point in the form of a garage. While Jesse has a heart to heart with Preacher Mike (Glenn Morshower) Cassidy and Tulip have a heart to heart. One that reveals their sinister sides. A sexual arousal that both know will lead to a mutual destruction at the hands of a superpowered Jesse. It leaves Negga and Gilgun in a wonderfully cramped space of possibility, which allows their chemistry to briefly blossom.This really speaks to Gilgun and Negga’s chemistry. Negga in particular manages to show off the subtlety that earned her an Academy Award nomination for Loving between these two seasons. To allow both actors a brief ability to realistically challenge their options in a comedic yet tense fashion. Both know how bad this can go, but realistically weigh the odds as much as they can under intense circumstances.
Still, Mike and Jesse are questioning God’s presence given modern circumstance. They both reveal a lack of response from The Lord, but Jesse continues to ask for a continuation of where God left off. Mike merely continues the lack of forward momentum, even as Cassidy and Tulip ask for help. Preacher has a knack for showing just how lost a modern faith seeker can be. Glenn Morshower’s Preacher Mike is a wandering light in a dim future, hoping for some kind of salvation in the form of a locked up teen. Despite the trio’s begging, Mike relents to his old ways of a prisoner child to apply his lack of communication with God. Mike is a representation of lacking forward momentum for religion. Where one can’t progress beyond modern means, Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy can try to move forward. He’s a character created for the show, but extends the themes Garth Ennis created with a more grounded perspective.
That lack of ability to move forward leaves Preacher in a very awkward position. Namely, one where Tulip, Cassidy and Jesse have to share the same bed. It’s an unintentional love triangle level of awkwardness that gives the premiere its biggest splash of comedy. Gilgun, Cooper and Negga have the right mixture of discomfort and hilarity that brings their character together while still leaving mystery for Preacher to contemplate along the way. Jesse leaves the awkward sandwich to think outside, as Mike follows him out. The two wonder why God may be unresponsive, while questioning the limitations of Jesse’s Genesis powers. This is already a massive improvement from the scenes between Jesse and Emily last season, showing Jesse interacting with a new character for the show who isn’t a blank canvas of dull. Season 2 is still slightly straying from the comic, but in ways that are improving the very shaky ground it started on.
In the source material comics, we rarely got a breathing chance for Jesse to truly contemplate the range of Genesis. Here, Cooper and Morshower get the chance to wonder just how powerful the two can be, giving Preacher the chance to contemplate the large meaning behind the massive power of its main character. We see where Genesis can go from a small perspective, but that allows us to horrifically contemplate the massive extent that can potentially extrapolate from there. Jesse is wondering how far his potential can stretch, which Mike can hardly contemplate. Jesse seeks to be the first Preacher to confront God with his powers. Mike merely wants to liquor himself up before judgement comes to question him. This shows just how regretful Preacher can be in the face of The Saint of All Killers. Building up the omnipresent threat our mysterious cowboy has over our heroes, while also showing the lack of defiance normal humans can build up in the fight against the force affecting our heroes.
Our trio winds up at a strip club. There, the manager Tammy (Jeanette O’Connor) reveals that God was either a patron or a dancer. The type of vague confirmation that shows just how mysterious and dickish God can be in this universe. For Preacher, God is both a spectator and an assholish puppet master. This is where AMC has reached the purest connection to the source material, allowing for a murky view on a potential salvation that gives us a grey view on God. One that brings us closer to Garth Ennis’ bleaker vision for this comic’s storyline. Jesse doesn’t want to abuse Genesis’ powers. It’s something Tulip and him argue over while meeting with Tammy. Tammy is someone fully intent on abusing the potential of Jesse’s powers, but Jesse as a Preacher wants to have Tammy admit what God’s intentions were. These aspirations don’t last, as Tammy is shot while confessing that God wasn’t at her strip club for the girls. God was there “for the Jazz.” What this indicates is mysterious, but at least supportive of God’s merky nature that’ll keep Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy on the road for this season of Preacher.
While contemplating this, Jesse has a dominant yet mutually eroitc play with Tulip at a local motel. Preacher reaches a dream-like state of bliss here that makes one contemplate just how eroticized all of this can be. Jesse and Tulip make out while tearing down a door. It allows for a passionate kiss, but a question over how far their groping can progress. The two share a love that mildly disturb Cassidy in the next room. Here, Preacher shows how far the real life romantic chemistry of Negga and Cooper can extend without breaking real life bounds, as the two make the Beast With Two Backs passionately. Yet, it still evokes the Saint of All Killers to come towards Jesse, leaving the episode on a cliffhanger.
With this second season premiere, Preacher has made a middle ground. The show and the comic have been fairly separate during the last season. Now, both are closer together, yet still clearly divergent for believable reasons. AMC is clearly unable to still give the show full range of budget that more popular fare like The Walking Dead can access. Yet, unlike that show, Preacher is able to be creative with its limited resources. This is a series that takes its limited resources and allocates them to character moments early on. Hopefully, we’ll see the budget during extreme moments, but here the most elaborate moments are a vampire hiding under shade. Here. it’s a moment of worried anxiousness that turns into tension for us. Preacher knows to start our season with worried scrappiness to continue endearing us to our leads. I’m still worried about how this will continue, but there’s at least a clear presence of forward momentum here than at any moment during the first season. That’s a start, right?
Rating: (4 / 5)