We’ve reached the end folks. Well, the end for now anyway. After ten episodes, Preacher Season 1 has completed its run. The series started on tough terrain, with meandering based around far lesser versions of the characters we have now. Then, we slowly but surely got a closer thematic adaptation of the source material. Still, Preacher had a lot resting on this finale. This 10th episode would be crucial in terms of getting firm confirmation on where we’re heading for the already confirmed season 2. What’s being kept from the comics and where will our main characters be? Namely, will they still be in Annville, where the storylines often run their driest? Luckily, Preacher made a definitive answer to most of those questions, all while stick the landing with their best episode yet.
The big take away from our final sermon of the season is… ANNVILLE IS FINALLY DEAD! Yes, Preacher answered my prayers and leveled off this place for good with an admittedly convenient flare up of methane gas. There’s a certain amount of thematic sense to this, given the fact that the guy gauging the methane pressure was part of Custer’s congregation. That flock goes through a serious wake up call this week, one we’ll get to momentarily. So naturally, this man would have more selfish priorities than caring about this methane, especially when a prostitute is involved. Despite my joy with Annville’s demise, there’s still something odd about this resolve in context of the whole season. It’s a key example of Preacher‘s uneven tone throughout the first ten episodes. After several self-serious weeks, Preacher slowly regained some form of darkly tinged humor. Yet, the crescendo here feels a bit muddled because of how much time we spent in a town that was blown out of existence by Genesis within the space of a few panels.
We spent so much time in Preacher with Emily, Sheriff Root, Donnie and Odin Quincannon, but did it really just come to this? Despite the storylines involving those characters, we got our biggest glimpse of Annville as a town this week with our congregation curious to see Jesse’s promise fulfilled. Even the mascot characters from before are suddenly involved and get better arcs in one episode than others have had this entire season. Emily went from a housewife to a murderer rather suddenly. Donnie’s sudden appreciation for Jesse doesn’t quite feel earned. Even Sheriff Root’s desperate violent encounter with Cassidy doesn’t seem quite right. It’s part of the reason why I doubt we’ve seen the last of some of these people, namely Quincannon. I wouldn’t be surprised if, much like the rest of season 1, this will be a prologue to Odin’s eventual crazed nature from the comics. Until then, it seems that Annville’s residents were sort of a waste of time, something that mares this season as a whole to keep Preacher grounded in its potential.
Still, the destruction of Annville and most of this episode represents greener pastures for Preacher. Those pastures will be seen by our main characters, as they’ve gotten past their lingering issues that tied them to Annville. Tulip finally managed to get back together with Jesse and extract revenge against Carlos. Cassidy has healed up and now has the law of Annville off his back. Jesse has had his “Come to The Lord” sermon… sort of. While it’s just about as messy as this season’s overall treatment of arcs has been, Preacher still manages to nail the moments that should matter. Is the revenge against Carlos a bit rushed? Is the reveal that Tulip managed have a miscarriage because of his betrayal contrived? Yes. They’re representative of where Preacher can go wrong. That being said, those moments don’t cloud the passionate yet dangerous chemistry between Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga that shows layers to Jesse and Tulip. The type of endearing yet disturbing back & forth that can be seen both in their cute banter over a fisting dildo during the flashbacks and their willingness to destroy this man shows their disturbed sense of justice in the present. Plus, their intense passion is a harbinger of doom for Cassidy if he gets in the middle. Joseph Gilgun‘s subtle looks of unrequited sadness in between his typical cocky lines continues to reaffirm his status as the rock that keeps Preacher from falling apart, which he’ll hopefully continue to be come next season.
The center piece scene that serves as the true indicator that Preacher is heading in the right direction is when Annville gets to speak to “God.” Jesse’s fiddling with the communication device and Jackie Earle Haley‘s awkward preamble are two of the better moments this season, setting up the tension while feeding the desired comedic tone. The appearance of “God” that follows is the prime example of how Preacher can keep readers of the comic and average folks in suspense. Non-readers are wondering how God’s reaction will be to these mortal quarries. Readers are on pins and needles wondering what road the show will go down in terms of God’s presence given the changes that have already been made. It’s a fine example of how adaptation can work as an art form, where the execution subverts what we know or introduces what others have no knowledge of through its own lens while being spiritually similar to the source material. The cheesy look of a traditional God revealed as folly, the mixture of genuine quarries and sad realizations from the crowd, our main characters’ frustrations & skepticism. All of this is in spirit of what Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon attempted to capture with Preacher; a book that boldly defied religious dogma and gave it a brutal satiric slapping.
So, maybe the fact that Annville is pointless was the point? The nihilistic ending of this entire town losing whatever faith they had in God results in their faith in each other rearing its head. Which is to say, no faith at all. Annville was so blinded by their supposed sense of community in the form of church that they lost sight of having faith in each other as people, leading to mass suicides and depression. Preacher ends its first season with the one example of genuine human comradery being found in Jesse, Tulip & Cassidy. Two humans and a vampire bound together by a mission to take God down a peg. A trio built around such a blasphemous task is our center, as it should be with this property. The scene of these three finishing up their meal, showing off hints of their destructive tendencies and looking to future goals like saving Arseface is a ringing endorsement for what season 2 could hold. We’re out of an unnecessarily long prologue and on the road to the story we’ve wanted with a Cowboy on our tail. The road to get here was bumpy. REALLY bumpy. Yet, Preacher finally got there and will hopefully learn from its mistakes. Preacher did a rousing job of convincing me to stick around… but it doesn’t have a lot of chances left if Season 2 doesn’t show more consistent signs of improvement. But that’s a discussion for another time. See y’all for Season 2, whenever that may be.
Episode Rating: (4 / 5)
Season Overall Rating: (3.5 / 5)