Ass-kicking, crazy-town gorefest AMC’s Preacher has wrapped up another season and if everything goes well, we’ll get another one next summer *fingers crossed*. Let’s talk about the show that made me question my own sanity and laugh at things that would be regarded morbid by others.
Season 1 of Preacher was moving rather slowly, a calm, Southern stride if you will, and felt more like a prologue. While it was charming and just about crazy enough to engage, season 2 is where the fireworks go wild. When God goes missing and a preacher starts on a road trip with his lover and vampire bf to find him, madness roams freely. Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) make the golden trio who tries to find God while dealing with their own problems. All the way to New Orleans, the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) is on their heels, released from hell and hired to kill Jesse by the angel Fiore (Tom Brooke).
Although the Saint is very menacing and dangerous, the real tension only starts when Jesse has ‘dealt with him’ and Tulip suffers from the consequences. Because Genesis has no effect on the Saint, Jesse has to put a piece of his own soul into the cowboy in order to have power over him. At that point, everything seems taken care of and the crisis has quickly been averted. Or so you might think. Tulip distances herself from the group and tries to run from her PTSD symptoms. Ruth Negga portrays this state of constant stress well, although she has a tendency for overkill (in both seasons).
The Grail are a peculiar organization which keeps secrets from the world it is not ready to hear and swore to protect the Messiah. Its leader, Herr Starr (Pip Torrens), who we meet in his initiation phase where he absolutely destroys all competition, is a fearless, disgusting, powerful and very bored person. Nothing seems to excite him, nor upset him, until he hears of the preacher Jesse and his powers. Two of his assets, Lara Featherstone and F.J. Hoover, set out to observe and infiltrate the group. The few scenes they share together have quick and silly dialogue and their dynamic is funny and refreshing.
Jesse and Herr Starr become partners and together, they are willing to basically overthrow the real Messiah and give Jesse the job. This goes back to when Tulip confronted Jesse in season 1 and asked him why he should have these powers and who can ever have the right to use them. She feared what effect Genesis could have on Jesse the whole time and now it seems his righteousness knows no bounds. The question of whether Genesis can be used for good is interesting because not even a preacher seems to know how exactly. Even if you had a plan, would it be right to rip people form their free will or send them to hell just because you think they deserve it?
Besides delivering more action, more blood, more plot and more awesome dialogue, season 2 also gives more background stories and depth to the characters. We learn of Tulip’s marriage to Viktor, whose house gets spectacularly taken over by Jesse, and her yearn to live a normal live. However, in flashbacks we see Tulip and Jesse trying to get pregnant again after losing their first child and it is Tulip who stops believing and falls back into her old ways. The contradiction in their actions and beliefs is what makes these characters so interesting. Also, we get a mere glimpse into the preacher’s youth which teases some sort of blood magic or voodoo and I am curious to see what else we will learn.
Joseph Gilgun really makes this show shine and his character Cassidy gets to twinkle a little bit in this season as well. After arriving in New Orleans, the three crash at someone’s house who seems to hate Cassidy but lets them in nevertheless. Turns out, Denis is his son. Who would’ve thought the vampire would get the sentimental son and dad dynamic and actually appears to be the most normal person for once? Cassidy is faced with a tough decision when Denis is close to death and begs his father to turn him into a creature of the night. Understandably, Cass struggles because he knows how hard it is to contain vampire urges and live with the sins you commit while giving in to them. I honestly did not think he would do it but voilá! Denis the vampire!
And here’s the best part: the ruthless and completely insane vampire from season 1 watches his son go down a path he won’t be able to recover from and actually stops him. After seeing him almost die and saving him by killing him, he saves him again by letting the sun take care of it. I would argue, however, that this act is comparable to Jesse’s morale because Cass has no right to judge Denis after the things he has done himself. But his death made sense and Joseph Gilgun has a way of saying a lot with just a look so I felt his desperation and uncertainty.
Now the part that made me question my own sanity: Eugene Root aka Arseface (Ian Colletti) gets sent to hell by Jesse and his adventures there are remarkable. Mingling with all sorts of criminals and evil folk, the one person Eugene starts to befriend is no other than Adolf Hitler. How can you hate, like, laugh at, and root for Hitler at the same time? Well, you will have to watch the show (which I really hope you have already). This is just one example of the beautifully obscure characters and emotions in the show, which makes it so special. With Hitler’s help, Eugene manages to escape hell and the moment they’re safe, Hitler runs off. Eugene reacts with simply saying, “Shit” and walks away.
The finale was really well done, it wrapped up enough to be satisfied and left enough things unanswered to keep me engaged. Eugene is finally free, Denis is gone, God is still missing, Tulip gets shot. We all know the chicken lady is gonna help her, right? One of my favorite moments is when Jesse and Cass drive to said lady and Tulip’s dead body is in the back when Cassidy wants to tell his friend something he held in for a while. I thought he would tell him about Tulip and himself but instead he says, “I hate you.” And again, I laughed at a moment that should be sad. What will happen to Hitler? Will Jesse lose Genesis for ever? The latter obviously is connected to the splitting of his soul and we will see how Herr Starr will either help or control him with it.
What’s also stunning about the show is its cinematography. It creates a high-contrast, sometimes surreal atmosphere while feeling authentic, dark and natural. The show is an adaptation of the Preacher comics, created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, so I’m sure there is plenty of good material to continue the show successfully. To anyone who wants something different and is not disgusted by gore-heavy and positively nonsensical content: I 100% recommend this show.