A Preacher Community
Monday 9:00 PM on AMC
And so we come to the end of another season of Preacher on AMC. This year they went for 13 episodes rather than season 1’s 10 episodes.

There was a lot of stuff happening this year. As someone who hasn’t read the comics or graphic novels or whatever, I’m just going to mostly relate what happened in the show.

Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy go to New Orleans: Our three main characters travel to The Big Easy looking for God. Or at least, Jesse does. Tulip and Cassidy aren’t quite so into it, and become even less so as the season rolls on. As does Jesse.

The Saint of Killers Comes Looking for Jesse: The Saint (aka the Cowboy), “hired” by the angels Fiore and De Blanc, homes in on Jesse’s occasional use of Genesis. After De Blanc died, Fiore works as a (literal) death-defying magician in Las Vegas and has the Saint kill him. When the Saint gets to New Orleans, he hunts down Jesse and the gang. Jesse gives the Saint 1% of his soul so (he claims) the Saint can go to Heaven, but it’s just so that he can use Genesis on the Saint. He then locks him up in an armored car and sinks him in a swamp. But the Grail rescues the Saint and sends him after Jesse again. This time the warden of Hell, Jennifer, shows up at Starr’s request and takes the Saint back to Hell.

The Grail: We get introduced to the white-suited organization from the comic books. This brings in Pip Torres as Herr Star and Julie Ann Emory as Lara Featherstone. Along with Malcolm Barrett as F.J. Hoover. They have the great-great-great-etc. grandson of the messiah, Humperdoo, but he’s a congenital idiot due to inbreeding. Starr decides to make Jesse the new messiah, and tries to split apart the trio so that Jesse has no choice but to turn to the Grail. (Freeing the Saint, as above, is one such stratagem.)

Eugene: Eugene is in Hell after Jesse accidentally sent him there in Season 1. He befriends Hitler, and they realize that Warden Jennifer will never release anyone from Hell so Hitler helps Eugene escape. They both make it back to Earth, but Hitler runs off in a panic. Eugene also comes to terms with how Tracy died when he was with her, and we find out she killed herself in a fit of teenage pique rather than Eugene murdering her.

Cassidy Meets His Son: Cassidy takes his friends to an apartment owned by his now-elderly son, Denis. He ends up turning Denis into a vampire to save his life, but Denis has trouble dealing with new appetites and Cassidy ends up killing him via sunlight.

Angelville: We find out more about what happened to Jesse after his father died. He ended up in Angelville, a manor near New Orleans run by the L’Angelle family (comic book alert!). The family matriarch, Gran’ma (Marie in the comics), sells her abilities to the rubes but also has enough power to resurrect the dead.

Jesse Loses Genesis: This is suggested earlier when the Word fails to work on the Saint the second time he confronts Jesse. It’s confirmed in the finale when Genesis doesn’t work on some Armenian terrorists and Tulip. It’s not explained why, although it might be a long-term effect of Jesse losing part of his soul.

In the season finale, Tulip discovers that Lara--who has been posing as a battered woman named Jenny and hanging out nearby--is actually a Grail agent keeping tabs on them. Lara shoots Tulip, who dies. Jesse refuses to let Cassidy turn Tulip into a vampire, but is then willing to take her to Marie to get her resurrected. Who has said in flashbacks that there’s “always a price” for that level of mojo. And… end season 2.

What else? Tulip confronted the Saint and suffered PTSD. Which led her to a club where guys shoot each other in the chest (while wearing bulletproof vests) to prove how tough they are.

A Japanese outfit extracts people’s souls for pay, which is how Jesse gets the 1% of his soul removed. Starr gets hold of Jesse’s 1% and reveals that to Jesse as he leaves to help Tulip.

A sex performer who dresses up as a dog--Man-Dog--turns out to be God. We never see who is in the costume, but Jesse finds this out eventually. By then it’s too late, as God has moved on.

We find out what happened to Jesse and Tulip in Dallas after Tulip lost the baby. After she left Jesse, we discover that Tulip eventually married a New Orleans crime lord, Viktor. However, then she ran off to Annville. Which is still blown up by a methane explosion at the end of season 1. Although Eugene doesn’t run into any of them in Hell other than Tracy and his father, who may or may not actually be themselves but just Hell holograms.

We find out how Starr joined the Grail and took charge of it.

There were episodes where lots of stuff happened and the plot moved lickety-split. And then there were episodes where a storyline dragged to a halt or they jumped to a different storyline to pad out the season. The Eugene/Hitler/Hell thing seemed particularly prone to that. Just about the time you’d start to get into Eugene being trapped in Hell where he doesn’t belong, dealing with his guilt and befriending Hitler… then they’d cut away from that for a couple of episodes.

Oh, and Noah Taylor, whose praises I sung about in Season 1 of Powers, plays Hitler. I liked him here as well. Not only does he have the physical resemblance, but I liked his jumping between emotion at someone befriending him, his occasional flashes of ruthlessness, and the whole backstory of how Hitler started World War II because a Jewish customer at a restaurant got his strudel.

Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joe Gilgun remain the core of the show. Their relationship, and the focus on the characters, has its up and downs. Like with the Eugene/Hell thing, sometimes the momentum seems to get stolen and/or characters get put into hold. Tulip spends several episodes really doing nothing but dealing with her PTSD and bonding a little with Lara-as-Jenny. Cassidy just kind of wanders around in the background. There are moments when he passively-aggressively tries to sabotage Jesse & Tulip’s relationship, but then moments when he could but doesn’t. And moments when he just doesn’t.

Denis is another character who suffers a bit. Anyone who can say anything about him other than that a) He’s Cassidy’s son, b) Cassidy makes him a vampire because he’s dying, and c) he’s out of control as a vampire, raise your hands.

Pip Torrens as Herr Kraus Starr is probably the MVP (MVA for Actor?) of the season. Again, I don’t know anything about the character in the comics. But here Starr is presented as a ruthless SOB who is still curiously naïve about what he wants to do with the Messiah and the Grail. He can distract opponents by masturbating, have a date hold butter under her chin and remove her dress, and order bombings. And he’s the one with the plan to make Jesse viral by staging the rescue of some Catholic school children from Armenian terrorists, and arranging appearances on Jimmy Kimmel. But he often ends up on the losing end of things, and he seems awfully naïve about the real world.

Malcolm Barrett, from Better Off Ted and Timeless among others, is a character who is funny in small amounts. He pines for Lara, who is interested in the more charismatic Starr. His half-hearted “Bitch” to Lara when Tulip finds Hoover and Lara sharing an apartment (earlier Hoover pretended to be Lara’s abusive ex) is funny. So are bits like his ordering the wrong sex partners for Starr due to a conversation gone horribly wrong.

Overall, Preacher was a bit of a slow burn, which is probably why it wasn’t worth me doing weekly reviews. The creative team still has timing issues. The second season does move things along, while the first season seemed like the show was in a holding pattern as it built everything up for the “real” story to begin. But with the extra three episodes, the second season moves forward in fits and starts. And a lot of it seems like set-up, too. Eugene is out of Hell and has to deal with Jesse sending him there. Jesse is going to Angelville. Cassidy and Jesse are at odds. Starr has the portion of Jesse’s soul.

But I suppose that’s what you get when you don’t have a single strong narrative ("Jesse and his gang solve medical or criminal mysteries each week", or even "Jesse fights the Grail" or "How will Jesse descend further into darkness this week?") for your series. The quest for God was a big conclusion to season 1, but it soon spluttered out in season 2. The creative team and the characters seemed to give it up as a lost cause.

For instance "Jesse searches for God" is a strong narrative. But he pretty much gave up on that, Cassidy and Tulip gave up on it earlier, and the storyline eventually switched to "Jesse becomes the new messiah."

But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Comments (8)
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Sep 15, 2017
It's reasonable that if Genesis only works on a person with a soul (or even a part of one) that the person wielding it must also have a full soul.

When it didn't work on The Cowboy, it was because he no longer had part of Jesse's soul. Later, we saw Geneisis take 3 attempts before Starr's assistants obeyed. After that, we never saw it work, again.
Sep 15, 2017
But didn't Genesis work on Starr right before Jesse walked out of Starr's office and used it on the assistants? That seems rather abrupt.
Sep 15, 2017
Well, I wouldn't call it abrupt. It DID still work. But it was beginning to falter. But, you're right in that only a few seconds passed between working and faltering.
Sep 15, 2017
It just seems odd that it would go from working perfectly on Starr, to faltering 30 seconds later.
Sep 15, 2017
Jesse used Genesis to force Starr to do something rather crude. Maybe Genesis didn't like that and thus is now refusing to cooperate???

Not likely, given the other things Jesse has done with it.
 But I agree, it's odd and not explained.
Sep 14, 2017
Nice Write up.  I think the show is more about the characters struggles than some overarching goal, hence why things begin to unravel.  They are not 100% solidified, and they are all anti-heroes, so they individually have more to worry about than 'finding God'.  Jesse only gave up because of the hopelessness of the situation.  I think this is just one of those shows that is more 'organic' in that things are constantly being added or removed, coupled with the nature of the team to begin with, there's more to the world than just what the 'team' wants to do.

I enjoyed the season, even tho I don't really like the choices some of them made, especially toward the end of the season, but I just attribute that to pride on there part more than anything.  It goes with there characters.
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