Preacher Season 3 Episode 10: The Light Above Review
Preacher ends an explosive season with calamity, catharsis, and carnage to spare.
This Preacher review contains spoilers.
Preacher Season 3 Episode 10
Color me old-fashioned, but I remember a time when Martin Scorsese’s art-house film The Last Temptation of Christ got a lot of people riled up over Jesus coming down off the cross to marry Mary Magdalene. Even people who hadn’t seen the movie boycotted its theatrical run simply out of principle. Blockbuster Video offered an edited version of the film for rental, which spurred a different kind of controversy altogether. Either way you sliced it, the movie, the censorship—it was sacrilege.
Which brings us to AMC’s Preacher, which eats sacrilege for breakfast with a healthy serving of blasphemy on the side. One could argue that a show like Preacher not only lives to offend delicate sensibilities, it thrives on it. From petting-zoo buggery to sandwich-artist führers to exploding inbred messiahs, this season alone has been one long exercise in off-the-wall vulgarity. So how has Preacher managed to skirt any kind of controversy, lo these last three wildly inventive seasons?
Honestly, it’s a wonder this show is even on the air at all. While not every episode this season stuck the landing, the ones that did made up for the ones that didn’t. The season-ending “The Light Above” wobbles a little bit, but nevertheless delivers a fun, satisfying finale. God may still be on the lam, but Preacher still delivers plenty of comeuppance and closure to tide viewers over until next season.
In the meantime, now that Jesse has the Voice of God, he wastes no time returning home to Angelville to deliver some of that aforementioned comeuppance and closure. You’d think he’d let Genesis do most of the talking, but after twenty years, Jesse Custer has a lot to say—and a lot to prove. So Jesse uses the Voice judiciously, meting out commands only as needed. T.C. is his first real victim. The way Colin Cunningham plays it, you almost feel sorry for a lowly worm like T.C. But he’s got blood on his hands just as much as anyone else in Angelville does—Jesse included.
On a certain level I understand and appreciate why Jesse might eschew Genesis to go mano a mano with Jody. Their fight is brutal and savage, the kind of matchup that Preacher has been building to all season. After all, this is the man who killed his father. And yet—given how big Jody loomed in Jesse’s childhood, his death doesn’t quite carry the weight it should. Maybe this was because Jody was sidelined a bit in the latter half of the season. At one point he’s nothing more than a chaperone on the Osaka trip.
This is a running theme of Preacher’s third season—not quite knowing what to do with so many outsized characters. The Saint of Killers was definitely underutilized, too, functioning as little more than an errand boy. That being said, the Saint does get his mojo back for the finale. Not only does he lay waste to a group of Nazis, he goes after the Angel of Death herself. And if all of that weren’t kickass enough, the Saint pulls the trigger on the biggest bad of all—Satan himself.
Which brings us back to Angelville—and Gran’ma. Like Jody, she’s loomed large in Jesse’s life, robbing him of his parents, of his childhood, and setting him on a path of ruin that ultimately culminates in her own demise. Even Gran’ma’s contract with the devil isn’t enough to spare her from her grandson’s wrath. So into the machine she goes, where, like so many before her, Gran’ma’s soul is stripped away, leaving behind an empty husk. I don’t think Jesse has to worry about eternal damnation, though. With Satan dead, all bets are off—and any contracts are probably null and void now. Which means that Gran’ma was right—Jesse does win.
Cassidy has his moment in the sun, too, as it were. Thanks to him, Eccarius is revealed to his followers as the true monster he really is. The members of Les Enfants du Sang are finally granted their most fervent wish, to be the vampires they’ve romanticized for so long. But rather than being energized by this, they find themselves without a purpose. With their charismatic leader dead by their hand and their hunger, these newly minted night wraiths are left without a sense of belonging. Les Enfants du Sang has seen the light, figuratively and literally—and now they’ve paid the price.
As for Tulip—while I didn’t see the point of dragging her to Hell, I did like her scenes with God. Eugene may think God has a plan for him, that he’s a divine cog in the cosmic machine. But in reality, God has no idea who he even is. Tulip, however, is part of God’s divine plan, but she couldn’t care less. Devil-may-care Tulip O’Hare is only interested in free will. God can keep his forgiveness and mercy, thank you very much.
What I’ve appreciated the most about Tulip this season isn’t the way she sasses the Almighty, but her loyalty to her friends. She’s had Jesse’s back from the very beginning. Cassidy’s, too. And while I thought at one point she did have romantic feelings for him, it’s clear now that Cassidy’s friendship is very important to her. Her heart goes out to her troubled friend—even if he’s trying to leave that part of his life behind.
Which finally brings us to Herr Starr, who’s using Cassidy as bait to lure Jesse to Masada, The Grail’s desert stronghold. This sets the stage for one hell of a showdown, pitting the military might and firepower of The Grail against a lone man with the Voice of God at his disposal. It’s a shame Hoover won’t be around to see this epic battle. He may have been a bumbling fool at times, but he always had The Grail’s best interests at heart.
In the end, Preacher delivers an irreverent finale that’s worthy of a truly subversive season. I’m definitely looking forward to whatever comes after “The Light Above.” With Humperdoo still in the mix, and with Hitler now running things in Hell—anything is possible.
David S.E. Zapanta is the author of four books. Read more of his Den of Geek writing here. He’s also an avid street photographer. You can also follow him on Twitter: @melancholymania