This Preacher review contains spoilers.
Preacher Season 4 Episode 2
The town of Anneville knew the truth about God—that he’d abandoned his throne and abdicated any responsibility for His creation. This revelation led to almost immediate anarchy as the people of Anneville turned on each other. And then the entire town was wiped off the map, erasing the terrible truth that God had become the mother of all absentee Fathers. So one wonders how the entire planet might react not only to the existence of a one, true Creator, but to the notion that he spent a lot of His time tooling around in a latex dog costume.
I bring this up now because the whole conceit behind Preacher is making God accountable for his various machinations. One could argue the very fate of the planet itself hangs in the balance. If Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy fail to hold their Maker’s feet to the fire, what becomes of all of humanity? Because as we see in “Last Supper,” the Almighty (Mark Harelik) has an almighty temper, killing off the dinosaurs in a fit of dung-drenched pique. The episode’s closing twist is a good one, though it does beg a few questions—but I’ll get to that in a minute.
In the meantime, Cassidy’s plan to escape the Masada dungeon consists of gnawing off his own foot to escape his shackles. And the savagery doesn’t end there. He lashes out at his captors, killing them and feasting on their blood. It’s kill or be…well, not killed so much as be tortured endlessly. And Cassidy has had quite enough of that. He’s only enduring this misery to mete out vengeance upon Frankie Toscani by his own hand.
But as it turns out, Cassidy isn’t just held captive by the Grail, he’s imprisoned by who he really is—a sun-fearing vampire. Except it’s a bit more complicated than that. Frankie realizes that torture isn’t just physical, it’s psychological, too. To undermine someone, you must first understand them. And as it turns out, Frankie has Cassidy’s number. He knows Cassidy is allowing himself to be tripped up by guilt. Why else would he endure so much needless suffering if he didn’t believe he somehow deserved it? Poor Cassidy.
Luckily for him, Tulip is not one for waiting things out. Indeed, she’s of singular mind and focus: free Cassidy. And she won’t stop until they walk out of Masada together. Were Jesse at her side, would she still be so resolute to rescue Cassidy? Is she trying to rescue something else, like her failing relationship with Jesse? Or is she beginning to realize that she’s meant to be with Cassidy, come hell or high water? Obviously Tulip isn’t defined by who she loves, but she is defined by her friendships—and Cassidy has always had her back, often choosing what’s best for Tulip rather than what’s best for himself in a given moment of weakness. The same can’t be said for Jesse, who frequently acts in his own best interests, regardless of who might be hurt along the way. Friends aren’t meant to be collateral damage. This is something Tulip and Cassidy understand, but this is a foreign concept to Jesse. And one day it’s going to cause irreversible harm to all of them.
So it’s interesting that after an uncharacteristic act of random kindness costs Jesse his wallet and his boots, he finds himself faced with yet another choice of helping someone else in distress. The collar he wears may as well be a noose around Jesse’s neck, for all the trouble it brings him when confronted with genuine moral dilemmas. Were this Tulip or Cassidy rolling up to the Jesus DeSade’s hedonist playground, they likely wouldn’t hesitate to help. Hell, the airline pilot Jesse’s commandeered to get back his father’s lighter doesn’t need to think twice before rushing in. Which begs the question—why exactly are we rooting for Jesse Custer? Is it simply because we want to see the Almighty get his comeuppance, courtesy of Genesis? Or is it because we’re supposed to fall in behind the titular character?
Which brings us back to the episode’s closing minutes, when it’s revealed that Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy—and indeed everyone else—are all playthings to God, nothing more than pawns upon his playing field. This sense of scale is an intriguing twist, especially since up to this point we’ve mostly seen Him engaging in debauchery and shirking His Heavenly duties. He may not be the best role model, but He’s nevertheless still at the very top of the food chain. It’s this stark reminder of the trio’s place in the universe that easily makes this one of my favorite moments in all of Preacher. It’s also a nice reminder that in its final season, this show still has a few tricks left up its sleeve.
Some closing thoughts:
Closing moments aside, I loved the panicked radio chatter as Tulip’s Chevelle methodically eliminates the Grail operatives one by one. It’s easy to believe Tulip is capable of such vehicular devastation, except it’s Kamal (Miritana Hughes) behind the wheel. As we’ve seen before, Tulip is a master planner, and her ploy to masquerade as a Grail agent is one of her better schemes. By episode’s end, Tulip not only makes it inside Masada, she does so right under Featherstone’s nose.