This Preacher review contains spoilers.
Preacher Season 4 Episode 6
Preacher is a show that can be difficult to review, if only because in any given episode, a lot of things happen. Barring a bottle episode or an episode focused on a specific character, there’s a lot of ground to cover. For example, in “The Lost Apostle,” every major character in Preacher is active and involved throughout the episode. Granted, some of the scenes are simple—Jesus, Hitler, and Starr are snacking and negotiating around a conference table—but it’s still a subplot to potentially discuss, and figuring out what to talk about can be a daunting task.
So, focus will be drawn to the scenes in Preacher that echoed one of my all-time favorite movies, Mad Max. There’s something about the scenes in which Tulip and Cas are speeding around the deserted roads of the Australian Outback that gave me very strong Mad Max vibes, and it had to be deliberate on the part of director Jonathan Watson. Certainly, it’s not a Ford Falcon, but Tulip’s beautiful 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle is more than an adequate stand-in for Max Rockatansky’s 1973 Ford Falcon MFP Interceptor, owing to its 350 cubic inch V-8 engine (which is a match for the Falcon’s 351 cubic inch Cleveland V-8).
And Preacher‘s production crew clearly has a blast mirroring Mad Max. There are multiple shots, particularly tracking shots in which Tulip overtakes the camera car, that are exact matches for Mad Max, and the feel of the dingy Outback diner in which Tulip and Cas discuss their search for Jesse feels like something out of an Ozsplotation movie (that’s mirrored by the carnage caused by the Saint).
Of all the pairings of characters on Preacher, and this episode is clearly divided into pairs, it’s the pairing of Tulip and Cassidy that fares the best during the episode. Watching the two rampage across Melbourne is just a treat to behold, considering the characters lean very hard into the Ugly American stereotype. Tulip’s response to not understanding the cops behind the desk at Melbourne’s police station is to talk louder and slower; Cas’s American accent—which is bad—slips repeatedly during the discussion the two have with Melbourne’s police commissioner.
The two work as a comedy act, but when Gary Tieche’s script turns more maudlin as Tulip discusses her. An otherwise simple scene involving Tulip watching while Cas reads her letter from Jesse is proof of how an actor can elevate an otherwise wordless scene with her performance. As Cassidy reads through the letter, Tulip is visibly troubled. She squirms, she fidgets, she looks out the window, and eventually she leaves the restaurant to go out and have a smoke, because she has no other way to expel the tension of watching Cassidy read something intensely personal and private that she herself isn’t brave enough to read.
Watching Ruth Negga’s face as she transitions from determined to irritated to hopeless throughout that scene is revelatory; Negga has always been one of the stronger performers in the show (you don’t get nominated for an Oscar if you’re not pretty good at acting) but her skill is obvious in that little shared moment. Without saying anything of consequence, Negga reveals everything about Tulip. She’s afraid for Jesse, she’s angry at herself for screwing up their relationship, she’s worried about just what Jesse has to say to her in that letter, and she’s dreading that the letter isn’t just a heads up about his plan to track down God but a Dear John letter after a lifetime of on again, off again with Jesse Custer.
It’s not that the other segments are bad; Eugene’s disheartened but angry confession to Tulip works well, and Jesse and the Saint have a pretty amusing relationship with each other, though the joke becomes a bit strained by the end of the episode, but the Tulip section is the only one that carries a lot of emotional punch and it ends up in a pretty cool segment in which Tulip, Cas, and Jesse try and fail to avoid a trap set for them by none other than God himself.
That begs a question. Can someone get out of a trap arranged for them by an all-knowing deity? Or is the process of trying to get out of a trap set by God part of God’s plan? It’s an interesting question, and one that I am certain Preacher will resolve, unless of course the surprise at the end of the episode plays out in the expected sort of way. I’m certain that it won’t, not because of the fact that it’s Preacher, but that it’d be a really difficult way to finish out a show in its last season.
Read and download the Den of Geek SDCC 2019 Special Edition Magazine right here!