This Preacher review contains spoilers.
Preacher Season 4 Episode 7
The buildup to the final episodes of Preacher have been, quite frankly, packed with a lot of crazy stuff. For example, Jesse Custer died last week, and he’s buried in the Australian outback this week, much to the chagrin of Cas and Tulip. Granted, on Preacher, death is merely a relocation to a different plane of existence, and by no means does a character getting sent to Heaven or Hell actually get the character off of the show. You can’t have Preacher without the titular preacher, even if some of the show’s better episodes minimize his involvement.
The longer Jesse is sidelined, the easier it’s going to be for the Grail to bring about the end of the world. With Jesse in the Outback, and the nuclear exchange between Australia and New Zealand causing battle lines to be drawn up, the mask of civility that the world normally wears has started to slip, to the point that the morning news anchors are starting to go off-script with dire warnings about how only God’s intervention can back the world down from the brink of nuclear war. Meanwhile, against that backdrop, Cas and Tulip seem more concerned with getting revenge on God than actually saving His world.
The revenge trip on God is an interesting set-up for a storyline, though it feels like it’s a little bit too late in Preacher‘s run to be developed effectively. Then again, Cas and Tulip have a companion in their journey towards revenge on the Almighty in the form of the Saint of Killers, who has proven to be more than a match for powerful creatures thanks to his Colt Walker revolvers and their magical load. With Tulip and Cas seeking out the bait, perhaps the Saint—who watches the two bury Jesse early in the episode—will join in on the crusade, assuming there’s not too much bad blood between the three of them.
Certainly, bad blood between Fiore and Jesse seems to have been forgiven, based on just what Jesse sees during his time in the afterlife. Fiore is awfully insistent on drafting Jesse into his plan, even after Jesse dubs it a sin to sit on God’s throne, even if it’s God’s will that he does so. Tom Brooke, who was very delightful during his original run on the show, is great to have back on, thanks in no small part to his deadpan comic timing and his ability to convey frustration through Fiore’s unflappable demeanor. He’s not happy about offering Jesse the Throne of God, but he’s doing it just the same, if only to offer Jesse a way out of Hell in the process. Jesse’s not especially tempted by the offer, as he deserves his fate based on his actions, but when Fiore offers him an explanation as to why God abandoned Creation, that seems to spark something more in Jesse.
Explanation matters, and while Jesse gets a little glimpse of the why, Tulip receives the whole thing in the form of Jesse’s letter. It’s another beautiful moment of performance from Ruth Negga; she’s simply reading a letter with unshed tears in her eyes, and after which she storms out to smash up and destroy what appears to be a church in an attempt to get God’s attention. She fails at her first attempt, but she comes up with the idea for her second.
That’s a fun running motif in Mark Stegemann’s script. The first attempt to get someone’s attention tends to fail. Witness, for example, God dismiss prayers with a flick of a finger and a churlish “no” until he finds out Genesis has escaped. The prayers did nothing, but the bad news did. The offer of power does nothing for Jesse, but the offer of knowledge does. Tulip burning down a church means nothing to God, but her plan to kidnap Humperdoo, the true one and not one of the clones, well… that’ll get his attention.
To the credit of director Iain B. MacDonald, the episode moves very quickly, and is full of fun little touches. The smash cut between Cas telling the Australian egg farmer that he’s going to eat his chickens into Tulip literally smashing pews is a solid one, and there’s solid pacing throughout the episode, particularly in the scenes of Jesse and Fiore talking about Jesse taking the throne.
Jesse’s primary concern since learning about the apocalypse is stopping it, but will he be willing to sacrifice himself to do so? Or at least sacrifice his own morals to make the world-saving choice? Or will God get a third attempt to make the world in his own image with his strange new creation (that looks like a hot dog with feathers stuck in it)? Most of Jesse’s life seems to be trying to live up to the dreams of others, like his father or his grandmother, but will he continue to do that even in death? It remains to be seen.