AMC’s Preacher Season 2, Episode 1: On the Road
Preacher takes its show on the road in this season premiere.
Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief, for our prayers have been answered and Preacher is back. Great – now that we are all relaxed, let’s dive into a world of pure insanity or “chaos at its finest” as I like to call it. One thing’s for sure, there’s no lack of chaos in this sophomore outing. Whether or not it gets everything right is another matter. In Season 2, things pick up right where we left off with our trio of Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy hitting the road in hot pursuit of God. And we’re not talking about a metaphysical pursuit; we are talking the real deal. A heart to heart with the big man, who Jesse and Co. believe has a lot to answer for.
I still haven’t read the Preacher comics but, from what friends of the series have told me, this season is aiming to start mining from that vein. After watching this season premiere, I can gather that must mean Preacher is going to start indulging in the crazier aspects of its world and honestly, I can’t be more excited. Right up front, you get the impression that things are going to be a lot different this season with a retro-styled car chase (complete with a 70’s scratchy film filter) that takes its time having fun with the moment. On top of that, the story will have an actual objective that’s simple and engaging. “On the Road” isn’t without its problems, however. It struggles with balancing the craziness with the more emotional aspects of the story, but it’s definitely entertaining and a big step in the right direction.
The first stop on our road trip is to a family friend of Jesse’s named Mike. On the way to Mike’s, the gang is pursued by the cops, which leads to a ridiculous shoot-out between them and the “Saint of Killers”. A lot of cops die gruesomely (maybe all of them) but our leads haphazardly get away just before the Saint gets too close. (If this guy is going to walk everywhere, how in the hell is he going to keep up with Tulip’s driving?) The trio eventually make it to Mike’s, where he gives them a lead as to the whereabouts of God. Turns out God frequents a strip club called She She’s, whose owner spent a night or two in Mike’s covered cage (I mean seriously Jesse, you’re going to let the cage thing slide?) At the strip club, Cassidy’s tussle with security guard Doug leads to Tammy, the strip club owner, getting fatally shot, but right before she dies she tells Jesse that God has a penitent for Jazz. Learning this doesn’t keep Cassidy from getting sent to the dog house however, as Jesse and Tulip spend the evening in their hotel room alone making up for lost time. Later that night, Jesse wakes for what seems like his nightly cigarette when who but the Saint of Killers should stroll up. We find out that the power of Genesis may have a weakness after all, as it fails to stop the Saint from advancing and pulling a gun on Jesse before the credits roll.
“On the Road” presents a marked improvement on the strengths of Preacher’s first season. This episode capitalizes on what worked best last season, the relationships between the three leads. Jesse was definitely the weakest link, but his new found mission or “purpose” seems to have helped correct some of the blandness of his character. A focused Jesse has the ability to be himself and let his darker impulses guide his use of Genesis which, weirdly, requires Tulip to serve as his moral compass (I’m sure it’s as weird for her as it is for us.)
Tulip seems to be operating in the role of wet blanket in this first episode, which is pretty strange considering what we know about her character. She at best feels uneasy about Jesse’s new found ability, which is a fair development for her but her restraint here effectively downplays the “bad ass” nature of her character. Like, wouldn’t Tulip from last season take out a gun, blow the lock off that “covered cage,” and deal with the consequences later? (Clearly, I had a real problem with that.) In any event, she hopefully establishes a rule that sticks around about the use of Genesis telling Jesse to, “Use it as a last resort kind of thing.” Jesse is a capable person and it could really diminish his character’s appeal if he just uses Genesis to accomplish everything (though by the end of the episode, that seems like it’ll be less of an option for him by exactly one Cowboy from Hell.)
Cassidy has always been one of my favorite parts of Preacher and that fact remains the same in “On the Road”. Whether it’s discussing the use of ‘itty bitty’ foreskins in face creams or wanting to come clean with Jesse about what happened between him and Tulip last season, Cassidy is such an enjoyably layered treat. I’m sure his guilt over keeping a secret from Jesse will come up in a big way later this season. I wonder if there will be a trend of Cassidy acting out (like applying the three second rule to touching strippers, I mean come on…) until everything is out the open, and something tells me Jesse might not take it so lightly. To make matters worse, Cassidy’s infatuation with Tulip is only continuing to grow and the amount of blood and guts she’s sporting is only exasperating things.
Season 2 really hits the road running. Whatever missteps are in this premiere, it’s clear that the story’s pace is not going to meander around like season one, and that’s a good thing. I also appreciate the honesty in which they tell the viewers that things are switching gears this season. One element I hope they figure out is how to balance the different, interesting ingredients they have swirling around in the pot. The stew they’ve concocted has some real potential, but it’s not quite perfect yet. The addition of the Saint of Killers is something that goes a long way to focusing the story, and it’s such a pleasure when a comic book adaptation walks straight off the page and onto the screen (and yes he literally walked, he walks everywhere.) Also, with circulating rosters of new characters like the, surprisingly understanding and knowledgeable, Mike in the mix, things are sure to stay interesting. All in all, I am thoroughly satisfied with “On the Road” and, as intended, the cliffhanger at the end has me dying for the next episode. Good thing I won’t have to wait too long since it is set to air on Monday night this week, praise be!