TV REVIEW: ‘Preacher’ – Season 2

The wildest show on television breaks rules as it delivers a wickedly hilarious, but also emotional season.

| September 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

Spoiler Warning for Season 2 of “Preacher,” as well as all episodes of the first season.

Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer and Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare. (Photo credit: AMC/Sony)

When AMC debuted its new series “Preacher” during the summer of 2016, I watched the season and was genuinely confused by the premise and the direction things were headed. I was certainly intrigued, but it wasn’t until the finale that I realized that this show is on a whole other level. Season 2 kicks off with a bang and doesn’t ever really let up, making it one of the most unique, hilarious and thrilling shows on television at the moment. Being adapted from a series of graphic novels, the show delves into some really dark and twisted material that breaks the rules of cable television, airing some scenarios that are bound to piss people off. While this isn’t a series for everyone and it hasn’t captured the massive fan following of other AMC shows such as “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad,” it is certainly worthy of praise and is a must-watch for those that appreciate dark humor.

Season 1 of “Preacher” can best be explained as a prequel that sets up the main story, the characters and the zany world; after killing off most of the main characters and having the primary setting being blown up in the first finale, the series really hits its stride. Season 2 focuses heavily on the trio of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) as they hit the road in search of God, who has gone missing and is apparently hiding out somewhere on Earth. The first two episodes perfectly establish the fact that this search isn’t going to be easy and there are far more factors at play than initially thought; Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy are also on the run from The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), the frightening hunter from Hell looking to put an end to Jesse once and for all. This season does an excellent job at examining the motivations behind The Saint, while also following his cat-and-mouse game with Jesse that takes several hilarious, but also terrifying turns along the way.

Graham McTavish as The Saint of Killers and Ronald Guttman as Denis. (Photo credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony)

The sophomore season of “Preacher” really succeeds at delving deeper into the characters and really provides some insight into their backstories, personalities and emotional drives. Jesse’s main role this season is to locate God and throughout the course of the season, viewers learn that he is so adamant about completing this mission because of the many shortcomings and failures in his past; he genuinely wants to make up for the questionable things that he did in his younger days. What could be better than finding God and saving the world from eternal damnation? Along the way, he starts to lose touch with Tulip and Cassidy as his mission takes precedence over everything.

Tulip’s life is also examined and she really becomes a more emotional character than the one introduced in Season 1; her strange ex-husband, her encounter with The Saint and her uneasy romantic relationship with Jesse all contribute to her story as she tries to figure out what she wants from life. Tulip connects with a friendly neighbor, who is really one of the new characters named Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery) in disguise; the two form a strange bond that provides some really compelling and entertaining conversations. This relationship plays into a larger storyline, but the interactions between Tulip and Featherstone are a welcome component of the season; I would love a spinoff series of the two playing Guitar Hero…just saying.

Finally, Cassidy’s storyline this season just may be one of the most surprising and toucing as he reconnects with his sickly son Denis (Ronald Guttman), who speaks French, is physically older than his father and is close to dying. Cassidy must make a difficult decision that brings into question his views toward himself and family; should he turn Denis into a vampire, effectively saving his son from death and giving him immortality? The relationship forged between Cassidy and Denis is seriously one of the best aspects of the season and gives the series a layer of real emotional depth. Cassidy also struggles with his attraction to Tulip and his respect for Jesse as his best friend; while I don’t really care for the love triangle, it does show how must these three characters love and care for one another, even if they may drive each other crazy at times.

Noah Taylor as Adolf Hitler and Ian Colletti as Eugene Root. (Photo credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony)

This season has a long list of things to love, but there are some things that strike me as being problematic. The sub-plot featuring Eugene Root (Ian Colletti) provides a fascinating look at the inter-workings of Hell, specifically what happens when someone is sent there by mistake; that being said, this entire storyline feels completely disconnected from the rest of the narrative (with the exception of a few crossovers) and really seems like yet another season-long prequel for the character of Eugene, setting up his story for Season 3. Sure, he is given some great development and backstory, but the season checks in on him pretty inconsistently and when he does receive some focus, it breaks the flow of the main story.

The finale does seem to serve as a way of connecting him back to the other characters and his story in Season 3 could allow for his character to feel more relevant, especially if the viewers get to see what effect the time in Hell had on him. There’s also Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor), who plays a major role in Eugene’s story as a main character this season; only “Preacher” has the balls to feature this genocidal maniac as a literal main character that tries to make the audience feel sympathetic to him, something that I find unsettling and disconcerting. Still, I’m glad that AMC isn’t restricting the creativity and allows for scenarios such as this to happen, even if I may not find it completely enjoyable.

The second half of the season really dives deep into a captivating aspect of the story with the introduction of Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) and his secret organization The Grail. Featherstone and her partner Hoover (Malcolm Barrett) work as top-level agents that pledge their lives to the cause and do whatever it takes to complete the mission at hand. This trio have some memorable interactions, but the dynamic between Featherstone and Hoover is especially noteworthy; Julie Ann Emery and Malcom Barrett have fantastic chemistry together and really help to make their scenes both tense and hilarious to watch. The rise of Starr within The Grail is another element that adds further layers to the season, showing how ruthless he and the organization are, making him a perfect fit to lead.

Julie Ann Emery as Featherstone and Malcolm Barrett as Hoover. (Photo credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony)

As mentioned previously, “Preacher” isn’t a show for everyone and this is especially true in the second season; certain scenes have sparked controversy and boycotts, but part of that is because few shows are willing to handle “delicate” material in the way that “Preacher” does. Much of this controversy stems from Episode 10, titled “Dirty Little Secret,” which features an extended sex scene with Jesus Christ that begins his lineage, which The Grail protects at all costs; this episode portrays Jesus as a “bro” hipster on the day of his crucifixion and it just may be one of the best moments on television in 2017. I’m not sure anything will top the line about “Judas waiting with the getaway donkeys.” This ties into the present-day timeline as Jesse is introduced to the singular direct descendant of Jesus, Humperdoo, who suffers from the effects of years of inbreeding; Starr and Jesse realize that Humperdoo is simply not fit to be the Messiah and that Jesse may be the one to fulfill the role.

So why did I mention all of the controversy? Simply put, “Preacher” is unlike any other show on television because it is willing to take risks and doesn’t really care if you feel uncomfortable with the material it tackles. Religion is sometimes viewed as a topic that shouldn’t be included in comedy, but this is a show that really explores religion in both comedic and dramatic lights. It is wholly refreshing to have a series that doesn’t hinder itself with rules and actually examines “off-limit” topics; it’s worth noting that the series doesn’t include controversial topics to simply make fun of or demean them, but rather provide an alternative take. This is a series that doesn’t always take itself seriously and can get really meta at some points, but also treat itself as a serious drama at other times.

The blending of comedic and dramatic elements is done superbly and is one of the best examples of a genre-bending series. While the world may be currently praising Showtime’s revival of “Twin Peaks” for its originality and out-of-the-box storytelling, “Preacher” slips under the radar, but in my eyes does this type of storytelling better. The performances from the entire cast are remarkable, as are the writing, directing and cinematography. While Season 3 hasn’t been confirmed by AMC as of the time of this publishing, it is my hope that more people check out this incredible show as it is a true gem in a sea of countless masterpieces on television. Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen have really created something special here and while it does have a few problems here and there, this just may be one of the most memorable shows in recent years; it certainly is one of the most unique, hilarious and innovative.

Season 2 of “Preacher” is currently available to stream on AMC’s website. 

 

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Television

Jeffrey Kopp is the Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Niner Times. He is a sophomore double majoring in Communication and Political Science, with a minor in Criminal Justice. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead.”

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Jeffrey Kopp is the Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Niner Times. He is a sophomore double majoring in Communication and Political Science, with a minor in Criminal Justice. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead.”

Twitter