Preacher is a show in its first season that has some of the best moments I’ve seen on any TV show, but didn’t reach its full potential often enough for me to recommend it to everyone. Preacher’s pilot episode was one of the best episodes to start a series and was followed up by a great second episode. After two episodes, Preacher was being to look like it could compete with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones for top show on TV, but then Preacher’s momentum stopped by episode three and dragged until episode six. While episode six did reach the high of the first two episodes when it came to entertainment value, the show’s story and action quickly declined again in episode seven and didn’t become great again until the season finale in episode ten. Preacher’s three main characters Jesse Cluster, Cassidy, and Tulip O’Hare do an amazing job keeping the show interesting when the plot barely advances and is the main reason I made sure I watched every episode of Preacher despite having no idea where the story is going for majority of the season.
What made me instantly love Preacher after the first episode was how it felt like a TV version of R rated, comic book based, action comedy, movies like Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Deadpool. What made everyone of the previously mentioned movies special was their use of over-the-top violence to make unique, funny, and entertaining action scenes. Preacher’s first episode featured Cassidy killing a group of vampire hunters in an airplane where he kills one of the hunters with a wine bottle and drinks the blood flowing from where he stabbed the hunter before he jumps from the plane without a parachute. Cassidy’s plane action scene, Tulip’s scene where she bites the ear of a man she is fighting in a moving car, and Jesse accidentally kills a man by telling him to open his heart to his mother and the man literally cuts open his chest and removes his heart in front of his mother, were great moments in Preacher’s first that suggested Preacher might be one of the best new shows in 2016. While episode two’s fight scene where Cassidy fights DeBlanc and Fiore with a chainsaw in Jesse’s church lived up to the high standard the pilot suggested, episode six’s hotel scene where Jesse, DeBlanc, Fiore, and Cassidy fought against the angel that kept magically appearing every time she died was the only other time the great moment in the second half of the season.
Preacher’s slow plot progression is the show’s biggest weakness. At first, Preacher’s lack of an easily describable plot was a strength. Strange events happening in one episode with no explanation for how or why it happen, made me look forward to the next episode hoping for answers. This changed after Jessie ordered Eugene to go to hell and Eugene disappeared. What started out as a surprising plot twist, turned into a disappointing, unresolved, and illogical storyline. The viewers and characters learn that Genesis is a power/smoke creature that was created by an angel and a demon falling in love. This angel/demon baby gives Jessie the ability to force people to do whatever he says. While Jessie’s use of this power hasn’t been nearly as entertaining as Jessica Jones season one villain Kilgrave’s use of a similar power, I understood how it worked until he sent Eugene to hell. How was it possible for Jessie to order Eugene to go to hell? Nothing up until that point suggested that Jessie had the ability to teleport people to the area he tells them to go and the show never explains how this is possible. Based on the example of Odin Quincannon following Jessie’s order to worship God resulting in Odin worshiping the god of meat, because that is the only God he believes and resulted in he committing murder instead of becoming a good Christian. Eugene should have taken his father’s shotgun and try to kill himself again or take a road trip to “Hell’s Kitchen” in New York, because that is the only ways Eugene could have went to hell without some prior knowledge about a non-death way to get there. While the possibility that Eugene went to a place above ground similar to my “Hell’s Kitchen” example is a still possibility that could be revealed next season, Eugene’s unresolved and illogical storyline was an issue this season.
Tulip and Cassidy’s storylines ended better than Eugene’s storyline and both characters were more interesting than Jessie most of the time, but Tulip was hurt by the show’s slow plot progression more than Cassidy. The drinking and drug using fun loving vampire Cassidy, is great every time he shows up on screen. The show’s best action scenes tend to involve Cassidy and he is a funny character. While I didn’t like Cassidy’s one-night-stand with Tulip, because I tend to hate love triangle storylines and anymore fallout from Cassidy sleeping with his best friend’s ex-girlfriend will be seen next season, I did find the moment Cassidy tested Jessie’s morals by intentionally letting sun light hit him and catching on fire to see if Jessie would save to be the most emotional moment of the season.
For close to half of the season I thought Tulip was as good of a character as Cassidy. Instantly introduced as an unstable, but smart and resourceful criminal looking for help from her ex-boyfriend to get revenge on a man that wronged them, the second half of the season suggested Tulip is someone that has been in love with Jessie since they lived together for a short time as children and is willing to do anything to get Jessie to love her again. While the reveal that Carlos’ actions caused Tulip to lose her and Jessie’s unborn baby helped sell the idea of Tulip needing Jessie to join her in killing Carlos, I just didn’t care about her trying throughout the season to get Jessie to fall in love with her again.
Most of Preacher’s supporting characters were mediocre. Emily was suppose to be the good girl rival to Tulip for Jessie’s heart, but then sacrificed the mayor that she was having a friends with benefits relationship with that didn’t seem like something Emily was capable of. Donnie was a villain that wanted to get revenge on Jessie for humiliating him no several occasions, but then turned into an ally because he was grateful Jessie didn’t force him to kill himself. Both Emily and Donnie’s changes happen suddenly and the show did a bad job convincing me either character would make these decisions.
I also wasn’t a big fan of the perceived flashbacks that turned out to be taking place in hell featuring a cowboy losing his family and murdering evil people that beat him up and killed a nice family the cowboy meet on the way there. The reveal that hell is basically a place where people repeat the same horrible events over and over again was cool, but it took long to get there. Instead of spending five to ten minutes in several episodes and repeating those same scenes three times in one episode, it should have been one episode completely devoted to the cowboy – or Saint of Killers as he is known as in the comics, but was never mentioned as such in the show – near the end of the season after Genesis refused to leave Jessie and DeBlanc and Fiore were force to got to their back up plan.
Preacher’s season finally allowed the show to hopefully go in a more interesting direction. The moment Jessie successful calls God and the whole town finds out he is missing was great, and so was most of this season’s characters dying in a explosion as a result of people losing faith and no longer caring what happen knowing God and heaven isn’t what they thought it was. Hopefully Jessie, Tulip, and Cassidy’s road trip will lead to a faster moving and more action oriented second season.
Preacher is an average show that has just enough to make me want to see a second season, but isn’t good enough that I would recommend everyone see it.