Preacher

It’s hard to have a finale grander than the one for the first season of AMC’s Preacher.

In just 40 minutes, we had a visit from God; a town-erasing massive explosion; a return from Hell; several showdowns; and ultimately a reconciliation of just about everything in the first 10 episodes.

What Preacher firmly established in this first season is that it’s TV’s most violent and challenging show. Just when you think it’s gone as far as it can go, it goes beyond those limits. The closest thing to it in the artful combination of violence and storyline is Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. But even those aren’t quite up to the level of surprise that Preacher reaches.

The first season DVD is out in October. If you haven’t been following the series, it’s highly recommended that you get on board before season two. This is building into one of the TV staples for sci-fi/horror/great drama fans.

The finale recap:

*** We set the stage with Annville, Texas abuzz about Preacher Jesse Custer’s escape from the Sheriff’s custody in the prior episode. People are aware that he’s going to be in church on Sunday and reveal God to the town, so everyone readies themselves. There’s graffiti on the walls extolling Jesse’s run; women are getting their hair done; and the town generally awaits what many are sure is the Final Judgment Day.

*** Where’s Jesse?  He’s found a surprising sanctuary with arch-nemesis Donnie. As Tulip comes busting in to Donnie’s house on what she thinks is a rescue mission, she discovers that the former foes have made peace. After all, Donnie reasons, Jesse spared his life in the gas station bathroom. It’s the least he can do to offer succor in Jesse’s time of need.

*** Sheriff Root has taken Cassidy into custody. After reviewing Cassidy’s long arrest record in various states dating back to the 1920s, and noting his penchant for sunglasses and shade, the Sheriff has wisely concluded that Cassidy is a vampire. As such, when he sweats him for information on Jesse’s whereabouts, he does so by shooting him, then providing some life-restoring blood, rinsing and repeating throughout the night. But as much as the Sheriff wants the return of his son, Cassidy manages to touch a nerve when he suggests that maybe, just maybe, Eugene’s disappearance is a relief to the old man, as Arseface is no longer incessantly asking questions. The Sheriff responds with a fuselage of bullets, then leaves the cell door open and tells Cassidy he can go.

*** Back at Donnie’s, Tulip is baffled by the reconciliation between the two former antagonists. She asks to speak to Jesse outside. She leads him to her car and asks him to do one thing for her – kill Carlos, who is trussed and bound in the trunk. What did he do to deserve this fate?  In flashback, we  see that he ran out on Jesse and Tulip during a bank heist, leaving them facing the music alone. The shock sent a pregnant Tulip into labor and she lost her baby with Jesse. Why did Carlos do it?  Apparently he was jealous of Jesse and Tulip’s happiness.

*** Jesse is about to do the deed on Carlos, but Tulip stops him – the fact that he was willing to do it is enough for her. They take Carlos out of the trunk, offer him a handgun as a parting gift, and then kick his ass. Their bond, which has been frayed, is now restored.

*** The following day, Donnie’s wife, Betsy, is at the church. She tells the cops that Jesse is back at her house, telling them to hurry and get that murdering Preacher. They rush away, but it’s all a ruse – Betsy and Donnie have hidden Jesse in the trunk, and now he can safely enter the church and prepare for the Sunday service.

*** Finally, it’s the moment of truth. The little church is packed, and everyone waits to see if God can indeed be summoned by Jesse. Particularly interested is Odin Quincannon, who interrupts Jesse’s introduction and reminds everyone what’s at stake – the church property itself. Jesse gets out the Angel phone and the severed Angel hand that will make it work, and after a long, agonizing wait for the connection to click in, the lights go dim in the church.

*** The assembled are stunned to see a white-haired man in robes sitting on a throne. He tells them in a voice straight out of the Bible that he is the Alpha and the Omega, the lord thy God. Tulip, of course, is satisfied that her hunch he’d be an old white dude is confirmed. God is testy that his subjects would ask questions, but is charmed by Jesse into answering a few from the assembled. They proceed, but God is somewhat vague in his answers, even though he assures Odin Quincannon that his beloved daughter is with him in Heaven.

*** Jesse is asked if he has any questions. Not satisfied with God’s answers, he notes that the old man has picked his nose during their interrogation, and doesn’t seem to know about the power of Genesis, a strange thing for a supposedly omnipotent being. Jesse cuts to the chase – “You’re not God.”  He uses his Genesis power of persuasion to get the old man to admit the truth – He’s not. God is missing, and he’s there merely to hold his place until they can figure out what’s next. The answer sends the crowd into a frenzy, and as Jesse leaves, they tear apart the church as Question Mark and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears” is played by Emily on the church organ.

*** The aftermath of this failed experiment is grim – townsfolk hang themselves on the hanging tree; the pedophile bus driver receives the revenge of the school girls; and Emily tells her kids that God was never needed by them anyway. Even Odin Quincannon has apparently freaked, holding a baby made of meat and cooing to it.

*** But the ultimate cleansing of evil from the town has yet to be seen. Over at the methane-driven power plant, the attendant has apparently suffered a heart attack while engaged in some sado-masochistic sex play with a hooker. As the boiler pressure climbs into the red, she stands there with a ball gag in her mouth and desperately tries to throw the “off” switch that will lower the pressure. She doesn’t find it and the result is a massive explosion that wipes Annville from the map, including blowing down the church and most of the town’s structures.

*** For some reason, the diner where Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy have repaired is not affected. They decide over French fries that they will hit the road, searching for God and trying to help him, as he would wish. As Jesse pays the check, he hallucinates that Eugene is the cashier, and vows that he will rescue him from the Hell where he’s been accidentally consigned. Our final scene of Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy sees them donning shades and hitting the road, shaking the dust of Annville as they roar down the long and lonely highway toward new adventures.

*** In an addendum, we see the devastation of the Annville church, and the Nephilim soccer mom staggering through the wasteland. She’s shot and killed by a lone gunman – it’s the cowboy from Hell, summoned by the Angels to kill Jesse for them and bring back Genesis to its coffee can.

Preacher has been renewed for a second season, but no dates have been set for its debut. For more reviews, feel free to visit http://ratingle.com/best-nose-hair-trimmers/.