Previously on Preacher, “Finish the Song”
Preacher – S1E10 – Call and Response | Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, W. Earl Brown, Lucy Griffiths, Ian Colletti, Anatol Yusef, Tom Brooke | Writer & Director: Sam Catlin
An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
– Proverbs 20:21
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
For some Preacher was a rip-roaring knuckle duster of a Western with oddball sensibilities; in the eyes of others, a bittersweet disappointment due to its deviation from creator Garth Ennis’ curiously beloved source material. Whether one viewed Preacher with charged interest or begrudged impassiveness, there was no way anyone was going to miss a single episode. “Call and Response” bookends the first season in a blaze of glory – or cowshit, if we’re to be precise – matching the premiere’s screwball energy, coupled with murky undertones and a touch of the divine.
It didn’t take too long to destroy what caused Jesse Custer so much grief to build. Now that Annville is literally behind him, Preacher and his partners-in-crime are saved from banality and eager to raise holy hell in their quest to find God.
“Yep, poor Carlos…”
We’re finally treated to Carlos (Desmin Borges) and the backstory between him, Custer, and O’Hare and it doesn’t disappoint… yet it feels like more could be revealed down the line about how the three joined forces and why Carlos is such a petty asshole. Though the brunt of the flashback explains why Carlos betrayed Jesse and Tulip – and Custer’s zeal for double ended dildos – the finer details remain unexplained, like Custer seemingly killing the guard and how O’Hare lost their baby. The “eight or nine minutes” remaining in the vault can still provide a lot of history about our Preacher’s former life. It wouldn’t be surprising if Catlin dips back in this well in future episodes to highlight specific themes about loss, family, or regret during their interstate adventures.
In the meantime, Jesse is tested by Tulip for the final time, demanding blood for blood until she’s red in the face. Having no other recourse, Custer prepares to end Carlos’ life but is stayed by Tulip herself, who simply wanted him to show he cared about her feelings and the baby they lost. It felt like a bit of a cop out because O’Hare had been harping on revenge the entire season and changes her mind at the very last second. It was needed as this chapter in Tulip’s life had to be closed for the sake of a flowing narrative. Besides, it wasn’t like Carlos got away scot-free. He atoned for his past mistakes the hard way, unlike another deviant that discovered a new path to contentment.
How wrong were we about Donnie Schenck and his uh, questionable practices. What’s equally surprising is his battleaxe of a wife Betsy (Jamie Anne Allman) is equally supportive of Custer and the influence he has on Donnie’s life. It’s a bit touching to know Jesse actually managed to do some good (with help from his Voice) and it actually stuck. The man remained very spank-happy but hey… we’re only human, right?
“Plonkers and gobshites, as far as the eye can see. Still, nobody’s perfect y’know?”
Funny how Sheriff Root suddenly became a legitimate investigator when properly motivated. Sure, he’s actually concerned for his son Eugene and it’s telling about his overall opinion on protecting and serving the rest of Annville. Yet again Root mentions his ‘monster swamp’ argument while torturing Cassidy, reaffirming his indifference towards humanity, save for his wife and son. Who would want to risk their lives for the residents of Annville, with their resistance to authority (of the social and moral order) and penchant for casually indulging in every vice one could experience.
Between the calm moments of repeated gunfire and paper cups of blood, Cassidy remained calm as a Hindu calf while breaking down Root’s true motivations in the search for his son. Time and again, the Sheriff attempted to play the doting father when Eugene was harassed but it never was believable. His son did a terrible thing to Tracy Loach; short of honor killing Sheriff Root kept his son restrained within limits from socializing. Partly for Eugene’s safety but mainly to save face for himself. Naturally, Cassidy took a half dozen slugs for calling the Sheriff out on his hypocrisy.
Between the Schencks reveling in their kinky ways, the Savage and the Prairie Dog going through their own Brokeback Mountain situation, and Odin Quincannon spouting off about no god exists but the God of Meat, not all the prayers and alms in the world could save Annville from its rampant hedonism. Thank goodness Jesse had a direct line to Heaven to sort things out.
“Told you he was a white guy.”
Sunday mass finally arrives and essentially every character in the first season no matter how brief has filled up the pews at All Saints Church, awaiting His presence. Boy, were they given a show. Granted, the Alpha and the Omega’s appearance in West Texas was less impressive than a Tupac hologram but it gave Annville’s citizen the inspiration they lacked for most of their lives. That is until everything went to shit. Quite literally, in fact.
If anyone had a grand time at service, it was Cassidy with this humdinger of a line: “You know, one time I took quite a bit of angel dust and then I drank an eight-pack of Red Bull and went to a Bieber concert… and honestly, this is crazier than that!” Bless his weak beating, unholy, drug-addled heart.
All would have been well and good if “God” didn’t expose his tell to Jesse, who called him out immediately. Leave to Custer call The Supreme Being on His bullshit. Lamentably, the God he dialed isn’t God at all but a stand-in that hasn’t clue about the real Lord’s whereabouts. In a panic, the transmission was severed and everyone in Annville went ape shit. The only person to have a rational approach to life after God was Emily (Lucy Griffiths), telling her children they never needed God to create a satisfying life. Alas, the rest of Annville’s regulars were unable to look beyond the pale and see no meaning to their existence without their Creator. Catlin fashions a somber montage that leads viewers through Annville one final time as a cover of “No Rain” plays like a funeral dirge. One by one, our supporting characters are given a few seconds of screen time to showcase their lament over the news that The Almighty is M.I.A.
For some life no longer had purpose, for others little to no worth. Even those who never gave a damn like Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley), waxed nostalgic to happier times. In his own creepy meat-inspired way.
And with the Red Savage mascot swinging limply from the tree where his possible ancestor hung in shame generations before, a spark from his still lit cigarette caught the out-gassing methane and blew that crazy-ass town up good.
Thankfully, the torturous endeavors our leads and we faithful viewers endured in Annville the entire season will be mightily rewarded, come May of next year. There was a pang of lament in seeing many of the cast get blown to high heaven, with many of them deserving such a violent ending. It was a necessity of sorts, a coda to the first movement of a grand symphony of booze, drugs and overall mayhem. All signs point to comic fans receiving that incessantly lauded “authentic” vision of Preacher they crave next season, while Catlin, Rogen and Goldberg add their personal touches to a world gone to hell. At least most folks think it is… but they haven’t seen anything yet.