Well, we’ve made it. We are now at the end of Preacher season one, and it has certainly been a wild ride. The AMC series has literally gone to Hell and back — on more than one occasion — and, much like an unholy, God-fearing Energizer Bunny, it just kept going, and going, and going. Even when it did drag at times (like it did in the middle), it always kept it fast, loose and ready to rumble. That was certainly the case with tonight’s finale, “Call and Response,” written and directed by showrunner Sam Catlin.
It’s Sunday, the day of the Lord. God is promised to come to the town of Annville, and the local preacher, Jesse Cutter (Dominic Cooper), is on the run from the law. Blamed for the disappearance of Eugene “Arseface” Root (Ian Colletti), Jesse has been arrested one or two times already, but his experiences fighting the law has proven him slick against Eugene’s father, Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown). With Jesse constantly escaping the police, the sheriff decides to instead target his best buddy Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). Locked up for what could be any number of reasons, Cassidy is used to this song and dance. But the immortal 900-year-old is going to get a bit of a surprise this time around.
With the Sheriff aware of Cassidy’s true form, a vampire, the law enforcer decides to fill the bloodsucker with a few bullets — and then some drinks of blood — to get him to talk. And while it takes more than a few rounds, Cassidy eventually relents and tells his father that his son, indeed, is in Hell, just like Jesse told him. The Sheriff, likely not quite convinced, decides to let the vampire go on his way, but his heart still weighs heavy. He won’t be the same man because of Jesse. His life is a rather bleak tale, especially as this episodes continues on.
Meanwhile, Tulip (Ruth Negga) is still a woman on a mission. She needs to find Jesse, and she won’t stop until they’re reunited. After searching around Annville, she learns that he’s ultimately where nobody would expect to find him: at the home of Donnie (Derek Wilson) and Betsy Schenck (Jamie Anne Allman). But wait, doesn’t Donnie hate the preacher’s guts? Well, Donnie did, but now he has found the light. He’s a reformed man since that night they spent together in a dingy gas station men’s bathroom with a gun pointed towards one another, and he is all about the Lord. Of course, it took a little persuasion from Genesis in order for that to happen, but Jesse needed to be on the down low and that’s the best option he got. Nevertheless, Tulip finds them, and she knows how to make an entrance. She busts a glass door open, slams Betsy’s face on the dining room table and demands to see Jesse. Sure enough, a recently showered Jesse comes walking her way and soon the four of them share bread at the dinner table.
After Tulip lets herself and Jesse outside for a smoke, Jesse gets the chance to confess his rotten feelings and, sure enough, they forgive one another and embrace. And in that tender moment, Jesse says that he’ll do anything to help his former love. Anything? Maybe he should have watched his words carefully, because Tulip reveals a blast from the past in the back of her muscle car: Carlos (Desmin Borges), a former bank robber associate of Tulip and Jesse’s who, as we see in a flashback, took off with their stolen money and caused the death of their first child.
Tulip, naturally, is out for revenge, and she wants her man to lay a bullet inside the head of their betrayer. But as a man of the Lord, Jesse can’t go to hell. He is a man of peace, not a man of sin. But knowing he’s going to Hell in a hand basket anyway, Jesse decides to do the job. Well, at least he was going to do it. But Tulip stops him, even though it was her plan in the first place. Because it wasn’t about the attack; it was the thought that counts. After all, it won’t bring back their child. It’ll just take another life. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to let Carlos walk away clean.
Oh no, they won’t let him walk away without a fight. And with two against one, and with the fighting expertise they both exhibit, it’s not even a contest. Even with a gun in hand, Carlos walks away covered with blood, mouth gushing, and with a pretty nasty little limp. He’ll certainly think twice before he ever crosses Tulip and Jesse again. But with that business out of the way, it’s time to welcome God to Annville. Through Betsy’s help, they sneak their way back to the church and set up for the day’s big presentation. Will it work? Will it fail? It’s hard to say. But all that is certain is that Tulip and Jesse are going to stop for fries when it’s all said and done.
And with the whole town in attendance, Jesse sets up the machine he stole from angels from Heaven and calls to God. But nothing happens. Then nothing happens again. Then nothing happens again. This happens at least five or six more times, until the lights go out and the church is illuminated with God himself. Looking more like the stereotypes than the real deal, God nevertheless asserts his presence and presents himself to the little Texas town. The town is in shock, baffled by what they’re witnessing, most particularly Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley), the businessman who professes there’s only one god in this world: The God of Meat. But he, and the rest of Annville, are subjects to the grace of the all-mighty, and they all take their turns asking questions. Why do good things happen to bad people? What is my purpose in life? Is my family safe? Will I get my dick back? But through it all, there’s something off.
Jesse notices it fairly quickly, but the rest of Annville is taken by the glory of God, including Tulip and Cassidy. Or so they think. After using Genesis to his advantage, he and the rest of Annville are hit with a bombshell: God is missing, and the man they’ve been speaking with is merely an imposter. The town is taken with confusion, grief, anger, hostility, depression and crushing humility. What is the point of anything, if there’s, indeed, no God to watch over us? Some resort to suicide. Others go about their days as they did before. Some lie in bed and do nothing. But it doesn’t matter. With the radiator keeping the town together on the fritz, it’s ka-blamo for Annville. There’s hardly a piece of wood untouched. Everyone is presumed dead, if they weren’t killed already. Not even the house of God is left standing.
Left unaffected, however, are Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy. During the explosion, they were off in the distance, enjoying themselves some fries, like they promised themselves before. Cassidy continues to assert his negative thoughts on The Big Lebowski, but he’s left alone. Put to a vote amongst the diner, everyone agrees: it’s a pretty darn great movie, and he’s in the minority. But now truly in the minority when it comes to survivors, the three unlikely friends decide to search for God, who might very well be on Earth among them. With a reinvigorated sense of purpose, they will drive across the country, searching high and low for our creator. It’s going to be a hell of a ride, and we’ll have to wait until next year to see how it goes down (that is, unless you read the comics).
Thank you for reading. It means a great deal, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. But before we go for good, let’s break down the finale’s top five moments, shall we?
Sheriff vs. Vampire
This early scene, shot mainly in the shadows and as tight and nailed in as any sequence in the series, truly comes from the show’s western roots. Two men, one undead, the other barely alive, must work with one another if they both want to make it out alive (or alive-ish, in Cassidy’s case). Bullets are fired. Answers are dogged. Talk is not cheap. And it’s one of this week’s best interactions.
A Facetime Discussion With “God”
Of course, how could you talk about this episode and not bring this major scene up? Balancing Preacher‘s unique sense of humor with some forward character motivation, all while answering a few key questions in the process and giving us plenty more to mull on before we see season two, it’s truly a magnificent moment, and it’s probably one of the show’s finest to date.
With Annville now aware of their God-absent world, chaos naturally ensues. And with a somber, haunting rendition of Blind Melon’s “No Rain” accompanying a montage of suicide, personal anguish and, eventually, city-wide destruction, it’s as beautiful as it is disturbingly tragic. That’s without mentioning Odin’s little meat baby. But it’s a scene that can only be found on Preacher, and it counts as one of the show’s many blessings.
Blast From the Past
While seeing Tulip and Jesse reconnect over their mutual distaste for Carlos is satisfying, it’s their later fight with him that really seals the deal. With a nice build up and Catlin’s strong direction, it’s a truly great moment in a show filled with quite a few, and it finally lets us see these characters in action together. I can’t wait to see more of that in the next season.
Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy Go For A Ride
They don’t quite drive into the sunset, but they might as well. I can’t think of a better moment to end these recaps upon, and I hope that 2017’s 13 episodes provide the good the way this season did plentifully. There are a lot of questions and a lot of things left unanswered. But one thing’s for certain: it’s going to be a goddamn blast.
Once again, thank you for reading.