Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: “Call and Response”

In which Kim and Shawn what you to know they aren’t disappointed despite what you read.

Kim: I sat last night to watch the season finale of Preacher. I grabbed some watermelon and a bottle of water, because I’m trying to not eat the chips. I figured if I was going to be seeing the last of Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joseph Gilgun for a while, I may as well have something juicy to put in my mouth.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that this was not what I expected. I actually spent the first ten minutes or so unsure of the events that led to Cassidy in jail and Preacher with a very supportive Donnie & wife. I was, however, happy to see my cute little vampire with his hair restored to its glory. I thought that the majority of this episode would be the grand entrance of The Saint of Killers. What I got instead, well…

I am not disappointed. Please don’t read that into this.

Favorite part: The moment when Jesse made Tulip kiss him. I have been waiting oh so patiently for that kiss. It was set up so well from the last episode, where he called her and left her that message. It was bolstered by his sudden willingness to kill Carlos for her. It was seeing them let Carlos go, albeit with the crap kicked out of him. I was also admittedly waiting for that punch in the face and to have them both happen in the same scene was pure bliss for me. Second favorite part? Odin Quincannon and the “God of Meat!” speech.

Least favorite part: God. Now, yes I realize that it was an imposter in Heaven because God is missing. Having said that, it was just wrong. Everything in this show is pretty far-fetched, but they’ve done a fantastic job of making it look and feel plausible, even if a bit surreal. And then this happened. I felt like this was a last minute, “oops, we’re out of money, so we’ll just have some bare lightbulbs in the room when we shoot this scene and hope it doesn’t look like something out of Saturday cartoon” kind of thing.

I had a lot of questions when it was over. Was Preacher hallucinating Eugene again? Or when he “sent him to Hell”, did he really just send him to work at some crappy diner for all eternity? Where’d that Indian come from? Is he significant? Where’d Donnie’s wife get those red shoes? Why didn’t the submissive sex girl remove the ball gag in her final moments? If you die in Hell, you don’t come back? Is that why DeBlanc is gone? At least Fiore’s got his comics. How far away is that diner they all went to? Did they know the town was decimated? Would they care?

Enter The Saint of Killers. I have to say it. I’m sorry. This was the most boring entrance for such a dynamic character. Yeah, the angel bounty hunter chick is the last “person” standing in Annville and someone or something puts a huge hole through her and you know it’s him. And he’s standing there, the Clint Eastwood of Preacher. But there should have been more. I don’t know what I wanted. I’m not sure anything could have made me happy, short of Jesse calling God to the church and The Saint comes busting through the doors with Fiore and DeBlanc, shooting everyone. That might have done it for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the last few moments of everyone we’ve come to know. From kinky sex, to assuring your children that life goes on, to suicide, to being dressed up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, as I was for Halloween 2014. In a really weird way, it made me think of the time we spend, alone or with each other. Are they good moments? Would they be how we’d want to spend our last minutes of life? Or are we too busy being assholes to each other that we die cold and alone, holding a mummy in a parka? Goodbye, Annville. Your end was fitting – a shitty end to a shit-fueled town – literally.

Shawn: I want to echo your point. No matter what I say here – I am not disappointed and I think this is one of the most interesting shows I have watched in 2016. It’s a short list that starts with Fargo, Better Call Saul, and Halt and Catch Fire. Shows that constantly make you smile and think and stick with you from one episode directly into the next.

1.) THE END. Shows always seem to have trouble knowing exactly when to end. This was case in point. The best scene happened just before the last scene and should have just bowtied the season and led us into Season Two. The three main characters are having french fries in a diner. The Big Lebowski callback to his Coen Bros. conversations is too precious for words. Tulip teasing Cassidy speaks to a smoothing out of their relationship. We set up the whole next season with the call to action to go find God and either help him or kick his ass. And you say good-bye to Imaginary Eugene (which I’m already sick of – bring him back to ditch him). We’ve had the kiss we all really wanted to see since the first episode and the crew is set. The drive out of town should have been the drive straight into the opening credits of next season. This was the most satisfying moment of the whole season. A great big helping of relaxed laughs that I don’t remember having all season. This is the deep breath that we needed. Fin.

2.) TIME OF THE PREACHER. Any show that has a Willie Nelson song featured is going to the top of my list. Period. But this song is so incredible that I’m surprised they kept it in their pocket until this episode. Off of The Redheaded Stranger album – “It was the time of the preacher / when the story began / with the choice of a lady / and the love of a man”. This song should just play every episode. But is was a perfect setting piece to get us into the mood of the town before the big Sunday calling of God. I think in general they used too much music in this episode compared to previous episodes but this choice couldn’t have felt more perfect. There’s just a moment when music and camerawork and themes all come together. It happened in one moment on The Walking Dead with Patsy Cline and it happened here.

3.) WASTED DAYS AND WASTED NIGHTS. We’ve had hours to build stories and characters. The producers and writers know this last scene. They know where they want to go in Season Two. What concerns me is that I feel like we weren’t set up for this finale properly. There were things I feel we spent too much time on to the point of repetition and there were things that showed up at the end that could have been explained in more detail. I thought I knew what I needed to know about Odin until we got to this episode. He was a pretty solidly predictable bad guy that I thought at one point we were done with regarding the Voice of God. But we get to his speech in this episode and I feel like I was shorted. Same for Tulip in some respects. The reveal of the Carlos, Jesse, and Tulip story was interesting. It wasn’t too different than expected except for a freaking miscarriage!!! C’mon that pretty important to her story and you hold that until the last episode. I needed to know that earlier because it would have informed her whole revenge mentality. It even informs her “relationship” with Cassidy. You want the viewer to feel that they have learned all they needed to know and there were just some revelations that came out of the blue here.

4.) SAVED. The Carlos saga is interesting if not predictable. The “incident in Dallas” isn’t really different than most films or TV shows. I still don’t get the Carlos motivation to let the security guard go other than – he’s in love with Tulilp? Or just annoyed by the two? I never thought that Jesse was going to kill Carlos but that scene was as fun as it gets. The almost murder was a big flirtation and the way this couple shows love is by beating him to an inch of his life. Was there drama? No. I guess I felt like the set-up tried to make us feel like there was a possibility but it felt only like a big flirtation. The feeling that Jesse has given into his Dark Side and will murder Carlos is misguided. He knew the whole time she wouldn’t let him go through with it.

5.) REATTACH THE PENIS. The God scene is problematic. We need to see Jesse rebel against “God”. The scene has a definite purpose that’s very obvious from the beginning. I love the procedure of the phone and the hand and the problems reaching God. I love that he’s right out of every painting ever. The way he laughs at the “reattach my penis” joke with everyone else is clever. The nose picking giveaway is simple and easy. I just don’t walk away feeling like that’s what I pictured it would be. I know they needed to set up Jesse’s challenge to go find God and a way to destroy the town. Was it this easy? Was it that stupid looking? I know the show has a certain level of “magic” but this felt out of place with that. This wasn’t those opening scenes with the people not able to handle the Word of God. Jesse uses his Genesis power to figure this out but it’s too simple. I see that we are where we need to be but it was too easy.

In the end, everything is in place. We have manipulated all the pieces into place and we are ready for the real adventure to start. I love this show in a way that other comic adaptations have fallen short. Thank you for understanding that it’s how things happen and why they happen. This show is gold and not enough people know yet.

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Shawn Bourdo

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