Preacher Season 2
Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, Graham McTavish
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…an anarchic blast of violent fun, weird metaphysics and general gonzo goofiness.
The first season of Preacher suffered from a few teething problems as the show struggled to tell new viewers what it was and, perhaps more crucially, fans of the source comics what it was not. Those expecting a slavishly faithful reproduction of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s ’90s Vertigo series were sorely disappointed, but what the small screen Preacher got right was the tone of the piece. While narratively the show was spinning its wheels for a long time (about four episodes of S1 are essential viewing, out of a total of 10), we got a good sense of who the characters are and what their world is about. We’re invested in the titular two-fisted Texan preacher, Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper); his gun-toting ex-lover, Tulip (Ruth Negga, frequently the MVP here); and his drug-addled Irish vampire best mate, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). And finally, we’re off to pursue the main thrust of the plot, with the trio on the road across America to (literally) find God, who is absent without leave.
Season two opens with a bang – several bangs, in fact, as a car chase with the local constabulary (complete with a fun sing-along soundtrack – that’s a surprise worth keeping back) turns into the first of a number of stunningly bloody shoot-outs courtesy of the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), the unkillable gunslinger that’s been sicced onto Jesse and co. Gorehounds are in for a treat, as are comics fans – the show’s depiction of the carnage the Saint wreaks is on par with what we saw on the page – which is to say, an utter bloodbath, complete with gaping wounds, severed limbs and a body count equivalent to a bad day at the Somme.
Plotwise, the first two episodes set us up for a trip to New Orleans, as we learn that the errant God is apparently a fan of jazz, prompting our heroes to head for the Big Easy. Before that, we get a couple of side missions. One is enormous fun, involving an Indian casino (East Indian, not Native American, in a cute twist) and a catch-up with the hapless angel Fiore (Tom Brooke). Any plotline that involves an angel and a vampire doing speedballs together in a tacky hotel suite is okay by us.
The other, definitely on the more problematic side of the line, sees Custer and company cross paths with a backwoods “biblical scholar” with a penchant for keeping “strayed” parishioners in a cage. That the show never condemns this (and Jesse de facto condones it, even though Tulip is aghast) hits a bit of a weird note, and that is starting to be a recurring issue with Preacher – successfully pushing buttons for fun and profit takes a defter hand than the series has yet really demonstrated, and what was acceptable in the comics’ ’90s heyday does not necessarily fly in 2017.
That’s a quibble, though – so far Preacher Season 2 is an anarchic blast of violent fun, weird metaphysics and general gonzo goofiness. If they can maintain the pitch for the next eight episodes, we’re in for a fun ride.