And that’s a wrap on PREACHER’s second season, and I have to say that it was quite frustrating. I have been saying it in these reviews for about half the season now–after a promising stretch of excitement and intrigue in the first three or four episodes, the season just seemed to stall about halfway through, and it never recovered. I had held out hope for a big recovery in the final episode–which ran a lengthy hour and fifteen minutes–but in the end I am sorry to profess that on the whole it was a disappointment.
The episode, entitled “The End of the Road,” began in a flashback, as many Preacher episodes have before. We finally get a glimpse of a teenage Jesse Custer working collecting money at the front gate of his grandmother’s property, a place called Angelville from what I could gather. A woman drives up saying that her cat has been missing for the better part of a week, which is unusual for the animal, and she heard that the woman living there has ways of seeing the truth from far away. Jesse admits that that’s true and then asks for money up front. He takes it and directs her to where she can park, as if she was driving on to a movie studio lot. After that some guys come by looking for “the tomb” but Jesse spots them as cops and flips them off as they drive away.
Finally, a couple characters named T.C. and Jody (who I understand are from a beloved part of the comics and whose faces we never see) roll up to collect the money from Jesse. When the kid tries to skim some off the top, Jody knows and grabs his arm violently, almost breaking it. Jesse is forced to give him the rest of the money. Jesse is so mad about it he stomps a chicken to death, and then feels bad so brings it to his grandmother… presumably to resurrect the chicken. These are odd beginnings we have yet to explore thoroughly, but it looks like we will get the chance to more in season three, as we gather from the final scene. I’m getting there.
In present day, each of our three main characters: Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip, are dealing with their own dark issues. Jesse is still struggling with the fact that he has not done what he set out to do: find God. On top of that his new “friend” Herr Starr, head of The Grail, is traipsing Jesse around trying to promote him as the new Messiah. He has him scheduled for Jimmy Kimmel that week. But first he goes to a Catholic school to do a demonstration of a miracle in front of a class of good Catholic children. Herr Starr has his iPhone set up to record the entire think in hopes that the video will go viral. However, he also has a completely different and more exciting miracle in mind than Jesse. Halfway through his introduction, a bunch of Armenian terrorists show up in the classroom with guns. Starr wants to get Jesse using The Word on them to disarm them but, as was the case last week, The Word is failing him. He can’t use it anymore. Jesse bests the terrorists the old-fashioned way (kicking their asses in hand-to-hand combat) and then discovers that Starr was the one who hired them in the first place. He is not happy.
Cassidy is smoking crack. Literally, he smokes crack this episode. That’s because he has found himself being tempted by the more barbaric ways of newly made vampire (and Cassidy’s son) Denis. Denis has a hunger for feasting on still alive people and Cassidy knows that if he keeps him around he could be a bad influence on him. He even has a vision of biting out a sizable chunk of Tulip’s neck during sex. When he straight up asks Denis if he can be good in Bimini (where he and Tulip plan to head from New Orleans) Denis asks the same of him. And Cassidy is not so sure. He is so worried that he pushes his son out a window into the sunlight where he burns to ashes. It all seemed rather abrupt and kind of made the entire plot with him this season pointless. Certainly anticlimactic. I was never rooting for Cassidy and Denis to bond as father and son, so I was not sad to see Denis go. At any rate I’m glad Cassidy’s storyline can move on from this in the next season.
Tulip is really ready to go and leave Jesse behind. She stops at a pharmacy to pick up some road trip supplies, including a ton of strong sun screen for Cassidy. She attacks the cashier guy and tries to give the money in the register to a new mom waiting behind her in line (she doesn’t take it). When she gets back to Denis’ apartment she finds the camera that Featherstone and Hoover had been surveilling them with from a few apartments down. Tulip finally goes down the hall to confront “Jenny” about this, taking a screw driver with her as a weapon. However, Featherstone has a gun and before we know it, Tulip is shot.
Cassidy is able to get ahold of Jesse and let him know that Tulip is hurt. He rushes back to Denis’ apartment where Cassidy is trying to keep her alive and failing. He begs Jesse to use The Word on her, to tell her to breathe using it, but when he tries he of course fails. Cassidy is ready to make her into a vampire, but Jesse will not have it. He actually physically fights Cassidy off of her, and the two wrestle in probably what was one of the most emotional scenes of the series. “Let her die,” Jesse tells Cassidy. And sadly, they do.
But soon after we see Jesse and Cassidy driving out of New Orleans with her body in the back seat. He takes her back to Angelville, where we see that chicken Jesse stomped so long ago still clucking. “You hate me now?” Jesse asks Cassidy. “Just you wait,” he tells him. And they drive onto Jesse’s grandmother’s property. We also catch a glimpse of the dog costume God was supposedly in hung up in a motel room. We hear somebody peeing in the bathroom, and after the toilet flushes and the door opens, all we see is a bright white heavenly light. Another mystery for Season 3.
Oh, and Eugene and Hitler make it out of Hell! They make it to the River Styx where Eugene is permitted to cross back into the real world. Only once they got there, Hitler runs away from Eugene, apparently having faked his “goodness” the entire time. Will he wreak havoc on the world in Season 3? Time will tell.
Overall, the finale wrapped up stories and introduced intriguing new threads. But the stories they wrapped up were never all that good to begin with. It makes me worry about Season 3. If the show has not found its footing by now, I’m not sure it can go far beyond this next season.
Paul Gulyas | Contributor