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Preacher - The End of the Road - Review: "Look Who's Back"




Preacher 2.13 The End of the Road - Review:
Directed by Wayne Yip & Written by Sam Catlin

Preacher's finale has arrived. After several weeks of meandering to the conclusion with the occasional burst of excitement, over-the-top action thrust in there that we've been used to, the show certainly delivered with what it set out to do, end the season on an interesting note that set the stage for Season 3 in style, with the stakes higher than ever.

Let's get the big one out of the way first, Tulip's death. I hope it doesn't stick. Ruth Negga has been brilliant since she was introduced in Season 1 and whilst she has been perhaps underutilised this season, it'll be a shame that her death is a permanent one. I did like that Jesse didn't want to go down the route that Cassidy did in turning her into a vampire to save her life, as everything was building up to this point. They are hinting at a potential resurrection in store for her though given that Jesse and Cassidy are taking her body to Angelville, the place where we saw in the flashbacks that could revive things at a "terrible price", according to Jesse's grandmother. The Chicken that was brought back to life is still there, and presumably, this is where things will pick off in Season 3. All signs are pointing towards Tulip's resurrection, something not possible with Genesis due to it acting up, so I wouldn't get too worried about her fate just yet.

The episode was all about establishing Jesse as the new Messiah and introducing him to the world under Herr Starr and the Grail's advice. His first experience was to give a speech to a group of innocent school children before he was attacked by an armed group of Armenians, only to fight them off. Predictably, Starr then tells him that this incident was done on purpose to go viral, creating online buzz around him being the Messiah. The touches of humour at the beginning of the episode when Jesse and Starr were discussing what would be the best look for the Messiah to wear and what wouldn't would normally have hinted that this episode would continue the humorous tone throughout, but then this is Preacher, which can turn dark as quickly as it can inject the odd joke, sometimes both at the same time.

All the while Jesse is being built up as the Messiah and is set to star on Jimmy Kimmel's Talk Show, but he's insistent that this is not what he intended to do as The Messiah and wants out. However, given that Starr has a piece of his soul, he's not in any position to bargain. Ultimately though by the end of the episode, nothing was truly solved - Jesse's Genesis problem still needs to be addressed in Season 3.

This was a big episode for most of the main cast and Joseph Gilgun also got his time to shine this week as he wrapped up the Denis storyline. Whilst it was still predictable it's hard to watch anyone forced to kill their own son, and Gilgun's portrayal of Cassidy really helped show the sympathetic side of things for the character. He still hasn't quite gotten over what Jesse's done to them in the past and as a result there will no doubt be some relationships to be patched up in Season 3, especially with Cassidy declaring that he hates Jesse. Jesse's response to that of course is just to wait and see, because if he hates Jesse now, things will only get worse in the future. The undoing of their dynamic, emphasised by the dramatic, gut-wrenching and emotional fight (that was one of the most emotional scenes in the entire series so far) between them in the kitchen has been one of the main goals of Season 2 so hopefully this is something that doesn't get immediately reset in Season 3's premiere. But there's certainly lots to address when the show does return.

It's also worth mentioning Eugene and Hitler's storyline this week as well. Whilst both characters battled their way to the River Styx and out of Hell, it's clear that despite Hitler's almost-redemptive moment he hasn't learnt a thing and is still evil. The novelty of unleashing Hitler into contemporary 21st America will no doubt be something that will be explored in Season 3 - will he find his way to the Grail? Will he start his own movement? Or will he just become the punchline for a good joke? - but for now, all that matters is that he's back. And Eugene too - presumably their paths will head in different directions. Eugene has yet to learn what's happened to his hometown for one, and his reaction will be something to take into account and could hint, if he does find this out, what his attitude to Jesse will be next season.

Tulip's death at the hands of Lara being unmasked brought an end to the storyline of the group living inside that apartment. One thing that I didn't like about this season was that despite the early promise of a Road Trip things quickly stalled once they hit New Orleans, and didn't really make the most out of the location provided to them. In an ideal world I could do with a shorter episode count and more locations explored next season, as the thirteen episodes that the show gave us felt like three too many, at least. It certainly suffered from the same problem that several of Marvel's Netflix shows have faced - and AMC's The Walking Dead - in that it appears that they've gone with the requirement of filling a certain number of episodes rather than just adopting for a faster paced story. Like I've mentioned before I imagine this will play out a lot better as a binge-watch rather than a weekly watch, so I don't know if this is what the showrunners were aiming for here.

I decided to subtitle this review "Look Who's Back," which refers to one of two things. The first one is Hitler coming back from Hell, a title stolen from the German comedy of the same name, but the second also hints at a possible return for God, who is in the Man-Dog costume. At the end of the episode he is seen walking out of the bathroom of a motel, suggesting that although the main goal of Season 2 - finding him, wasn't actually met, this will be answered in Season 3. It will be interesting to see if he addresses the solution with the Superintendent of Hell going rogue and shooting Charon (Sharon?), the gatekeeper to the underworld, and what the consequences of that move will be. Charon recognises that Eugene doesn't belong and is keen on letting him go, but as expected, Hell doesn't want mistakes to get free. Eugene escaping is bad for business.

The clear ending of Season 1 killed off most of the main cast and gave the show a chance to wipe the slate clean. This adopted a different take as conflicts weren't resolved entirely, but then that is the nature of a comic book, there will be more conflicts to come in future issues. The same thing is shown here, Preacher leaving stuff until later to explore, which is something that it isn't a stranger to, with the Saint of Killers' return to the world being built up over the course of Season 1 before he eventually returned in Season 2, and indeed, they've done the same with Hitler and Eugene this season. It'll be interesting to find out what Season 3's inevitable B-plot will be, but at least we know the general direction of what to expect when the series returns next year. As of writing the show hasn't currently been renewed, but according to multiple sites, a renewal looks likely, especially when you consider that AMC usually are extremely lenient with even their lowest rated shows.

What Did You Think of The End of the Road and Season 2 as a whole? Let me know in the comments below. You can find me with Season reviews of both Top of the Lake: China Girl & Search Party next, and then on a weekly basis I'll be covering Star Trek Discovery from September 24.

This review was originally published without a header image. A header image has since been added to the original text at 20:03 BST.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, Black Sails, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Preacher, The Mist, Star Wars Rebels, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Krypton, Marvel's New Warriors, Rise, Marvel's Runaways, Succession, Star Trek Discovery, and Trust. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 300 favourite movies here.
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