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Preacher - Bleak City & The Lost Apostle - Double Review

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Preacher 4.05 “Bleak City” Review

Bleak City is the fifth episode of Preacher’s final season, and it’s where things really start to hit the fan as we're now halfway to the end. Eugene gets his reunion with Jesse after being sent to hell by Jesse back in the first season, following up on a long awaited plot thread that finally comes to its culmination, and The Saint of Killers gets to come face to face with the Preacher once more in an episode full of reunions. All the while, Jesus and Tulip hit the road with a destination of Vegas in mind (who wouldn’t want to see a spinoff series for Jesus called Jesus Christ: Bank Robber?), leaving a Cassidy behind – who is deciding whether or not he has to be the Han Solo of the story. A Star Wars reference seems apt here, does he save Jesse or not? He has no desire to. Does Jesse even need saving? Based off the events in Bleak City, the answer is almost certainly yes.

The reunion between Eugene and Jesse was hotly anticipated and it was one of the most emotional moments of the episode, with Jesse apologising to Eugene’s face only for Eugene to turn around and declare that it wasn’t enough, and can you blame him? After everything that he experienced in hell, after everything that Jesse put him through that was directly his fault, to have Eugene forgive Jesse that easily would almost feel cheap so it’s easy to see why the writers went down the route that they did. “Someone comes along and sends you to hell,” Eugene says, a bullet in the brain is good enough for them. He’s joined by The Saint of Killers at the end of the episode, in something that acts as a perfect final tease for episode six, putting Jesse in one of the tightest of spots that he’s ever been in, but unless this is God’s plan you know something’s going to mean he won’t be killed just yet. The worst is yet to come.

The Joker and the Thief cropped up in The Blacklist last season and it’s used again to perfection with Cassidy leaving the Masada with the Angel and Demon lovers fighting in the background after the Angel killed the Demon following their reunion that came with Cassidy helping an Angel escape with him. Tulip lets Jesus go his own way in the desert, and opts to drive off with Cassidy to rescue Jesse, after a conversation about what should be the right thing to do. Both characters feel like at this stage in the proceedings the only ones who aren’t quite where they’re supposed to be yet, so putting them on the right track this episode was a good decision. It wouldn’t be Preacher without the three characters together at the end, and it wouldn’t be Preacher without Cassidy exaggerating how deadly the country can be. I'm surprised he hasn't made a Crocodile Dundee joke yet.

Jesus and Hitler also got a face to face meeting this week as Jesus decided to return to the Grail HQ and encountered Hitler in the process as he finally faced up to his destiny, refusing to shake his hand knowing what he’s done, but willing to hug him in his position as the redeemer. The confrontation between the three characters – with Starr as the adjudicator – was an interesting one, and although we never got to see much of it this episode, it too, does a good job at wrapping up loose ends on that front and putting the supporting cast in the same room.

The only worry about this is that there is still four episodes left of the show left to go, and with all the pieces in place now, the show risks running out of steam. But Preacher is full of surprises and ready to throw anything it can at us. There’s also a side note here that we got to see Lara Featherstone BASE jumping to safety after being on the verge of execution by Hoover 2, being so committed to the cause that she offered herself up to be executed for her failures, but only on the condition that she was executed by Starr, who was too busy to even bother with her. It certainly sets Lara on an unknown path and re-introduces another anomaly at this late stage in the proceedings. It’s hard to imagine her not being fanatically loyal to the Grail, so we have to assume that she wants Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip dead. But now she lacks a considerable amount of resources that she had before.

Preacher 4.06 “The Lost Apostle” Review

The Lost Apostle followed up on Bleak City as it entered the second half of the season with a flashback to Abraham who is interrupted by God who tells him that he was going to kill his only son, and that it was a test that God says Abraham passed. Abraham approaches God warmly, embracing him in a hug, but its then revealed that this is a video clip that himself, looking back at his glory days on television, surrounded by similar, likeminded video tapes. He’s painting models as a way to pass the time in his trailer and is relieved to see Starr declare that Phase 2 is ready for action, so he’ll finally have something to do.

Hitler himself is proving to be a tough negotiator according to Starr but God is more interested in learning more about Humperdoo than Jesus who is apparently getting his feet waxed and unable to talk. As expected, God is ignoring Jesus in favour of his offspring, who Starr is very keen on keeping hidden the fact that he lost him. With the escalation kicking into gear, the tension is about to increase, and it looks set to signal the most unlikely start to the Apocalypse ever: A war between Australia and New Zealand. The Deputy Prime Minister’s guts are sent to New Zealand in order to provoke tension between the two countries.

Preacher cuts to Australia with Tulip and Cassidy arriving in style with one goal in mind, act as the Han Solo and Chewbacca to Jesse’s Luke Skywalker. Predictably, they arrive in style to the police station posing as cops straight out of mainstream television series wanting to talk to the man in charge who in this case is the police commissioner. They’re the Americans, according to the duo, and both Joseph Gilgun and Ruth Negga are clearly having fun impersonating the cops and the show delights in taking care of the clich├ęs that come with the cop drama, straight from the jazzy character introduction music to the detailed undercover background story. Tulip even throws the Commissioner’s items off his table after being told that there’s no case in anger, with the reasoning behind this being that Jesse is apparently dead, killed by gunshot. The killer is none other than Eugene, despite the fact that he would apparently never hurt a fly. But time in hell can change a man, and Eugene is no longer the same person that Tulip knew.

Eugene tells Tulip that if Jesse’s alive, he’s in worse condition than ever. And it’s no surprise to anyone that he’s being tortured by the Saint of Killers, who like Eugene, is out for blood and revenge. After a night of torture, he instructs Jesse to come with him. Jesse tries out his power on The Saint to predictably no success (he had to try, though) but is surprised to see that The Saint needs Jesse for his plan, to kill God. Which puts both characters on the same page for now, although both understand that the partnership won’t be a permanent one and as predicted it doesn’t even last the episode. Jesse warns The Saint that revenge won’t bring him peace, even with the most powerful handgun ever made that can shoot through planets. But The Saint is insistent, believing that he can very much kill God. Jesse tells The Saint that he lost his family too, and that they’re good people – much better than both him and The Saint. In addition to this, both him and Tulip lost a baby too back in Dallas, and Jesse’s fed-up, wanting to know why God put them through everything and what it all means. He’s smart enough to realise that he’s calling the shots as The Saint needs him alive, and tells him abruptly to get in line. He wants to kill God first.

Jesus and Hitler are still debating with little to no resolution arguing who should go to hell and who should go to heaven whilst Starr demands that the apocalyptic schedule be stuck to as the spark to set the world in fire is still in motion. The two are continuing to negotiate in the Outback at the home of the The Lost Apostle National Park, where the Grail are distributing an atomic bomb which they intend to frame the New Zealanders for their crime, who are denying everything. What if, this begs the question, had the New Zealand Deputy PM spoken up to Starr back at the start of the season? Would he have been killed off anyway? Or would other countries have been picked to carry out the plan? The setting of Australia certainly makes a novelty one and calls back to The Leftovers’ final season, which too decided to take the action down under.

Tulip and Cassidy are hanging out at a diner when Tulip stumbles across God’s trailer, unaware that God is in on the plan and planted a trap for her, which Tulip should have been smart enough to realise in advance without having been told by Jesse. But still, they arrive just in time to rescue Jesse from the Saint of Killers but are caught in the blast of the bomb going off, which doesn’t affect God – because naturally – he’s God – and the force of it is enough to knock Jesse out of the plane and hurtling to his death after Cassidy, sticking true to Cassidy, has time to ask Jesse to question God as to the reasoning behind The Big Lebowski.

Starr and Jesse are both apparently gone now, although Starr, rather than being rewarded with his return to form that he was promised, he was instead punished for letting Humperdoo go. Whether this means the end for both is unclear as we never saw Starr’s final fate, but it’s hard not to imagine he met a grisly end, especially almost certainly being caught in the blast, and Jesse getting us up to speed on the flashforward at the start of the season meant that we now have no idea where we are headed next, I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to get that flash-forward this early. Preacher is running out of room left to go and it’s hard to see – with four episodes left, whether there’s enough material there, with these two episodes almost feeling like penultimate episodes in their own right. But as this season has been mostly solid for now even if the momentum did sag occasionally, I have faith that the creative team can bring things to a resolution.

Because one thing’s certain, we’re very much in final season mode now, and time has run out for Jesse Custer.

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