‘Preacher’ Season One Finale Recap: “Call and Response”

This week we see the season one finale for AMC’s Preacher.  There were a lot of moving parts leading up to the finale, but the most important one was to figure out if Jesse was going to summon God.  Not only does his credibility in town rely on him being able to summon the almighty, but he probably would have to deal with the Saint of Killers just released from Hell to under the condition of killing the preacher.

So did it live up to the hype?  Did it stick to the landing?

Well, yes and no.  As weird as this show gets, this was one of the weirdest episodes.  It’s weird because we got a very different view of how God would appear to us.  In most movies/tv shows, we get the Morgan Freeman approach.  Sometimes we get the Almighty in a different way, but nothing quite like we did for Preacher.  So let’s get into it and the season finale “Call ad Response.”

In the beginning of the episode, Jesse is still on the run.  He’s become somewhat an even bigger local celebrity because of his intentions on bringing God to everyone on Sunday, but he’s gotta stay one step above the cops because he did run out of a police cruiser.  One person who isn’t as lucky as Jesse is Cassidy.  In between episodes Sherriff Root arrested Cassidy for his connection to Jesse in hope of trying to find out what has happened to his son.  For most of the season, the Sherriff has been somewhat of an angry old man, not dumb but not particularly smart.  However, in this episode, he actually uses his brains and finds something out about Cassidy.

The Sherriff knows that Cassidy is a vampire.  Through looking up Cassidy’s arrest warrants over the years, and boy are they years!  Cassidy has been in trouble with the law since the 1950s.  The Sherriff is able to put it together that Cassidy is a vampire and carries out a unique torture session to try and figure out where his son is.  He would first shoot Cassidy, and then feed him blood (who’s blood is it?) to help him rejuvenate.  It’s amazing how quickly everyone in this town can get so accustomed to the idea of a vampire among them and not be freaking out!  This also continues to show the Sherriff’s sadistic side.  Last week he gave the angel a mercy killing by choking her.  This week he shoots ad heals Cassidy in a good cop/bad cop kind of way.  Cassidy does get under his skin in a Hannibal Lector type of way reminding him how much Eugene was a burden for him.  He then shoots Cassidy multiple times before letting him go.

Meanwhile, Tulip is searching for Jesse and find him in the unlikeliest of places, Donny’s house.  Throughout the series, Donny has been somewhat of a semi-nemesis for Jesse.  We are first introduced to Donny by Jesse beating him and his friends for Jesse looking into Donny’s wife’s “abuse.”  This episode we get to see more of that abuse as Donny violently spanks his wife to the point where she needs ice.  It’s a little bit of a shock that Donny and Jesse end up being best buds since most of the entire season he has been on opposite sides.  Turns out that when Jesse let Donny live during that tense bathroom scene, it’s opened Donny’s spirituality and he even hides Jesse from the police and Quinncannon.  

When Tulip finally finds Jesse, she takes him to the trunk where they have to deal with Carlos.  The entire reason that Tulip came back to town was to get back with Jesse so they can exact their revenge on Carlos.  Well, what did Carlos exactly do?  Que the flashback.  We get to see the entire bank robbery where Jesse and Tulip were betrayed by Carlos.  It turns out Carlos was jealous of their relationship and mid-heist frees one of the guards forcing Jesse to kill him.  Though the process of trying to catch up with Carlos and escape, Tulip is injured and it’s revealed that she was pregnant with Jesse’s child.  This entire arc has been about getting revenge not only o the guy who burned them during the heist, but was responsible for the loss of their child.  Jesse finally decided that Carlos must go, it stopped last minute by Tulip.  In a reversal of roles, she becomes the voice of morals and reason and tells Jesse not to go through with killing him.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t beat him within an inch of his life though as punishment.

Finally is the showdown at the church.  This is also where the show just gets weird!  With pretty much the entire town at church, Jesse has taken the phone to heaven and one of the angel’s hands and makes the attempt to call God.  At first, the device doesn’t work and Jesse is slowly being turned into the laughing stock Quinncannon thinks he is.  Then out of nowhere the lights go out and we are treated to almost a video conference of God as God begins talking to everyone in the church.  The entire sequence is surreal.  At first, it seems that it’s almost a prank done by Quinncannon, but it surely is someone up in Heaven communicating with everyone in the church.   Even Cassidy is perplexed by how weird the entire sequence is and compares it to drinking Red Bull and saw Justin Bieber concert.  Something doesn’t feel right with Jesse, so he challenges “God.”  Through the exchange, he reveals that he sent Eugene to Hell and that he has Genesis.  Turns out “God” doesn’t know about Genesis.  Jesse at this point knows they aren’t talking to God and uses Genesis to know where God is.  Turns out God is missing!  They have been talking to a stand-in who’s just as scared as they are.

This sends the town into a frenzy.  How would you feel if you were told that God abandoned his post?  It would make you start to lose faith, right?  We are treated to a musical montage of insanity.  Both of the town mascots commit suicide, Emily tells her kids they never needed God in the first place, the school kids murder the creepy bus driver, and even Ms. Loach smothers her daughter while her son takes a selfie.  It’s safe to say that despair has taken over the town.

Last but not least, the power plant we have briefly seen throughout the season has reached a critical overload.  As a result, the entire town is filled with methane gas, and as a result, the entire town explodes.  We don’t know who lives or dies at this point.  With the town in ruins, the one angel who was hunting Fiore and DeBlanc is walking in the ruins and out of nowhere is shot by The Saint, who is now on earth and in search of Jesse.  

Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip are waiting at a diner and Jesse sees another vision of Eugene.  Tulip asks Jesse about Genesis and he displays his power by making Tulip kiss him.  Right afterward she punches him for making her do that.  The three of them decide to head out of town.  Jesse wants to find God, see if he can help him.  If God doesn’t need him, then he will “kick his ass.”  It's road trip time!!

After talking with fans of the Vertigo Comic book, this entire first season could be seen as a prequel to the comics (with small changes here and there).  The comic had begun with Jesse getting Genesis and the power blew up the town.  Jesse learned that God left his post and Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy head out of town in search of God.  This apparently all happens on the first page of issue number one.  That doesn’t make for great television to begin a story that way.  What the writers did was give us a great backstory to move forward from.  Now we know a great detail about many of our main characters.  We even know a bunch about our bad guys through more than 10 episodes of exposition.  I know comic book purists had their issues with the first season of the show, but this was excellent and helped develop everything for us going forward.  The only criticism I’ll have is that we did get to spend a lot of time with people who are probably now blown up and gone.  Emily, Sheriff Root, and Quinncannon are very interesting characters who might all be dead.

Also, it looks like Heaven is not a well-oiled machine in this universe.  Between DeBlanc, Fiore, and the “God” video conference, it looks like Heaven is run just as bad as any startup small business that doesn’t know where they are headed.  It does give a unique perspective on everything.  Also, it looks like Tulip was not immune from Genesis, which is a little disappointing.  Overall, this was a great first season to the show.  With the series now being a road trip, it might start to closely mirror the comic book for those fans, but hey they may still do their own thing so the sky’s the limit for where they can go.