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TV Review: Preacher, Season 1 finale, "Call and Response"

08.01.2016

SYNOPSIS: It is the day the entire town has been waiting for, as Jesse tries to follow through on his promise to get answers from Heaven.

REVIEW: Well the finale to the first season of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's seminal work, Preacher, has come to a head after a promising start that ebbed and flowed for the past nine episodes in a slow burn of odd choices in character and story that has left many of the comic fans left scratching their heads and many non-comic fans with a sense of surprise and enjoyment (albeit, still with many non-fans not "getting it"). Mixed bag is being generous, as there's been some outright baffling changes from the comic that often beg why they even bothered to adapt, but I've stayed the course to see how it all would shake out, hoping for an M. Night Shyamalan finale that would leave me eating crow. So, did that happen? Let's dig in and find out.

We kick things off with Jesse and Cassidy now on the run after digging up an angel hand to use the God phone last episode. Jesse is hanging out at Donnie's for some reason and Cassidy is now in jail. How they got to this point? Chalk it up to more of the show's erratic storytelling, I suppose. Anyway, Sheriff Root, still focused on finding Eugene, has a captive audience with Cassidy and settles in for some good ol' fashioned questioning tactics; complete with a thermos of blood, a revolver, and a manilla folder stacked with news clippings on Cassidy's criminal past that goes back to the 1940's. Root has seemingly embraced that Cassidy is more than he seems and when found out, Cassidy leaps to attack, but is instead shot, revealing that he is, in face, more than he seems. Root offers a paper cup full of blood to Cassidy after shooting him. "C'mon, Vampire. It's gonna be a long night." 

Tulip tracks Jesse down to Donnie's place, where Jesse is staying by his own free will, and it's revealed that Donnie welcomed him to hide out there. Apparantly, after showing mercy by not using The Word to have Donnie kill himself in the gas station men's room, Donnie has had a change of heart (even though none of his actions leading up to this reveal have denoted that). Donnie, so it seems, is now on Team Preacher. Tulip isn't really buying it and she steps outside to talke with Jesse. There's an awkward exchange about Jesse's out-of-the-blue phone call last episode where he basically confessed his love for her ("Hey Tulip, I just ate pancakes.") and is now head over heels after avoiding her all season long. If there's one relationship I should've bought into by now, especially since it's so pivotal to everything in this story, it should be Jesse and Tulip. Unfortunately, it's as half-baked as it can be right now.

However, Tulip reveals she's got some "junk in the trunk" for Jesse to take care of and it's not what you'd think. No, it's their mutual enemy, Carlos, who is literally tied up in her trunk. Tulip tells Jesse to "kill him", which promptly takes us to a flashback of the heist-gone-wrong we've been teased with all season. Jesse and Tulip are seen breaking into safety deposit boxes, with a timed device on the safe. Jesse finds a double-fist dildo in one of them and makes some lewd jokes, which I'm guessing is supposed to show the "old" Jesse Custer, but it's hardly the hard-as-nails badass he's known as. I didn't comb through every volume again with a microscope, but this whole criminal heist thing is new territory, as is their nemesis Carlos, and I'm not sure it really measures up. In the end, it's just a way to connect Tulip and Jesse before the "Preacher days", but it just doesn't connect the way it should.

Anyway, we see them joke with Carlos a bit and he seems to take it the wrong way as he goes back into the bank where everyone is either tied up or cowering. Carlos takes out a knife and cuts one of the security guards loose. We then cut to Jesse's smoking gun after shooting the security guard in the head, Tulip doubling over in pain, saying "The baby" as Carlos speeds away. Again, a whole other direction from the characters in the comics and I wouldn't say a damn thing if it didn't make Tulip and Jesse more like scumbag criminals rather than the rowdy and rebellious types they've always been known as. Still, Tulip always had a checkered past, so it does still line up to a point, just more so with her than Jesse.

Cut back to Carlos in the trunk, Jesse looking intense. "Why?" he askes Carlos repeatedly. "You were happy," is his response. Jesse slams the trunk.

Meanwhile, we get a closer look at the underground Quincannon facility that's been teased all season, which apparently is a dumping ground for cow manure that's overfilling by the moment.

Back at the jail, Root and Cassidy bond over "vampires, government agents, psychopathic preachers" as Root continues to try and uncover the location of Eugene. Cassidy taps into Root's motives for looking for his son, as Eugene is such a mess (literally and figuratively), which prompts Root to lose it and empty the gun on Cassidy. But, with little else to ask and no answers coming to satisfy, Root lets Cassidy go.

Back at Donnie's place, Tulip and Cassidy argue over killing Carlos, with Tulip's argument being that "someone's got to pay" as she lost her baby in the process and that Carlos' motives for double-crossing them was simply out of spite. Jesse is reluctant as always, but is convinced enough to grab a gun and head out to the car. "I'm goin' to hell anyway." Jesse prepares to shoot Carlos, but suddenly Tulip appears, this time having her own change of heart. She embraces Jesse and says "This is the most beautiful thing anyone's ever done for me," in a kind of TRUE ROMANCE-style sequence. Jesse is still committed to killing Carlos, though, and they have some more back-and-forth over it, before Tulip settles it with "It's the thought that counts." So, pretty much after trying to get Jesse to go with her to kill Carlos, she really just wanted to see if he'd actually do it, rather than follow through. Hmm. Okay.

But, Carlos doesn't get away that easy, as they untie him, hand him a crowbar and a gun and ask if he's "ready." Carlos is obviously confused at what the hell is happening and we get a cool shot of Jesse and Tulip standing together with Dominic Cooper giving a strong Jesse Custer smirk, saying "Tough shit." Now, THAT'S the Jesse Custer we haven't seen enough of. In fact, hardly at all, so it was cool to get a taste of what could be with him in this show. We later cut to Carlos, beaten and bloody, limping through the neighborhoods of Annville.

Later, Jesse and Tulip, along with some help from Donnie and his wife, make their way back to the church to prepare for Sunday's service. Jesse lays out the "Godphone" and severed angel hand on the pulpit, ready to give God a ring. Outside the church sign reads: Today: Meet God. Tomorrow: TBD. Tulip, who seems to be coming around to what's going on with Jesse (although still having never seen him use The Word) asks what he thinks will happen. Jesse says he doesn't know. "Well, no matter what, we're getting french fries after." 

The inside of the church is packed with a who's who of Annville and of course Cassidy turns up to witness the mayhem. Emily is there as well, regardless of being scorned time and again by Jesse. Ever the faithful. Jackie Earle Haley's Odin Quincannon shows up and decides to start the sermon for Jesse, calling him out as "full of shit", saying the only real God is "the God of meat." Thanks for that, Odin. Jesse then picks up the Godphone and dials it up with the severed angel hand. And that's where shit gets crazy and, although nowhere near what was in the comics, is still pretty fun.

A white, bearded, "God" appears, acting like a really bad imposter (which we find out, of course, he is) and after some back-and-forth decides to take some questions from the flock, including the age old "Why do bad things happen to good people?" gem and even the Quincannon goon that got his dick shot off by Jesse asking if God can put it back on. Jesse, however, is no fool, and calls this "God" out as an imposter and uses The Word to ask "Where is God?" to which the imposter reveals: "I don't know. None of us do. He's missing. God is missing. We don't know where he is. Maybe he's down there. We don't know!"

The transmission ends and, with nothing left to do, Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy leave the church to get some french fries. With the realization that there basically is no God, the congregation goes into a frenzy, beating the crap out of each other with Odin Quincannon calling for Jesse to "denounce him." We then see Emily at her home telling her kids that nothing's changed and that they don't need God and never did, while the rest of the town goes a little batshit. The bus driver from earlier in the season is killed by the girls he lusted over, the school mascots hang themselves, the vegetated Jessica is smothered by her mom, Quincannon makes a "meat puppet" wrapped in his dead daughter's clothes, and the Methane Reactor finally overflows, sending methane overflow into all of Annville, igniting from a burning cigarette and blowing up the entire town, including Jesse's church. Now that's the finale I was hoping for, to be quite honest. It may not be exactly what transpired on the page, but it got us pretty close to the right end result and spared us from having to spend another minute in Annville. Thank "God".

We then catch up with Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy sitting in a diner, deciding on their next move (ironically, the starting point of the entire comic). "The plan is simple. Find God." Tulip  is questionable to this, while Cassidy is all in. "I'm sorry, we're just gonne, like, drive around, shooting people, gettin' wasted and looking for God?" Jesse, for the first time, now has a mission. "Well, God wants our help, we'll help him. If he doesn't...we're gonna kick his ass." Jesse then proves the power of The Word to Tulip, commanding her to kiss him, to which she does, but then follows up with a punch to the face. "Don't ever do that again." We then cut to the trio, loaded up in Tulip's car, and speeding off into a world of adventure. Finally.

But, before the episode closes, we see the blonde angel wandering the ruins of Annville, when suddenly she's shot from behind and killed. The Saint of Killers has arrived on Earth. He stand over the fallen angel and looks out with only one word on his lips. "Preacher."

So, a strong finish to perhaps one of the shakiest, strangest, and perplexing first seasons to one of the most beloved and cherished batshit crazy comics ever made. Did it pull the M. Night Shyamalan and get us back on track? Well...yeah. It kinda did. While it did it in a REALLY slow burn kind of way (it just barely got through the first few issues of the comic) and wasted A LOT of time with some ho-hum characters (that just got blown up in the end anyway), it still managed to course correct in a major way by burning Annville to the ground and getting these three characters on the road and on their real mission.

While I was ready to write this off as a botched attempt to adapt an amazing comic, Catlin and crew managed to put the narrative right back where it should be, even if the path to get there was a bit of a mess. They got lost along the way and took some ridiculous and backward routes to get to this point, but I feel like there's hope again for the show. I just wish it didn't take ten episodes to get here and in a way I'm being more forgiving simply BECAUSE we got to this point, more out of relief than anything. Beyond that, my theory that this season would probably be best enjoyed as a binge watch is further solidified with the finale. There's really no other way to watch it and I feel like they almost made it that way. It's been a rough-as-hell start, but this is most certainly a case where the finale redeemed the whole damn season.

Preacher, it would seem, can still be saved.

COMIC CONNECTIONS:

It's a bit all over the map, but there's quite a few nods in this episode.

- Odin Quincannon embracing his "meat puppet" is an ode to the comic, but not sexualized or nearly as perverse as his obsession in the comics.

- While God never appeared in Jesse's church and addressed the people, the angels did, in fact, use a "fake God" to try and fool Jesse initially, with Jesse using The Word rather quickly to get the truth out of them about God having "quit".

- In the comics it is Geneses "entering" Jesse that causes the church to be destroyed and everyone in it to be killed. While they did it very differently, it was cool to see the decimation of the church (and all of Annville) as it's a shade of what happened in the comics and at least puts the show on the path it belongs.

Source: Joblo.com

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1:31AM on 08/02/2016

I liked it, it had the right tone.

When I heard people say they didn't like the show because Jessie is an a'hole, I was like good, that's how he was in the comics. Cassidy is dead on, it's like the actor was born to play this role.
When I heard people say they didn't like the show because Jessie is an a'hole, I was like good, that's how he was in the comics. Cassidy is dead on, it's like the actor was born to play this role.
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9:16PM on 08/01/2016

Not bad, but not that good, either

I mentioned in last week's review comments section that I don't have a strong loyalty to the comic, nor do I remember a lot of it anymore since I last read it over a decade ago. With that said, I felt this season was mediocre, with barely a notable scene that made the series stand out from the middle of the TV pack.
I think I'll sit out for a season or two and keep an eye on what the overall reception of the series is by that point, and then get back to it.
I am a little disheartened most
I mentioned in last week's review comments section that I don't have a strong loyalty to the comic, nor do I remember a lot of it anymore since I last read it over a decade ago. With that said, I felt this season was mediocre, with barely a notable scene that made the series stand out from the middle of the TV pack.
I think I'll sit out for a season or two and keep an eye on what the overall reception of the series is by that point, and then get back to it.
I am a little disheartened most especially that they have an entire town blown apart... and the entire season took place IN that town. So, almost everything that happened during the season - and all the characters that they attempted to establish - have basically been wiped away. Maybe something will change that, and a kind of retcon (we are talking about God here) could bring them back in one capacity or another. But do I really care if that happens? Nah, because I didn't feel particularly connected to anyone.
Overall, I give this season a 5.5/10.
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11:24AM on 08/01/2016

We need a new Reviewer....

So, I came here this morning specifically to read the comments section rather than the review because the author of this span of reviews has been extremely biased and beholden to the source material. Either get a second take on the material from someone who has not read the comics, or title this type of review as a VS review or Compare and Contrast review.
I've been watching this show with my son and every episode is something new, funny, and enjoyable. The humor is something that really
So, I came here this morning specifically to read the comments section rather than the review because the author of this span of reviews has been extremely biased and beholden to the source material. Either get a second take on the material from someone who has not read the comics, or title this type of review as a VS review or Compare and Contrast review.
I've been watching this show with my son and every episode is something new, funny, and enjoyable. The humor is something that really stands out. Honestly, if done right, this could be the next Breaking Bad in terms of viewership. This type of storytelling is extremely unique and new on t.v. It should be appreciated and shared rather than broken down to its core material. Seth Rogan took a gamble on this material. We caught every episode, watched a couple more than once, and made a special night out of the final episode. This show deserves better reviews.
This has been my number 1 go-to site for movie and t.v. news and reviews for the last 5 years. But, honestly, its reviews like this that has me adding other sites to my news. I did the same thing with Aintitcool.com about 5 years ago when the way they covered material became obviously tainted. Now, I don't even visit that site. You guys are starting down a similar path. I'm visiting Reddit, Dark Horizons, and CHUD more and more. Less advertising, pop-ups, and its easier to access at work. Come on guys! I'm rooting for ya'll. Don't fall victim to bias like Harry an his crew did. Opinion is good, don't get me wrong, but sometimes we just want the news without having to filter out your bias'.
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12:03PM on 08/01/2016
So...you didn't even read the review and yet are complaining about it? C'mon, man. That's just silly. For one, I gave the episode an 8/10 (in fact, every episode I've given a 6 or higher). Secondly, here's a little thing that people are really failing to grasp and it's actually pretty concerning: ALL reviews are "biased". Every single one. They are opinions of the reviewer, plain and simple. There is NO SUCH THING as an unbiased review. One way or another, you're getting an opinion that is
So...you didn't even read the review and yet are complaining about it? C'mon, man. That's just silly. For one, I gave the episode an 8/10 (in fact, every episode I've given a 6 or higher). Secondly, here's a little thing that people are really failing to grasp and it's actually pretty concerning: ALL reviews are "biased". Every single one. They are opinions of the reviewer, plain and simple. There is NO SUCH THING as an unbiased review. One way or another, you're getting an opinion that is based on personal taste, which is formulated over years of watching film and TV, studying it, and assimilating it into your own world view, life experience, perspective, etc. You're essentially saying that you don't like my opinion so you want a new reviewer who will write reviews you agree with. Why do you even need a review, then?

I've been beyond fair with this show and more people agree than don't that this is a show that has deviated immensely from what it's based on-something that ABSOLUTELY matters-while taking on a life of its own. It hasn't been a slam dunk by any means, but viewed in its entirety, especially with the course-correcting finale, it has a lot of promise for follow-on seasons.

It's fine if you don't agree with my take. But to say that I should be "replaced" because I'm basically too informed on the source material is just asinine. If a movie or TV show is based on a book then it will always have some comparison, especially if it's a fairly current work and one that is deeply ingrained in the culture it comes from. Preacher is such a book and one that has been teased at being adapted for years, be it as a film or a series. Now it's here and fans are certainly watching and hoping for a proper adaptation, myself included.

If you're looking simply for reviews that you agree with, fine. There are tons of them out there, I'm sure. This day and age ANYONE can write a review and put it out there. Or, you could take the time to actually read my review, which you didn't even do. I realize it's not Shakespeare and won't win a Pulitzer, but honestly, jumping straight to the comments section without reading the review renders your point mute.

You say "Opinion is good, don't get me wrong, but sometimes we just want the news without having to filter out your bias'." This isn't news. It's a review. It's an opinion, like all reviews.
1:48PM on 08/01/2016
I said I came straight to the comments first. But, I did read the review. Still too much contrast. This show needs to be given a bit more credit and allowed to exist on its own considering it was a gamble to get it on cable in the first.place. Just sayin'
I'm not trying to be a troll. This has become my favorite place to come for movie info. But, I remember this feeling well when it started at Harry's site. Too many ads made it get blocked from my work, too many pissed off talkbackers,
I said I came straight to the comments first. But, I did read the review. Still too much contrast. This show needs to be given a bit more credit and allowed to exist on its own considering it was a gamble to get it on cable in the first.place. Just sayin'
I'm not trying to be a troll. This has become my favorite place to come for movie info. But, I remember this feeling well when it started at Harry's site. Too many ads made it get blocked from my work, too many pissed off talkbackers, obvious leanings towards certain studios, etc.
I have much respect for you all, but you guys are becoming more and more cynical. The second you become jaded, I'm out. Keep up the good work.
1:56PM on 08/01/2016
If you are too close to the source material, then change the title of your article to reflect such. I wrote that either someone else do the article or rename it. If this was an article about how the show failed the readers, then I would come to read about what's missing. But, this is a review. Just like Game of Thrones takes certain privileges from book to screen, Preacher will do the same.
What I'm trying to say Mr. Shirey, is you are alienating your audience. You don't need to be all
If you are too close to the source material, then change the title of your article to reflect such. I wrote that either someone else do the article or rename it. If this was an article about how the show failed the readers, then I would come to read about what's missing. But, this is a review. Just like Game of Thrones takes certain privileges from book to screen, Preacher will do the same.
What I'm trying to say Mr. Shirey, is you are alienating your audience. You don't need to be all inclusive. You also don't have to pander to me or anyone. But, if this is your passion and you want us to read your thoughts, you may need to make the writing more appetizing so that we don't just skip to dessert. Like I tell my students, if you are going to take this time to write, make sure the reader wants to take the time to read; if not, just throw up a score and be done with it.
My intent wasn't to say you should be replaced or fired; I apologize if it came off that way.
3:12PM on 08/01/2016
Thanks for your comments, genuinely. Now, to your points. I have reviewed the show on two points, and even stated as much in the pilot review that I'd be approaching this "...on both fronts; as an adaptation and simply as a new show." And I've remained true to that. I think you're taking my criticism of the show universally as a comparison on what they've screwed up in adapting it; that's not the case at all. While those deviations most certainly play a factor, this season has been ripe with
Thanks for your comments, genuinely. Now, to your points. I have reviewed the show on two points, and even stated as much in the pilot review that I'd be approaching this "...on both fronts; as an adaptation and simply as a new show." And I've remained true to that. I think you're taking my criticism of the show universally as a comparison on what they've screwed up in adapting it; that's not the case at all. While those deviations most certainly play a factor, this season has been ripe with illogical scripting, poorly developed characters (not all, but many), and a fuzzy narrative that fails to stay coherent or engaging from week to week. Storylines left hanging in the breeze between 2-3 episodes at a time make it perplexing and unfocused. Character motivations and actions are inconsistent. And, more than anything, we wasted an entire season getting to know a bunch of dead people, when the story could have advanced in a far more effective manner.

All of this, I've made clear in previous reviews, including this one. It's been a mixed bag, regardless of whether you're well-versed in the source material or not. And it would be a crime, in my opinion, to not pay heed to where this show is derived. It's not like it's the 50th adaptation of Peter Pan. This is the first one out of the door for Preacher and that matters, especially to fans of the comic and the characters it contains.

There's no cynicism in me over Preacher. I am a steadfast fan of the comic and want only the best for the show. If anything, I am a hopeful hold out, but hardly a cynic. There are plenty of other sites seeped in that. As for Game of Thrones or Walking Dead, I've also read all of that source material and can say, unequivocally, that both of those have been far better adapted with more care and attention to the settings, characters, and storylines of the source material than Preacher has, while still taking some massive deviations of their own. But, again, the finale of Preacher has redeemed the overall series in a big way (although not completely) and I wonder of the binge model of storytelling kind of screwed it in that sense. Only Catlin, Rogen, and Goldberg know that for sure.

As far as alienating an audience; that comes with the territory with a review, although really, it shouldn't. Too often people take reviews to heart and too personally to boot. It's simply one person's perspective. It's not meant to be all-encompassing or to please everyone. In previous reviews for this show we've had people comment that love the show and people that hate it, so I'm certainly not putting off everyone. In fact, I'm giving a voice to those that share the same concerns I do with the show. In terms of making my writing more "appetizing", well, I don't know what that means. Everyone has writers they respond to and writers they don't (I know I do), so if I don't fit your tastebuds, that's cool. I'm just not for you.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the show more than I did and I sure hope for the best with season 2. Maybe I'll review, maybe I won't. I haven't decided yet and certainly have time, but I'll certainly be tuning in to see if they can stay on the right path and make a great show out of the great material they deemed great enough to adapt.
11:13AM on 08/01/2016
The show did work better with binge watching, I had like 5 or 6 episodes saved on my DVR and watched the last week. The final 2 episodes of the season were weird with the character development, it was like there was an episode missing between them.
The show did work better with binge watching, I had like 5 or 6 episodes saved on my DVR and watched the last week. The final 2 episodes of the season were weird with the character development, it was like there was an episode missing between them.
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10:06AM on 08/01/2016

Great 1st season

My favorite new show of the year. I agree that it should be binge watched.

I give the first season and 8.5 out of 10. I give the weekly recaps 5 out of 10 (only because there was too much comparison to the comics, not because they were written poorly).
My favorite new show of the year. I agree that it should be binge watched.

I give the first season and 8.5 out of 10. I give the weekly recaps 5 out of 10 (only because there was too much comparison to the comics, not because they were written poorly).
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9:54AM on 08/01/2016

Smuggg

92% rotten tomatoes.. 8.4 imdb. You're just not realizing that the general public couldn't handle it if they put everything in the comic in the 1st Couple episodes. It had to be a slow burn. I agree that I would have loved to see that as well, but I think they did an excellent job with the show. I don't think it could have been done any other way.
92% rotten tomatoes.. 8.4 imdb. You're just not realizing that the general public couldn't handle it if they put everything in the comic in the 1st Couple episodes. It had to be a slow burn. I agree that I would have loved to see that as well, but I think they did an excellent job with the show. I don't think it could have been done any other way.
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7:50AM on 08/01/2016
I love this show. I've never read the books, but I'm loving where the story is going...

With that said, please stop comparing this to M. Night Shyamalan, because I want to enjoy this series.
I love this show. I've never read the books, but I'm loving where the story is going...

With that said, please stop comparing this to M. Night Shyamalan, because I want to enjoy this series.
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6:44AM on 08/01/2016
I have them all recorded but quit watching after episode two.. In time I'll finish it but with shows like Stranger Things and Bloodline on Netflix, this seemed very average.
I have them all recorded but quit watching after episode two.. In time I'll finish it but with shows like Stranger Things and Bloodline on Netflix, this seemed very average.
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