In its third season, AMC’s Preacher is getting neither the ratings nor the press that it received in its first two seasons, although in the case of the latter, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. During the first season — essentially a prequel to the events in the comics — most coverage faulted the series because it had not yet begun to cover some of the most iconic moments in Garth Ennis’ source material. The second season did a respectable job of mirroring the search for God in the comics, but it was often mired by unlikable characters, flashbacks, and a prolonged arc that saw Eugene and Hitler attempt to escape from him, which was almost as torturous for viewers as it was for the characters in hell.
The third season, which airs its finale on Sunday, has finally found its stride. Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen have achieved the perfect mix, successfully combining the characters and settings from the comic book with original storylines. It hasn’t been a perfect season, but the writers have nailed Ennis’ characterization, especially in Marie L’Angelle, Jody, and T.C., and fixed the show’s biggest weakness, which was Jesse and Tulip working against each other instead, as they do now, working in tandem. Tulip has also been able to strike out on her own a few times, too, while Cassidy — completely separated from the rest of the pack — has been able to develop and evolve while in the company of another vampire, Eccarius, a glorious Anne Rice parody that feeds off of other vampires. Joseph Gilgun’s character has also, unexpectedly, become the heart of the series, while Pip Torrens as Herr Starr may be the show’s comedic MVP, a ruthless bully who has been exposed as a company man with a head that looks like a penis.
All of which is to say, Preacher — as it nears the end of the season — has hit its stride, and instead of looking forward to the introduction of more characters from Garth Ennis’ source material, I find myself sad that we may be losing several in the finale.
SPOILERS AND GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW…
One of the characters we lost this week before the theme song even played was Johnny Coyne’s delightfully disgusting one-ton bulimic head of the Grail, Allfather D’Aronique, who has been trying to steal Genesis away from Jesse and orchestrate the apocalypse. In this week’s episode, after reverse engineering Genesis into the bodies of scores of exploding clones of the inbred, 17th-generation Jesus, Jesse did with Genesis what he could not do with a bullet, namely puncture through the layers and layers of AllFather fat.
AllFather, like a number of spiritual leaders (and Tom Cruise) before him, could not contain the power of Genesis, so once it inhabited his body, he exploded like a grotesque Beluga who had swallowed 100 pounds of dynamite. Blood, organs, and guts exploded all over the room, leaving this image for the camera to linger on for much longer than was probably necessary.
That image may not be immediately clear without some context, so allow me to provide it. That is the remains of the AllFather’s anus at the end of yards of intestine hanging from the ceiling. The vial slipping through the AllFather’s cloaca contains a piece of Jesse’s soul, and when it falls, Jesse and Herr Starr must slip, slide, fall and wade through AllFather’s guts to retrieve it. At one point, Jesse even attempts to choke Herr Star to death with AllFather’s small intestine, although it snaps before he can do so.
It is a wild, revolting, and hilarious sequence, and exactly what one might expect from the combined minds of Garth Ennis and the two guys responsible for Sausage Party. In other words, as it rounds the bend on its third season, Preacher is exactly where fans of the show hoped it would eventually wind up.
The season finale of Preacher airs Sunday on AMC.