Review: Preacher 4×1 & 4×2, “Masada” and “Last Supper”

Aaron Neuwirth reviews the season four premiere of Preacher, which featured episodes "Masada" and "Last Supper" back-to-back.

Given the way we are dropped right into things with this season four premiere of Preacher, one thing to keep in mind is how this is the final season. It’s been a wild ride, with a lot of big bumps given some of the clumsily handled story beats in an attempt to make a serialized television series out of a pretty insane graphic novel, but at least there’s now a sense of finality. That’s important because, for all the crazy things found in just the opening minutes of this premiere, audiences can at least rest assured that the show has a plan to wrap everything up.

This should be good news to those wondering if they started with the wrong episode. Sure, seeing a weird bit of animation involving God’s frustration at a dinosaur eating its own excrement is funny (and gross) in a very Preacher was, but pushing from that to Tulip (Ruth Negga) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) hanging out in a hotel room, followed by a sequence of Jesse (Dominic Cooper) plummeting from the sky into the ground in Australia can be disconcerting. Yes, comic fans have an idea of what’s taking place here, before the show throws us back a couple of months in time, but it’s a lot to digest.

Fortunately, following the cold open, “Masada,” the first of two episodes that aired as a part of the big premiere, delivered on a pretty straightforward action quest setup. When we left last season, Cassidy had been kidnapped by Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) and has been held as bait in Masada, an ancient Hebrew fortress in Israel, and the headquarters for the Grail. This episode mostly follows Jesse and Tulip’s big attempt to free Cassidy.  Along the way, we get to enjoy Jesse using Genesis again, watch Tulip be a badass, and unfortunately suffer with Cassidy as he’s tortured in one of the more heinous of ways.

There’s a lot of forwarding momentum here, which is typical for a Preacher premiere at this point. Plenty of splashy action and big comic/violent moments come into play to set up some new status quo. By the end of it, Jesse finds himself in a bit of a crisis, Tulip fought off Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery), only to be ready for more action, while Cassidy has decided to stay locked up. It puts each of these characters in interesting positions, which is where “Last Supper” helps us out a bit.

Given how each season has found us spending a lot more time in specific areas than we need to, I’m not sure if Masada is going to stay a central location, but at least “Last Supper” puts the time in for exploring what’s going on with our three leads. There’s also a side quest with Jesse, but we’ll get there in a bit.

Tulip’s stuff is more superficial as of now. She has her mind set on freeing Cassidy, and most of her actions revolve around picking off Grail agents, fooling Featherstone, and infiltrating the base. There’s a fun car chase in the middle of all of this, as it turns Tulip into a slasher villain for a few minutes, but it’s also the least involving of the three plots.

Cassidy is still in a particular state carrying over from last season. He and Jesse are not on the best terms, but it’s interesting to see Cassidy voluntarily stick around in Masada. Whether it has to do with fear or guilt, the idea of him refusing Jesse’s help has me curious what we’re going to see next. I could do with far less torture focused on cutting off pieces of his nether regions (since it all grows back due to his vampire abilities), but Preacher has never been a show to say no to one of its crazy ideas.

Meanwhile, Jesse is dealing with deeper concerns involving his quest to find God. Ditching Cassidy and Tulip (at least for now) means getting in touch with whatever his visions are trying to tell him. Seeing an apocalyptic conclusion for the Earth certainly doesn’t seem good, so watching Jesse go on a bit of a walkabout, having various encounters, and even helping to take down some creepy sadists seems to have him on a good track. What I do know, at least, is how enjoyable it was to see Jesse deal with things. His stories sometimes feel almost too lost in the midst the story, but embracing that for “Last Supper” did manage to help us get a sense of his state of mind.

Outside of the trio, Starr is only accomplishing so much right now. He has his sights set on taking down Jesse but is apparently working with God (now a credited cast member, and thankfully out of the dog suit). Starr is also trying to find the real Humperdoo while stalling for time when it comes to a big presentation of the new messiah. Given how lacking the threat is when it comes to the Grail, a lot of this stuff can feel tiresome, even if it does allow for sight gags involving Starr’s various embarrassments. Still, with Cassidy around, hopefully, it all leads to more explosive confrontations.

As this is the final season, I’m hoping the journeys we are following have been set up properly with this premiere. Given how fast and loose this series has played with adapting key points from the graphic novel series, it will be interesting to see what approach is taken for a show that is going to end sooner than the comic. As it stands, the shock value approach to bringing this series to life has helped make Preacher enjoyable at the very least. Now that we’ve arrived at Masada, while not a final location from a comics perspective, following along with what the writers have instore should hopefully lead to more than just provocative gags and dinosaurs eating their crap.

Preachin’ To The Choir:

  • Welcome back to my coverage of Preacher. Being a bit strapped for time this evening, this write-up may be on the shorter side, but I do look forward to being able to write about this final season.
  • Fun Fact: I’ve been to Masada…It’s a lot different in real life.
  • I enjoyed the new opening credits sequence, which also helped show me who’s going to be around more.
  • Speaking of which, The Saint and Eugene are still on the trail for Jesse.
  • Nice that the Grail has Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced torture classes.
  • Everything involving Tulip’s plan to keep the door open was bloody and gross, but they committed to the bit!
  • Tulip and Featherstone’s Spy vs. Spy routine doesn’t have anywhere to go, but that gunshot gag was neat, and the wingsuit was a fun touch.
  • The wiseguy torturer is really asking for a rough death.
  • I’ll always enjoy casual Cassidy BSing his way through things.
  • As we see by this episode’s end, God has a plan.

Written by
Aaron is a movie fanatic and loves talking about such things…a lot. He is from Orange County, California, but earned a degree or two at UC Santa Barbara. He describes himself as a film reviewer, writer, podcaster, video game player, comic book reader, disc golfer, and a lefty. His mind is full of film knowledge and random trivia, but he is always open to learning more, whether it’s through box office stats, reviewing Blu-rays from The Criterion Collection or simply hearing first hand from filmmakers and others about various productions and behind-the-scenes tidbits.

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