I’ve spent four years writing about every episode of Preacher, and now it has all come to an end. While I know it’s not a ratings powerhouse or a watercooler show, it is one I’ve been happy to dig into in this manner, even if I have expressed frustration with it. “End of the World” is a fitting finale. It’s not a perfect one, but this show was never perfect. For every highlight, which usually came in the form of standout sequence, as opposed to standout episodes, there were a lot of bad choices in the narrative. Whether the show decided to stray from the comic or simply alter things to make it work better for television, Preacher never quite found sound footing, but it was consistently well-made and acted. Now it has all ended, and I can at least say it gave me decent enough closure for an average-to-above-average series.
Last week fittingly stacked the deck against our heroes, but I didn’t expect the world to really come to an end. Fittingly, the first half of the episode is dedicated to wrapping up the whole apocalypse plot by way of fights and some surprise deaths. In this, we get some great character moments. If you had been waiting to see any depth from Julie Ann Emery as Featherstone, well she had her moment to shine in the final minutes before getting shot in the head by Starr. Have you not had enough evidence that Joseph Gilgun has consistently given the best performance on this show? Well, he has some great moments and line readings before and after getting into a tussle with Tulip.
The use of cross-cutting and split-screens continued this week, adding both a comic book feel, as well as an appropriate compounding of all of the various plots and characters coming to a head in Mesada. It played well to highlight the less intriguing things (Jesus fighting Hitler, Starr trying to work the fax), and the most exciting (Jesse vs. The Saint). The stakes were clear, and God is just hanging out, waiting for his whole plan to come to fruition. Of course, this being Preacher, we got all of the swerves needed to subvert certain expectations, as well as what one generally expects in a cable series.
Killing Humperdoo to save humanity was a surprise. Credit also goes to this series for taking a ridiculous joke of an idea regarding the inbred relative of Jesus and turning him into the most sympathetic character on this show. You actually felt for Humperdoo when he said he didn’t want to dance, and watching Cassidy struggle with killing him had a level of weight to it. It pays off, as the show is made well enough for the moment to register. There’s also the follow-up bit of God asking his son to come out, with Jesus finally standing up to his negligent father and telling him off as well. While I’ve been critical of the incorporation of certain characters, I am happy with these little payoff moments.
With God going on the run again, Jesse gets another moment to shine by addressing the Grail (after telling every at home to turn their TVs off), and giving his own speech about things. Having just fended of the Saint for good, it makes sense to see Jesse saying what he needs to basically show how victorious he (and his crew) have been in essentially saving the world and daring it to move on without God. That leads to the other fun turn in the story – a cut to two years later.
From this point, we get an extended epilogue wrapping up the arcs of the different characters. Eugene was addressed earlier, but he essentially found solace in playing punk music on his prison guitar, after standing up for himself in a hospital. Starr gets off rather lightly, killing two cops who were on his trail, and continuing to work as a golf pro with feathery hair. I can’t say either of these characters were served all that well in this final season, so while there could be some satisfaction to be seen in the final moments with them, both feel like undercooked ideas as a whole. Oh…and Jesus sells paint at a hardware store.
The more critical business comes down to Jesse and Tulip. The two now have a child together, though still seem to be pulling off missions for whatever reason. While they seem stable (and even have limited communication with Cassidy, but not in person), Jesse still gets called away to deal with God, who has been found parked in an RV outside the Alamo. This allows for a terrific scene to conclude the primary mission of the series.
In talking with God, Jesse has a chance to hang out for a bit, understand a few things, and then realize how much he doesn’t need his lord. For all the faith he had put in God, the returning gesture to provide undying love for the one who has harmed him (and others) in so many ways was ultimately not for Jesse. Now, this may not read as a particularly deep thematic discussion outside the realm of television, but for the sake of the show, I get it. It plays well with the vibe of the series and can understand Preacher getting to the logical point of having Jesse turn his back on God, tell him what’s what, and give up Genesis in the process (which was fantastic).
The bonus bit of God returning to heaven, only to encounter the Saint was a really neat twist as well. Given how the Saint’s confession was taken by Jesse, there was a fitting end to all of these plots that really clicked in the best of ways, given how vital these arcs were to the series, compared to some of the others. And with the Saint on the throne, I can only wonder what sort of cosmic madness comes next.
Then we have the final bit of business. At first, we have a seemingly happy Jesse and Tulip watching a John Wayne movie at a drive-in with their baby in the back seat. It’s about as blissful as it gets for this series. We then jump forty years into the future, with the grown-up daughter (played by Ruth Neggas as well) standing over the graves of her parents with the ageless vampire Cassidy. These two have a conversation as well, with Cassidy expressing remorse. It’s nice and peaceful, and as the grown-up child continues focusing on her parents’ graves, Cassidy walks off without his umbrella into the sunlight, as Van Morrison’s strumming guitar kicks in.
For a final shot of the series to be an out-of-focus Cassidy on fire, walking out of frame, I can’t think of an image that more clearly defines the wrap up of this series. Preacher was often very messy, and some moments that should feel big sometimes fell flat. Other times, you had great scenes really playing into the fun that should come from this adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s wild and provocative graphic novel series. “End of the World” is not a perfect end to the series, but it is rather fitting all the same. Something I can appreciate as much as a vampire realizing his time is up.
Preachin’ To The Choir:
- The angel and demon coming in to aid Jesse in his fight against the Saint was a nice addition.
- “Life is not a thing to pass through. Life is the thing itself.” – Starr does make the most of his moments in this final episode.
- I was happy the finale gave us the trio back together again, getting a brief moment to reflect on having saved the world.
- “Still won’t make me love you.” – Jesse knows how to get under God’s skin.
- Even if it didn’t completely click together on an emotional level, I really liked how the final 10 minutes of this show was put together, following the wonderful confrontation between Jesse and God.
- And that’s it for my coverage of Preacher. Thanks to all who stuck with me, as I made the most out of what this show had to offer.