Amazon's Preacher The Final Season Review
There used to be a time when "going all Game of Thrones" would have been a complement...
Violent, irreverent and wonderfully faithful to Garth "The Boys" Ennis' source work, Amazon's Preacher show has been spinning its wheels for two years now, but will it come good for the potentially rushed final season?As the Rogen/Goldberg combo come good for Ennis' The Boys, their first horse out of the gate - based on Ennis' superb Preacher run - comes to a close, somewhat abortively ending after just 4 seasons when, at the pace they were going, they felt like they had room to make a dozen out of the 75 issues (which came together in nine collected volumes). The Preacher series was fabulously faithful, even coming up with an entire prelude season which wasn't really in the books (where they largely hit the road first; which doesn't happen until the end of Season 1), but this meant that, come almost the end of Season 3 the show had barely finished with Volume 2 of the original run, and how on earth were they going to make it to the grand finale?
Well, for one reason or another, Preacher's slow-burning and treading water ultimately forced the hand of the showrunners, who found the series commissioned for a fourth year, but also told that this would be the final year. Whether this was anticipated in advance is hard to know, but certainly the series kicked up a notch towards the end of season 3, with the convoluted tale finally gearing up for some kind of epic conflict (something American Gods has been similarly - and painfully - slow-building to for its entire first two seasons).
The series kicked up a notch towards the end of season 3, with the convoluted tale finally gearing up for some kind of epic conflict
Dominic Cooper's Jesse Custer - the preacher and ex-con 'gifted' the power of Genesis' which enables him to basically verbally command anybody to do anything - along with his tough girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and 'best friend' Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), an Irish druggie vampire, are getting closer and closer to their goal: to confront God and put him in check for being 'absent' for so long whilst the world goes to hell.
Unfortunately, their arch-nemesis Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) has kidnapped Cassidy and is holding him in an impregnable desert fortress surrounded by an army. And he wants to lure Jesse in there so he can kill him. Because if Starr can't convince Jesse to join him as the new Messiah for Starr's religious corporation, then he's sure as hell going to cause him a whole lot of pain instead. Will Jesse be able to rescue Cassidy, defeat Herr Starr and then make it to God for a final confrontation before Armageddon is upon us?
The final season comes to Amazon weekly, but for its opening salvo we get a superb double episode and, judged on this alone, this certainly looks to be everything Preacher fans could hope for from a grandstanding finale. Kicking off with a cold open that involves Cassidy and Tulip getting together, and Jesse falling to his (seeming) death in the middle of the desert - the series quickly cuts back to a couple of months earlier to see how we got there. Fans of the original novels won't be surprised at all by this turn of events, and those unfamiliar should rest assured that all this means is that it bodes well for a faithful and frantically insane finale.
Over the course of the episodes we work our way to those little shockers, as Jesse heads to the desert to confront Herr Starr and rescue Cassidy (who is being tortured by an unpleasant little gangster), which gets about as messy as you might have expected after the Season 3 finale (blowing the budget on one shot). Even if they get through all of that, The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) is hot on their trail and, having shot the Devil in the head last season for his complicity in his family's brutal murder, it's clear The Saint won't stop at anything to get justice.
From the opening two-parter, there's clearly a lot less messing around
So all's great in the land of Preacher then? Well, not quite. There is still something of an inherent rush skipping from Volume 2 all the way through to Volume 8/9 in the novel's run, and some of the arcs that are being attempted feel understandably, but also frustratingly, rushed. Jesse is struggling with nightmares about the volatility of his Genesis powers, getting distracted by yet another side-story on his way to a doubly abortive rescue mission, whilst Cassidy has suddenly decided he doesn't like anybody, including himself, leaving every chance this could go all Game of Thrones come the ending - in other words, fast-forward to big events which might have worked had they been slow-cooked over the course of a couple of seasons, but which instead feel incongruous to everything that has gone before purely because they are rushed.
Oddly, the comic fans probably may not be quite as bothered by any of these hurried revelations, but for the fact that - perhaps - this TV adaptation didn't necessarily feel like it was going to go in the same direction. Still, we're only two episodes in, and they certainly pack a punch (and some hilarity - God's time with the dinosaurs is superb), hooking fans right back in for what looks to be a stronger season. It's a shame they wasted so much time getting here, and undoubtedly lost a portion of their audience along the way - a mistake we can only hope The Boys doesn't make - but for those who have stuck with it, at least it looks like we're getting an actual proper ending. And from the opening two-parter, there's clearly a lot less messing around getting there.
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