TV Review: AMC’s Preacher 1×10, “Call And Response”

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The season finale of Preacher may as well be titled “It’s About Time.” Ten episodes in and comic book fans may be relieved to finally be seeing the beginning of the show they expected. For everyone else…well this is the episode that at least lets people know things will be changing in season two. “Call and Response” provides a very clear finale for almost every character introduced this season thanks to an explosion that wipes out the town. There is something almost cruel about that, but one also has to remember the kind of craziness seen so far.

Remember how the season began with various religious figures (and Tom Cruise) blowing up due to the power of Genesis. Recall the angel fight in the hotel room around the midpoint of the season. Think to just last week, as Graham McTavish’s cowboy was revealed to be living in a western hell that repeats itself. Learning that the town of Annville would be destroyed by some sort of nuclear fart explosion is not too much of a stretch, but fitting when it comes to a finale of a season for a series that likes to go big.

Of course, there was plenty taking place before that happened. Jesse began this episode on the run, literally, only to be found later by Tulip at Donny’s house, of all places. While having a little more to set us up for that surprise would have been nice, it’s better to focus on Tulip and Jesse. After all, Donny and his wife don’t even matter by the end of this episode. With Tulip and Jesse, however, this series decides to go into the whole Carlos situation and what else has been shared by these two.

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While different from the comics and still a bit vague, we learn these two crazy kids were expecting a child during their days as criminals. Carlos (played by You’re The Worst’s Desmin Borges) ran off with the money from a bank heist, which stressed Tulip enough to cause her to lose the child. We get all that backstory along with a tied up Carlos in the back of Tulip’s trunk. There is a direction things could have went that would have certainly placed these characters on a dark path, but as usual, Preacher sidesteps the worst scenario and has fun instead.

Given the choice of killing the man largely responsible for making a mess of Jesse and Tulip’s lives, Jesse gets close to shooting Carlos, only to be held back by Tulip. Her reasoning – It’s “the most beautiful thing anyone’s ever done for me.” Jesse simply being brought to a tipping point was enough to show Tulip the man she once loved, which is basically the beginning of the setup for this season’s ending. It doesn’t hurt to hear some fun banter about what to do with Carlos, with the punchline being the sight of his beat up face, as he stumbles out of town. I’m not condoning the violence, but compared to actions that would make Jesse and Tulip out and out bad people, this is a solution that plays to their characters in a better light.

Meanwhile, as the countdown to God continues to flash on screen, we catch up with Cassidy. Having been captured for questioning by Sheriff Root, a decent idea for a sequence is seen. It’s a shame that Root has not been more defined as a character, despite the efforts by W. Earl Brown, but we do get this scene. Root pieces together the fact that Cassidy is a vampire and tortures him by shooting bullets into his body. It allows for some good dialogue, but eventually leads to where everything heads to – the church.

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After teasing this out, we finally see the last Sunday sermon the Preacher had planned, which was to bring down God and denounce him. With help from the Angel’s phone to God, a call went through, but it did not turn out as expected. This sequence was a good look at the kind of show Preacher is. While I was never fooled into thinking the person in the chair was actually supposed to be God (I’d imagine even non-comic readers figured that out), the conversation that took place between the lie and the congregation went over great. All the humor and inherent silliness was matched by the weight seen in Jesse, as he tried to understand the situation he had been placed in.

Once the word was out that God was missing, it led to another sequence that proved to highlight how cinematic this show has been. A montage of imagery delving into how the Annville residents take the knowledge of God being missing led to some scenarios that the darkly comedic attitude of this series could only do so much for. We see the aftermath of children murdering their pervy bus driver, the suffocation of coma girl (with a selfie taken by her brother) and poor Emily trying to stay calm and act normal. And then, just like that, the pressure becomes too much and the town is gone.

All of this leads to where the show could have begun – Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy hanging out at a diner and discussing their plan. The next season has been setup, as these three plan to go on a road trip in an effort to find God. Did we need 10 whole episodes to get to this point? Perhaps not, as the essential things (Jesse gets Genesis) could have been handled in one episode. However, I got to experience an attitude that worked for showing an adaptation of Preacher. It may have meant spending far more time than needed in Annville, but I did like the time spent.

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Over the past few months I have enjoyed Preacher. Given my familiarity with the comics and general approval of all the people involved, this was a series I was excited for and it delivered. It was certainly different than what I had initially expected, but the show was consistently engaging, especially once it found a way to focus its wild energy. This finale certainly sets up a new direction for the next season, which is sure to please many. I am certainly looking forward to where things go from here, so let’s just hope the adventures of Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy will be full of madcap activities and all sorts of off-the-wall shenanigans fit for a show like this.

Preachin’ To The Choir:

  • Eugene is still out there and Jesse has not forgotten about that.
  • Not out there is Seraphin, as she was killed for good by the Cowboy, who has emerged from hell with a mission to kill Jesse. We’ll be seeing more of him.
  • The last we see of Odin Quinncannon – he made and cradles a sculpture of his daughter, made out of ground beef.
  • “Tulip wants French fries” – Jesse knows how to make an exit.
  • I may not need any more digs against The Big Lebowski, but that conversation was another fun one and the kind of banter I expect more from, now that the trio is together and heading out on the road.
  • I wonder what Fiore will do now, after coming back from Hell alone. Poor Fiore.
  • So that’s it for season one of Preacher. I hope everyone has enjoyed what I’ve had to say about this series so far. I’ve enjoyed covering it (it’s really fun to think and write about) and look forward to covering it again when the series returns next year.
  • “You are all saved!” – RIP the town of Annville.

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Aaron is a movie fanatic. 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. There are too many films, TV shows, books, etc. for him to list as favorites, but he can assure that the amount of film knowledge within his noggin is ridiculous, though he is always open to learning more. You can follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else he is up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com, and check out his podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.