Well … how do you put a synopsis of that down in black and white?
If you watched Preacher on AMC last night, and you know nothing whatsoever about the cult comic series, your head has to be reeling from what unfolded. Because that was 90 minutes of slap-in-the-face beginning into one weird-ass world.
Honestly, the introduction and all it portended wasn’t the strangest part of Preacher. You could have thrown that intro out along with all its accompanying hints and follow-up and the show wouldn’t have been any less bizarre. So don’t blame yourself if you’re still trying to make heads and tails of it all. One thing is certain though: It was one wild, funky, confusing way to open up a new series.
But, damn … it was fun, wasn’t it?
Part of the fun was showcasing the main characters with more questions left in their wakes than answers. And I didn’t have a problem with that. But frantic and fractured and entertaining as they were, I was left a bit disappointed by Tulip’s (Ruth Negga) story. Tulip’s tale is a conundrum. All we know is she has history with Custer and it appears past antics have her on the run from people who want to do her in. We know nothing of the dudes she was riding with during the jaunt through that Kansas corn field, what all the scuffle was about nor why reinforcements were (unsuccessfully) called in to take care of her. (There’s no doubt we’ll get more on Tulip in a subsequent story line.)
On the other hand, we have a better idea on Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) and where they come from. Jesse’s story was peppered throughout, both during his many interactions with the townspeople of the fictitious Annville, Texas as well as in the flashbacks with his father. And we at least have some evidence in Cassidy’s case; that phone call he was on gave us more than a hint of information.
Speaking of characters, I was surprised at Arseface’s introduction so early in the game. I didn’t think he would be presented until further down the line. I love the fact the show has included subtitles accompanying his spoken lines but I didn’t find him all that difficult to understand, truth be told. A little more mumbling would justify those captions. But that’s just a little nitpick I have. I still got a chuckle the show decided to include them, just as the comic did.
But … I’m getting ahead of myself here. Preacher’s main story opens with an entity of some kind whizzing through space and headed toward our neck of the woods, Earth central in its sight. Landing, it invades a minister somewhere in Africa, right in the middle of giving a sermon, and imbues him with the ability of command. Apparently exercising this ability involves more than the minister can muster – he isn’t hardy enough (or worthy enough or is simply not able) to handle such power. It ends up obliterating him right in front of his congregation, much to their horror.
Left without a vessel to inhabit, the entity wanders off, presumably in search of someone else to possess. And it eventually does (with the same result as before and, comically, on the other end of the religious spectrum) until it finally takes host within Jesse Custer, fresh from his final decision to keep tenure within his (thus far) piss poor, going-though-the-motions profession. Perhaps that entity was searching out a more of a broken body to inhabit, thinking it could work its will more effectively in someone of weaker constitution. But so far? Both spirits (the entity and Custer’s) are contained and in symbiosis.
Meanwhile two strange men have been on the hunt wherever the entity has touched down, their search fruitless until they finally land in Annville. Who they are and what do they want? Unknown. But you know there’s a confrontation on the horizon. Hold on to your hats, it could be a doozy.
Along with Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip’s introductions are those of some of the colorful and quirky residents of Annville, just about all of which are damaged or screwed up in some way. (Annville is obviously a repository for outcasts, the forsaken and those who are a dessert short of a sack lunch.)
What a pilot. 90 minutes of debut jam-packed with more than enough blasphemous, insane, adrenaline-pumping, head-scratching and profane confusion to choke a couple horses. When I originally got the privilege of seeing it a few months ago at WonderCon I was left breathless, chuckling and a little bit flummoxed at what I’d seen. It wasn’t what I was expecting … but it didn’t disappoint.
And, as it progresses, that’s exactly what’s going to make Preacher a far out and fun ride.
Notes Of Fun
- A bazooka made of tin cans, duct tape and moonshine powerful enough to bring down a marauding helicopter.
- Little silver-colored army men embedded into the dead skull of the helicopter’s pilot.
- Jesse’s church’s marquee.
- Cassidy’s little nudge of assistance to Jesse in floating that chair across the barroom floor.
- Squirrel hunting, complete with malt beverage refreshment, right outside the door of the church.
- Satanists getting what they deserve.
- Arseface’s liquefied din-din. (Just a bit more Tabasco will do it.)
- Jesse’s bar fight finishing touch? Donnie Schenck’s protruding forearm bone. (Ouch.)
- Excellent musical accompaniment by Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.
- This quote by Jesse Custer: “Violence makes violence makes nothing much at all.” (The writers have subtle as well as in-your-face humor.)
What are your thoughts on the Preacher premiere? Start a conversation in the comments section below!