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Preacher’s 2nd Season Gives Chase, and Aims to Kill

This is more like it.

While the freshman season of AMC’s Preacher adaptation never hurt for the occasional bit of grim and wacky entertainment, there was something that it was seriously lacking in: momentum. Much of the first season felt like the creative minds behind it, Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg, were allowing the source material to rest on its laurels. It was essentially a prequel season, and that’s what it felt like.

Their sophomore effort is a different beast entirely. With the Saint of Killers on their trail, Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip have a forward trajectory almost immediately, and all the “Come on Eileen” singalongs in the world can’t shake the scent of blood off their trail.

The Saint of Killers gives Preacher a much needed shot in the arm in terms of forward momentum.

One thing of note in the premiere is the way that the camera constantly pans back into the horizon, suggesting that there is something trailing the trio, even if we can’t see it. The natural comparison would be It Follows, the 2015 horror-thriller about an unstoppable supernatural force that, while plodding, never stops walking after you. Slow and steady wins the race.

Only in this case, “slow and steady” has a hand cannon, and he’s a hell of a shot. To wit, he might just have one other surprise in store for our main character triumvirate… but hey, let’s not go there just yet.

Another thing that’s clear right off the hop is just how crisp the writing can become when there’s no fluff to contend with. Take the first season of Preacher, boil it down to its best elements, and it soars like an eagle with consistent grace. The opening hour of this season is effortless in its use of dialogue to weave a narrative while building audience investment. If I were a lazy man, I’d compile a separate Buzzfeed-style piece on the best lines in the season premiere alone.

The chemistry of its cast keeps Preacher fresh and fun even if it still struggles with tone on occasion.

Really, this is the kind of thing you want to see as a show grows and develops. Notably, my all time favorite show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was also a misshapen beast, comprised of tonal shifts and genre clashes. It too needed time to evolve and shift into better versions of itself, and in the first couple of episodes of Preacher‘s second season, it seems to be doing the same. If you’re a fool, you’ll ignore criticism completely. If you’re smart, you’ll take it in and adapt accordingly, provided you agree with the assessment.

Another thing that serialized entertainment needs in order to grow is an occasional increase in stakes. The opening hours of Preacher‘s second season display the value of a lesson like that, in turn, as things we had taken for granted in the first season are stripped away, leaving the audience shaken and unsure of how things will pan out. If the rules change for Genesis and the Word of God, then the rules must change for the entire world of Preacher, and everyone who inhabits it.

There are other new elements at play here as well, as the dynamic of secrets between Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy is further deepened after Tulip’s past begins to catch up to her, a problem that will only be further compounded as the trio make their way to Louisiana in their search for God.

It’s nice to see that the groovy promo art does indeed take some inspiration from the show proper.

Here, it’s worth noting how the search for God in such a troubled world can be viewed through two very different lenses: those of the literal and the metaphorical. While the former powers the changing narrative of Preacher and gives the show a newfound momentum, the latter gives this story a more nuanced and bittersweet tone when it comes into consideration, something this season of Preacher will hopefully double down on as it develops.

Even if the tonal shifts can still be a bit jarring and problematic, at times, if the opening hours of this new season are any indication, the minds behind Preacher have a better, more focused, journey in mind for their characters to take. Should Rogen and co. continue to knock it out of the park for the remainder, their audience will no doubt be happy to return for the next chapter in this dysfunctional tale of unfurling Americana.

This feature was written based on the first two episodes of the second season of Preacher, “On the Road” and “Mumbai Sky Tower”, as provided by AMC. Season 2 of Preacher premieres June 25th on AMC.

Written By

Mike Worby is a human who spends way too much of his free time playing, writing and podcasting about pop culture. Through some miracle he's still able to function in society as if he were a regular person, and if there's hope for him, there's hope for everyone.

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