Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy have been racing towards three separate confrontations for much of Preacher’s third season and “The Light Above” is where those courses lead. So, it should come as no surprise that there’s some roadkill left behind in the dramatic, action-packed season finale.
Preacher Feature is a weekly look into the AMC show Preacher based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. In this column, Josh Versalle gives a breakdown of the events from the show (including how they relate to the comics), and speculates as to what’s going on and what might be coming up. That means SPOILERS are bound to follow, so if you haven’t watched the episode yet, turn back now.
If you’re feeling lost, here’s a refresher course on the bloody road that led us to tonight’s season finale.
“A constructive, non-violent solution”
TC’s suggestion of “a constructive, non-violent solution” is hilarious since we know that on Preacher, these sort of solutions don’t exist. The violence and horror inflicted on Jesse and his parents by Marie, Jody, and TC can only be ended with more violence.
After using Genesis to get past TC, Jesse could have easily killed Jody using the Word, but after all the misery Jody has inflicted over the years, he’s got something a bit more prolonged coming to him. For better or worse, Jesse Custer wouldn’t be the man he is today without Jody. The goodness and kindness in his soul come from his parents, but his toughness, fighting prowess, and outright meanness all got beaten into him year after miserable year by Jody. Jesse takes his time dismantling the super-humanly tough Jody, all while a conflicted TC watches. In his own twisted way, TC loves “little” Jesse as much as he does Jody or Miss Marie. TC recognizes the wickedness in them as he recognizes it in himself, but they are nonetheless all the family he has ever known. The moment when Jesse looks down on TC with a mixture of pity and contempt, offering him a chance to leave, and TC responds that he’s decided to stay and die with Angelville was a fine and surprisingly sad one.
The Fall of the House of L’Angelle
Now that Jesse’s done exorcising two demons from his past, it’s time to take out a third: his Gran’ma Marie. She may look feeble, but she’s lived for a 100+ years because she’s cunning and shrewd (and because she eats souls). She’s lets Jesse know she’s traded his soul to Satan and if Jesse kills her, he will be damned when he dies. She’s a cruel manipulator and seems to have Jesse in check, but she’s pushed him too far this time. He tells her to destroy all the souls that were supposed to stave off her death. He watches as she sobbingly obeys his Word.
Before he gets away from Angelville, Jesse (with a little help from the childhood self) decides that even the peril of damnation will not stand in the way of his vengeance. He goes back, straps Marie in her own soul extractor device, and drains the lives out of her until she is nothing but a dried out husk.
The Wheels on the Bus
The fight sequence on the overturned bus was a fun and original one. While the undercard (Eugene versus Hitler) was funny, the main event was Tulip kicking the shit out of a bunch of Nazi wannabes, using her surroundings to the fullest, culminating in her shooting the last two through the bus seats.
Of course, there’s still the matter of the Nazi tank. It fires a shell at the Saint of Killers and Angel of Death standing in front of the bus, when suddenly time stops. For a split-second, it looks like Eugene suddenly developed the mutant power to freeze time, but then we see that it was God Himself who stepped in. He talks to Tulip once again, telling her he is a loving God, that he will remove the O’Hare curse if she will just convince Jesse to leave Him alone. Having heard this all before (in “Angelville”), Tulip calls God on His holy bullshit. God sends her back with a warning that her friend Cassidy is in grave danger.
“Betrayal, when committed by a loved one, cuts most deeply.”
When Eccarius gets back to Mrs. Rosen’s house, things are so sombre that it almost seems that God forget to start time back up. When he talks about betrayal, he’s referring to Cassidy (Eccarius has killed a lot of Les Enfants Du Sang and blamed his most recent victims on Cass). Cassidy tells Eccarius he’s ready to repent, and Eccarius invites Les Enfants to celebrate. It turns out to be a surprise party, though, as Mrs. Rosen and the rest know of Eccarius’s cruel deeds. They are all vampires now and they turn one their former leader, feasting on him the way he had feasted on so many of their friends.
With their disgraced leader gone, Les Enfants are left directionless, but most of them won’t have to deal with existential despair for long. Hoover shows up, with the Grail in tow. They use a helicopter to move the house, letting the sunlight in to burn most of the newly-turned vamps into ash, and once again abducting Cassidy.
Tulip arrives to find the carnage and learns from Kevin and Mrs. Rosen (who were luckily taking naps in their coffins, thus being saved a fiery death) what the Grail has done. Tulip can see that God wasn’t just bluffing about Cassidy. She heads to Angelville, where she and Jesse are reunited and share a tender moment, but a moment is all they have. They’re off to rescue Cassidy and put a stop to the Grail.
“Get yer ass outta yer head, dufus. God’s gone.”
Back in Hell, glass-half-full Eugene tries to have a heart-to-heart with Satan and is rewarded by getting slapped and knocked unconscious. The Saint of Killers is finally reunited with his weapons. Once again whole, the Saint confronts Satan about whose idea it was to kill his family. Satan admits that he was “in the meeting”, but the idea itself was God’s. The Saint kills Satan and walks out of Hell. Trailing him is Eugene, who is just now finding out that after sending him to Hell, Jesse is still alive and hasn’t come back for him. With a vacancy left in Hell’s corner office, Hitler takes over. In the paperwork on his new desk, Adolph spies the contract for Jesse’s soul.
“We’re going to need a new, uh, Hoover.”
Now in the Grail’s fortress Masada, Starr snatches the umbrella hat from Hoover’s vampire head, exposing him to the sun and seemingly killing him. He tells Featherstone (or Flufferman, if you prefer) that he no longer plans to use Jesse as their Messiah, he only wants revenge.
Say Goodbye to the Bad Guy(s)
Jesse understandably hates Gran’ma, Jody and TC for what they’ve done to him and his parents over his life, and this wouldn’t be Preacher if he weren’t able to exact a bloody vengeance on his sadistic family. With that being said, I know I’m not the only fan who’ll be a bit sad to see Betty Buckley, Colin Cunningham, and Jeremy Childs go. Each brought life into these memorable characters from the comics and added something new to their respective roles. There are plenty of insane characters left to visit in Preacher (starting, from the sounds of things, with Frankie the Eunuch), but we the audience lost three characters tonight that helped build the Preacher world into a fuller, and creepier one.
Easter Eggs and Connections
The location (The Tombs) didn’t exist in the comics, but much of the final, bloody, cathartic battle between Jesse Jody took place just as it did in the comics. Writer/Director (and self-described fan of the comics) Sam Catlin, made a lot of fan’s days by keeping the tone of this important confrontation. Jesse decides not to “cheat” by using Genesis to finally defeat, hand to hand, the man that had killed his father and tormented him for years. Jody as the abusive father figure saying “Hope for you yet, boy” was scene I’d always remembered from the books and it doesn’t lose any of it’s power being translated to the screen.
One thing even the wonderful artwork of Steve Dillon couldn’t do was add the stomach-turning squelching sound effect to the scene when Jody pulls the nails out of his cheek. I don’t think I’ll ever have another sinus infection without flinching at the thought it.
The “Fuck Communism” lighter, which features prominently in the comics (the comics took place in the ’90s and the lighter was the one memento Jesse had of his father, who got the lighter when he was a marine in fighting in Vietnam), makes a return appearance in tonight’s episode.
The big question is: will there be anything next? A fourth season of Preacher has not yet been announced, but fans can take heart that the announcements from AMC typically occur in October.
Assuming we get to see more Preacher, it looks like Jesse and Tulip are heading to the Grail stronghold Masada to kick ass and retrieve one wayward vampire.
Speaking of vampires, is this the end of poor Hoover? When Starr removed that ridiculous umbrella hat, it seemed like Hoover may have perished. The fact that we didn’t see a charred corpse, combined with the abruptness of this scene, makes me think the underappreciated Hoover may not be done yet. With all the shit that gets dumped in his lap, having him survive to meet up with the equally Job-like Eugene would be fitting.