Back for a second season of people smoking, drinking heavily and getting killed in inventive ways (possibly because of God) is Preacher, the AMC adaptation of Garth Ennis’s cult graphic novel.
Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) has taken over his preacher father’s old parish in Annville, Texas, because he owns the church now and apparently that is how these thing work. Unskilled, not at all devout and full of vice, Jesse attracts the recently escaped force of darkness that is Genesis, and discovers he has the capacity to will others to do his bidding. Also, vampires are real and Jesse’s badass ex-girlfriend Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) comes back to town because she and Jesse have some unfinished business.
EPISODE 1 — “Pilot”
An evangelical African, an Russian satanist and Tom freaking Cruise can’t contain it, but when reluctant preacher Jesse Custer is inhabited by an unknown entity, he gains the superpower of having people immediately do his bidding, whether he was speaking in metaphor or not. (Saying things like “Show her your heart” becomes very dangerous for him, for example.) Meanwhile, a young parishioner asks Jesse to intercede in his parent’s marriage; we see Jesse’s violent past in action when he finishes a bar fight in spectacularly brutal fashion; and we meet both newcomer Cassidy (Joe Gilgun), an Irish vampire, and Tulip O’Hare, Jesse’s lost love, who has a job for him–which he turns down, as he is now filled with the spirit of the Lord. And their hometown of Annville, Texas, thereafter becomes the focus of two bland but sinister government agents on the hunt for Genesis.
EPISODE 2 — “See”
After a quick flashback to an old timey cowboy fetching medicine for his sick daughter that will for certain become relevant later, we see Jesse baptizing the citizenry left and right and taking a very disturbing confession from the local school bus driver. The “government agents,” DeBlanc (Anatole Yusef) and Fiore (Tom Brooke), try to remove Genesis from Jesse, but his new BFF Cassidy interrupts, kills them and buries them, only to have them reappear by the end of the episode, because they’re not actually government agents, you see.
EPISODE 3 — “The Possibilities”
DeBlanc and Fiore are angels! Also, Jesse begins to realize the extent of his abilities when he freaks out local bully Donnie (Derek Wilson), and Tulip so wants to kill this guy called Carlos because he ruined her and Jesse’s lives in some mysterious way.
EPISODE 4 — “Monster Swamp”
There is a powerful landowner in town by the name of Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley). Quincannon owns the local abattoir and likes to listen to the cows as they die. Filled with the need to convert as many souls as possible, Jesse uses his Voice of Power to turn Quincannon into a devout man. Quincannon’s employees, meanwhile, are off playing paintball with local sex workers, which sees one of them accidentally killed, much to Tulip’s disgust and outrage (but not much to anyone else’s). Jesse the Oblivious won’t listen to Cassidy when he rails about Fiore and DeBlanc’s divinity — in fairness to Jesse, Cassidy’s Irish accent gets super strong when he is upset — and Tulip discovers that Cassidy is a vampire.
EPISODE 5 — “South will Rise Again”
First, flashback! Old Timey Cowboy’s medicine retrieval mission is a dismal failure, after he fails to intercede in a gang rape in progress, fails to save a family who don’t need saving, and succeeds in getting his horse shot. Back in the present, our Preacher’s most loyal supplicant is Eugene (Ian Colletti), a young man disfigured by an unsuccessful suicide attempt and hated by everyone for putting his crush in a coma. Eugene asks Jesse for help with his father, the town Sheriff (W. Earl Brown), but instead Jesse compels Coma Girl’s mother to forgive Eugene in front of everyone, which is less helpful than he thinks. Also, Tulip is getting pretty fed up with Jesse’s reformed bad boy antics; Cassidy has fallen hard for Tulip; and it turns out Jesse one shot a komodo dragon. Quincannon is no stranger to shooting things, either: he shoots a whole delegation of property developers! And in front of the Mayor!
EPISODE 6 — “Sundowner”
Jesse at last learns of the angels’ identities and purpose: to recapture his powerful ride-along, Genesis, by any means necessary. Genesis is, of course, the offspring of the forbidden love between and angel and a demon, and while Fiore and DeBlanc want it back in its coffee can home (which makes… sense?), a bounty hunter angel wants to kill them for being AWOL. All three angels are killed many, many times, but they respawn, because angels. It’s awesome. Tulip, meanwhile, is awkwardly bonding with Emily (Lucy Griffiths), Jesse’s churchy helpmeet who is also not so secretly in love with him. Cassidy learns that his new best bud Jesse is Tulip’s One True Love, and Mayor Miles (Ricky Mabe), who is in love with Emily, asks Jesse for guidance over Quincannon’s recent murder spree. (For a show with so much violence, there is also a lot of unrequited love stuff.) Then Jesse thoughtlessly sends Eugene to Hell!
EPISODE 7 — “He Gone”
The Sheriff is looking everywhere for his son, and rightly suspects Jesse might have a hand in the boy’s disappearance. Cassidy knows what really happened, and not only reveals this truth to Jesse, but also the truth of his immortal unlife by bursting into flames in the sun. (Jesse doesn’t love it.) Jesse is also being dunned by Quincannon, since Jesse bet the church and the land on which is stands that he could make a Christian out of him, and apparently the Voice of Power failed to do so. Plus, flashback! Jesse and Tulip are kids, and Jesse’s Dad turns reports Tulip’s abusive home life, which leads to her being sent away. Jesse is mad, and prays to God to kill his Dad. Then guys come and kill his Dad!
EPISODE 8 — “El Valero”
Standoff at the church! Quincannon and his men are determined to take possession of Jesse’s gambled land, but Jesse is both a badass fighter AND has his Voice of Power, so things are pretty one sided until Donnie cleverly, but dementedly, deafens himself, while the town is treating the siege like a picnic. Jesse doubles or nothings Quincannon (who, by the way, is now a devout man; devoutly serving the God of Meat) and promises to denounce God from his pulpit on the following Sunday if He doesn’t stop by for a chat with the congregation. This works! Also, Jesse bargains Genesis for Eugene’s return from hell, and the angels accept but then renege and Genesis decides it really loves its Jesse house. Elsewhere, Cassidy is slowly recovering from his sunburn, and Tulip adopts, names and even plays with a sweet rescue dog… and then feeds it to our vampire buddy, to help him heal. Cold.
EPISODE 9 — “Finish the Song”
You thought the dog was bad? Emily — after discovering Cassidy’s true nature, and then being weirdly cool with it — feeds him her sort-of-boyfriend Mayor Miles! (Damn, Emily! Just break up with him! Being boring and Not Jesse shouldn’t get you a death sentence.) Jesse escapes from custody — he is accused of Eugene’s murder — and also now has the angel’s direct phone line to God, because in addition to being a preacher he is also a very effective criminal. Tulip goes to kill that guy she doesn’t like, and Jesse remembers how much he loves her. Also, flashback! And this one is the flashback that WILL NOT FUCKING END, all about our Old Timey Cowboy and his mission to get the medicine that ends with him killing pretty much a whole town full of people and it turns out the flashback is hell and Old Timey Cowboy is the angels’ backup plan to take Genesis from Jesse once and for all. The angels, by the way? Definitely a couple.
EPISODE 10 — “Call and Response”
The whole town shows up at church to see if God will show when Jesse places the call. And God does–except it’s an angel pretending to be God, because God is missing, you guys. So Annville loses faith in God and goes nuts, but none of that really matters because the methane gas from Quincannon’s meat plant is ignited and BOOM! Goodbye, Annville. (This is where the comic kicked off, and that is what we’ll be doing in Season 2: searching for God.) But Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy are fine, as is one of the angels — we’ve lost DeBlanc in Hell, an unpleasant development for anyone suddenly shipping this couple last episode — and Old Timey Cowboy is on Earth, seeking Genesis. Bounty Hunter Angel is back on the case as well. Jesse and Tulip, having dealt with Carlos to both their satisfaction, begin to rebuild their relationship as a lovesick Cassidy looks on.
And Cassidy thinks The Big Lebowski is overrated. Truth!
Tune into AMC on Sunday, June 25 for the second season premiere.