Martin Carr reviews the season 4 finale of Preacher…
Over four years and fifty plus hours of television Preacher has refused to compromise. Thematically bold, visually inventive and theologically questionable this series has kicked down doors, opened up opportunities and challenged taboos at every turn. Showrunner and Breaking Bad alumni Sam Catlin has been instrumental in grounding the more outlandish elements whilst keeping it entertaining. Something he continues in this final episode providing both closure and pathos in equal measure.
With moments to go before Humperdoo’s big entrance the situation is a touch fractious. Jesus and Hitler are fighting, God is arrogantly looking on whilst Jesse is most definitely in a tight spot. Amongst the split screen visuals, stone cold honesty and savage bloodletting there is a sense of concise narrative structure underpinning events. Theological debates are rife and creation is discussed more than once in an episode which uses time stamps with care. Everyone from Featherstone to Jesus gets their moment to shine whilst Cassidy goes full Withnail and I in those final scenes.
In amongst the comedic asides, Genesis interventions and Herr Starr’s backswing more serious issues are being broached even now. Faith, belief and methods of governing are under the cosh as a single minded assassin, one eyed Preacher and cynical vampire hold court. There is an authority and trust which comes along with Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip which continues to provide the emotional core that supersedes everything else. Featherstone and Starr might be the ultimate odd couple with an unorthodox relationship, but they will forever play second fiddle to this long running love triangle.
There is a need for redemption and acceptance which runs through ‘End of the World’ where God is asking for acknowledgement from a populous who has forgotten him. It is a savvy piece of social commentary as religion and belief in the traditional sense has long since taken a cultural back seat. That our Lord travels around in a beaten up recreational vehicle and sporadically throttles his creations says much more than numerous academic papers on the subject. Mark Harelik has given his God that omnipotent arrogance from the outset perpetually tempered by a subtle humility. A dramatic balancing act which might have gone unnoticed by others amongst the other pyrotechnics.
For those who wanted a solid final innings from an established landmark series Preacher delivers without over egging the pudding. Everyone gets a suitably sensible send off, moments of invention still define the situation whilst our principle players leave with dignity. Off the back of this fans will be wanting more rather than being grateful it’s over. Which is a victory for any series wishing to end on a high note.