Martin Carr reviews the season one finale of Preacher…
Interrogation scenes are nasty. Half the time any punishment metered out is never seen only heard, because to be effective an audience imagination remains essential. Let me remind the men of Casino Royale when Craig is tied to that chair and his man parts are discreetly tucked beneath. A more clinical example of anticipation and imagination going hand in hand is difficult to come by. For the record I still have trouble watching Royale without instinctively wincing.
With Preacher we have a different kettle of fish. Here the violence escalates and befalls those who in the main had it coming. Where it gets dark and disturbing is when the innocent are inflicted with injury due to circumstance rather than karma. Cassidy falls somewhere between the two, neither completely innocent nor wholly to blame he occupies a grey area with amiable abandon. What plays out between himself and Sheriff Root requires a second viewing in my opinion. There is an understated ownership of that scene in which both actors veer between laidback violence and emotional resignation. Neither man over eggs the pudding or grandstands, but purposely bounce off the other at a time when things could have gone south.
Throughout this episode there are curveballs of that nature, in which situations that have been building to a presumed conclusion end up twisting your melon. Incidental background props, flashbacks and theological revelations lead to extreme behaviour, while the Tom Cruise joke continues to run. Beyond that Preacher remains inventive, contentious and on occasion down right bizarre as well as ultimately cool. Their adherence to source material and realisation of said books has created something which would never be approved by network censors. Suffocation, raw meat babies and a destructive blast like a gloriously liberating open casket gas expulsion are just some pleasures Preacher’s ‘Call and Response’ has to offer.
Throw into the mix Hell on earth as personified through a singular individual and we are back in Raising Arizona territory again. Add that all important context for our cowboy, back story gap fillers for Carlos, Jesse and Tulip alongside a so cool its criminal final few minutes and we have a home run people. I called this from episode one and at no point has this AMC serial dropped the ball. If you like adaptations with ample amounts of gallows humour, pathos, leftfield feel good moments. Preacher is not only your one stop shop from start to glorious finish, but also a decent barometer for figuring out who your friends are.