Warning this contains spoilers.
Preacher’s 12th episode, On Your Knees, contains a lot of information, a lot of clarity, but misses any really gripping thrills. It allows the gravity of certain milestones to do the work, and, while far from disappointing, feels like a missed opportunity.
A major moment occurs early on: the return of The Saint of Killers. Tulip’s mental tormentor is directed towards the titular preacher, desperate for revenge. But with Genesis not working on the ‘most feared man in Hell’, Jesse is forced to bow before The Saint. Saved at the last second, the tension dissipates easily with the overly convenient halt to their rivalry. In terms of characterisation, the scene plays well, but the abrupt and questionable conclusion to The Saint’s venture out of Hell seems far more of a whimper than a bang.
Another milestone occurs, as Dominic Cooper’s morally-conflicted preacher finally confronts Cassidy and Tulip with Herr Starr’s offer of becoming The Messiah. Not an offer to be taken lightly, but Custer’s defiant ‘Why not me?’ is an important moment for the show, and his friends. It smoothly shows how the local holy-man has changed, not only having given up his search for God, but deciding he himself might do a better job. It establishes the status of the characters, clearly showing their division, and fuelling the debate as to whether Jesse’s reaction was arrogance or realism. With God/Man-Dog still missing, and Humperdoo less than equipped for leadership, is Jesse Custer the best choice for a deity?
As above, so below, and we finally catch up with Eugene and his budding relationship with Adolf Hitler. Enduring his worst nightmare in various forms and proving he doesn’t belong, Eugene’s escape is a forgivably convenient series of tests that might just allow him back to the mortal world. It’s an enjoyable, colourful escapade into his psyche, but without any major laughs or shocks, it’s a fun side-mission rather than a leap-for-joy jailbreak for Preacher’s most likable character.
Overall, On Your Knees exists to clarify the state of affairs. It does this well, intimidating the audience with Custer’s newfound attraction to being The Messiah, as well as the tension conjured from the showdown with The Saint. As a penultimate episode, it may be missing any real gravitas, but it’s safe to assume that Preacher’s second season finale will be as chaotic, writhing, and adventurous as its opening.
Preacher Season 2 is available to watch online in the UK exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. New episodes arrive weekly on Tuesdays, within 24 hours of their US broadcast.