Warning this contains spoilers.
For a show that contains a helpful Hitler, infanticide, blasphemy on a hitherto-unheard-of scale, and, yes, clerical errors that result in anal sex, Preacher’s second season finale manages to surprise at basically every turn.
In this exciting, well-balanced conclusion, Jesse’s distance from his partners in crime (literally) results in him aligning with Herr Starr in order to become the new Messiah – with messy results. Starr’s militaristic tendencies result in one of the best fight scenes so far, in which the preacher squares off against black-ops soldiers in a children’s classroom. The fight choreography is fast, hard-hitting, and undeniably elegant – picture John Wick at the worst parents’ evening of all time – as Jesse begins to realise that being the messiah is not at it’s cracked up to be.
When not raising pulses with hand-to-hand combat, Preacher focuses on the major issues at hand, like bloodthirsty parents. Joe Gilgun’s excellent turn as drifting vampire/darkly comic relief Cassidy has produced some thrilling dramatic work this season, culminating in one of the finale’s biggest shocks: his instant decision to murder his newly-turned son, Denis (brought carefully back to life by Ronald Guttman). While this may be unsurprising, as Denis’ behaviour has progressively plummeted, it’s his reminding Cassidy of their true nature that causes his father to lash out and force him into the sunlight. While Gilgun’s vampire has developed spectacularly this season in terms of his place in the world, this is the first we really see of his struggle against total, blood-drinking anarchy.
Breaking free of authority remains a theme through this finale, even when that authority is Satan himself. Eugene and Hitler finally manage to escape Hell, encountering some laughably awkward beats along the way. However, upon reaching normal society, we realise that Hitler isn’t totally… not Hitler. Eugene’s brutal guilt trip may well continue; although he has escaped his unjust fate below, he has now managed to accidentally unleash the infamous dictator upon the world once more.
While still managing some uniquely styled comedy moments, The End of the Road teases the future expertly, giving the viewer more immersive flashbacks into Custer’s childhood. Ending with the gut-punch of Tulip’s death and teasing her return through a chicken (as only Preacher could), it’s clear that the episode is based – very comfortably – in drama. Minimising the cacophony of the madcap and supernatural, and focusing on the characters, it injects tangible excitement, while great writing from Breaking Bad-alum Sam Catlin ensures that even this final episode subverts expectation at every turn.
Alluding that we may discover the secrets to Jesse’s past and unpredictable moral choices next season, Preacher’s sophomore run ends as a resounding triumph of television. Crafted with the oddest ingredients available, and produced with technical precision, Preacher may be becoming well-known for its weirder qualities (and there are plenty to choose from), but with a gold-standard cast, a misfit crew of respective geniuses, and the ability to span genres within seconds, it is undoubtedly one of the best shows currently gracing our screens. Amen.
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.