TV Show Review

TV Review: PREACHER: Season 1, Episode 10: Call and Response [AMC]

Dominic Cooper Ruth Negga Joseph Gilgun Preacher Call and Response

AMC‘s Preacher Call and Response TV Show Review. Preacher, Season 1, Episode 10: ‘Call and Response,’ was the wish-fulfillment everyone needed (show included), but no one was ever really sure would happen. It was also the punchline to one of the longest set-ups in recent memory. I’m not sure everyone was laughing, by the end of it, but I did feel relieved. Whether that was the relief of getting what you wanted (like a good meal, after a fast), or getting rid of something you didn’t (like so much bloating gas)…?

‘Call and Response’ needed to get a few things out of the way, and you felt that ‘everything must go’ approach going into effect, going in. Between Jesse’s (Dominic Cooper) outlaw status, and his promise to deliver the ultimate answer to the town’s questions, the whole affair had become one big small town spectator sport. A somewhat cryptic message did lead to Tulip (Ruth Negga) reconsidering her reinstated plans, however, which brought her back to Annville just in time to see that absurd rush to the end unfold… before becoming a part of it.

Despite the side of logic served with it – and the satisfaction of seeing Tulip deal Betsy (Jamie Anne Allman) more pain than she could handle – I did find Donnie’s (Derek Wilson) conversion to be a bit on the sudden side. Was everything – from deafening himself, to the church confrontation – just pretext to a come to Jesus moment? I guess he needed to know that it was a choice, not a compulsion – hence guarding against the Preacher’s Voice – but it still seemed like one of those character turns done for effect.

On the other hand, there’s always character flaw as plot convenience. Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) gaining leverage on Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) only came about because Cass was too busy seeing how long an immortal can live without impulse control, to care about keeping his name out of public record – or just not bothering to change it, every time it got out. The Sheriff, for his part, just seemed out to prove Cass’ point, about his small town Texas character, before just letting Cass get on with his soon-to-be band kick-off event.

The only character that didn’t get an instant make-over was Carlos (Desmin Borges) – and not because he’s been an empty chair, in the Jesse-Tulip story, ‘till now. The detail to the vengeance sub-plot could’ve easily added some mitigating context, to Carlos’ betrayal; but, no, it was just plain dickery – and there was also the matter of the tiniest member of the old crew – so more weight got added to Tulip’s Last Temptation of Custer play.

This brings us to some of what the episode did right, by the series. For one thing, it explained where all that Tulip rage has been coming from. Like it or lump it, it now has a legitimate reason for being – same as Jess’ avoiding manner, regarding both her, and the subject of their revenge. Them getting Carlos (and us getting why they wanted him) allowed Preacher to revisit their argument, one last time, with useful context. I’m not sure exactly what came after that argument was resolved; but it was right around this point that the show’s absurdist humor ticked up again, so….

All the sudden character twisting kinda paid off, when Betsy resorted to her ‘true colors,’ allowing the ultimate revival event to carry on – one last look at the collected wretches of Annville, all waiting for Jess to prove something.

Hey! Wouldn’tcha know it: AOL stands for Angel Online! Sorry, that just occurred to me when a quarter set of well-preserved Angel hands set off that infernal dial-up signal noise. I’ll go carrier pigeon before I ever go back to dial-up!!

…Sorry. What came next had to be one of the longest, saddest, lead-ins, to that long-coming punchline, that only viewers at home (and maybe Cassidy) could appreciate. How you’ll feel about that punchline (assuming you don’t see it coming out of the set-up – and everything Heaven related – that had come before) may come down to how you felt about Iron Man 3 – but even that reference could get me hauled off-screen, for dropping spoilers.

As I had hoped, ‘Call and Response’ put the whole season into context, as one long (way too, for some) warm-up to a spectacle even vaguely resembling the comic series. The Band finally got together, and hit the road. The people of Annville took to their newfound, unexpected freedom in different ways (some heartfelt, some heartbroken, some hedonistic, some homicidal… at least one with E. coli). The town of Annville collectively took one last trip, down a path set by Jess’ good intentions, then took one for the team (in what most certainly could be regarded as a very massive act of fanservice). Despite a number of source characters bowing out of the act (having crowded the stage too long, according to some) ‘Arseface’ Eugene (Ian Colletti) will remain as part of the road show – he just might be Kenobi-ing it in, for a bit. The Judgement Day ending was spared going T2, by the late arrival of an older genre figure; so, yeah: more of season one’s underutilized bits, and barely any of the overused ones, going into season two. Purists & the short-attention-span-crowd may have to reset the hater clock; but I’ve been looking forward to where this ending begins.

To that end, a few parting words:

The blasphemy’s back; pack a towel. One half of the dimwitted divine duo isn’t; pack some Kleenex.

There’s nothing like cow manure to wipe a slate completely clean.

There’s nothing like a sinner to out-saint a Saint, when it comes to Killing Saints (move over, Terminator Barbie… or just lay there….).

Song covers, used (partly) to ironic effect, are still a cheap & easy form of inserting win into all sorts of crazy, on screen.

This show has demonstrated that it can, in fact, practice what its source creators have preached; so bring on the religious hate mail.

The Church of Scientology can get back to trying to destroy South Park – the Preacher pilot gag has been put to rest.

Speaking of gags – no… no, I decided I’m not going to.

I did know they’d leave that damned Prairie Dog hanging, though….

As someone who had hoped for this outcome from the third episode in, it would be easy for me to say that I was pleased with the first season, as a whole. So I was pleased with the first season, as a whole. Of course, that means as much a reset for me, as it may for less charitable critics; but I’d like to think ‘Call and Response’ leveled the playing field.

If the haters see more of what they hoped for, next season, they can join me. If I find myself still waiting for the Genesis show to start, I may be inclined to join them.

Either as the greater or the lesser, my inner Angels are looking forward to season two.

I'm God, dammit!

“It’s Godly good, if I do say so, myself.”

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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