TV Show Review

TV Review: PREACHER: Season 1, Episode 9: Finish the Song [AMC]

Graham McTavish Preacher Finish the Song

AMC‘s Preacher Finish the Song TV Show Review. Preacher, Season 1, Episode 9: ‘Finish the Song,’ could have had its title interpreted a number of ways; but it was pretty hard to get past it as a direct quote, to close out – and usher in – the story of the Cowboy (Graham McTavish), thus far.

48 stars on the U.S. flag told us to sit back & watch some frontier justice. Well, at least I was right about the setting. Usually, getting some killing hate going means payback for the ones that done wronged you; but the short shrift given to the original sinner Preacher (Justice Leak) was just to make way for some equal opportunity slaughter. The source character for the Cowboy was no anti-hero, to begin with – so the Saint of Killers, with a beef against Preachers, was put on track – but I had to wonder what happened to the hospitable kid. Of course, it’s not like the kid was all that innocent – what, with the family peddling scalps, ‘n all – and a season recap helped with that perspective (while zipping through the massacre made it seem like an even more absurd shooting gallery of willing targets). Ah, but the best thing about the recap was that it wasn’t actually a recap.

The sum total of the Cowboy’s tale has been about how he’s been passing the time, between Ratwater & Annville; and time gets funny, when applied in such ways. Let’s just say that the Cowboy flashbacks weren’t flashbacks, either.

Awright, enough teasing with temporal terms of torment – let’s get current with Custer & company.

After bottoming out, defending his commitment to his father, and his father’s church, Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) had resigned himself to one more act of empowered Preacher, to determine the future of an Annville with or without him. Trouble was, the legal bind he was in was compounded by the impression he had left that he had killed Eugene. The fact that Eugene’s father, Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown), went so calmly about driving Jess to jail over it, suggested something about the Sheriff’s nature – in the face of having had such a series of really bad days – that would bear out later.

If the perks to being a high-minded, reformed bad-ass meant getting out of a jailing (to try and get a direct line to the ‘Governor’), the perks to being a low-minded Preacher meant friends in low places. One friend in particular, left in a much lower place, would help get him the only free phone call that mattered, in order to get the ultimate guest to the church on time; but let’s pace ourselves a bit, take stock of a few more characters, and stop to smell the rosaries (bad puns make me want to throw on a pair of sunglasses, for some reason).

Sometimes the torments of Hell are preferable to the wrath of Heaven, if you were to believe the picture that’s been painted by DeBlanc & Fiore (Anatol Yusef, Tom Brooke); but it was the business-as-usual approach to their out that made it seem that much more disturbing (never mind what the Travel Agent had in mind for Fiore – I know I’m trying).

Business-as-usual also applied to how Tulip (Ruth Negga) finally moved on to her original business, handing the keys to a Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) recovery over to Emily (Lucy Griffiths), of all people, in the process. Somehow, that scene was even more ridiculous than the Angels-at-large buying a stairway to Hell.

On a side-note, I know a wide-eyed state has been Emily’s stock-in-trade, but why on Earth would she play peek-a-boo with a blood bingeing Cassidy?

Well, her eyes could only open so wide, for so long, before she recognized an opening, I guess; and Miles (Ricky Mabe) has been growing a pair, since he smelled Jess’ blood in the water; so all that growth amounted to a case of “the better to feed you to,” it turned out. Hey, if Tulip could kick a habit, by passing a buck, why not follow suit and pass a chump? There’s only so much slow hand feeding you can put up with, before opting for something with a little more… kilometers to it (bad pun averted; sunglasses lowering).

A little business-as-usual, going about it; but I knew she had it in her.

It occurs to me that with everything said, about good intentions paving the road to Hell, that no one ever goes on about the road to Heaven being paved with bad intentions. Luckily for our divine Bounty Hunter, Susan (Juliana Potter), the Sheriff’s really bad days have left him with a lot of those built up. Enough, in fact, to get her back on the hunt (how long has she been bleeding out into that tub, anyway?). No one should be surprised by his willingness to oblige her wish – even if he seemed to be, after-the-fact.

It’s just that twisting of old tropes that I’ve taken a liking to, with this show. Like how bittersweet gets replaced by sweet-with-a-coppery-aftertaste – as in what came immediately after Jess’ heartfelt moments with Cass & Tulip, respectively. Yes, these twists have become almost formulaic, in some regards, almost to the point where you find yourself either taking wacky turns for granted, or just not taking anything seriously; but there’s usually at least one big payoff to most episodes.

For the penultimate of the season, it was giving the Angels-at-a-loss some due. Say what you will, about their competence, their silliness, their perpetual state of sad sackery – I love those guys. So it was an honest case of wish-fulfillment that their trip in the wrong direction (surprise: a trip that far south is less accommodating than commercial air travel) left them serving walking papers to (and receiving one last indignity from) some killing hate at wait.

But enough teasing with temporal terms of torment – let’s get on with the season finale, then….

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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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