Preacher: On the Road Review
AMC‘s Preacher, Season 2, Episode 1: ‘On the Road,’ was confirmation that a change of scene was just what this show needed, in the pursuit of the only thing more important than God: living up to its source material. After literally destroying their first season constraints, the showrunners seem determined to give our anti-hero trio a wider field to play in, and to prove that they were up for a long, strange trip indeed.
So with all the fanfare of a 70s disco epic, The Search for God began. Day One saw bad car conversation interrupted by one of the catchiest bad songs ever, as the soundtrack to a relatively avoidable cop car chase – Grindhouse style, no less.
Just so we’re clear, the category Grindhouse absolves many cinematic sins. Sins like obvious flatbed close-up shots, obvious stunt-driver (with missing backseat passenger) shot, NEEDLESSLY BIG SHOWRUNNER CREDITS, and the like.
In any case, this served to set up the first official abuse of Jesse’s (Dominic Cooper) “Smokey Brain Hands” of the season. That then served to set up a very high-powered Turkey Shoot, in which no one (particularly Cassidy) was safe. All just to serve up Jesse’s first, unofficial encounter with The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish).
That was a heck of a set piece scene build. Can we keep it?
After all that sizzle, the meat of the episode was something of a clock work progression. With one exception, The God Squad would show up someplace, maybe make a mess, and TSK sweeps up after them. You can call that predictable, sure; but it did lend a certain extra charm, to scenes like the ones with Preacher Mike (Glenn Morshower), knowing what comes next. The fact that Preacher Mike handled his own mess made it better.
With Jesse seemingly past his own backstory hangups (at the moment, anyway), the in-house drama fell on Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) & Tulip (Ruth Negga). Tulip still had some temperament issues (mostly tempered by a restrained distaste for Genesis, and partly settled by… I’m tempted to say a tending to an established rape fetish?), while Cass still had his crush on Tulip guilt.
I suppose Tulip sporting a blood smear clown smile (after giving her car the kiss of life) didn’t help, in that regard; but we got a Cass tailored glamour shot of her – just in case we missed the point.
Little details went a long way, this episode. Details like hoping I’ll never have to test Cassidy’s palette cleanser method; our watching Cass workout a slip-of-the-hands misunderstanding, on a monitor in the background of a Girly Bar Manager’s office, before it became a very upfront matter.
I’m starting to think Cass is being developed as a second layer sight gag – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
One detail I think got overlooked was the fate of the Social Media junkie, from the I Know Why the Caged Bird Tweets scene. I’m sure Preacher Mike’s mission, in that regard, registered with at least some of us (Touch Screen Zombies must die… or be left shackled in a wi-fi shed); so, yeah, it was a noticeable loose end.
Another detail I thought neat, though: the way the script kept playing keep-away with the fate of Annville. Let’s see how long that lasts. There was also a little keep-away action regarding a Casino Guru, on a TV ad; but I won’t spoil that one – I think that reveal comes sooner.
With the reveal that Jesse’s stalker problem wasn’t about to be talked out of his ill-intent, certain little details may pay off. Consider the marquee guests of honor, at the motel this confrontation will be taking place at.
‘On the Road’ was where this series was always meant to be. We saw this kind of insane flash, followed by sly substance before, in season one. Not being tethered to a single location, and saddled with a large cast of regulars, looks to make as much of a difference as I had hoped. At least so far. Even if episode one sets the tone for the entire season, I’ll take a long track & chase, over a slow boiled town.
So far, so good.
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