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Review: ‘Preacher’ Goes To A Very Repetitive Hell

Season 1, Episode 9, 'Finish The Song' moves its players into position for the finale.

Ruth Negga and Lucy Griffiths in "Preacher."

Ruth Negga and Lucy Griffiths in “Preacher.”

Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Preacher’ Gets Gross As It Emulates The Alamo

In The Beginning

Time to check back in with The Cowboy, because the show’s got big plans for him. He returns to Ratwater seeking revenge, and lives up to his sterling murder reputation by killing every single person in a crowded bar in about 60 seconds. He even insists on musical accompaniment, and concludes his slaughter by decapitating the singer, proving he’s a one-of-a-kind homicide showman. “Preacher’s” at its best in its action sequences, and this one’s no exception. The goal was to show how dangerous The Cowboy can be when he chooses, and it delivered.

Send Me An Angel

Fiore and DeBlanc, meanwhile, are looking to go to Hell. With their heaven phone stolen (by Cassidy, it turns out) they’re forced to turn to an underground angel tourism service. The bit where they bargain with a supernatural travel agent is pretty funny, and honestly the angels are pretty great through the whole episode. But it mostly makes me wish previous episodes had more attempts at laughs. Since the show’s attempts at straightforward drama have been pretty tepid so far, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try being a droll supernatural goof-around more often.

Tom Brooke and Anatol Yusef in "Preacher."

Tom Brooke and Anatol Yusef in “Preacher.”

Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Once they’re in Hell, the angels seek out The Cowboy, who turns out to be their nuclear option for getting Genesis back. It’s revealed that the previous Cowboy sequences weren’t just flashbacks, they were his current experiences, playing out over and over, in Hell. This is an old trick from the Ironic Punishment handbook, but considering the lengths this episode goes to convey it, you’d think the creators had invented the trope. Once The Cowboy finishes his murders, we jump back to the beginning of his story, and get the whole thing told again, with the same footage from the previous episodes. If you missed any previous episodes, don’t worry, because you get every scintillating detail of The Cowboy’s trip to Ratwater. And then we get it again, briefer this time (thank God), and again and again. The circumstances of what’s happening are obvious about 10 seconds in to the first repetition, so I was honestly left wondering if the show had to pad this episode’s run time. But if the idea was to make the audience feel like they were stuck in an endless time loop along with The Cowboy, then mission accomplished.

In a much more successful sequence, Sheriff Root is called to investigate the angels’ ruined hotel room and discovers the seraphim they’ve been keeping in the bathroom, minus her arms and legs. She begs Root to kill her, and he finally tearfully obliges. She reappears behind him, but doesn’t alert him to her presence, leaving him to think he’s made a difficult choice instead of just giving her the angel equivalent of a jumpstart. W. Earl Brown is fine here, which makes me wish he had been given a fully fleshed-out character to play this season.

Most Bonkers Moment

To clarify, this moment is “bonkers” in that it comes almost completely out of left field, character-wise. Tulip leaves Emily to babysit Cassidy, leaving her plenty of small pet store rodents to feed him, and dropping the bomb that, oh yeah, he’s a vampire. Emily takes the information well, considering, and after watching a bit of “Psycho,” decides that she might as well kill two birds with one stone and feed Mayor Miles to Cassidy.

Wait, what?

Keep in mind that Emily doesn’t know about Miles’s cover-up of Odin’s quadruple homicide. To her, he’s still just the sad sack she occasionally sleeps with (who apparently became her official boyfriend between episodes) and whose primary sin was, I guess, declaring that he chose Odin over Jesse. Emily, if you don’t want to be with Miles, you can just break up with him! I know “Preacher” likes to have an “unpredictable” vibe, but you can’t throw out any sense of character to achieve that.

Say The Word

Dominic Cooper, Ramona King and Richard Levi in "Preacher."

Dominic Cooper, Ramona King and Richard Levi in “Preacher.”

Lewis Jacobs/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

If you were wondering if Jesse really gave a shit about the people of Annville as anything other than a means to an end, his mild shrug at the brutal murder of a man he’s probably known for years should tell you all you need to know. I guess if Miles really wanted Jesse to care about him, he should have gotten shit-faced and bad-mouthed “The Big Lebowski,” but as it is, his death is mostly just an excuse for Cassidy and Jesse to make up and be friends again.

We find out that Jesse did eventually put out the flames consuming Cassidy back in “He Gone,” (is it just me, or are there a lot of weird narrative gaps on this show?) but he still feels bad he let him burn for so long. Oh, and the whole “sending Eugene to hell” thing. The two admit they’ve seen one another at their worst and decide to bury the hatchet, along with the mayor’s corpse. What’s a little homicide and grave-robbing between friends?

Tulip Does Cool Stuff

Another light week for Tulip, as she flips her motivation switch off of Jesse and back on to Carlos. She even gets Carlos tied to a chair as she wields a meat tenderizer. And hey, Jesse even admits over the phone that she’s the only girl for him! Hopefully, Tulip kills Carlos and gets back together with Jesse next week, so she can focus on literally anything else in Season 2.

Grade: C+

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