This review is based on the first three episodes from ‘Preacher’s ten-episode third season.
‘Preacher’s back, baby! The series takes its time to get rolling this year, but the work put into the show’s characters primes it to be their strongest year yet!
“Welcome home, Jesse…”
AMC’s Preacher has turned into one of the more interesting vehicles on television. Many people were skeptical that Garth Ennis’ aggressive comic series could be done justice as a television show. Now, three seasons in, the television adaptation has proven that it’s even weirder and more fearless than Ennis’ source material. At the same time, Preacher has no interest in pleasing the hardcore fans or to become accessible for the Preacher virgins. This is a show that is completely unapologetic and is only interested in pleasing itself. Better strap in and brace yourself for the crazy ride. Preacher’s first season was painfully slow for some viewers and then the show’s second season was too bonkers and insane for other people. There are many different “versions” of Preacher, but the show’s third season feels very much like a mix of the first two seasons’ sensibilities, but with a hearty dose of horror thrown in for good measure, too.
The show’s third season premiere, “Angelville,” spends most of its time on the revival of Tulip and the cost involved with bringing her back (surprise, she doesn’t remain dead, you guys). Tulip’s always occupied an interesting role within this show, but it becomes even more layered this season when she becomes specially tasked with a particular job from someone important.
Furthermore, an aspect of the show that’s always been bubbling under the surface, the love triangle between Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, only intensifies this season. Cassidy becomes more dead set on his love for Tulip and it’s fascinating to see this trio remain together, but each of them for different, self-involved reasons.
Around all of the hearty character development, there’s also the pulse of a new apocalypse that’s brewing. This pivotal event seems to depend on Jesse’s ability to reclaim his soul and matters become especially dire when God announces some sort of contingency plan that he’s got in place. That being said, the larger end of the world machinations stay in the background while the focus is very much more on Jesse’s familial relations and the metaphorical hell he’s found himself in before the world falls into actual hell.
That metaphorical hell is Jesse’s home of Angelville, which should come as no surprise if you were paying attention towards the end of last season or have seen a second of promotional materials for this season. Jesse’s family and their history in Angelville are very much the focus, at least for the first chunk of the season and it makes for a refreshing, if not flawed, change of pace.
In the past, Jesse’s expressed severe trepidation over returning home and although there have been tastes of this through flashbacks, it’s now satisfying to marinate in that dread. Gran’ma Marie, Jodie, and T.C. are all deliciously awful individuals and it’s painful to watch Jesse have to spend a single minute with them. Naturally, as Jesse begins to feel more at home and regress into old ways, Tulip and Cassidy start to worry over Jesse’s state of mind and how much he may be regressing. It plays a lot like Legion’s incredible second season where the heroes legitimately don’t know if their leader is good or bad anymore and even the leader begins to lose sight of where they stand. It makes for a compelling narrative and pushes Jesse to his most challenging territory yet. Every new dreadful secret about Angelville that gets revealed is terrible in a whole new way.
The addition of Angelville and Gran’ma Marie also bring voodoo magic into the series in a big way. This isn’t that ridiculous of an idea when stuff like soul stealing happens on the regular and God dresses up like a dog. That being said, this voodoo is played for horror rather than laughs and it leads to some particularly terrifying scenes that hint at a formidable new villain. For those that are fans of the comics, there’s a lot to look forward to here, but it’s also exciting to see the series veer off of the source material in creative ways and also find excuses to go even deeper with it all. The show presents a particularly creative take on Purgatory that acts as a strong reminder of just how unique this show is.
The beginning of this season takes its time and slows down in Angelville to make this detour feel significant. Accordingly, there’s a tunnel vision of sorts on the show’s main trio while other characters like Arseface or Saint of All Killers are absent for the first stretch of the season. This hurts the season to some degree, but the audience is allowed no escape from Angelville, just like Jesse and company. Surely these supporting characters will play a large role in the back-end of the season.
Preacher’s third season doesn’t begin with a bang, but it does double down on the characters and relationships that make this show work. There’s a large game in play here that’s ready to test all of these characters more than they ever have before. This season may turn to a few familiar plot devices, but the beginning makes for a strong start to what’s already a very emotional season. Hopefully, everyone will still be left standing before the year is through.
And remember guys, don’t eat the swamp consommé.