By Christopher Robin Negelein

First off the apology. The last two weeks have been taken up by deadlines of a nature that I can’t really get into right now*.  But in the short term that meant my Preacher recaps had to go on the wayside just as the last two episodes were airing.

So in a twist of fate, I saw them back to back almost as if they were two-hour movie. And I think that was probably a better way to watch them since I learned that this series is all about the payoffs, even the ones we didn’t know we wanted.

Spoilers ahead.

In episode nine, it’s no surprise that Jessie makes good on his criminal skills and does a hasty dive out of the Sheriff’s moving car using the pen that Odin gave him to sign over the church. Jessie spends the episode running away from the law along with some establishing scenes of him on the lam, like eating pancakes with homeless people.

We also learn the motivation for the Angles, Fiore and DeBlanc. Early on in the series we thought it was all about them covering up their mistakes, but we finally learned that it was about their fear of being separated from each other.

Of course that brings in its own fun of considering whether Angels can be lifelong friends or more, or if there is really any difference after a few centuries of hanging around together.

That love of staying together forces them to go to Hell.  How they get there is cute, evidently all you need is the right travel agent and remember that you can’t bring carry-ons even if they are your favorite comic books.

In another twist, this escape is to find their own infernal hit man, the long-suffering cowboy. What we thought was some historical flashback turned out to be his own personal punishment in the afterlife. Sadly when angels push for leverage, it’s the end for DeBlanc. But the viewer’s reward is pitch perfect for the quiet and confused grief projected by Tim Brooke’s Fiore over losing his friend and partner.

But things upstairs feel the rushed despite having 10 episodes.  It’s to the point that characters start doing things that seem both to prove that no one is innocent in Annville while moving things to a conclusion that needs to happen regardless of an arc playing out as it should.

Most are given some justification. Emily, the meek church mouse who does what she can to survive and get a little bit of happiness despite living in the fairly nihilistic universe, talks herself into committing murder (with some help from Alfred Hitchock.)

Some may say technically it wasn’t a murder, but she phoned Miles the Mayor to lure him into the house and then locked the door behind him to make sure that Cassidy get enough proper humans blood to heal up. To wit, Miles was started to get rather dickish once he felt that Jessie was out of the picture as competition. (One of those typical “I’ve been friend-zoned long enough that I deserve this attitudes.)

And in usual Preacher fashion, Cassidy end Jesse learn to forgive and bond together by burying the mayor’s body in a mass grave with the discarded angels husks, which also lets them snag a dead angel hand. Turns out that Jessie had snagged the Heaven Phone during the awesomely ridiculous hotel fight.   Which still has Terminator Angel sitting in her own blood in the bathtub.

And we learn the driving force behind Tulips vendetta against Carlos. The botched bank heist gave her a miscarriage as Carlos abandoned them. That felt like a very legit motivation but not so much for Carlos when his turncoat moment came from his bitterness over how Jessie/Tulip (Jessulip? Tuessie?) so happy together. So in a show where the redneck bully learns that mercy can be returned by giving the Preacher a hiding place, Carlos feels like the two-dimensional bag that he becomes.

Cassidy, however, is currently in jail without any preamble to find Sheriff Root believes in Cassidy’s vampirehood and uses it in a creative torture technique. Root also seems easily talked into a mercy killing for the young woman in the angels’ hotel bathtub. And thus unknowingly releases Terminator Angel to go hunting again with a fresh body that has all of its limbs. Root has swung all sorts of ways this season to the point I feel like his character was a walking plot plug.  Which was a waste of a both a character and a good actor.

The scene where Jesse dials in God with the angelic telephone is pretty much everything we hope for. From God’s cheesy appearance to the usual platitudes and the eventual reveal that the Angels are playing house while God is AWOL.

The montage of how people eventually deal this fallout feels pretty on point except for comic book fans were hoping for more when it came to Odin’s God of Meat. For those might be tempted to looking to the Preacher comics, I’m going to leave that just as open as I said It.

And here’s where learn that the series tries to make every potential bit payoff from the eventual discovery of the competing team mascots and their secret rendezvous to the comment that the meatpacking plant is also a methane power plant that has release valves all over town.

It was something that seems so inconsequential that I never really mentioned it my past recaps. Once or twice per episode the power plant would edge towards being over pressurized only to have an old, fat old man bring it all under control at his console. Now knowing that God was gone, this fellow decided to go out via death by prostitute. Leaving the poor woman unable to deal with the eventual pressure cooker of a power plant.

So while comic book fans were probably disappointed by Odin (which by no means does it mean Jackie Earle Haley turned in a slouch of performance — his awesome acting was a  highlight for the series – if not for the year), they got their thrill in seeing the town explode in a methane-fueled Fist of God explosion.

And in a bold ass move, pretty much wiped out 80% of the cast. I’m not over worried, though. This is TV land and a supernatural series. So if we see these faces again, it will be surprise, but not a shock.

That just leaves us with our main three of our five main characters deciding to go on the road trip that starts the comic book series off. Cassidy still secretly pining away for Tulip, and Jessie finally showing off his power in a creepy fashion to Tulip. Who promptly rights his ship over it. Eugene hangs on as a hallucination for now, as a way to keep Ian Colletti on contract until his Arseface shows up for real.

The fifth and final one is the cowboy, which I’ll just call him by his proper name the Saint of All Killers, who introduced in an appropriate ruthless fashion as we get ready for season two.

Overall the series was good, but with so many characters and stories to juggle it felt like we should have either gotten more episodes to let them play out or do massive pruning and make it an even smaller season down. Netflix’s Stranger Things showed that you can do a successful series in eight.

So we can hope that with a tighter focus on less characters that Preacher’s next season will set a new bar for the series and keep us riveted in our seats to see what new craziness comes next.

*But cross your fingers that I might be able to say something soon.

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