"Messiahs" – Preacher S04E07 Review

After one week of things looking up, with "Messiahs" we're back to separation of the cast. A few things come together, but they're pretty pointless things and Preacher remains a mish-mash of storylines.

Tyson Ritter, Preacher S04E07

We find out what Humperdoo has been up to, and what God's plan is. So if you were wondering why God is trying to start an Apocalypse, look no further. But I don't care what Humperdoo is up to. And Humperdoo is a pretty meaningless character. He's an inbred descendant of Jesus who can tap-dance. And... that's it. God likes him for some reason, and now Tulip and Cassidy know about him. It's not like Humperdoo is going to display an elaborate backstory or some unrevealed characterization in the last three episodes after this one. The best we can hope for is he's smarter than he looks. Which wouldn't be hard.

But why is Humperdoo involved in "Messiahs"? The episode starts with Jesse apparently in Heaven, teaching a young girl how to fish. ?? Jesse was raised in Texas: when did he learn how to fish? Fiore (Tom Brooke) shows up, leads Jesse through a pair of golden doors to God's throne room, and says the Hosts of Heaven want Jesse to take the throne.

Jesse touches the throne and gets a vision of himself ruling eternity. Then he realizes he's not in Heaven given everything he's done, and we find out he's locked up in Hell with one of the hell projectors showing him a vision. But then it starts up again and Jesse is back in the throne room. And Fiore offers him the throne again and this time shows Jesse God abandoning Heaven after he learns Genesis has escaped.

Mark Harelik, Preacher S04E07

As "Holiday Roads" plays, God goes on a tour of the U.S. on His motorcycle, picks up chicks, and buys His dog suit. And Jesse realizes God destroyed the dinosaurs, and plans to destroy his second creation, humanity. And then move on to Creation Three. So that's the explanation for God's Apocalypse plans. Why He needs to start a nuclear Apocalypse, I don't know. He didn't have the dinosaurs start an Apocalypse, but just waved His arms and wiped them out.

On Earth, Tulip and Cassidy bury Jesse and then drive off. They stop at a farmhouse with a church nearby. Cassidy goes to the farmhouse to get a bite to eat from the widowed owner: a bite of his chickens, that is. Tulip wrecks the church, sees a painting of God holding Jesus, gets an idea, and sets the church on fire.

Tulip and Cassidy head back to the States via a freighter, and meet with Dany (Julie Dretzin). I'd forgotten who Dany was, as she's only appeared twice before. She's a crime boss, but you'd never know it from "Messiahs", where she works in what looks like a talent agency. Dany agrees to give Tulip and Cassidy some super-secret info if they do something to her. They go to a diner, and eventually Tulip kills a man who turns out to be Dany's husband.

Dany is shocked and refuses to honor the deal because she didn't think Tulip would kill her husband as she's been asking her to do for years. Tulip beats her bloody until Dany relents, and Dany takes them to a synagogue where she's hiding Humperdoo. Jesse sent Humperdoo to Dany to hide for him.

Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Preacher S04E07

Tulip and Cassidy try to take Humperdoo out. Dany objects and the synagogue worshippers stop them. But Humperdoo babbles incoherently and they all drop their knees. Tulip takes Humperdoo out and Cassidy tells them a long story that basically ends with "God is a wanker". They reveal they plan to kill Humperdoo in front of God to get revenge on him for killing Jesse.

Starr crawls after the dingo that bit off his genitals. He finally passes out and a shadow of a man crosses over him.

In a so-far meaningless subplot, we find out Hoover Two is actually an undercover detective, Nix, who works for the Florida PD and has 70s cop-movie theme music backing him. The disguised Lara shoots him dead and removes her disguise.

Jesus and Hitler continue bargaining over souls, and Hitler reveals he wants to use Jesus as Jesus in the Apocalypse after shooting one of the Humperdoo clones in front of Jesus.

No sign of Eugene, and the Saint only appears to glower at Tulip and Cassidy as they bury Jesse.

Like I said, it's all a mish-mash. Part of it is God makes a lousy nemesis. He's omniscient and omnipotent, so why is he going through all of this crap? He wanted the dinosaurs wiped out, he smited the dinosaurs. He wants humanity out of the way, so he... starts a nuclear war between Australia and New Zealand. One of these things is not like the other.

And how do Tulip and Cassidy plan to kill Humperdoo in front of God? God is everywhere, so where are they taking Humperdoo? And God is omniscient, so if they kill Humperdoo anywhere God will know about it. Why do they need to take Humperdoo anywhere? And why can't he just smite them, or teleport Humperdoo away, or turn humanity into salt?

Tom Brooke, Dominic Cooper, Preacher S04E07

Jesse is in Hell, but is being offered the throne of Heaven. I'm not sure if we're supposed to take what he's seeing seriously. Apparently, Fiore really is Fiore. Or... not? I've lost track.

And what does the Grail get out of all this? Starr wants to get his good looks back, even though he's never been shown as particularly vain before. And he wants Jesse dead, and now Jesse is dead. Do Starr and the Grail really think God is going to spare them when the Apocalypse gets rolling? And why does God need them?

As I've noted before, I like Mark Harelik as God. But bringing God onto the show is a big mistake. Particularly when the creative team portrays him as a second-rate comic book villain rather than as an omniscient, omnipotent deity. Not only is he not omniscient and omnipotent, but nobody on the show thinks he is. Or if they do, they don't worry about it. Starr lies to God? No concern God will see through his ruse. Kill Humperdoo in front of God? Sure, God will allow it.

I can get behind God as an omniscient all-powerful deity. But so far all we've seen him do is:

  1. Summon a dingo and command it to rip off an underling's genitalia
  2. Make dinosaurs explode
  3. Fly
  4. Summon a cup of coffee wherever he is.

I'm no doubt missing a few, but you get the idea. Lex Luthor and Dr. Doom can do more than God does on Preacher.

Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Dominic Cooper, Preacher S04E07

The individual performances by Gilgun, Negga, and Cooper are still good. But once again the creative team has separated them, by killing off Jesse and sending him to Hell/fake Heaven. We've got three more episodes left, and how they resolve any of this, I have no idea. Even if they somehow kill off God... the Grail can still set off the Apocalypse, right? God doesn't seem to have much to do with what's going on. The plot is so diffuse, nothing seems to relate to anything else. Tulip and Cassidy abduct Humperdoo. So what? How does controlling Humperdoo stop the Apocalypse? What does stop the Apocalypse? Even if they somehow take down the Grail, they can't kill God. Who by definition is unkillable. God just starts up the Apocalypse again with somebody else.

And even if somehow they "defeat" God, so what? Jesus and Hitler have their own plan for the Apocalypse. God isn't at the negotiation table with them. If he falls, why can't they set off the Apocalypse?

And the main players aren't concerned about the Apocalypse. I'm not sure if Tulip and Cassidy know about the Grail's plans for the end of the world. If they do, they don't seem to care. They're trying to get revenge against God for killing Jesse. Shouldn't stopping the Apocalypse be the number one priority?

Julie Ann Emery, Preacher S04E07So you've got Jesse offered the throne of Heaven. And Tulip and Cassidy abducting Humperdoo. And Starr chasing a dingo. And Lara shooting a traitor to the Grail. It's all very nice, but at the end of the day, so what? I'm not even sure what Preacher's end game is, much less how all of these elements somehow lead to it

And that's been what most of Preacher has been like since the beginning. It's the journey that's important, not the destination. Lots of cool imagery, lots of goofy jokes and dialogue and characters. Coherent storytelling and plotlines not so much. It's a bit frustrating: I like the jokes and dialogue and characters. But I want to feel it means something at the end of the day, or at least is leading up to something. And... it doesn't. Maybe the creative team will pull it out in the last three episodes before the show ends. We'll see. It doesn't look good at this point, though.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?

Written by Gislef on Sep 9, 2019


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