[For Preacher “Finish the Song” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Finish the Song. Jesse is on the run while those around him face life-altering decisions. The Cowboy returns to Ratwater to exact his revenge.
“I love my horse, I love my wife, and I love my little girl. And as for Jesus . . . he can join us all in Hell”
–The Butcher of Gettysburg
Preacher really is gearing up for one hell of a finale [pun intended].
Last week’s episode was spent primarily around the confrontation between Odin Quincannon and Jesse, and I found it very entertaining because the entire standoff was so absurd and had so many funny moments that I found it a delightful departure episode. This week’s episode “Finish the Song” however, while maybe not as entertaining, was a lot more substantial and I found it to be a way more effective episode overall given how much it built off of prior episodes and set up next week’s finale.
THE BUTCHER OF GETTYSBURG
The episode began with the Butcher of Gettysburg™ getting his revenge on the preacher and the rest of the townspeople of Ratwater, Texas for killing his horse, causing him to get back home too late with the medicine to save his daughter and wife from dying. The quote I reference above is what starts out the surreal action sequence we’ve grown to love from Preacher, but it’s also surprisingly telling given what we learn later in the episode. This storyline appeared briefly in three prior episodes, and while I enjoyed the cool Western visuals and how they executed the scenes, I was never clear how they would fit the Ratwater storyline into the overall Preacher universe. I couldn’t have imagined them doing a better job of integrating it than what they did.
Last week when the Angels left Jesse in the lurch, I assumed they were just done with trying to capture Genesis and would return to Heaven and ask for forgiveness. Instead they spend the first half of the episode buying shuttle tickets to Hell. In a great reference to Breaking Bad (a show the episode’s director Michael Slovis worked on), the shuttle to Hell actually picks the Angels up at the same stop where Walter White was picked up when he was on the run at the end of the best episode of BB, “Ozymandias”.
Later in the episode, we return to Ratwater where we are shown fragments of the “Butcher of Gettysburg” storyline over and over again, until we finally see the Angels revealed in front of the Butcher and the title card “HELL”. I always imagined Hell was in fact in Texas, but it was both a great reveal and a way for the writers to draw that World into the greater world of Jesse and the gang. The Angels offer the Butcher a chance to break free of the cycle of death and dry air if they agree to kill the Preacher for them.
CASSIDY, EMILY, TULIP AND JESSE
Jesse spent the episode on the run eating pancakes and drinking wine with homeless people, while Emily was recruited by Tulip to watch Cassidy for her while she went to track down Carlos. The Emily storyline has been kind of frustrating for me, as they really didn’t flesh out that character much over the season or give me any reason to really care about her. This week made her even worse in my eyes, as she offers up her boyfriend, the Mayor, as a snack to help revive Cassidy. Now clearly anyone who describes their boyfriend as “the guy with the ginger goatee, khaki pants, and average height” is probably not head over heels in love, but I also don’t think the guy is so awful that I’d be willing to just send him to his death. They made Emily seem like an average single mother whose only back story was she had a crush on Jesse, and now suddenly we’re supposed to believe that not only can she just accept that vampires exist quite easily, but she can immediately flip a switch and become a ruthless killer with little remorse. I found that part frustrating, but she’s always been a sore spot for me so overall it didn’t ruin the entire episode for me.
I was glad that Jesse and Cassidy had their moment, and were able to reconcile and reignite their bond by burying the mayor’s body. I also like Jesse finally admitting his feelings (albeit over the phone) to Tulip, because I think when they’re together the show is just way better. Unfortunately, Tulip never heard Jesse’s message (never tell someone you love them over voicemail, just keep calling until they pick up obv), so the last we see of her is standing over Carlos with a hammer. Now I’m not sure exactly what sparked Tulip to track Carlos down now, since she’s been biding her time for a while now, but I assumed it was to bring Carlos back to Cassidy and kill two birds with one stone. Now that Cassidy has been revived by the Mayor’s blood, It’ll be interesting to see what happens if Tulip returns to town with Carlos tied up in her trunk.
Overall I thought this episode did two things very well.
- It set up next week nicely, as we’ll likely see a big showdown with Jesse at Church on Sunday
- We finally understand how the Butcher storyline plays into the greater picture
I’m psyched to see how they end this great first season!