THE STORY SO FAR:
JESSE & TULIP: Still on the run from Sheriff Root, who still wants answers from him regarding Eugene’s disappearance, and is able to find shelter with Donnie (who is in a more forgiving and spiritual mood what with God coming to town and all) and Betsy. After hearing that Donnie might have harmed Jesse, she kicks his door down (well, breaks the glass portion of it with a plastic flamingo, anyway) and demands to know where he is. Once she sees Jesse walking out of Donnie’s bathroom, showered and safe, and receives an apology from him for how he’s treated her, she pops open her car trunk to reveal that Carlos is inside.
After a long, loud, and passionate debate, Tulip finally convinces that Carlos deserves to die and that Jesse is the one who should kill him. Since Jesse feels that he’s going to Hell anyway, he steps outside to pull the trigger on him right before Tulip stops him from doing so. All she really wanted was for Jesse to confirm that he would kill Carlos for her, for both of them, and that proves to be more than enough to make her happy. Well, not entirely, as they decide to let Carlos go but not before giving him a tire-iron and Tulip’s loaded revolver (so that it’s a fair fight, after all) and the two of them commence to beating Carlos within an inch of his life and sending him on his way.
CASSIDY: Finds himself locked away in a jail cell by Sheriff Root, who figures that he must also know where Eugene is and what happened to him. Despite Root using his investigative skills to figure out that Cassidy is really a vampire (the fact that Cassidy’s arrest record goes all the way back to the 1920s helps quite a bit) and putting many a bullet in to him to make him talk (while giving him cups of blood in the meantime to help him recover), Cassidy doesn’t have much to offer that puts Sheriff Root at ease about Eugene’s location and well-being, so after unloading even more bullets in to Cassidy, he decides to let him go.
DONNIE & BETSY: Still indulging in many a S&M-related activity much to their delight. Their son, whose confusion about said activities and confession to Jesse about it set Donnie’s rivalry with Jesse in motion continues to be nowhere in sight. Once they get through Jesse and Tulip’s constant arguments about Carlos interrupting their nighttime reading (apparently, Donnie is fond of reading Gorillas In The Mist before bed), they send the cops looking in the wrong direction for Jesse before sneaking him and Tulip back to Jesse’s church to help him prepare for God’s arrival
FIORE & DEBLANC: Fiore returns to Texas from Hell, and without DeBlanc by his side, as any bullet from The Saint Of Killers is instantly fatal and kills any and all of its targets. The look on Fiore’s face is of one who doesn’t want to be alone and possibly even wishes that he had also been on the receiving end of the Saint Of Killers’ guns.
GOD: The day that all of Annville has been waiting for finally arrives as they arrive at Jesse’s church and once Jesse stands before his parishioners (Odin Quincannon being one of them, and makes it a point to tell everyone else how full of shit Jesse clearly is), he activates the phone to Heaven and after it makes numerous AOL 6.0 dial-up sound effects, everything goes black…
…and the entire church is illuminated with the light of God as we see Him sitting on His throne and announcing His presence, looking nothing at all like Alanis Morissette and demanding to know who has called upon Him and why.
Jesse is the first to respond, explaining that they all have questions, especially since so many of His children have their “hearts filled with hate, greed, and doubt, and sin is winning.” God agrees and decides to answer the questions that are asked of Him: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “What did you do to the dinosaurs?” “Why did you let Agent Carter get cancelled?” “You’re not really going to let Donald Trump become our next President, are you?” and so on, including Odin demanding to know whether his youngest daughter is up in Heaven with him, to which God says yes.
Of course, it all starts to go horribly wrong when God assures Jesse that all of the people of Annville are saved as a result of Jesse bringing them to God, including Eugene. Which only makes it clear that God has no idea what happened to Eugene or where he is, and Jesse soon realizes that this isn’t actually God. After using The Word to demand God’s location, Fraud-God explains that the real God is actually missing. That no one knows where God is, not even the other inhabitants of Heaven, and that He’s gone.
Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy’s response to all of this: to go get Tulip the French fries she was promised.
Everyone else in the church: After looking confused, shedding many a tear, and losing all hope, the parishioners (Odin Quincannon included) decide to riot and tear the church apart.
Emily, still functioning quite well after her ridiculously out-of-character moment of leading Mayor Miles to be killed and eaten by Cassidy, tells her kids that life will remain the same even in God’s absence, that nothing has changed, and that they don’t need God and never did.
Lucas the bus driver is castrated by a group of little girls on his bus, all of whom probably watched Hard Candy the day before and thought: “I like where Ellen Page’s head was at.”
Mrs. Loach decides to smother her comatose daughter Tracy with a pillow, while Tracy’s brother takes a selfie with his cell phone right in front of them to mark the solemn occasion.
Both of the Annville High School mascots/sworn enemies/secret lovers(?) Pedro the Prairie Dog and Chief Savage, commit suicide and hang themselves right next to each other from the same tree.
Sheriff Root and the still-catatonic Mrs. Root watch television as Tom Cruise’s ashes are shot up into space with a rocket. Which really does seem like the sort of thing that Tom Cruise would request for himself in death.
Donnie doesn’t seem all that interested in continuing with any more S&M-related sex with Emily, who is dressed up like Dorothy Gale and can only sit next to him looking even more frustrated with him than usual.
Not-Desmond ends up dying during his own S&M-related activities with the young woman who is clearly not his wife that was sitting next to him in church, which means that he isn’t around to push the button that releases all of the pressure for Quincannon Meat & Power’s methane reactor. And since she has no idea what to do or what to press to stop the red lights and alarms from going off …
… the methane reactor goes off and explodes,
turning the sky purple and giving Desmond the ability to predict the future and destroying the entire town of Annville and everyone in it as a result.
The Seraph, a.k.a. Evil Samantha Bee, is seen walking around what’s left of Annville and even she seems unsure what to make of her surroundings. Her confusion doesn’t last very long as she is shot dead from behind by none other than The Saint of Killers, who is here on Earth and on the hunt for one specific person: “Preacher.”
FLASHBACK: Back to when Jesse, Tulip, and Carlos were all working together for a bank robbery. As Jesse and Tulip attempted to open the vault, cracked jokes, and made it very clear how happy and in love with one another they were, Carlos realized how much this bothered him, resulting in him untying one of the bank’s security guards (to be shot to death in self-defense by Jesse as a result), leaving them behind to be caught by the cops, and causing Tulip to have a miscarriage and lose her and Jesse’s baby.
ODIN QUINCANNON’S WEEKLY MOMENT OF WEIRDNESS: After witnessing the appearance of Fraud-God and Jesse’s refusal to denounce the real God in front of the entire church, he goes back to his office to sit at his desk and cradle his daughter in his arms. Or I should say, to cradle a fake little girl made entirely of raw meat and dressed up to look like his daughter. This is most likely the weirdest that it will ever really get when it comes to Odin Quincannon and his love/worship of all things Meat.
And for that, we should probably be grateful.
ANY MENTIONS OF CARLOS: Yes, and he was deserving of a lot more than just a meat tenderizer to the face, as we all saw in the Flashback.
ANY MENTIONS OF THE VAMPIRE-HUNTING VIGILANTES LOOKING FOR CASSIDY: None
ANY MENTIONS OF EUGENE A.K.A. ARSEFACE: Jesse does have another vision of him, as he reminds Eugene that he hasn’t forgotten about him and will continue doing everything he can to rescue him from Hell.
ANY MENTIONS OF HOW MUCH CASSIDY REALLY DOESN’T LIKE THE BIG LEBOWSKI: Indeed, and Tulip also makes it very clear that he’s pretty much the only one who doesn’t like that movie.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: I’ll let this conversation between Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy (in a diner and far away from Annville as it got wiped completely off the map) help out in this regard:
TULIP: “So what’s the plan, Jesse?”
JESSE: “The plan is simple, find God.”
CASSIDY: “No offense, Padre, but I’m right tired of the God talk.”
JESSE: “I am too, that’s why we’re gonna go out and find God.”
CASSIDY: “What, you mean like a road trip? With buckets of guns, sex, drugs, and shady characters dressed in bikinis?”
JESSE: “Yeah, I imagine there’ll be a bit of that.”
CASSIDY: “Well, I’m in. Done.
TULIP: “I’m sorry, we’re just gonna drive around, shooting people, getting wasted, and looking for God? And what are you gonna do when you find Him?”
JESSE: “Well, if God wants out help, we’ll help him. If he doesn’t…we’re gonna kick his ass.”
TULIP: “Hmmm. Well, all right, bitches. Let’s go.”
For everyone who has been waiting all season long for this to happen, for Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy to hit the road, get out of town, and get this party started in the hopes that this story would finally begin to resemble the story that was told in the original comics, that entire scene was music to everyone’s ears. It’s still too soon to tell whether AMC will loosen its purse strings and not let budget restrictions limit what Preacher can do and where it can go, and whether the writing staff will take the gloves off and finally cut loose on a regular basis in telling this story and bringing back everything that made the Pilot, ‘See,’ and ‘Sundowner’ such great episodes. But the fact that our core group of characters will no longer be stuck in Annville (the town and its inhabitants needed to be a lot more fascinating and more like Springfield or Pawnee for us to care about it all season long, especially when everyone and everything gets blown to smithereens) and will hopefully be able to go to many different places and cross paths with many different characters both new and familiar (and hopefully interesting to watch) is a damn good start.
(And bonus points to Tulip for immediately punching Jesse in the face for demonstrating Genesis to her by making her kiss him. 1) Jesse wouldn’t actually do that. 2) We don’t need Jesse acting like Kilgrave and treating Tulip like Jessica Jones to show what he can do. 3) Any reminder, big or small, of Tulip’s Golden Rule: “Absolutely no one fucks with me” is always welcome.)
As I’ve made clear many times while writing about Preacher, I haven’t been entirely happy about all of the decisions that have been made regarding story and character, and the fact that the people making Preacher sometimes seemed to forget or even ignore what it was they were adapting. And as someone who has read this series and loved it for many years, that has been disappointing. But this season finale was more than enough to make me hope that the writers realize everything they’ve been doing right and everything they’ve been doing wrong and focus on doing more of the former and a whole lot less of the latter, so that I and many others have less reason to complain while watching Season 2. Because like I’ve also said before, I’d much rather be watching Preacher like this…
…instead of watching it like this.
See you all next season.