For those of you who haven’t been watching the fourth and final season of AMC’s Preacher, let me sum it up through the first eight (of 10) episodes, so far: Cassidy is held by the Grail in Masada and tortured by an American mobster called Frank Toscani, who repeatedly slices off Cassidy’s foreskin (he’s a vampire, so it grows back) and uses it to manufacture a facial cream. This goes on for roughly three episodes before Cassidy escapes, takes a shotgun, and blows Toscani’s brains out through his butthole.
In the fourth episode, Jesse and the pilot of an airplane crash into the sea and float on a life raft for days, where God essentially tortures the pilot to spite Jesse. The pilot gets a sunburn so bad that his skin melts before a shark comes along and bites his arm off and he eventually dies from both exposure and loss of blood.
Over the course of roughly the first eight episodes, Herr Starr — who already has an opening shaped like a vagina on top of his bald head — is repeatedly tortured and humiliated. Cassidy’s foreskin, at one point, is used to replace his ear. God sics a dingo on him, which eats off Herr Starr’s penis. A group of Australian cannibals rescue him, replace his penis with a faucet spout and eat his leg. Afterward, Herr Starr tries to kill himself, but his nipples are ripped off in the failed attempt.
One character who is not tortured is Humperdoo, the inbred descendant of Jesus Christ who is so severely intellectually disabled that he’s cloned hundreds of times, and his clones are often violently killed. Humperdoo, however, is only kidnapped and held hostage by Tulip and Cassidy, although he’s too intellectually disabled to realize it. After Herr Starr’s failed suicide attempt, he retrieves Humperdoo and brings him to God, who puts the apocalypse into motion.
Meanwhile, over the course of the first eight episodes, Jesse survives one airplane crash; he is shot in the back by Arseface (who has otherwise served no purpose since season one); Jesse dies after falling from another plane that God tries to destroy with an atom bomb. Jesse is repeatedly tortured in hell — he is imprisoned in a cage attached to a tube filled with ants; he is burned alive; and he is trapped in a barrel with rats, among other things. He survives, God brings him back to the real world, and then rips out his eye.
That’s it. It took eight episodes for Cassidy to escape the Grail, reconnect with Tulip, and for Jesse to finally meet God, only to be rejected by him. Meanwhile, it’s basically been one torture sequence after another. The season hasn’t been without its moments, but they are few and far between. While I do appreciate the dark humor, it’d also be nice if they had grounded it something resembling a storyline. They have all these great characters — The Saint of Killers, Hitler, Arseface — who have mostly been wasted, so that the series can focus on torturing Herr Starr and moving Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy around the game board, pulling them apart and putting them back together again. The series is not saying anything this year, except that God is a “motherf**ker,” a point that it has belabored over and over.
Granted, I don’t hate the final season of Preacher — Ruth Negga and Joseph Gilgun keep it occasionally interesting — but it definitely feels like a show that Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin have given up on. It’s a shame, because while there were missteps in the first three seasons, Preacher still felt focused. Now it feels like one of those albums a musician has to complete to fulfill a record contract so he can sign with another label. It’s been the bare f**king minimum.
On the upside, if you haven’t watched the fourth season and would still like to see the final two episodes, there’s no need to watch the other eight episodes. All you need to know is that God is about to start the apocalypse, and that Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy have finally reunited to take him on, probably with the aid of the Saint of Killers.
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