Annville Goes to Hell in Explosive 'Preacher' Season Finale

God comes to Annville in "Call and Response."


Jesse’s quest has finally hit the road.Preacher’s first season finale has wiped its slate clean by wiping out the whole town of Annville, setting Jesse and his pals Tulip and Cassidy off on a road trip to look for God, the central quest of the graphic novel series on which this show is based. They’ll either rescue the big man, or kick his ass for making their life hell. Either way, the real fun is about to begin.

In “Call and Response,” the Sunday sermon to end all Sunday sermons finally arrives. When it starts, Jesse (Dominic Cooper), a fugitive in his own town, hides out with Donny (Derek Wilson) until it’s time to call God. Donnie’s had a bizarre change of heart despite leading the charge on Jesse’s church, but war — and the possibility of meeting their maker — does strange things to men. Tulip, returning from her quick detour out of Annville last week, resolves hers and Jesse’s loose thread with their old partner-in-crime Carlos (guest star Desmin Borges). Meanwhile, Cassidy (Joe Gilgun) is stuck in the clink with the sheriff, who has discovered a way to torture the vampire in a way that either replaces or foreshadows a future moment from the comics.

Sunday is the main event, and the call to God is crazier than you could have expected. With the entire town in the pews, Jesse begins a heavenly Skype call with God: majestic, bearded, and white (to the snarky chagrin of Tulip).

Except that even the big man in the sky isn’t what he seems. Jesse, using Genesis, gets “God” to admit he is actually a lame imposter, a peon in heaven posing as the real big cheese because the real God has gone missing. This sends the town into a crazy frenzy — one that wraps up a whole lot of plot threads from previous episodes in the process — while Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy embark on their own journey to find and help God … and get some french fries.

Unlike the comics, in which Genesis is just so powerful it consumes the town, a methane gas leak at Odin Quincannon’s (Jackie Earle Haley) meat processing plant nukes the town in holy fire. Whether it was God’s will or not (probably not, since he’s MIA) it’s a poetic end to a damned-to-hell shit hole.

Ultimately, Preacher ends how it should have, in the best way possible. The sarcastic, barely fourth wall-breaking approach Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin have taken to Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic proved to be the show’s saving grace, helping keep a slow first season interesting as the mythological tracks were laid.

The show runners kind of had to go this route: Preacher is a weird fucking book, one that immediately tosses the reader into a complicated version of heaven and hell, with vampires and dudes with buttholes for faces. The TV Preacher spent its first season allowing audiences to digest these things piecemeal. That, along with the construction of Jesse as gracious, caring preacher (albeit one with rough edges), and thus more of a compelling character than the one in the comics, cemented him as someone worth following in Season 2 … which means it might suck for us when the Saint of Killers finally catches up with him.

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