‘Preacher’ Pilot Review: I’m Here to Save You

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I will start off by saying that I’ve never read the “Preacher” comic books. So, I’m going into the new AMC show relatively blind. The only things I’ve heard is that it’s good. And with only that in mind, “Preacher” has piqued my interest. The way its narrative moves in and out of various events as setup for the season’s plot and the introduction of its characters was a bit slow going, but it gave each character an in and shrouded them with enough mystery that peeling back the layers will be intriguing.

Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/AMC

Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/AMC

Dominic Cooper plays Jesse Custer, a man known to many as Preacher in the small Texas town of Annville. While he’s struggling to keep the lights on in his church and maintain the promise he made to his father, Preacher is battling his own demons and past. Unconvinced that he’s making any difference–his attempt to come between a man who’s beating his wife doesn’t pan out the way he thinks it should–Preacher is practically hiding out, going through the daily motions. He tries to handle the abusive husband non-violently, but that plan quickly goes to hell after he beats the man up in a bar, landing Preacher in jail.

Preacher is generally left to his own devices, with the exception of Emily (Lucy Griffiths), a widow with kids who helps out with the church finances. Everything shifts when two people drop in on him unexpectedly: Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) on purpose and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) by accident. Tulip obviously has a history with Jesse, coming back to finish what they started. She’s introduced during a car fight. The car is driving its way through a cornfield as she’s ruthlessly and skillfully beating up two men. This woman is very capable of taking care of herself and for that scene alone, she’s quick to take a liking to and where this journey takes her, I don’t know, but I’m more than happy to see it through.

A woman needs to know how to be strong, stand on her own. Of course, boy or a girl, if you’re lucky enough to fall in love you have to be even stronger… fight like a lion to keep it alive… so that on the day your love is weak enough… or selfish enough… or friggin’ stupid enough to run away, you have the strength to track him down and eat him alive.

preacher1Cassidy is introduced on a plane, dealing like he’s in a casino, Irish brogue in full swing. He’s been on the run and the people he’s running from? Well, they’ve found him, ready with their crossbows and stakes and there’s nowhere for Cassidy to run. It’s never said out loud, but if the weapons used on him and the fact that he later doesn’t want to be in the sun are any indication, it looks like Cassidy is a vampire. Why he’s being chased or who he’s running from is not yet clear, but it’s obvious that he’ll be working with Preacher.

Meanwhile, around the globe, preachers are being possessed (this includes Tom Cruise in a hilarious gag about the church of Scientology) and are then being blown to smithereens, showering their congregations with their blood. Right before Jesse is set to give up being a preacher, he’s possessed, for lack of a better term, by the same being wreaking havoc around the world. However, Jesse remains completely intact with nothing immediately amiss to cause him suspicion. Coming to an epiphany that perhaps he just hasn’t been trying hard enough, he vows that he will be there for his church and that he will save his congregation. He begins, unknowingly, with a man who’s constantly pestering Preacher about the issues he’s having with his mother. On the day of his sermon, Preacher tells the man, “Be brave. Tell her the truth. Open your heart.”

Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/AMC

Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/AMC

In a trance and repeating these words like a mantra, the man flies to Florida to make peace with his mother. Except he takes the advice quite literally and after telling her that she should leave him be, he cuts out his heart, offering it to her before collapsing. Well, then. Damn. It seems the effects of Preacher’s possession is already in full swing.

I can’t — I can’t quit. You deserve a good preacher, and that’s what you’re gonna get.

“Preacher” is chock-full of the darker and lighter sides of religious themes and is gory as hell. It doesn’t even try to hold back. It isn’t linear, either, bouncing around from one scene to the next–from Texas to Africa (the country, as is usual, isn’t identified), from Russia to a plane in midair and from the distant past to the not-so-distant past. The pilot sets in motion events that will have seemingly drastic repercussions on many around the globe. So far, “Preacher” has set itself up to be a great comic book-based drama with great performances, a plot and themes that will more than likely be fulfilling, and a journey that I’m sure will be full of fight.

70%
70%
Great

"Preacher" is chock-full of the darker and lighter sides of religious themes and is gory as hell. It doesn't even try to hold back. It has set itself up to be a great comic book-based drama with great performances, a plot and themes that will more than likely be fulfilling.

3.5star

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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