Preacher: Season 1 Episode 9 Review – Finish the Song

By ·July 25, 2016 11:23 am
Jesse Custer

When we heard that the cast and showrunners performed a surprise live reading of this episode at Comic-Con, our natural assumption was that this would be an episode of considerable quality. Alas, as with most of this season, this episode failed to live up those high expectations, but still held a few moments of pleasing respite within. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.

Comic fans have no doubt longed for the return of The Saint of Killers (called only “the cowboy” so far in the show). At Comic-Con an interviewer even asked Graham McTavish outright if Episode 9 would see the Saint finally interact with the residents of Annville, forcing McTavish to provide an elusive “you will learn who he is in this episode.”

McTavish was right – by the end of this episode the show sets up the cowboy’s new profession, albeit without using the term “The Saint of Killers” at all, nor providing any clear definition of his wider role. Instead he is merely employed by Fiore and DeBlanc to murder Jesse, which diminishes his role in the grander scheme of things and lessens the impact of his murderous tendencies (which is why he was chosen to be the Saint in the comics). Nor do we see the Saint murdering the Devil, which is a shame.

The bar's singer is ordered to "finish the song" by the cowboy.

The bar’s singer is ordered to “finish the song” by the cowboy.

It’s a conclusion that followed a very overly laborious final montage, in which we saw the Saint’s chain of events that led him to Ratwater played out over and over again, to a degree that surely grated on the patience of every viewer and which trod all over the screenwriter’s book of rules around using scene time to retain audience attention. Once it is revealed that the Saint is living out this Ratwater cycle over and over in Hell, the montage makes a little more sense, but we still feel that it was elongated beyond any necessity or logic.

This vision of Hell has been used before in other shows – the idea that Hell simply forces you to relive your worst moment over and over again, in an endless cycle. If this holds true for any resident of Hell, then this means that Eugene must surely be living out his murder/suicide attempt over and over in Hell (which the the thing that he regrets most from his life).

This makes us wonder firstly if Fiore and DeBlanc even intend of retrieving Eugene from Hell at all (during their efforts to get into Hell, they don’t mention him once) and secondly if, upon finding him, both they and the audience will get to witness the murder/suicide attack. Despite our feelings about how the writers butchered Eugene’s character by making him an attempted murderer, we would like to see how this event played out.

Fiore offers the cowboy a job - to find and kill Jesse Custer.

Fiore offers the cowboy a job – to find and kill Jesse Custer.

Another baffling development was why Emily chose to murder the Mayor. We realise that he she was perhaps tired of him chasing her, but choosing to murder him (or rather, to knowingly feed him to Cassidy) seems mightily out of character. It’s just another step that adds to the show making every character in Annville unlikable, including Eugene. Hugo Root also chose to commit murder this episode (of an angel, no less), but at least his motivations were bourn out of mercy, rather than wicked personal gain.

We hoped that this episode would elevate the show back into the level of play that it held in its first couple of episodes, but it only served to disappoint, just like the majority of this season. The two things we enjoyed the most this week were adult Jesse calling Tulip to use the “until the end of the world” line and the elegance of the Saint’s execution of the Ratwater populace.

The finale approaches next, for which we’re keeping our expectations very low. Really we should see Herr Starr in the finale, given that the writers set him up early in the season, but we can’t see this happening (another screenwriting rule broken). We’re still going to hold out hope for one thing – that this entire season has effectively been a prequel to the comics and a way of simply gathering our characters in the right place, so that Season 2 can begin the fast-paced road trip that we know and love from the comics.

Image credits: AMC

More: AMC Preacher

Written by Christopher Hart

Co-Editor in Chief / Film, TV and Literature Writer

Christopher holds an MA in Publishing and a BA in Comparative Literature, and currently works as an analyst for a major Bank in London.

Christopher self-publishes his own Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. His completed series of short stories is titled 'Altered Stone' and can be found on Amazon.

His specialist subjects include LOST, Preacher, Supergirl, A Song of Ice and Fire, Kevin Smith, Bioshock and Fallout.

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