Anyone who tuned in regularly to Preacher during its wild first season knows that the series didn’t operate so much as an adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic books, as it did a series seemingly inspired by the tale of a wayward preacher imbued with a fantastic cosmic power as he and his companions venture out into the unknown in search of God. While this may have resulted in a fascinating series that came without a roadmap, for fans of the comics, the transition away from the storytelling elements in the graphic novels may have left them scratching their heads and wondering when the larger story was going to begin.
After the destructive events of the season 1 finale, those fans now have an answer. A storyline seemingly mired in the goings-on of the fictional Texas town of Annville will no longer be an issue, now that the town in question has been blown to smithereens thanks to a methane reactor doing away with both the setting of the first 10 episodes and the majority of the supporting cast. It was a dramatic way to say goodbye to the first season, one that leaves Preacher season 2 with nothing but the possibilities of an empty road ahead. Of those possibilities is a storyline that now has room to include more elements from the comics and to expand on the storyline as it sees fit, because Jesse has made it clear he intends to find God and either help him or kick his ass.
Given the potential shift that has been set up in the wake of ‘Call and Response,’ here is a list of what we’d like to see when Preacher returns for season 2.
A mixture of comedic relief and pure antagonism, Herr Starr was one of the major elements of the Preacher comic books not offered much in the way of screen time in season 1. It’s a good bet that the white-suited man seen (from the shoulders down) watching a snuff film earlier in the season was in fact Herr Starr, so that scene will likely have greater significance once the character is officially introduced in season 2, as showrunner Sam Catlin has since promised. That will give the series another narrative to follow and develop, as the origin story of Starr alone is one that comprised several issues of the comics.
Herr Starr was a German military man; a former member of an elite anti-terrorism squad who is spurred to action after an innocent six-year-old girl became the sole casualty of his group’s efforts to save the passengers of a hijacked plane. Following his military career, Starr finds a place in the secretive and powerful organization known as The Grail (more on them below) and finds himself not only in pursuit of Jesse Custer, but also of The Saint of Killers, as the two intersect with the group’s larger plans for the fate of humanity.
Though Starr often acts as the embodiment of “everything that can go wrong will go wrong” there is purpose to his actions, as he is in the know more than almost anyone else in the series. And as his plans begin to be more and more self-serving and the events he is involved in more outlandish, Herr Starr stands a chance at becoming one of the more unforgettable character in the series.
The Grail & Allfather D’Aronique
When talking about The Grail and its relationship with Herr Starr, it’s kind of a toss-up in terms of which constitutes the greater importance in the series’ larger narrative. It has already been confirmed that The Grail exists in the TV version of Preacher, as the organization was mentioned in almost the same breath as Starr was. At any rate, the furtive religious society has plans to bring about the Messiah – who is actually an inbred descendent of Jesus Christ – after sparking a nuclear war as a way to unite the world (and put it even more under their control) in the midst of great chaos and the threat of imminent annihilation.
The group is another example of unchecked, unearned power and authority in the series, which naturally makes them the perfect adversary for Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy to fight against. Seeing as how the trio of outlaws is on a mission to kick the ass of the ultimate authority ever, pitting them against the machinations of a group like The Grail is a no brainer.
In addition to making the group an on- and off-screen menace, Preacher will face a challenge in bringing the larger-than-life character of Allfather D’Aronique to the series. The Grail’s leader is an imposing physical specimen who serves as a glib visual metaphor, underlining the hypocritical consumptive excesses of wealth and power in many religious organizations. If the series is going to court controversy, it’s likely that it will begin to do so with the introduction of The Grail, Allfather D’Aronique, and the big secret that would make Dan Brown’s head explode.
The Saint of Killers’ Backstory
One of the best moments of Preacher season 1 resulted from a trip to hell that told the story of the Cowboy’s massacre of the people of Ratwater, following the death of his family. It was a violent story that made the man who will become The Saint of Killers (provided the series gives him that moniker) into something much more frightening than a cowpoke with a penchant for killing folks. And yet the death of the Saint’s family, and his brazen butchery of Ratwater’s population is only half the story. As told in the comics, the Saint’s hatred ran so deep he froze the fires of hell and was turned into the Angel of Death.
None of that has been made evident so far in Preacher, but now that the Saint is primed to become the big bad of season 2, there’s plenty of time to expand on his backstory and his motivation. That’s not to say the series will do it, however. Season 1’s treatment of the character was one of the things Preacher nailed, especially with how it revealed the flashbacks to actually be the character’s hellish torment. Adding more to the story might dilute the efficacy of that moment. On the other hand, however, considering the series literally blew nearly everything it had worked to build in the first season straight to hell, there’s a good chance the Saint’s expanded backstory will be right at home in season 2.
Eugene Doesn’t Get Out of Hell
Late in season 1, Jesse inadvertently sent Eugene (or Arseface) to hell and that’s where he stayed – even after the finale. Though he made a brief appearance in ‘El Valero’ and even ‘Call and Response’ Eugene was relegated to the role of Figment of Jesse’s Imagination or the Manifestation of Jesse’s Guilt. Either way, it was an interesting way to handle what is essentially a divisive character whose role even in the comics is negligible at best. For the series to turn him into a representation of the protagonist’s conscience and motivation may actually be the best use for Eugene moving forward. Having him in the real world, requiring him to interact with people other than Jesse, and then requiring Jesse to act on his behalf might not be in the best interest of a show that previously demonstrated its propensity for getting caught up in moments when a big narrative was just out there waiting to be discovered.
Keeping Eugene in hell would be fitting incentive for Jesse to track down God – or at least Fiore or another Seraphim – but it would also remove a lot of the baggage that comes with having the character exist alongside those who are at the center of the series’ plot. Now that Preacher is steering more toward the comics’ main storyline, it is in the writers’ best interest to keep that road as free and clear as possible; and keeping Eugene locked away in Jesse’s head is the easiest way to do just that.
More Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy Bonding
If the season finale proved anything – aside from the show’s willingness to just wipe the game board clean – it’s that Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joseph Gilgun have terrific chemistry together. The post-French Fry run in which the three discuss their plans (and the merits of The Big Lebowski) demonstrates how well the actors know their characters and how capable the writers are of crafting dialogue that demonstrates who Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are, but also how they relate to one another, even when there’s nothing pressing to be discussed. Casual bits of dialogue like that are the sort of small touches that make a series like Preacher come to life, and the notion that season 2 could feature more of that should be appealing to anyone who likes the show.
There’s a downside to having the three of them together that could wreck the whole thing, though. Inevitably, there will come a need for conflict between these characters and as was seen in ‘He Gone,’ that can lead Preacher down an unsuccessful path. As long as the writers are able to avoid the trappings of the purposely awkward and confrontational dinner had by Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy, and Emily, then the show will likely shine in its depiction of their relationship. If not, then things could turn out worse than vanilla-flavored hash browns.
Next: Preacher Season 1 Finale Explained
Preacher will continue with season 2 in 2017 on AMC.