Preacher is about to come to a close, with only two episodes left of its four-season run, and with a huge number of storylines to wrap up, the show may struggle to truly satisfy fans in the end. The live-action adaptation of the Garth Ennis comics of the same name, Preacher has come a long way since season one.
Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy have left Annville far behind (and utterly destroyed), chased down God, tangled with the Grail, met the Messiah, hung out with Jesus, been to Hell and back (literally), and are now attempting to avert the apocalypse - all with only two episodes to go.
Preacher's most recent episode, 'Fear of the Lord', saw some major reunions; Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are reunited, the Grail once again has possession of Humperdoo (and Herr Starr has regained his good looks and working body), and God's apocalypse is about to happen (even if Jesus and Hitler aren't too thrilled about the whole thing right now). It seems that everything is coming together for the final battle to save the world, but are two episodes enough to allow this to happen and to wrap up every loose end?
Everything Preacher Still Has To Resolve
Despite the fact that (almost) everyone has come together again near Masada, there are still a lot of storylines that Preacher needs to resolve in only two episodes. Arseface and the Saint of Killers are the only two not currently with either the Trio or the Grail - with the Saint still hunting down God, and Eugene having been picked up in Australia, last seen scooping a guitar out of the hands of a dead man in what appears to be a prison (and to be fair, prison must seem like a walk in the park, after everything that Eugene has been through).
The Trio in Preacher is now together again, with Tulip and Cassidy shocked to see Jesse alive. This isn't too surprising, given that they last spotted their Genesis-possessing preacher friend Jesse falling out of an airplane into the Australian desert, before burying him themselves. Fans know that Jesse was stuck in Hell for a time, dealt with the angels, was offered the Throne in Heaven, and then had his eye bitten out of his head by God, but Tulip and Cass still have to learn about everything that has happened. Complicating matters, of course, is the fact that right before Jesse reappeared, the two slept together. Again. Clearly, the looming threat of annihilation isn't the only issue that these three have to deal with.
Finally, the Grail is now working toward the Apocalypse - and with Humperdoo back in their possession, it has an 'air date' (as Herr Starr puts it). Starr himself is in control, on God's orders, with Featherstone as his right hand. Humperdoo himself is still the sweet, confused idiot that he has always been (although it's a good bet to think that his time with Tulip and Cass has changed him in some way), and Hitler and Jesus are no longer totally on board with the plan. The ambassadors for Heaven and Hell have little faith in Starr, Humperdoo, or even God, and they may not simply go along with the plan. Meanwhile, as for God himself... well, it seems that the loving creator of the universe never really intended to give humanity a chance, and he's now on the loose and ready to wipe the slate clean a second time.
Why Preacher Will Struggle To Finish Everything
In terms of plot alone, Preacher has a lot to pack into the final episodes of the series. Preventing the apocalypse is no small feat, and the Trio have to figure out the Grail's plan, as well as a plan of their own to stop it. If it was simply these two factions facing off, though, two episodes would be plenty of time to bring the show to an epic conclusion. However, each of the major players in the game seems to have their own agenda at this point, and every plan is going to be second-guessed, undermined, and attacked from all sides. Even within the Trio there is serious tension, and the three have never been particularly good at all sticking to the same plan, and Featherstone seems increasingly unimpressed with Herr Starr, so the final fight may end up being every man for himself. Add to that an undercover detective who got the word out before being shot, a wildly unpredictable God and a single-minded Saint of Killers, and it feels like the final battle may become more of a mess than anything.
In addition to the fairly straightforward issues of resolving the actual God v Trio v Apocalypse situation, there are multiple side-plots going on that need concluding. Arseface can't simply be left where he is, Fiore and the Angels have recently reappeared, and of course, Genesis itself is presumably not simply going to reside within Jesse permanently. Preacher may struggle to effectively circle back to each of these issues while still giving the apocalypse itself enough time to be properly averted.
And that's not even the end of the to-do list in Preacher's final season. Something that Preacher has always done very well is to ground this (arguably quite bonkers) show in the relationships between the characters. Jesus struggles with Daddy issues, Herr Starr has become borderline sympathetic through his trials and Featherstone's enduring love for him is pitiful to watch, and of course, Cassidy, Jesse & Tulip have the most complicated relationship of all. In order to truly be a satisfying ending, these are the dynamics that must be resolved when the dust settles, but having the time to do that means that there may not be enough time to cover the actual final showdown without turning it into an over-simplified gunfight that sees half the cast killed.
How Preacher Can Still Have A Satisfying Ending
The complexity of the situation right now is going to take some careful writing to wrap up well, but it is still possible (without being too rushed). The physical proximity of all the characters certainly points to a final fight, and Preacher's ending would do well to embrace its own brand of unpredictable madness and create a showdown that goes completely off the rails. Going for broke on a big final fight would give the series a chance to show off some of the things it does best; amazing cinematography, epic gore, a fantastic soundtrack, and a whole lot of confusion. Major pairings (God and the Saint, Tulip and Featherstone, Starr and Jesse) could get their own face-offs, and this would give the show time to focus the finale itself on what happens next.
As for what does happen next, while it would be interesting to see the show fall back on the comics to find an end, it would be more satisfying to see Preacher go somewhere else with the Trio. Exploring what such a messed up crew of killers do when they have saved the world would be a brilliant end, although whichever direction the show takes, the most important thing will be to really dig into the friendship and romance that glues these three together. Finally, fans can hope for one more comic throwback - that may have been hinted at in 'Fear of the Lord'. Eugene, in the original comic series, becomes a surprise rock star (although this doesn't have a happy ending). Having been last seen with a new guitar in hand, could this be the happy ending that Eugene deserves? If so, it will almost certainly be the only truly happy ending that Preacher gets.