Nothing says summer like Preacher. It’s been almost eleven months since the last episode aired, and before that, the long limbo when a Preacher project seemed unlikely to get off the ground seemed to last forever. Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin might not have been the first people fans would have pegged to put a show like this together, but regardless of the varying opinions on the plot changes made in season one, the series did a wonderful job of capturing the wild, carefree debauchery that reigns in an impressively action-packed small town.
From the minds of writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, Vertigo’s cult classic comic series follows Jesse Custer, his (ex?) girlfriend Tulip, and best vampire buddy Cassidy as they tackle criminal pasts, rogue cowboys, and orders from the highest religious beings to relinquish control of an unknown entity called Genesis.
Season one was filled with unforgettable moments for viewers to digest, but where does that leave Preacher going into season two? With thirteen episodes (three more from last year’s ten) in which to wreak lewd mayhem, here’s a rehash of how things went down when we last were in Annville, Texas, and what needs to be addressed when the show returns this month.
15 Annville, TX has been taken out by a methane reactor explosion
In one of those “only on Preacher” moments, an entire town is wiped out after the man assigned to watch the town’s gas pressure levels gets distracted by BDSM. The early reports on TV look bad. If it’s true that there were no survivors, season two isn’t obligated to revisit any of the characters living there. No more Sheriff Root to know about Cassidy being a vampire, or Emily to kill off her boyfriends, or Odin Quincannon to worship his God of Meat.
A similar wipeout kickstarted the first book of Preacher, but the 'cause of explosion' wasn’t the same, and the timing had readers unaware of Annville’s residents when they died. It’s too early to say whether a few people will outlive the blast, but if they don’t, season two should be an easy entry point for new viewers to jump in (or book fans to return, if they weren’t sold on the prequel first season).
14 Eugene needs to be rescued from hell
Sent there accidentally, when Jesse told him to go to Hell using Genesis’ voice (which makes everything Jesse says happen literally), Eugene hasn’t been seen in Annville since. Jesse imagined he was talking to him a few times, but it’s all in his head, and in episode nine, “Finish the Song,” we got a glimpse at what Hell was like for the Saint of Killers. Drawing conclusions from there, it’s not difficult to imagine what Eugene might be going through.
The Saint’s hell was reliving his decision to turn back, instead of taking medicine to his wife and child. He was trying to do the right thing by the people of Ratwater, but his family died as a result. Eugene carries a similar guilt for trying to murder Tracy Loach (his attempt to commit suicide after gave him the nickname, Arseface). This traumatic decision is an easy candidate for the on-loop treatment, and would paint Hell to have a staple form of punishment.
13 Fiore came back from visiting hell alone
After Jesse stole their direct phone to heaven, the decision was out of their hands, but initially, angels DeBlanc and Fiore were stuck between traveling to heaven or traveling to hell. Heaven would be the preferable destination, but would undoubtedly get them separated. Hell was supposed to be the option where they’d get to stay together. Instead, the Saint of Killers kills DeBlanc, and Hell is back to be being the place you never want to go.
Usually, a character getting shot in the head doesn’t leave room for debate, but DeBlanc’s death is important beyond being Fiore’s close friend. Every other time an angel has been killed on Preacher (as proven most memorably in episode six, “Sundowner”), they’ve immediately been resurrected. That the Saint of Killer’s gun can kill angels elevates him from a serious threat to an opponent bordering on invincible.
12 Jesse's tattoo on his back is significant
Also in “Sundowner” comes a conversation on Jesse’s tattoos. The tulip won’t come as a surprise, but a second tattoo, on Jesse’s back, has a much longer backstory behind it than “a mean old lady” gave it to him (what he tells Cassidy).
A skull over a sheriff’s star over a horse shoe, the same tattoo is shown on the wrist of the man who killed Jesse's dad in episode seven, “He Gone,” and will appear in the comics as a crest over the gateway to Jesse’s grandmother’s home. If season two coincides with book one, then we should be meeting some of Jesse's relatives soon. His mother’s side are a particularly nasty bunch. On the show, however, Jesse is being raised by his dad alone, so it’s equally possible that this storyline will see some alterations.
11 Jesse's dad has a very different backstory in the books
Where a big part of season one is Jesse following in his father’s footsteps and taking over his church in Annville, John Custer wasn’t a preacher in the comics. He was a Vietnam veteran. Whatever precipitated the show to make a change in his career, John’s occupation has a ripple effect on the story because of how much Jesse looks up to his dad. That reverence carries over from the book to show, but results in a different end, because Jesse is modeling different behavior.
TV John is rougher, more judgmental, and harsher than book John. We see that taken out on characters like Tulip, who John never meets in the books, and Jesse, who is raised with corporal punishment. It’s hard to imagine book Jesse ever wishing John dead, yet it’s this prayer that precedes John’s murder on the show.
10 The O'Hare family has a reputation
We’ve only met Tulip’s Uncle Walter so far, and we know her mom worked at the whorehouse, but from the way Jesse's dad talks about Tulip's family, they’re not exactly upstanding citizens. O’Hares are trouble, John tells Jesse, but they also weren’t around much when Tulip was growing up, if appearances are any indication. There’s no reason Tulip should be grouped with them, just because they share the same last name, but when it comes down to it, being an O’Hare is the only reason John can muster for why he calls child welfare in "He Gone." Jesse’s pleas go unheard.
Condemned for her family’s actions, it’d be nice to learn in season two whether they’re worthy of such venom, or if John’s motives were slightly more complex.
9 We don't know exactly why Tulip and Jesse broke up before he returned to Annville
A big piece of the puzzle is Carlos. Carlos was supposed to be their partner in a bank robbery job, but at the last minute, he changed plans, got jealous of Tulip and Jesse’s relationship, and released a security guard to go after them, while nicking the getaway car for himself. Tulip and Jesse shouldn’t have been there, but Tulip miscarries after, and Jesse kills the security guard.
Tulip blames Carlos for everything bad that's happened to them since, and it was a betrayal that set in-motion devastating loss, but what his actions didn’t necessarily require was for her and Jesse to go their separate ways. Alarms blaring in the background, did they evade arrest that day, and what was the final straw that made Jesse decide to make tracks for Annville?
8 The bald man in white will have a larger role in the series
Without getting into too much detail, his name is Herr Star and he is one of Preacher’s biggest villains. Unlike the Saint of Killers, whose guns make him impossible to forget, Herr Starr is one of those characters that the show has implied to be significant, without drilling the point in. His appearances on the show have been few in number, but if they've been easy to overlook, it’s a temporary oversight.
Starr's most memorable contribution to date has been as the client Dany needs Tulip to fetch a map for in the pilot. His identity is divulged in episode three, “The Possibilities,” but the job takes place during Tulip’s wrestle through a cornfield in the first episode. What the map is for is unclear, but it's a question that’s meant to be answered in the long run.
7 Cassidy still has vampire hunters after him
Granted, they get dropped as a menace after Cassidy jumps out of an airplane in the pilot (he had to kill the passengers and the pilot in self-defense), but unless every vampire hunter in the world was on that flight, there’s bound to be more where they came from. Cassidy is counting on it. When Fiore and DeDlanc show up with chainsaws, he reasonably believes it’s him and not the good preacher, Jesse, that they want to cut open. He adapts, but the message is clear. There will be other hunters in his future.
Speaking of Jesse, he’s a long way from getting past Cassidy’s ‘vampires exist’ disclosure. Season one seemed to leave them in a pretty good place (Jesse didn’t let Cassidy burn when he told him the truth), but along comes the season two trailer, and Jesse is stirring up trouble instead of letting the vampire news go. Jesse’s not a vampire hunter, but when he meets one, it could be curious to see how he reacts.
6 What happened when Cassidy was in New York City
This question is for the rap sheet Sheriff Root pulls from Cassidy’s police records. Part of the season finale, “Call and Response,” most of the incidents are related to drink or drugs, which Root can rattle through while he’s questioning Cassidy on Eugene’s disappearance. It’s the attempted murder in New York that stands out from the rest.
Vampires crave blood – that’s part of the mythology – but Preacher’s vampires don’t need to kill so frequently. The main reason they require blood is for healing, but there's none of that emotional angst of taking human life on a regular basis. Cassidy didn’t turn down sucking the mayor dry when Emily served him up, but he doesn’t complain about bunnies or dogs either. For him to have attempted murder can’t be passed off as a vampire urge then, and Cassidy has a history with the city of New York in the books.
5 Cassidy's feelings for Tulip mean trouble ahead
TV has a problem with threes. On the one hand, they adore the number. On the other, they pack it with such atrocious baggage, that Cassidy can’t join forces with Jesse and Tulip without causing a stir. It’s a love triangle, and Cassidy is the third wheel.
While the book is no less guilty of inducing romance, there’s a reprieve before feelings grow contentious. Season one put their love triangle ahead of schedule. Cassidy and Tulip shared a one night stand that meant a lot more to the former than it did to the latter. Unaware of their man in common, the dark stain over their future built. It’s a premature sense of dread that’s bound to be blurted out by someone who observes the awkwardness that exists between them.
4 Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are on a road trip to find God
They called ahead first, but God didn’t answer. That’s why they’re looking for Him. God’s first mistake was having another person (angel?) answer calls on His behalf. Had He let it go to message, or ignored the unknown number, nobody would’ve been the wiser. He could’ve been too busy to talk and people would’ve believed that over the possibility He was free but didn’t want to.
Instead, by having someone pose as Him, you have God trying to pull one over on His believers with a lie, and Jesse’s not allowing it. When the angel is compelled by Genesis to tell Jesse the whole truth, he reveals that God is missing – that the angels don’t know where He is. This could mean God’s in trouble, or that he owes an explanation, but Jesse is driving to meet Him, wherever He may be.
3 One stop confirmed: New Orleans
Coming off of New Mexico subbing for Texas in season one, Preacher season two is spending time in New Orleans this year, which is much earlier than Jesse and friends visited the city in book three. If changing the order of events from the books seemed like a fluke with the prequel, Preacher is standing firm by its right to adapt the narrative’s sequence as needed. The Saint of Killers’ origin story was from book three last year, but presenting it earlier helped introduce the character. Maybe there’s a similar reason for stopping in New Orleans first.
The show was able to film in New Orleans, as well, which means the locations will be on site. From the latest trailer, these include Papa Bébé’s House of Voodoo and the Kitty Cat Club.
2 Jesse has the power of Genesis inside him
After what happened to Eugene, and his delayed guilt over Hell, Jesse was ready to let Fiore and DeBlanc take Genesis back. They try the coffee can trick, and sing “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” but it doesn’t take. Moments after lulling Genesis out, he’s blasted back into Jesse’s body, none the worse for leaving.
Going by the season two trailer, Genesis’ extended stay has worn on Jesse’s reserve about using his influence over people. The child of an Angel and a Demon, Genesis isn’t supposed to exist, and instead of taking heed of that, Jesse is back to abusing Genesis’ powers to make state troopers hold hands. A childish stunt, Tulip isn't impressed, and this behavior is especially disappointing in light of Eugene’s condition remaining a giant mystery.
1 The Saint of Killers is on assignment to kill Jesse
Set up at the end of season one, and heavily featured in the season two trailers, the Saint of Killers is coming. If there was an upper echelon of bounty hunters, the Saint of Killers would be on it, so when Fiore and DeBlanc need someone to kill a preacher, the Saint is the kind of gunman they descend into Hell to hire.
With Genesis obstinate about not going back to heaven, Fiore and DeBlanc are set on getting rid of their blunder before it causes more damage. An early season two picture sees Fiore and Jesse crossing paths. Will Jesse realize he’s talking to the angel who sicced the Saint on him? And what about when the Saint and Jesse meet? The Saint’s guns can kill an angel, but will he bend to Genesis’ will when Jesse uses his voice? We'll find out soon enough.
What else should fans know going into season 2? Let us know in the comments.
Preacher Season 2 returns Sunday, June 25th on AMC. Season one is streaming on Hulu.