Has God been controlling Jesse Custer from the very start of Preacher? Jesse's story begins when the chain-smoking preacher is inhabited by Genesis, the voice of God capable of commanding a person to do absolutely anything. Seeking answers, Jesse turns to God but finds that the big man upstairs has gone missing and not even heaven's angels know where their leader is hiding. Since Preacher season 2, Jesse has been on a journey to find God and discover the meaning behind just about everything.
God has been an elusive figure in Preacher thus far, but boasts opening credits billing in season 4 and viewers have learned far more about his nature and intentions. Aside from the shocking revelations that God loves diet Dr. Pepper and wiped out the dinosaurs because they wouldn't stop eating their own poop, the deity is also revealed to be working with Preacher's main villain, Herr Starr. The exact nature of this partnership remains unclear, but their common ground is clearly stated: both Starr and God want Jesse to suffer.
An even more shocking scene depicts God working at a table with various key moments from Jesse's life mapped out. There are miniature pieces representing the Preacher's church in Annville, the coffin he was imprisoned in by the L'Angelle family and the plane he was riding at that very moment. Clearly, God has taken as keen an interest in Jesse as Jesse has in God.
While the audience knows the white-bearded creator wants Jesse to suffer, there remain two key questions from Preacher's season 4 premiere. Firstly, what is God's ultimate plan for Jesse? And secondly, does the table of Jesse's life prove that God has been controlling the character from the very first episode? Genesis supposedly entered Jesse at random, having chewed through multiple hosts before settling. But what if its release into the world was orchestrated by God himself, designed as a way of finding someone with certain qualities? If so, this may explain why God wants Jesse to suffer - as a further test of the preacher's character. Following this thinking through, the models relating to Jesse's life could be a sign that, since Genesis and Jesse became one, the unfortunate circumstances that have befallen Dominic Cooper's character have been further experiments sent from God.
It's impossible to say whether Jesse is being tested by God for some kind of future job or for a completely different purpose but, essentially, God could be seen as Preacher's Willy Wonka, tempting candidates with power (candy) and throwing temptations in their way to try and catch the prospects out.
In any other TV show, that would be the mystery solved. However, Preacher is far from a regular story, and it's entirely possible that God has been wreaking havoc in Jesse's life for a more whimsical reason. Perhaps he was bored with answering prayers and decided to make one man's life a living hell, or perhaps, in true Bruce Almighty style, God decided to show one of his followers how difficult his job was by giving them a taste of his own power. This sort of ridiculous explanation would fit Preacher's overall tone and ethos, and also works alongside God's established petulant personality.
Whatever God's designs are for Jesse, they're almost certainly connected to the flashforward seen at the beginning of Preacher season 4. This scene showed Tulip and Cassidy living happily together, while Jesse fell from the sky and died in Australia. Is this the final stage of God's test? Or proof that the preacher is being used as a celestial plaything, and will be cast aside when God has had his fun.
Preacher continues with "Deviant" August 11th on AMC.