“We almost end where the comic starts,” Dominic Cooper, who plays Jesse Custer in Preacher, told Comicbook.com back in May. In this week’s season finale of the AMC series, “Call and Response,” Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy have finally arrived at the beginning point of the story laid out for them by Garth Ennis’ source material: The road trip across the planet to find God, ask him to explain himself, and hold him accountable.
The question some — especially comics readers — may be asking, however, is whether the first season was even necessary? After all, it ends where the first pages of the comics begin, and after 10 episodes, much of the work that has been put into the characters in Annville is all for naught because they are all dead (as far as we know). A methane explosion took out the city (as we predicted a few weeks ago), presumably killing Emily, Root, Donnie, and Odin Quincannon, and everyone else. Why bother with the first 10 episodes, then, if the series is not going to take any of these characters forward?
“It’s so necessary because you need to get to know characters,” Cooper stated in May, explaining why Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg decided to present the first season of Preacher as a prequel to the source material. While the comics do offer backstories on Jesse and Tulip, we never get to know Jesse as an actual preacher, and in a series that asks us to identify with him as a man of God, the first season has been crucial from a character development standpoint.
Indeed, going ahead we now understand what kind of man Jessie will be on this upcoming road trip. His father — a preacher himself — insisted Jesse do good in the world. He has faith in God, but he’s not without his doubts. He’s conflicted. He believes in God — and the first season has given him every reason to do so — but he doesn’t necessarily believe in his motives or in his goodness. He also believes in the importance of free will — in letting others make their own decisions — and that’s important going ahead because Custer rarely relies upon his powers, except when he’s given no other choice. An oft-repeated complaint this season, in fact, has been, “Why doesn’t Jesse just command them?” Why? Because of what happened to Eugene, and Ted Ryerson, and Tracy Loach, that’s why. Jesse understands the power he possesses, but he also better understands the consequences of using it.