Preacher review: Buckle up for Betty as season 3 brings you the ultimate comic book villain
After the turn of events during the premiere episode, AMC drama 'Preacher' is going all out, introducing newer adversaries and unlikely alliances in the upcoming episode.
God is dressed in a black-and-white latex dog suit, angels are reigning supreme and black magic and witchery is the order of the day. Welcome to 'Angelville', the family home of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) and one of the best storylines from the 'Preacher' comics arc that also serves as literature to the breakout American Movie Classics networks' (AMC) series.
A darkly comedic series hatched from the brains of Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen based on the comics created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, 'Preacher' for the most part has loosely followed its source material. Frequently straying into uncharted territories, the showrunners until season 2 have in fact explored several misadventures involving the trio - Preacher Jesse, his outlaw girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and their Irish vampire companion, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun).
Moving into the third season, though - which begins right along the lines of Jesse and Co. traveling all the way to Angelville in a desperate attempt to [Spoiler alert] save Tulip - the trend continues with 'Preacher' only borrowing from the comics, tackling the all-time great events of "All in the Family" chapters.
"In Season 3, Jesse Custer’s quest for God takes him back to the place he’s been avoiding his whole life: home," teases the description for Preacher season 3. "Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy return to Angelville, the Louisiana Plantation where Jesse was raised, and find old grudges and deadly obligations await them." For the loyal readers of the comics, the combination of words such as deadly and grudges shouldn't come as much of a surprise. After all, the foes that the Preacher from the comics battles, is ten times more frightening and their antics - one that could send chills down the spine.
But that's all about the comics. In the small screen iteration, in Rogen's own words, the characters are rounded out, so that they appear more humane with individual dreams and aspirations and vices, that render them a super-villainous streak in the process. A goal best achieved with the casting of theater veteran Betty Buckley. As Jesse's Gran’ma, the legendary actress is not just convincing but also she lives up to all the allusions of horrors with regards to the titular character's childhood.
Since the very beginning, subtle but poignant hints are dropped about the demonic place that is Jesse's grandmother's plantation. Together with her two henchmen, Jody (Jeremy Childs) and T.C. (Colin Cunningham), Marie L'Angelle aka Gran’ma paint a picture that the worst nightmares are made of.
She is mostly clad in black, weathered and crumbling. And yet a thirst for eternal youth drives this "spiritist with true powers" to trade her grandson's blood in exchange for saving the life of the woman he has come to truly love. For Jesse and Tulip, the horror-show had begun by the end of Preacher's second season itself, after the seemingly harmless Featherstone (a Grail operative in the disguise of Jeny) shot Ruth Negga's feisty character.
Faced with the prospects of losing his one true love, with Jesse's only other option being letting Cassidy turn Tulip into one of his own, the Preacher makes a rather difficult decision in the very first episode of season 3. The moment they step into 'Angelville', a preview of Gran’ma's mystic powers and the strength of her will is given in the form of an eerie flashback. Transported back to the black and white scenes, Jesse's mother is shown as the first victim, as without any hesitance a younger Gran'ma orders her minions to hold her daughter down while she cuts open her stomach.
What follows next might not be hair-raising level violent but definitely sets the cold, spooky tone for 'Preacher', which undoubtedly is in its finest story arcs of all times.
As a lifeless Tulip struggles in the 'purgatory' - Preacher's version of the state between life and afterlife - Gran'ma works her magic, on the side chastising Cassidy's ears with the valor of her tongue. She knows her grandson well, so much so, that she has no fear challenging Jesse even when he threatens her with her life. As part of this knowledge, Gran'ma also becomes acutely aware of the trouble that is brewing between the two men and a near-dead Tulip's involvement with the situation.
Amidst all the high-octane drama and grotesque proceedings, if one thing stands out, it is Buckley's villainy. Her portrayal of Gran'ma has a lingering aftertaste, bitter at the first instance but with a promise of more unexpected surprises as the plot unfolds.
What to expect next?
One might as well develop the stomach for more brutal violence and savagery as Preacher's season 3 gets underway. After the eventful course that is taken during the premiere episode, the AMC drama is sure to go all out, introducing newer adversaries and unlikely alliances.
"Desperate to escape Angelville and his family, Jesse attempts to forge an unlikely alliance with a familiar adversary," teases the synopsis for the second episode, that airs on Sunday, July 1 at 10pm EST on AMC.