Saturday, July 22, 2017

Preacher: "On The Road", "Mumbai Sky Tower", "Damsels"

Three in one, just like this post!
I'm massively behind on Season 2 of Preacher, but I have finally gotten the first three episodes knocked off. The good news is that after delivering a proof-of-concept prequel in Season 1, they're hewing much closer to the pace and tone of the comic in Season 2. The bad news is sorta the same.

The first three episodes seem to be establishing a remixed status quo, taking elements and characters from the comic

"On The Road" establishes that they're looking for Got and being chased by the Saint of Killers. That's pretty much it. I mean, there's a lot of character re-establishment and action and such, and a lead in the search for God, but that' the gist of it.

"Mumbai Sky Tower" is spent largely on a side trip to try to get the angel Fiore to call off the Saint of Killers, and also establishes that the Saint is following Jesse by tracking him using the Voice, which sets up a good check on Jesse's nigh-omnipotent superpower apart from ethical considerations and some of the hoops the comics jumped through with gags and such. The end of the episode points them at New Orleans.

"Damsels" brings in New Orleans (earlier than in the comics) and The Grail (earlier than in the comics), and also makes Tulip's dangerous, mysterious past part of the forefront. This last bit, with Tulip and Victor, is new, and not from the comics.

So, having gotten the plot out of the way, how is it? Well, first, it's gross. There was a fair amount of gore in the first season, but it seems like every single episode this season has one to two exceptionally gory set pieces in it, from the Saint of Killers' first attack on police, to a graphic, repeated recreation of the attempted suicides of Eugene and Tracy, to the specific nature of Fiore's magic act in Vegas. Some of these seem necessary, and some of these seem purely gratuitous. This is very much in line with the comics, to be honest, but for a few of these, I wish they'd either pull back, or go farther into absurdism. They're hitting the opposite of a "sweet spot" too often.

The other thing this season is a bit more dead-on casting and costuming to recreate characters from the comics. Especially Starr, Featherstone, and Hoover, who, at least by Episode 3, go a bit farther than the "man that looks like" of Jesse and Cassidy from Season 1 into a "man they're really trying to make that look like" feel.

Writing is still sharp, acting is still spot on. I'm not a huge fan of how scared and freaked out Tulip is in these first three episodes, but I have to assume that's temporary. The overall quality seems a bit more... erratic so far, with Mumbai Sky Tower being damn near perfect, but On The Road and Damsels seeming both rushed and spending too much screen time on pointless bits like the "looking for God" gag in Episode 3. In its attempt to hit the breakneck pace of the comics, it seems to be stepping on its own shoelaces sometimes.

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