TV Review: Preacher (Season 3 Episode 1)
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It's 2018 and in the modern fucked up world, nihilist existentialism is having a moment in media. Some of television’s biggest hits in the last few years haven taken to this idea across a variety of genres. Examples include Game of Thrones (more so than the books), Mr. Robot, Bojack Horseman, Rick and Morty and Westworld. Standing alongside them is AMC’s Preacher, now going into its third season, which decides instead to embrace the similar, but different concept of Absurdism. Based on the Vertigo comic by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, it follows a small town Texan preacher called Jesse Custer who becomes possessed by the offspring of an angel and demon called Genesis and is consequently granted godlike powers. A preacher, but also haunted by a past life of crime alongside his ex-girlfriend Tulip O’Hara, Jesse is the perfect vessel for it. Meeting the vampire Cassidy and reconnecting with Tulip, the three become an unlikely trio. The show, like the absurdism that Camus put forward, agrees that life has no meaning, is absurd and can only be met with three reactions: suicide, a leap of faith or recognition of life’s absurdity. The first season acted as a prologue of sorts to what the show would make its focus from then on. In the comic we only hear of what happened to Annville, but the show develops it. We meet townspeople, good and bad, in addition to the angels, Fiore and DeBlanc who were babysitters to Genesis in Heaven and attempt to coax and force Jesse into giving up the entity. In the first big twist of the first season we find Jesse arranging a chat with God for his church congregation using a heavenly phone. The Annville humans seem to be gaining insight from their creator when it's revealed the person talking to them is just an angel in disguise since the real God is missing. Even heaven doesn’t know where he is and the place is falling apart. God isn’t dead, but close. Adding to these dark absurd events are features like Graham McTavish’s character who is the Saint of Killers. The finale however shows it best when the Preacher trio head off in search of God, while a small mistake back in Annville makes it promptly explode in a fire of methane annihilating every side character we’d come to know. Their existence really is meaningless. Season two expanded on its absurd and existentialist themes. God in addition to being missing is rather into BDSM and is enjoying wearing a latex Dalmatian suit in New Orleans, while the idea trumpeted by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, is shown for the real horror it would be. A secret organisation called the Grail guards the descendants of Christ whose blood have been kept pure and consequently so inbred that only their semi-divinity keeps them alive. Finally, an Annville citizen called Arseface(due to his scaring after trying to shoot himself in the mouth), who Jesse accidently sent to Hell in a fit of anger, soon discovers the lack of meaning in the afterlife. People are treated to eternal torture in which they live their worst mortal moments over and over. Arseface soon learns that it doesn’t matter whether he is innocent or not. The system of hell just runs on purposeless torture and acts of goodness are actually punished. He soon learns he must act evil between torture seasons or an even worse hell awaits.
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