‘Preacher’ Treads Helplessly Through the ‘Swamp’ (TV REVIEW)

 “Monster Swamp”

As we move into the middle part of Preacher’s inaugural season, the proverbial cracks in the façade may be starting to show. Which isn’t to say there’s been anything particularly wrong with the series; far from it. On a technical level, it’s well-shot, well-acted, and well-written. The problem, really, is that the series is succumbing to the same problems that have beset AMC’s other big-name comic book adaptation, The Walking Dead.

Like that series, Preacher has a problem with pacing. Namely, it’s been slow as shit. While I won’t go so far as to proclaim this to be inherent in the series as a whole—after all, even with two back-to-back lackluster episodes, we’re still batting about .500 here, and that’s not terrible—it’s become apparent that that series needs to hurry up and get to wherever it’s trying to get to, lest the core lose interest.

Of course, when I say “core” I mean the fans of the comic book series that enabled this series to be green lit in the first place. The series was never going to be able to be a note for note redux of the comics that inspired it, and I accept that. The changes they’ve made to the narrative thus far haven’t been “risks” so much as they’ve been “necessary.” As weird as the show has been so far, it hasn’t even touched on the weirdness of the books.

And for the most part, that’s okay. All in all, I like the “remix” attitude they’ve taken with the series, and I hope they’ll be able to weave the same exciting narrative from this version as its progenitor. For now, however, the problem is becoming the length of time its taking to set up the story.

Little to nothing is happening right now, beyond the rote character development and exposition needed for the story to make sense; it would be wrong of me to consider that “a bad thing” as this will most likely pay off at some point down the line. But like The Walking Dead, Preacher is quickly becoming a show where they do little except sit around and talk about what they’re going to do, rather than actualize what they’re going to do.

Which isn’t to say there was zero advancement last night. Quincannon’s arc has been set up nicely, seemingly as a lesson Jesse is going to have to learn about the dangers of his powers. Who’s to say how Jesse’s “serve the lord” command is going to backfire when Quincannon begins to actually do so? We already know that Jesse’s desires and the reality of his commands hasn’t exactly been a 1 to 1 ration so far, and at this point, Quincannon’s version of serving the lord seems highly unlikely to match Jesse’s ideas. No doubt, this will lead to the climax of this season in some way or another.

The other big reveal was Tulip’s coming to an understanding of what Cassidy actually is. After accidentally accomplishing what a plane load of professional vampire hunters could not in almost killing our beloved Irish rogue, Tulip sees Cass nursing himself back to health with the help of a few blood bags laying around the hospital.

Still, we’re overall in more or less the same place we were two weeks ago, and Preacher continues to threaten to do little more than tread water. Hopefully now the stage has been properly set and we can get back to the business of kicking ass/taking names. Hopefully we aren’t stuck in those season long quagmires of molasses that The Walking Dead has somehow turned into an empire. But based on what we saw last night, and to a lesser extent the week before, Preacher has a lot of work to do before it becomes the show it could be.

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