Preacher has finally done it. It has moved passed Masada and on to new things and immediately the episode feels better than most of Season 4. Not only is this a good episode, not only is it clever and funny, it also got me excited for next week. Sure, the dread that this will all be for naught looms, but hey, right now I’m riding that Preacher high like it’s Season 1 again.
“The Lost Apostle” starts in with a ton of set up: God, lounging in his trailer, watching Abraham profess his love on repeat; God instructing Herr Starr to initiate Phase 2; the New Zealand government getting a gift from “Australia” in the form of their slightly exploded Deputy Prime Minister.
From there we join the rest of our cast—far, far away from Masada—as Cassidy and Tulip impersonate American officers on the hunt for Jesse. They quickly learn that Jesse has been declared dead and Eugene has taken credit for his death. Tulip, though, recognizes that Jesse is still alive. Somehow. They leave Eugene, presumably to rot in jail.
Meanwhile, Tulip’s sixth sense proves to be right as a very alive Jesse is undergoing a rather painful surgery at the hands of the Saint. Eugene’s bullet has to come out somehow and what better way than a stabbing? Jesse soon passes out and the next morning we learn the Saint is looking for the same person, but for a very different reason. While Jesse wants to question God, the Saint is far more interested in the killing of God.
And so begins the race to the Last Apostle: the rock in the Australian Outback that kind of looks like a dick. Jesse and the Saint walk together—Jesse with hopes of stopping the Saint, the Saint unworried about any threat Jesse could pose. Tulip and Cassidy chase after both of them, looking to rescue Jesse and beat the Saint to God. Of course, by the end, none of it really matters. Both the prophecy Jesse saw and the flash-forward we saw in the season premiere come to pass.
A nuke goes off. Jesse plummets to his death.
Tulip and Cassidy manage to figure out where Jesse has headed thanks to some clues left around God’s trailer. They steal a plane and set off to find and rescue Preacher. Upon rescuing Jesse from the Saint, however, the newly reunited trio all put two and two together. As it turns out, Phase 2 has a lot to do with fabricating a war between New Zealand and Australia, and part of that includes setting off a nuke in the Outback. And hey, the added benefit is the opportunity to kill off that rascally trio always bothering God.
The good news is the gang realizes it is a trap. The bad news is that they don’t realize it fast enough. Despite pulling a hard U-turn, the jostle from the bomb still does a number on the plane, knocking Jesse out the side door. In a heartfelt moment between him and Cassidy later, Jesse orders Cassidy to let go. And thus, we learn how Jesse fell from that plane.
As a side note, Herr Starr may have died in the explosion. The chances are pretty good, given he was standing next to the bomb. But he was also standing next to God, so I give him 50/50 odds.
“The Lost Apostle” is a fast-paced episode. It keeps the plot moving, drops some good one-liners, and has sufficient gore. It’s never self-indulgent, it doesn’t get bogged down in nonsense, and it doesn’t dwell on the insignificant characters. Season 1 operated on a similar idea, keeping the cast tight each episode and minimizing ongoing side plots. “Bleak City” was good but “The Lost Apostle” really puts Preacher back in the groove. Eugene appears, but we don’t dwell. We get brief reminders of the Masada happenings, but we don’t stick around. There’s a drive to keep the episode moving and limited in scope and it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the myriad subplots we’ve had up to this point.
Sticking to a tighter cast allows for more moments of levity, which Preacher has desperately needed. The past few episodes have attempted to re-create some of the humor of previous seasons (to middling success). Having Tulip and Cassidy half-ass their way through a police station as American cops was the highlight of this season’s humor and the jokes kept coming from there. Preacher stealing the Saint’s guns is a genuinely great moment, especially given the horrors that follow. Cassidy huffing fire retardant felt like seeing a friend for the first time in a while. All it took was half a season of unfunny fluff to get here.
The one thing that has been sticking in the back of my mind, however, is how Tulip and Cassidy seemed to know exactly where to go to find Jesse. Similarly, how did Jesse know it was Cassidy and Tulip in the plane that rescued him? The simplest answer is plot convenience; they know where to go because the story says they do. If that is the reason, it’s a bummer. But, as I continue to marinate on Preacher’s idea of free will and continue to wonder if it’s a lie, it occurs to me that it may be intentional. God may yet be pulling the strings and guiding our heroes together. Given that this season has felt kind of slapdash with plot, I’m kind of doubting that this is the case. Still, it would be cool, as well as a rather satisfying answer to some lingering questions.
Also, Herr Starr calls Two-ver “Hoover Two” again and I will die on this hill.
Certainly “The Lost Apostle” brings Preacher closer to its former glory, but is it too little too late? At this point, I would say no given how nice this breath of fresh air has been, but we still have four episodes left. The track record hasn’t been great so far, so maybe this was nothing more than an exciting hill on the long, slow drive that is Season 4, but I’m really hoping I’m wrong.