The second season of Preacher certainly got off to a bang, and left us all with a little bit of a cliffhanger, as the Saint of Killers clearly had Jesse Custer in his sights. While we all know that there’s no way they’re killing off the main character so early into the second season, there was still a nervous tension, wondering how exactly Jesse would get himself out of this particular mess. Especially since it was made pretty clear the Genesis doesn’t actually work on the Saint.
Thankfully, due to some clever scheduling, we didn’t have long to wait. The second episode aired a mere night after the first, while the resolution of the face-off between Jesse and the Saint was still on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Not only did we get a little more insight as to how things could play out down the line, but this episode gave us the ability to tie up some loose ends. After all, when you visit the Mumbai Sky Tower, sometimes you win, and sometimes you end up becoming the Amazing Ganesh.
Back to the opening segment, and Jesse’s direct confrontation with the Saint of Killers. It would be easy to write off the sheer ridiculousness of how Jesse escaped the Saint’s bullet, with the random truck just happening to show up at the perfect time. It could easily be taken as just another crazy gonzo scene wrapped into this show, the way that so many previous have been. That would be disregarding it far too much. For one thing, the crazy gonzo scene happened when Jesse got the gun conventioneers to fight on his behalf, before realizing that he was just putting more people straight in death’s gaze. Secondly, this sort of deus ex machina actually makes some sense within the world of Preacher, and it may give a nod to the idea that Jesse is actually on the right path. Sure, we know that God is missing, but we don’t know that God is powerless. Maybe the truck was sent to save Jesse, so that he can complete his mission. Ultimately, it lead to another narrow escape for Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, but one that didn’t feel as cheap as it easily could have in any other series.
In this episode, we start to really see another side of Jesse Custer. Yes, he’s still a man consumed by the incredible belief that he is making the correct choices. But within the confines of this episode, we also see a man who knows he is literally outgunned, and is trying somewhat frantically to save himself and those he cares about. We also see a man forced to come to grips with the utter destruction of just about everyone he ever knew, and Jesse does a typically poor job of dealing with that part of reality. Annville is gone, the trio now knows it, and Jesse’s first thought is to try and marry Tulip, so that she has family again. It’s a kind of sweet sentiment, but it isn’t Jesse addressing his own issues stemming from the methane explosion, or the cowboy tracking him down.
Tulip’s arc in this episode is a somber one, as she is not only the first of them to learn the news about Annville, but she ends the episode going back to one place she had hoped was behind her. If Cassidy was the heart for the group in On the Road, then Tulip carries that emotion this time around. She even softens to Jesse’s admittedly ludicrous marriage proposal, perhaps searching for something normal to use as an anchor. Her confrontation with Gary, tying to her past exploits in New Orleans, changes her mind, and the discontent is clear on her face when she learns that is exactly where Jesse wants to head next. Even through all of this, she is able to maintain some level of sanity where Jesse is concerned, all while making sure to not present herself as too vulnerable around him. After all, she still doesn’t completely trust Jesse’s motivations with Genesis.
Cassidy, our third major player, almost seems as though he is once again going to strike out as someone more of a danger to himself and those around him than anyone else. However, he is the only one of the three able to make any actual headway in their investigation. The exchanges between Cassidy and Fiore indicate something that we’ve only seen glimpses of before; when he isn’t crying out for attention, Cassidy is a phenomenal judge of what could help others. It is Cassidy who gives Fiore one truly happy span of time, and it is only because of Jesse’s self-righteousness that Cassidy’s efforts truly hit a brick wall. He may not be carrying the emotional weight in this episode, but we get to see Cassidy utilizing his particular skills to make a big impact, and this is something that we cannot take for granted moving forward.
Even with all of that, the main thrust, and focus, of this episode isn’t truly on any of Jesse, Tulip, or Cassidy. No, it belongs to Fiore, part of the pair of angels we met last season, and the only one remaining after he and DeBlanc visited Hell, and hired the Saint of Killers. Ever since his return to Earth, Fiore has been listless. The montage of his repeated suicides is both something played for laughs, and full of pathos. After all, Fiore lost his companion, and not even death could release him from his suffering, thanks to his constant angelic reinvigoration. It is in the Mumbai Sky Tower that Fiore is able to rebrand himself as The Amazing Ganesh, literally killing himself in front of packed houses night after night, and this is how Jesse and the rest find him. When Cassidy spends his two hours and forty-five minutes with the angel, we see a man looking for release in any way he can possibly achieve it. Drugs, decadence, even the hint of sex; all of these avenues are open to Fiore, and watching his sheer glee so shortly after his complete and utter depression felt redeeming. If it wasn’t for Jesse’s insistence that he still use Genesis as he sees fit, it truly felt that Fiore would have been willing to call off the Saint of Killers. Instead, Fiore sees the reality he tried to escape crash around him again, and Jesse’s final command to “find peace” leads to only one answer. The depravity of the people in Jesse Custer’s world is underscored through their chorus of boos, but it was also a triumphant moment for Fiore, who was finally free of his own personal demons.
Mumbai Sky Tower wrapped up one loose end from the first season, while reminding us that Eugene is still trapped in Hell, and that it’s Jesse’s fault. Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are heading towards New Orleans, thanks to Jesse finally remembering Tammy’s words about God venturing to the strip club for the jazz, and not the girls. What awaits them in New Orleans, only time will tell. Time also holds the answer to exactly how long it will be before Jesse uses Genesis again, only to learn that Fiore didn’t send the Saint away after all. Knowing Jesse, it probably won’t be too far down the road.