AMC’s Preacher returned for a second season this week, and it didn’t waste a moment to get back to the gory, irreverent, and overblown show that people know and apparently love. Yes, the season opener proves we are in for more of the same, courtesy of another awful depiction of religion.
In the June 25 premiere “On The Road,” after the "real" God was revealed to be missing and the town fell to ruins last season, Preacher Jesse is determined to find the deity and have him answer for everything that has happened. So Jesse (Dominic Cooper), Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), and Tulip (Ruth Negga) go on a trip to find the real God. After a lovely opening conversation about circumcision and foreskin (really, this is how we kick off the season), there is an eventual confrontation with the Texas police and some identified snipers, leading to dead, splattered bodies. One’s head is flattened by a truck as Cassidy and Tulip use the body of another officer to siphon gas. All of it is understandably pretty violent and bloody but unfortunately not too far from the average episode.
The season, however, isn’t complete without some original material. On their journey, the three travelers stop by an old acquaintance of Jesse’s father who also happens to be a religious scholar and preacher himself. Though they stop for some assistance, they’re surprised to see Mike (Glenn Morshower) already has his own guest.
Ashleigh: Hello? Yes! Hello! I'm -- I'm here! ♪♪ Oh, thank God. Quick, phone. Give me a phone before he comes back! Hurry! My phone! There's no time! Give me a phone before he comes –
Mike: Leave her.
Tulip: Excuse me? Who is this?
Mike: That's Ashleigh.
Ashleigh: Please, I'm begging. Please. Please!
Mike: Come on. You don't hear her as much inside.
Jesse: None of our business.
Cassidy: Pleasure meeting you, Ashleigh.
Tulip: I'm sorry.
Ashleigh: Oh, my... No, please. Just let me use a phone, please!
Mike: So, bathroom's in there if you need. My, uh, wife used to tidy, but she died.
Ashleigh: Please! I can't take much more of this!
Mike: Young lady, that's enough! I have houseguests! Do I need to call your parents?!
Ashleigh: No, Mike. Sorry.
Mike: All right. Living room. That's Eddie the dog. He used to bite, but then he got old.
Tulip: Can I ask a question that isn't about the dog and the different rooms?
Jesse: She wants to know about the girl.
Mike: Well, parishioners need help with their urges -- drugs, sex, Twitter. They come to me.
Tulip: So, someone comes to you for help, and you put them in a cage?
Mike: A covered cage. That's right. To curb their urges.
Tulip: Am I the only one who thinks that's, like, psychotic?
Cassidy: No. I was wondering the exact same thing. Why not just lock her in a cellar? You could chain her to the bloody wall or something like that.
Mike: A covered cage works best is why. Now, anyone else I never met before want to tell me how to minister?!
That’s religion in a nutshell, religious men torturing women because that’s what’s good for them. Anybody who thought the illusion of the masses reference in the finale was the tip of the iceberg only had to wait another episode for a go at the “worst religion jab” award. Only in the world of Preacher are good guys just as awful as a bad guy in any other universe.
Still, the season is young, and there is still more than enough time to try and be worse with violence and borderline blasphemy. For a series like this, less would most definitely be more.