Season two of AMC’s Preacher has been relatively quiet if only for the fact that violence and crude behavior seem to be a weekly occurrence on the show. But now, the most recent episode gives us a reminder of about how staunchly anti-religious it can be by going after the Good Book itself: the Bible. Even in physical form, the Bible can’t catch a break.
Preacher is based on a comic book about a preacher named Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) who currently travels with his longtime hell-raising girlfriend Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga) and a wise-cracking vampire named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) to look for God who has apparently gone missing somewhere on Earth. Along the way, there are angels, demons, and a general disregard for anything remotely resembling the religious faith, but that's Hollywood for you. Even the preachers can't be real Christians.
In the July 17th episode “Dallas,” we’re treated to a flashback of Jesse and Tulip’s relationship prior to the beginning of the series. In that time, Jesse has yet to become a preacher and Tulip has left a life of crime, so their lives are rather dull. If you think that would make the episode any less graphic or insulting, you would be not only wrong but shockingly wrong.
Check out this scene where Jesse's friend grabs pages out of the Bible when he runs out of rolling papers. Bonus: We get to hear a gender studies student's opinion on John Wayne's films (the Bible may be free game, but the Duke is off-limits!)
Reggie: You like John Wayne?
Jesse: You don't?
Reggie: I think he's kind of patriarchal.
Jesse: What does that mean?
Reggie: We did a section on him in my Oppositional Gender studies class. And, like, the only women you see in all of his movies need to be saved because they're about to get raped by, like, Indigenous Peoples or they're, like, cooking biscuits.
Jesse: I think John Wayne is real respectful of women.
Reggie: In like a patriarchal kind of way. Tuuulip!
Tulip: MM! Reggie. Hey you. Oh look. Cowboys. Come on, guys. If y'all are gonna smoke in here, at least open a window.
Reggie: Sorry, Tules. My bad.
For some extra clarity, yes, the episode continues to show Jesse and his roommate ripping pages of the Bible to smoke weed. As for using the Holy Book as a window stop, I assume it’s yet another way for the writers to posture, “Look how edgy we’re being! Look how edgy we’re being!” like treating the Bible as trash hasn’t been done before or worse. Just goes to show that trends may come and go, but mocking Christianity is forever.
Just in case, you thought this one scene was a fluke, the episode gives us even more moments of sex, drinking, and blasphemy in the form of a montage as Jesse and Tulip attempt to conceive a child. Yep, the writers seem pretty committed to that image of a ripped Bible used as a window stop since it's seen no less than three times in this short burst alone and we see even more of the Word torn, rolled up and smoked.
Warning: Viewer discretion advised
Jesse: Wait. God, we're in no position to ask any favors, still, we're asking. Please. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
♪♪ [Headboard banging] [Paper tearing] [Exhales, licks paper] [Headboard bangs] [Paper tears] [Lighter clicks] ♪♪
This show has never been particularly kind to religious people or religion in general, but they have now gone from graphic and shocking to contrived and lazy. Should I be glad about that? No, not really. It’s just an unfriendly reminder that my religion is still Hollywood’s punching bag, even when they aren’t good at it.