WARNING: Major spoilers from the latest episode of AMC’s “Preacher” (and the Vertigo comic series it’s adapted from) follow.
AMC’s adaptation of “Preacher” has played by its own rules from the very beginning, centered on many of the same characters as Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic, but taking them in wildly different directions. In fact, most of the first season has been devoted to the inner flaws of just about everyone in Annville, including Jesse Custer himself. He hasn’t exactly been a hero as much as a fairly despicable guy who’s just now coming around to sort of doing the right thing.
But the ending of tonight’s episode, “Finish the Song,” may finally satisfy fans who have wanted to see the show stick closer to the source material. After The Saint of Killer’s backstory — very similar to its comic origins — concludes, it’s revealed that he’s actually in Hell and is being forced to relive his horrific final days. The fearsom supernatural killer is essentially caught in an endless loop that replays him going to retrieve medicine for his sick daughter, scalping a whole group of Native Americans for payment, getting delayed by a pharmacist and a group of outlaws, returning to find his wife and daughter dead, then riding back to Ratwater and gunning down an entire saloon for revenge.
The exhaustive cycle finally gets interrupted by the Adelphi angels DeBlanc and Fiore. They promise to escort him out of Hell if he kills Jesse Custer, whose body won’t give up Genesis and is thus becoming a bigger and bigger liability to them (Jesse’s also stolen the phone that serves as their only direct connection to Heaven). It’s worth noting that Fiore gives this information to the Saint only after he shoots DeBlanc point blank. This also echoes the comic, where the Saint does the same thing to the minor angel who initially unearths him.
It’s not clear whether the Saint’s supernatural bullets have the power to permanently kill DeBlanc as they do in the comic, or if he’ll be able to reanimate as usual. Regardless, it seems “Preacher” is well on its way to entering one of the central conflicts of the original series: The Saint of Killers pursuing Jesse Custer across the country. We’ll see how it pans out.
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