WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Season 4 Premiere of Preacher, "Masada," now airing on AMC.
AMC's Preacher has returned for its fourth and final season, and it's brought all the carnage and bad taste we've come to expect along with it. The premiere episode, "Masada," focuses on Jesse and Tulip rescuing Cassidy from the Grail's stronghold. The bulk of "Masada" borrows heavily from the comic story arc "Proud Americans," but presents what is arguably the best run from the series with a few major differences (much like the Season 3 finale).
Some of the liberties taken with the source material function well from a narrative standpoint, but others feel like the show's ham-fisted attempt to somehow be more shocking and lurid than Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's original work. How the show handles the villainous mafioso, Frankie Toscani, falls into the latter category.
Frankie Toscani was a former mafia enforcer hired by Starr to torture Cassidy while being held captive in both the comics and the show. The two versions of the character also hold an affinity for the .303 Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifle (a firearm Garth Ennis has fetishized in a lot of his work) and a nasty sadistic streak when working. However, in the comics, Frankie's desire to "blow off some steam" while going to work on his victims stems from having been castrated by a rival Russian crime family.
Frankie's injury caused a schism within his own organization, which caused him to be pushed out of any position of power (if that isn't insult to horrific injury, what is?). Poor Cassidy got the brunt of Frankie's fury for a few issues. With the roguish vampire trapped in a bit, the mafia gunmen took aim with his beloved Lee-Enfield rifle and dismembered Cassidy with each shot. Over and over again.
The character in AMC's adaptation is far more deranged in his methodology, despite being intact (from what we can tell anyhow). Instead of taking potshots at ol' Cass to pass the time until Starr gives him the go-ahead to finish the undead captive, Frankie shoots Cassidy in a classroom setting. It turns out Mr. Toscani is the Advanced Torture instructor at the Grail's stronghold. Of course, this wouldn't be Preacher without some lurid punchline, and the show does not disappoint (if that's your sort of thing).
After pulverizing Cassidy's vital organs with his trusty .303, Frankie switches things up. Cassidy, you see, can regrow anything you remove from his body. Arms, fingers, ears, all of it. Now, it's important to mention that in the comics, Frankie does shoot Cassidy in the groin, making them temporary injury twins. The show, however, dials this motif up to 11 in the strangest possible way. Instead of mutilating Cassidy with the rifle further, Frankie dons a kippah and performs a bris. Now, we aren't so sure that Frankie Toscani is a rabbi or not, but he sure had all the proper accouterments.
The irony in it all is Cassidy had been bragging about how there wasn't much Frankie could do to him that had not been done hundreds of times before. Guess Cass was wrong. After all, Cassidy is a vampire from the 19th century, so experiencing a circumcision is something he probably hadn't checked off the list of things to do if you're immortal. For Frankie, it's a character reveal that is as horrific as it is goofy. A circumcising mafioso is so ridiculous it borders on the surreal, but it's pretty much par for the course when it comes to Preacher.