In this, the season one finale, Cassidy has a bullet-pointed chat with Sheriff Root, Jesse and Tulip have a trunkful of chat with Carlos, and the entire town has a glorious chat with God. Let’s break it down, kids.
Episode 10: Call and Response
Annville, Texas. Sleepy little town, slowly waking up to the sounds of Willie Nelson’s “Time of the Preacher.” And Jesse Custer is literally on the run from the sheriff. He sprints by a local, greeting her as he rapidly disappears down the street.
Cassidy is in jail, talking to the Savage, one of the town’s two sports mascots (who have been popping up in the background of the entire first season, much to my delight). Cass gives him some love advice. Regarding whom, though? Hmmm.
Tulip smashes the glass door of Donnie and Betsy (with a lawn flamingo, no less), demanding to know where Jesse is. Jesse calmly walks out of their shower, while Tulip points a gun at him. Well now. When they all finally sit down at the table, Donnie explains that Jesse helped him be a better man, so he decided to help Jesse out by giving him a place to hide out.
Sheriff Root walks into the jail and sits outside of Cassidy’s cell. He wants answers. Where’s Eugene? He starts listing Cassidy’s prior record, going through incident by incident, back through the decades. He stops at 1921. And yet I look so young, Cassidy quips. He walks over to the toilet, calmly figuring out his next move. He turns runs to attack.
And the sheriff shoots him, point blank. Cassidy falls to the ground, hurt badly. Sheriff Root calmly pulls out a paper cup, pushes down on the coffee thermos he brought in, and out pumps thick, red blood. He holds it out to Cassidy to drink. “It’s gonna be a long night.”
Tulip takes Jesse out to her car. Carlos is in her trunk. We get an extended flashback to their last job together, cleaning out safety deposit boxes in a bank. Carlos seems a bit jealous of Jesse and Tulip’s relationship, so he makes the decision to screw them both and drive away with the loot, leaving the bank’s security guard untied and the doomed couple to their fates.
Meanwhile, in the bowels of Quincannon Meat & Power, meat scraps are dumped and the methane bubbles up.
The conversation between Root and Cassidy has indeed been long, as evidenced by the jail cell floor being littered by empty bloody cups and spent bullet casings. Cassidy questions the sheriff’s motives. Does he really care about Eugene? Does he really want him back? Wasn’t he just a tiny bit happier not to have to stare at that arseface at the dinner table every day? The sheriff answers Cass by emptying his gun into the vampire’s body, dropping him to the floor in a crimson, smoking heap. Then he opens the cell door and says he’s free to go.
Tulip yells at Jesse, begs him, implores him to kill Carlos, to finally have that revenge she’s been wanting for years. Jesse finally agrees, gets an oven mitt to use as a gun silencer, and–Tulip changes her mind. She tells him not to, says it was the thought that counted. They let Carlos out of the trunk, and they do not kill him. Carlos seems quite grateful. But then Jesse and Tulip give him a couple weapons with which to defend himself. And they proceed to royally kick his ass.
Betsy complains to a cop about Jesse, that he’s hiding at her house, and he better get over there end arrest him. The cop speeds off and–psych! Jesse hops out of her trunk and he, Betsy and Tulip all go into the church to prepare for the coming of the Lord. He gets out the direct-to-Heaven phone and the severed angel hand he’s been carrying around for a while. Betsy helps him figure out how to turn the thing on, and where to place the angel fingers. We’re all set.
The church fills up quickly. The town waits for something, anything. Before Jesse can begin, Quincannon jumps up and calls him out as a fraud. He forces Jesse’s hand (heh) and, what else can Jesse do bu step up to the pulpit, unwrap the angel hand, and try to dial heaven.
Buzz. Click. Whir. Nothing.
Buzz. Click. Whir. Nothing.
Quincannon is just about to claim victory, when–WHAM–the church is bathed in a beautiful gold light and, right there projected on the wall of the church, is God. Flowing beard, long white hair, golden throne and everything. “I am the alpha and omega, ” he intones (more than once). The town has questions.
“Question me? How dare you!” God yells in a (literally) thunderous voice. Tulip and Jesse get all up in God’s face, truly outraged. Jesse says His creation has failed. “Sinning is winning and you’re losing. Why don’t you act like a father? Answer some goddamn questions!”
God suddenly laughs, and compliments Jesse on his…er…testicular fortitude, let’s say. The questions begin to flow, and God handles them all beautifully. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Done. “Can I get my dick put back on?” Done. Quincannon yells, “What about my daughter? My little Lucy Lou? Is she there with you?” Yes, she is. The answer seems to stun him and he sits back down in silence.
God asks Jesse if he has any more questions. Jesse does. “What are your plans for me?” God smiles and says, “To tend to your flock, of course.” Jesse has brought them all to God, and they are all saved. They are all headed towards the Kingdom of Heaven “Even Eugene?” “Yes.”
Wait. But Jesse sent him to hell, using Genesis. That seems to throw God for a loop. He looks confused and gets rattled, unable to respond.
Jesse catches on. “You’re not God, are you?” God protests, angrily, bringing down window-rattling thunder and–but Jesse uses Genesis to ask “WHERE IS GOD?” And then the cat is out of the bag. “God” looks around nervously and admits that they don’t know where He is. He’s gone. He could be anywhere. The fake “God” is held down by some others as he protests that he couldn’t help it, Jesse made him say it. Then a hand closes over the screen, and the call goes dead.
Silence. The townspeople are devastated. Heartbroken. And as Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip head out for some promised french fries (because, really, what else is there to do?), everybody in town deals with this newfound information in their own way.
Some destroy the church itself. A group of kids kill the creepy child-admiring bus driver. Coma girl Tracy Loach’s mom smothers her with a pillow as her younger brother takes a selfie. The sheriff just stares vacantly. Donnie watches the ceiling. Quincannon cradles a daughter he made out of ground beef. The two mascots commit suicide together, just as a burst of methane ignites, and the entire town is wiped off the map.
Fiore gets dropped off at the outskirts of town, without DeBlanc. Uh oh.
Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip sit in a restaurant, ignorant of their town’s fate. Jesse decides he’s going to go and find God. Tulip and Cassidy are happy to join him. They hop in the car and ride off into the horizon.
And back in the ruins of Annville, the Cowboy from hell, the Saint of All Killers blows a big hole in the only survivor: the girl angel who tried to take Fiore and DeBlanc back. She falls to the ground and he looks right at us.
Wow. I loved this season. It’s kind of like Issue #0 (and #0.1, #0.2, etc.) of the comic book, since the comic starts right about here as they embark on their journey. We got much more backstory on these people and I think that was a brilliant way to, not only flesh them out, but to gauge the audience reaction to such wild and weird shenanigans. And, since Prfeacher Season 2 has already been confirmed, I’d say that it was a gamble that paid off well. I cannot wait!
See you next season!