Preacher: Season 1 created by Evan Goldberg, Sam Catlin, and Seth Rogen (AMC Studios, DC Entertainment)
Starring Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Lucy Griffiths, W. Earl Brown, Derek Wilson, Ian Colletti, Tom Brooke, Anatol Yusef, Graham McTavish, and Jackie Earle Haley.
Taking On the Razor
It’s time to fight. I’m not much of a brawler, but Occam’s Razor needs a sucker punch. Hyperbolically speaking of course.
While the razor represents an interesting device pointed toward simplicity whenever the opportunity presents itself, I’m increasingly convinced that life operates at an increased distance from this principle.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to use said razor in a scenario where two competing explanations of one phenomenon include a far simpler version.
But at the same time, it seems like every element of life mixes complexity upon complexity upon complexity.
In my youth, the church my family attended promoted the tag line, “Black and white in a gray world.” The meaning clear to all: simple cut-and-dry solutions to all the sticky situations in life.
Yet, the more I encounter those sticky situations in life, the more I realize how cut-and-dry answers aren’t dynamic enough to solve the complexity of any given scenario. Difficult problems require innovative, complex thinking.
While I watch season 1 of AMC’s Preacher, I couldn’t help but return to this idea of ambiguity and complexity in this confusing world we call home.
Our protagonist and possible anti-hero is one Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). A morally complex character, taken to the cloth after some unknown run-ins with the law, Jesse becomes possessed with Genesis, a supernatural force about which I’ll say no more for spoiler purposes.
This force has been searching the world, embodying holy men, only for their purity to cause Genesis to combust them inside out (hilariously, Tom Cruise is one such casualty). Jesse, however, is different. His troubled past coupled with his honest intent to make a difference in his small, Texas outpost of a town creates the perfect ambiguous mix for this supernatural force.
And this force is a powerful one. Quickly, Jesse learns his voice has the capability of controlling other people.
Building These Characters
While Season 1 exists mostly to set the table for narratives to come, it builds characters nicely. Key players include Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), an Irish vampire laying low to avoid vampire hunters, and Tulip (Ruth Negga), Jesse’s estranged girlfriend and likely partner-in-crime from a previous life.
Intentionally ambiguous and slow-burning, many may find a large portion of Season 1 incredibly confusing. Personally, the inventive action set pieces and odd humor hooked me long enough for the narrative to catch up.
But for those capable of patience, Preacher is quite rewarding.
Ultimately, the first season of Preacher reinforces the ambiguity and complexity of life. What we see never equates to what is. What we believe may not really warrant such faith. And yet we press on through complexity with the best of intentions, likely without the help of Occam and his razor.
Verdict: 4 out of 5