Various elements of the episode will be discussed in this review, so beware spoilers. And watch the episode before you read on, lest you face the wrath of the almighty. Or Cassidy…
After a first episode that is full of action, Mumbai Sky Tower slows things down just a little bit and allows the characters to breathe more. At least, it does after an initial bout of violence thanks to the Saint Of Killers tracking our heroes down to a motel and slaughtering everyone. We’re rather keeping our fingers crossed that this is the last time Preacher pulls this card out of the deck for a while; following the first episode’s gunfight, here we again get a load of normal people trying to take on the lethal cowboy (admittedly in fun overblown fashion). But eventually you have to wonder how much the series will be relying on this stuff. Also, there are some awfully coincidental elements to the gang’s lucky escape from the Saint.
Still, the focus here is more on Jesse and the rest continuing their search for God. Cassidy, having seen an ad for an act called Ganesh, suggests they seek out the Mumbai Sky Tower. Turns out Ganesh (named for Hindu god Ganesha) is Fiore (Tom Brooke), one of the angels that the trio encountered in Annville. Having failed in his mission to retrieve Genesis and after seeing his best friend (and dear love) DeBlanc die, he’s despondent and suicidal. Which isn’t a good thing when you simply re-spawn after dying each time (cue montage!) At least he’s put his power to good use, working up an act where he dies and comes back, though we do wonder why no one has figured that he’s essentially pulling off the impossible each time. This is a few steps beyond David Copperfield… Still, it’s Preacher, and people accept weird stuff all the time. Brooke is fantastic value as Fiore, and his pissed off attitude to Jesse and the rest is a welcome rebuttal to their usual ability to slide through life.
Taking time for Tulip in particular to enjoy some much-needed character work is also a good thing. While some of her storyline still has to do with Jesse (they nearly get married), there’s also her darker, criminal past coming into play when Gary (Michael Beasley) catches up with her. There’s a fantastic, different fight between Tulip and Gary that includes the inventive use of the appointment buzzer from the wedding chapel.
And Cassidy also enjoys a little more screen time, bonding with Fiore during a drug-fuelled bender that forms the most enjoyable montage of the episode. It’s the funnier moments like this that really make the series stand out.
Mumbai Sky Tower, once again written by Sam Catlin and directed by co-creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, may not have all the energy of the premiere, but it boasts one of the show’s secret weapons in Brooke and allows things to go down a gear to dig into how our characters stand now. Tulip in particular is affected by the destruction of Annville, and there’s a chance for Cassidy to try and help (even if he doesn’t quite convince Fiore to call off the Saint). Jesse, meanwhile, remains occasionally insufferable (despite Dominic Cooper’s innate charm) and there’s something about the way his forehead rises when he hears disturbing information that puts us in mind of a puzzled puppy.
But in fusing the core idea of the comic book’s search for God with the universe the show has carved out for itself, Season 2 is already proving to be an improvement over the first.
Highlight: The drug-fuelled montage with Cassidy and Fiore.
Lowlight: Another seemingly endless murder-thon by the Saint. We get it, he shoots people.
Kill of the week: Fiore! Several times by his own hand (with resurrection) and then finally by the Saint
MVP: Tom Brooke brings – brought? – such hangdog charm to Fiore.
Random thought: Frank Patel is played by Vik Sahay, who devotees of cult US comedy action show Chuck know as one half of Jeffster. Jeffster fans represent!
Airing on AMC Sunday nights in the US, Preacher is available weekly on Amazon Prime Mondays in the UK.