For Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, day one of their search for God was not good. For audiences, though, it was freaking great.
Season two of Preacher premiered this past Sunday night and the show picked up right where it left off last year, with the three protagonists finally together, in a car, on the road, and looking for God. But things very, very quickly degenerated. It began with a conversation about foreskins and Dexy’s Midnight Runners, then suddenly transformed into a purposefully crappy-looking car chase, and ended with an intense, violent gunfight, thanks to the Saint of Killers. All before the credits even rolled.
We talked to the episode’s directors, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, as well as the writer and showrunner, Sam Catlin, about the scene. “We just wanted to start with something that was really shocking and intense and exciting and not wait one second to give people a taste of what this season is going to be,” Goldberg said.
“One of the most exciting things [about Preacher] are the different tones the show is able to take on,” added Rogen. “It could be funny, it could be scary, you don’t know whats going to happen. [So] we thought if there was a way to do all those things before the credits even started it would show the full range of what the show is able to do tonally in one five-minute chunk.”
One of the funnier moments of the sequence is when the trio decides to run from the cops and the whole aesthetic changes. It goes from a glossy, AMC show to an old-timey Western, complete with wear and tear on the screen. Rogen explained that choice served a dual purpose.
“We wanted [the chase] to look bad, mostly, because we weren’t able to afford a good one,” he said. “And so we were like ‘If we can’t take five days and film a good car chase, let’s take half-a-day and let everyone know that we are not trying to make this look good’... We’re really indulging the fun, cheesiness of it, which also serve the story because in that moment it’s all come together in this fun, perfect moment.”
Unexpected moments like that will continue to show up through Preacher’s second season as Rogen, Goldberg and Catlin do their best to keep audiences on their toes. They feel they have a show where almost anything is possible, and they want to lean into that.
“There are so many shows on TV,” Rogen said. “But when we looked back at the first season, one of the conversations we had was, there are a bunch of moments throughout the season that could only exist on Preacher. So as we move forward, let’s try to do more of those. Let’s use the vehicle we’ve built to its maximum potential an do things that are surprising. To us, that was exciting creatively. It seemed like, in a crowed marketplace, it couldn’t be a terrible idea to play to our instincts and really indulge what it felt like the show could do.”
So with the opening of the premiere episode, you have all of those things while simultaneously showcasing the second season’s narrative.
“We really wanted to introduce these characters as a trio,” Catlin said. “We didn’t really get a chance to do in season one. They’re only alone together in that last scene in the entire first season. And so we wanted to fulfill that promise. We just wanted to start off very positively and fun and light, and then have, obviously, that all turn to shit very quickly.”
The range of emotions and tones in the show’s first five minutes are obviously nuts and the rest of the episode lives up to that too. But Catlin assured us that the opening was nothing compared to what’s to come
“[Season two] is pretty fucking crazy,” he said. “Let’s put it this way: we haven’t shot our wad in the first two. There’s so much more craziness to come. It’s not going to retreat into a psychological drama about three friends searching for meaning. It’s going to be pretty crazy.”
Preacher airs Monday nights on AMC.