Spoilers for Preacher Season 2 episode 7, “Pig,” below
If there’s one thing that always felt like it was missing in Preacher Season 1, it was a good villain. (Also a coherent through-line and a story that people who hadn’t read the comics could follow, but anyway.) In Season 2, Preacher has finally fixed that.
In the first half of Preacher Season 2, the Saint of Killers pursued our heroes relentlessly. He was an unstoppable killing machine, murdering anyone in his path (arguably, to the character’s detriment). That lasted until Preacher Jesse tricked the Saint into swallowing a small part of Jesse’s soul, making him susceptible to the Word of God. The Saint is now stewing locked in the back of an armored truck at the bottom of a Louisiana swamp, from whence he’ll surely escape before long. In the meantime, Preacher finally introduced, in full, the best villain the series has: Herr Starr.
We caught a painfully brief glimpse of Starr, portrayed by Pip Torrens, earlier this season, after an operative of The Grail tricked Jesse into showing her the power of the Word. This week, in Season 2 episode 7: “Pig,” we met Herr Starr for real. And it turns out he’s a real piece of work.
Starr showed exactly what he’s capable of in “Pig.” We got to see his induction into The Grail, where he quickly rose through the ranks by killing his recruiter. And he showed the lengths he’s willing to go to finish a mission, enraged into singlehandedly murdering dozens of people because the glass of water they served him was dirty.
The Grail’s mission is many-faceted. Overall, their goal is to preserve the bloodline of Jesus Christ until the apocalypse. (If we’re really lucky, we’ll meet Christ’s descendant(s) someday in the show.) But they’re also apparently dedicated to eradicating the worship of false idols, whether golden calf or, in this case, a floating pig in Vietnam. And their interest in Jesse probably won’t do the Preacher and his friends any good.
The introduction of Herr Starr and The Grail on AMC’s Preacher feels promising. This marks the show’s biggest foray yet into some of the comics’ most important lore. But what exactly has fans of Preacher‘s source material so excited about this storyline?
For one thing, Starr is a fantastic foil for Jesse, Tulip, and Cass. Where the Saint of Killers mainly represented a pure destructive force on the show, Herr Starr himself desires nothing more than to impose absolute order on the entire world. Our trio of heroes love chaos–they’re drawn to it, they cause it, and they thrive in it, like fireflies flitting around an open flame. They and Starr aren’t merely on opposite sides of some esoteric conflict–they’re philosophically incompatible. Like Batman and The Joker, they can’t exist for long in the same world. That makes for a good villain.
At the same time, in the books, Starr’s interests don’t always align with The Grail’s, and his and Jesse’s stories intersect in some really interesting ways that challenge both characters. We won’t spoil anything, but if Preacher the show stays true to the spirit of this storyline in the books, then viewers are in for a twisted treat throughout the rest of Season 2 (and hopefully beyond).
And just think: We haven’t even met Grandma yet. There are great (and terrible) things yet to come on Preacher.