The Young Pope-Review

The following post contains spoilers for Season 1 (the only season?) of The Young Pope.

Season 1 of The Young Pope concluded this past Monday on HBO.  The show was many things, but mostly, a surprise.  As documented earlier this week by Vulture, they acquired the show for less than the price of it’s half hour comedies.  While ratings weren’t stellar, (which are they for anything that isn’t  live sports or watching Donald Trump debate?), the show has been deemed a critical success and expects to clean up at the next Emmy’s and Golden Globes.  Here are a few of my thoughts:

  1. After watching all of the previews of this show, I was pretty hype.  I thought I was going to get a crazy, power hungry, and handsome Young Pope using King’s Landing politicking to transform the Vatican into his own version of Chancun.  Instead, show creator Paolo Sorrentino opens with not one, but two dream sequences.  The first, Lenny (the Young Pope), emerging from an enormous amount of babies.  I thought to myself, wow, that was weird as shit.  This dream sequence was only to be followed up with a “nightmare” of Lenny’s, where he gives a beautiful opening speech after the cloud of white smoke disappears.  As he emerges, the clouds part, and sun shines down.  He delivers a bright prospect of his papacy, that quickly shifts to his wishes that Catholics be more accepting traditionally taboo religious subjects: abortion, gay marriage, and masturbation.  Spoiler alert, Lenny is not down with ANY OF THESE THINGS.  
  2. Another thing I thought this show would do is provide a statement on Catholicism as a whole.  The show is much more just a story of Lenny dealing with being an orphan, his wavering faith in God, and his journey to find his true calling.  I will say, the most unsettling thing about this show is that there is no swift justice for Archbishop Kurtwell, who is a monster caught in a child abuse scandal.  His punishment is the exact same for merely pissing Lenny off, being reassigned to Ketchikan, Alaska.
  3. Throughout the show, it’s eminently established that Lenny is a Saint.  He performs 3 miracles:
    1. Praying over his friend’s dying mother as a boy, who is miraculously healed after he and God “needed to have a talk.”
    2. The conception of Baby Pious, whose parents were both sterile until Lenny interjected.  He hit his knees outside of their bedroom, demanded a conversation with God, and “prayed harder than he ever has,” and it’s heavily implied that he came in his pants while doing so…  Man, what an awesome show.
    3. Lastly, Lenny prays for the death of Sister Antonia, who runs many villages for the underprivileged in Africa.  After learning that Sister Antonia is actually working with the war lords and uses all of the clean water donated to trade for lesbian sexual favors, Lenny hits his knees again, and prays for her death, which happens in the next scene as Sister Antonia takes a sip of water (that is somehow poisoned, divinely?).
  4. In my opinion, Lenny struggles with his belief in God, partially because he believes he is God.  He is successfully in all of the aforementioned efforts, while more futile efforts (trying to force the Kangaroo to jump with only his voice), are unsuccessful.
  5. I assume that Lenny died at the end of the series.  That’s what the cinematography leads me to believe anyways.  While there are rumors of a second season, the only way I can see it happening, is Lenny being dead for three days, and rising from the dead.  Or they name it, The Younger Pope, and Tom Hiddleston to do it.

A quick “Dope or Nope” section from the past week:

  • Taboo- DOPE.  Do you love Tom Hardy?  Do you love him grunting? Are you into a mysterious story that involves undercover Americans in London during 1814?  The honorable East India company?  Some weird side story about how Tom Hardy bangs his half sister?  This show is for you my friends.
  • Legion- DOPE.  The second episode doesn’t keep up with the great pilot, but Noah Hawley is well on his way to giving us a superhero show that is not only adult, but artistically excellent.
  • “Shining”- the new single from DJ Khaled featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z- NOPE.  With all these big names, you expect a big hit, that’s just not the case.  While Jay-Z changed hip hop, he hasn’t changed himself.  His verses are stylistically the exact same as 20 years ago.  Also, his second most popular song on Spotify right now is the “Numb/Encore” remix with Linkin Park.  What the hell?
  • Prince Streaming Again- DOPE.  All of his music is now available on Apple Music, Spotify, etc.  Go listen to it, because Prince will forever be dope.

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