March 26, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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The Young Pope “First Episode”

Episode One

So, I was thinking much of the stuff I’ve been writing up the past few months has been so grim and serious and maybe needed to be lightened up a bit.

Then I started on The Young Pope anyway.

So, what is The Young Pope?  Who is he?  He’s Lenny Belardo (Jude Law), an American orphan who has somehow been thrust into the highest position of power in the Catholic Church.  The show opens with some dream sequences.  In the first, Lenny emerges from a pile of babies.  In the second, he’s addressing the faithful in St. Peter’s Square and suddenly goes off-script, personally OKing every Catholic social no-no there is.  Just as some stuffy old cardinal takes the papacy away from Lenny, he wakes up to the day he really is the pope.

How did Lenny, redubbed Pius XIII, become the pope?  That’s an excellent question the pilot doesn’t quite answer.  Normally real world popes are chosen from amongst their own ranks, and all cardinals were selected by previous popes.  That tends to produce a fair amount of doctrinal conservatism.  Is Lenny a conservative?  His dream said no, but that was a dream.

Mostly, he seems to be about consolidating power.  One cardinal, Voiello, a senior diplomat and Vatican financier, is clearly used to running things and didn’t think Lenny would be any different.  As it is, Lenny refused Vioello’s suggestion for a secretary in favor of the nun who raised him, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton).  In a flashback, we see Sister Mary didn’t want young Lenny to call him “ma”.

Is Mary is birth mother?

So far, Pope Lenny seems to be mostly going about securing a power base and getting blackmail on as many people as he can.  It’s a slow show.

It also has the makings of an excellent one.

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