So, is Pope Lenny a saint or a jackass? A believer or an atheist?
Well, that’s the fun of this series, isn’t it? Trying to figure that out?
Here at the last episode for this initial mini-series (I think there’s supposed to be a sequel series with a different name), The Young Pope shows the title character has, essentially, grown up. His first sign of that is replacing Sister Mary as his personal secretary with the returned Gutierrez. Why? He doesn’t need a maternal figure around anymore, even if he does finally get permission to call her “Ma” like he always wanted. Plus Sister Mary can take the place of that nun that died suddenly in Africa, something that pleases Mary very much.
And he even takes Gutierrez’s criticism of Lenny’s anti-gay priest dictums to heart, noting the reason he sent Gutierrez to New York in the first place was to give the Spanish cardinal a spine. Since that worked, Gutierrez will make a great assistant, someone willing to tell the Pope when the Pope is wrong.
He also reverses an assignment for the old Cardinal he sent to Alaska. The old man is clearly suffering, and his only “crime” was being the guy in charge of the Pope’s travel. Instead, well, that scoundrel Kurtwell can go there.
But even as some mysteries remain, like what really happened to that shepherd that claimed he had stigmata, and how Lenny gets some cliched advice from the Ghosts of Popes Past, he makes his final steps towards spiritual maturity by going to Venice and appearing in public, giving a magnificent sermon on the importance of smiling and finding joy in life, something that apparently is heard by every character that appeared on the show thus far with something like approval. Why Venice? It’s where he was told his parents went after they left him with Sister Mary. And then he spots an elderly couple in the crowd that may or may not be his mom and dad and…he collapses.
The series opened with the Pope crawling out of a pile of babies. It ends with the Pope, once again in a pieta pose as the camera zooms up and away, leaving the viewer with a view of the Earth itself, showing the general insignificance of the Pope, but also the beauty of creation. Considering the show began with babies and ended with the planet itself, that’s a rather bold move, but bold moves were The Young Pope‘s bread-and-butter. This was just a beautiful series. Ten out of ten Vatican kangaroos.
Ah, but now we have to go back to something for Tuesdays, and new episodes of Black Mirror just dropped on Netflix…
So, yeah, we’re going back to that.