July 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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The New Pope “Fourth Episode”

Episode Four

So, let’s talk the weird guest star and why I didn’t think anything of it.

This episode opens with newly crowned Pope John Paul III (AKA Sir John Brannox) meeting an artist he admires, namely Marilyn Manson.  And let’s give The New Pope credit for pulling out the weirdest guest star they could think of for this show.

But is it really weird?  This is a show, like its predecessor, that plays a little fast and loose with literal reality, where a comatose Pope may or may not be appearing to other people.  Having Brannox as a Pope who wants to meet Marilyn Manson of all people, well, why not?  Manson himself seems to be a little unsure of why he’s there, especially since he isn’t even sure which Pope he’s talking to (he doesn’t realize Pope Lenny is out of it and Pope Francis II is dead), and leaves instead a small suggestion that Brannox visit Lenny.

And that actually leads to what Brannox sees as his problem:  people don’t know who he is.  And this isn’t a vanity thing speaking.  He sees it as a spiritual mission to make the world a better place, and he can’t do that if people are unaware of his existence.  And he does go to see Lenny, but some woman outside whispers something to him.  Something unknown as of yet…

She is wearing a Pope Lenny red hoodie, so I can guess she’s a fan of the Unconscious Pope.

But again, this is a show where impressions means more than actual plot points.  Sure, Esther gives in and sleeps with the deformed man, after her boyfriend accuses her of not having good Christian feelings and I got a little confused when any Christian church gave a big thumbs up to what looks a little like prostitution.  Not that I want to shame sex workers or anything (they got it rough as it is), but I don’t generally associate paying a woman for sex with anyone, even a deformed man who otherwise will never get any, with Christian values.

And then there’s Cardinal Spallette, who seems to blackmail his way into Brannox’s inner circle, possibly to take down Voiello.

The Italian government is looking to repeal a tax that the Church needs to maintain any sort of income.

And the biggest plot of this episode is the Vatican’s nuns have gone on strike to get respect.  Brannox is aware of all that, but he’s left it in Voiello’s hands.

But really, the whole thing is about knowing who the Pope is.

Which is why Lenny starting to wake up at the end of the episode is probably going to cause more problems.