Movie Monday: Personal Reflections on The Chosen Season Episodes 1-6, Part1

Movie Monday: Personal Reflections on The Chosen Season Episodes 1-6

By: Debbie Waltz

[Disclaimer: SPOILERS BELOW.. I tried my best not to include any details about the plot line of Season 4 of The Chosen in my movie review of the first 6 episodes. After writing the first 3 paragraphs of my review, I realized this was virtually impossible. That being said, don’t read beyond the first 3 paragraphs, if you want to wait until the season is available to stream. Although, I wouldn’t expect that anytime soon based on current projections, UPDATE: after writing almost 1600 words, I am exhausted; that being said I have decided to split my review into 2 parts. Please look for the next half next half next Monday]

Returning home from the theater, I am left with more questions than answers. Don’t worry, I have no plans on revealing any spoilers for those who have yet to see the season at the movies or are waiting to stream it in their homes. Sadly, no solution seems to be in the works; but the Chosen and Angel Studios are in “mediation” trying to come up with a meaningful solution. Here’s hoping they agree soon so that all episodes of season 4 may be available to those who can’t see it in theaters. Having seen episodes 1- 3, I face quite a quandary; do we wait for the rest of the season when it is available to stream or do I see Episodes 4-6 on Friday and 7-8 on Saturday back to back?

Leaving me on a cliffhanger as Dallas Jenkins did (again not saying what happens) was a double-edged sword. It left me wondering how each disciple dealt with the cliffhanger and how it would affect their faith journey from now on. On the one hand, I understand his reasoning for doing it, but what about those people who can’t afford to spend hours in theaters? I’m not only speaking economically here either, take it from someone who knows. Five minutes is not enough time for a bathroom break or intermission.

If you’ve followed The Chosen, season 3 concludes with Jesus having preached his famous Sermon on the Mount with most of the disciples getting in on the celebration. Simon Peter and his wife are suffering in silence, coping with the loss of their firstborn child. At the climax of the episode, Simon Peter has just walked on water into the arms of Jesus, proclaiming “Never Let Me Go”

For the 12 disciples, the future of Jesus’ ministry seems so bright. They’ve had a front-row seat to Jesus’ healing people and even been granted the same authority after being sent out to minister to people. However, they fail to realize what Jesus’ ultimate mission is (an Eternal Kingdom rather than an Earthly one) and the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice and followers’ commitment to the faith.

At the beginning of season 4, we find the disciples’ tensions high as they strive to live out their faith amid a hostile Roman climate. They’ve already heard what happened to John the Baptist after he confronted King Herod about his many indiscretions, leading up to his imprisonment. Then he “insulted” the Queen by pointing out her since as well as her need for the Savior; this infuriates her so much that she is determined to get revenge. This leads to his beheading.

While the disciples mourn his loss, two of Jesus’ disciples are counting the cost of their faith on a much more personal level., Ramah (played by Yasmine Al-Bustami) is one of the first of the disciples to recognize that their choices have consequences- good or bad and she must be ready whatever the cost. Despite this, Thomas and Rama are willing to do whatever it takes to make their betrothal legal even looking into other ways to make their union binding according to Jewish laws.

Grieving over his family’s loss, Jesus takes his ministry on the road. After all, it is there where John felt the most at home. When Jesus stops to rest in front of a temple for other gods, the disciples wonder why. On the one hand, he says we should not “shy away from these [dark] places out of fear”; he recognizes this message will not please everyone. He tells the disciples His Father wants his people to return to him.; However, most are concerned with their outward appearance (religious acts) rather than their soul, which is bound to cause some division. He points out that Ramah and Thomas are prime examples of what can happen when you choose to follow Jesus. It is during this teaching that Jesus renames Simon as Peter, meaning the “rock”

It’s not always going to be easy though. Little did they know this was going to be true soon and in the years to come. Both Rome and the religious leaders are growing tired of Jesus and his “miraculous signs” so much so that they want him gone. They start thinking of ways to “trap” him through his words or actions so that they can get rid of him “rightfully” under Jewish laws and traditions. Quintus (played by Brandon Potter) goes so far as to increase the taxes in the town and decrease the tent sizes allowed following Jesus. Undeterred, Jesus continues doing his work and the religious leaders always seem to “miss” him!

Oddly enough though, Gaius (played by Kirk B.R. Woller) seems to be more and more interested in Jesus, the more miracles he’s seen performed. Is he starting to believe? At one healing, Gaius is transfixed by his words and refuses to arrest Jesus. Atticus (played by Elijah Alexander) is there and tells the soldiers to send word to Quintus to bring reinforcements while the disciples urgently look for an escape route. As Peter goes ahead, some of the disciples get stuck amidst the mob of people. The soldiers are approaching, trying to calm the crowd (violently) and if they can’t catch Jesus, his disciples will have to do. One of the soldiers rushes after Thomas- who is holding Ramah’s hand. Swords were drawn, and the soldier forges ahead and pierces Ramah instead straight through the heart.

Time stops as Thomas and Mary gather around Ramah’s body, trying to stop the bleeding unsure of what else to do. Jesus retraces his steps feeling a shift has occurred. Sure enough one of his disciples is dead. Feeling hopeful, Thomas beseeches him to perform a miracle. He looks at Thomas sadly. “I’m sorry, Thomas. It’s not her time”

Following Ramah’s death, each of the disciples uniquely struggles with grief. Some even wonder what they could’ve done to prevent her death. Even though this response is only natural, Tamar (played by Amber Shana Williams) suggests this kind of thinking isn’t healthy. The disciples aren’t really sure what to say to Thomas, knowing whatever they say won’t bring Ramah back. Finally, Peter asks Jesus what to do. Jesus reminds him how he is uniquely equipped to speak to Thomas because of his personal experience with the loss of his child. From then on, Simon takes him under his wing- checking on his mental and spiritual health from time to time.

Meanwhile,  Gaius takes over for Quintus after he is demoted for Ramah’s accidental death. He uses his power and authority to protect Jesus however he can while wrestling with questions of his own.

Can Jesus really heal?

Is he truly the Savior?

Could faith be as simple as people say?

Gaius’ questions lead him to do the unthinkable, asking for an audience with Matthew. Unsure of what to make of such an invitation, Matthew is anxious and almost declines. But Jesus reassures him and suggests he take Peter along as well. When the group is alone, Gaius opens up about his growing “mustard seed” of faith; Peter wonders why he just doesn’t ask Jesus to heal his son/servant. (In previous seasons, we learned that his son is sick and dying.) Gaius admits the idea has crossed his mind; However, he doesn’t feel deserving of such a miracle. Matthew and Peter point out the circumstances Jesus called them out of- none of the disciples are worthy. It’s all God.

With that encouragement, he is ready to ask Jesus his question. Standing in front of Jesus, he admits his belief- with one obvious difference. Gaius says Jesus mustn’t trouble himself coming to his house, simply proclaim that it will be done and it will be. He knows this because of his subordinates under him. They do immediately what is required of them- no questions asked.

On the road to Capernaum, the disciples encounter a courier- bearing a gift. Understandably weary of this stranger, the disciples gather around the heavy bag questioning its contents. Are they being followed? They are pleasantly surprised when they realize these are jewels and palace utensils from their friend Joanna; such things could be sold to support their travels. To save time, Judas divides the materials and suggests the disciples split up, getting the best price they can from each item. When the disciples reunite, they wonder how the money should be spent? Should they spend the money on rooms in an inn or reach out to their contacts? When Jesus finally catches up, he tells them they will stay with Martha, Lazarus and Mary.

Part 2 continues next week

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