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S01.E09: Episode 9

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Pius XIII and John Paul III are finally forced to confront each other as terrorists take a priest and six students hostage in Ventotene.

It's the final episode.  Lenny and Brannox meet up.  Will they say, "Wonder Popes, unite!" and form into one massive super pope?

Original air date 2020.03.09

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I must be the only one who is waiting for the new episode thread to unlock. Ah well. Will leave this here and not come back. This was just too weird for school.

Lots and lots of Jude Law speechifying. Which isn't bad.

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Lenny was Mosh Pitted to death? What the actual Fork.

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Can't believe Esther was stupid enough to join the cult, terrorize children, and commit murder. 

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And we are unlocked! 

Happy with the Newest pope. Well played, Voiello. Well played. Was he involved in the death of Pope Francis?

Still hate what happened to Lenny, I don't get it so someone please explain. At least the Good Place has a lovely beach.

Edited by marinw
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This climax to the Caliph plot was weak because they really didn't sketch it out in depth.

Nor the plot about fanatics for Pius XIII.

Most of the season, we just got some glimpses of them.

I can buy that the fanatics would pull a stunt like that.  Ironic that what Lenny told Brannox to say got that priest killed.

Not sure Lenny is dead.  That crowd surfing sequence seemed mostly about the visuals, though I guess Lenny is the rock star pope that the Church needs to keep bringing in the money.  As Gutierrez says, we (the Church) has been doing capitalism longer than anyone else.

Brannox's speech was poetry though I don't think it's some official policy change of the Church?  Don't they have more formal documents like encyclicals for that?  The speech sounded like it was an endorsement of gay marriage among other things.

Lenny started to believe his own hype -- I guess he performed a little miracle for the cardiologist and his wife as the ending montage shows she's pregnant.  After he had demanded to God to cure their sickly boy.

He thought his army would have a holy war against the Caliph.  That was when it was assumed the Caliph had taken the kids hostage.  One of the radio or TV announcers aid that the Caliph had hidden among the refugees allowed into Italy.  That is an explosive topic in Italy and Europe in general, as xenophobic parties tried to keep refugees out on the basis of terrorism fears.

He believed his appearance on the island would cause the Caliph to cower in fear.  I can't believe the cops would have let him enter the school like that.  He certainly didn't know that it was esther and his cult that were holed up in the school and he didn't have anything to say to Esther.

 

HBO lists this episode as season finale so if the ratings were good enough and they offer Sorrentino enough money, there will be another season.  Monday nights seem to be when HBO is airing these European prestige TV productions -- My Brilliant Friend comes back next Monday.

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The initial conversation between Lenny and Brannox was an excellent scene and for a few moments I was thinking, "First season, The Young Pope; Second season, The New Pope; Next season, The Two Popes;" but it certainly didn't turn out that way!

I did believe that the fanatical Lenny worshipers could engage in such a violent, diabolical plot. Sadly, they were capable of horror in their unrelenting quest to uncover what had truly happened to Lenny. In my opinion, Sorrentino wanted to show that fanaticism in any major religion can lead to violence.

The one thing that bothered me--although it may have made for a good scene--was Voiello praying TO Girolamo, whom he considers a saint. As a (mostly lapsed) Catholic, I have had several in-depth discussions with Christians of other denominations who've told me that Catholics don't know how to pray properly because they pray TO saints. This is wrong. As Catholics, we ask the saints to pray FOR us. Litany of the Saints shows this (call and response prayer,) "St. Peter, pray for us; St. Paul, pray for us; St. Andrew, pray for us; St. James, pray for us; St. John, pray for us," and so on.  The Hail Mary says, "Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."  In showing a Cardinal(!) praying this way, Paolo Sorrentino just made my conversations a lot harder!

I did like that we got a glimpse of what the future held for many of the secondary characters, making it acceptable should this turn out to be not just a season finale but also a series finale. I do hope there will be another season though. I'd absolutely like to see what a Voiello papacy looks like. 

 

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I love Voiello - he's one of my favorite characters of all time - but I think the show should end here.  

The "you don't get it" scene with the creepy guy and the US general was great!

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2 hours ago, ProudMary said:

As a (mostly lapsed) Catholic,

Which brings me to a semi-serious question: How offensive is this show to Catholics, even though a Vatican filled with  sex and scandal is hardly a new concept? Could HBO get away with a show about a sexy Dali Lama? Because I would watch that show.

Edited by marinw

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46 minutes ago, marinw said:

Which brings me to a semi-serious question: How offensive is this show to Catholics, even though a Vatican filled with  sex and scandal is hardly a new concept? Could HBO get away with a show about a sexy Dali Lama? Because I would watch that show.

 I found that it actually put me in touch with my Catholic faith,  as lapsed and non practicing as my faith is.  I am sure some would find this sacrilegious but I think it's the opposite,  I think it embraces the Church for all its failures and its beauty.   I really don't believe it demeaned the Church at all,  I really found this show to be a stunning work of art.

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Thing is Vatican gave them access to film all over, including in the Sistine Chapel.

Unless that is they spent a lot of money building a set to make it look like the Sistine Chapel -- do they show the ceiling during those scenes?

So maybe they don't see it as reflecting badly on the Church.

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16 hours ago, scrb said:

Unless that is they spent a lot of money building a set to make it look like the Sistine Chapel --

That's exactly what they did:

https://www.thecinemaholic.com/where-was-the-new-pope-filmed/

"Cinecitta Studios was particularly used to recreate the Vatican City which was inaccessible to the cast and crew otherwise. Production designer Ludovica Ferrario and her team painstakingly built parts of the Vatican from the scratch. The biggest challenge was the Sistine Chapel of which they built a full-scale replica. It measured around 581,251 square feet, and required 25 painters and 40 builders."

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Wow that's awesome.

They sure did a lot of scenes set in the Sistine Chapel, which would normally be packed with tourists at least during the day.

They fenced it off into sections when I visited and those fences looked like it wasn't something they'd put in and take out over and over again.

So with all the money they spent on these sets, you'd think they'd want to keep doing it if the ratings are decent.

Then again, the series Rome set a record at the time for a TV production at the time and I recall a lot of the budget was for sets that the Italian studio had to build.  That series lasted only two seasons.  Don't think the ratings were great but they jettisoned the show despite the costs for all the sets.

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I know it's a silly trope, but I was hoping John Paul III would get a new puppy at the end!

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On 3/10/2020 at 11:41 AM, scrb said:

This climax to the Caliph plot was weak because they really didn't sketch it out in depth.

Nor the plot about fanatics for Pius XIII.

Yeah I thought the fanatics bombed the chapel the whole time but they were just there so it's all of a sudden like they're taking hostages. I think they could have done more with their descent. 

So was Lenny actually dead the whole time? He very clearly pointed out the scene of Brannox saying 'God doesn't like me.' Like fucking Galactica at the end with Starbuck. 

 

 

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On 3/11/2020 at 10:16 AM, SHD said:

That's exactly what they did:

https://www.thecinemaholic.com/where-was-the-new-pope-filmed/

"Cinecitta Studios was particularly used to recreate the Vatican City which was inaccessible to the cast and crew otherwise. Production designer Ludovica Ferrario and her team painstakingly built parts of the Vatican from the scratch. The biggest challenge was the Sistine Chapel of which they built a full-scale replica. It measured around 581,251 square feet, and required 25 painters and 40 builders."

What's really crazy is that about the same time someone else did the same thing for the movie The Two Popes.

Can't we just share?

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Probably unpopular opinion: I loved pretty much everything about this episode. The only thing that could have made it even better IMO was if during the crowd surfing scene, we saw Lenny’s parents in the crowd (like at his speech in Venice), but this time they were among the people holding him up as he was lifted/moved via the crowd. That would have given me a bit of closure (or knowing Lenny had some kind of closure about his parents) as to orphan Lenny’s storyline with the parents who abandoned him, which felt like an integral part of Lenny’s story/character in the first season.

I was somewhat underwhelmed by the show until Lenny/Pius woke up (& somewhat disappointed in Malcovich’s character arc as well) but have really enjoyed it since Lenny has been back awake.  This episode was gorgeous and moving. Even with the plot not being as explained as it could have been for some characters (the Lenny cult’s devolution), it was pretty darn close to perfection to me. Maybe I’m just enamored of Hot Pope Pius, though. 😉 

I also really loved Voiello becoming pope. On one hand, I’d love to see a season of Pope Voiello, but on the other hand, I remember that I love this show best when Hot Pope Pius is around (and speaking or living, not just silently appearing alongside characters). I’m okay if it stops here, but hope there’s some way to do a final season with Pope Voiello (and bring back SisterMaryDianeKeaton as part of his storyline) AND also include Hot Pope Pius without doing the “he’s not really dead” thing again (although I don’t easily see how that could be done). As much as I like Voiello and want to see him as Pope, I also think Jude Law & his character is what makes this show.

On 3/10/2020 at 5:52 PM, jrzy said:

 I found that it actually put me in touch with my Catholic faith,  as lapsed and non practicing as my faith is.  I am sure some would find this sacrilegious but I think it's the opposite,  I think it embraces the Church for all its failures and its beauty.   I really don't believe it demeaned the Church at all,  I really found this show to be a stunning work of art.

Same. I was raised Catholic (12 years plus kindergarten of Catholic school, mass every Sunday growing up) & still identify as culturally Catholic, but I don’t actively practice aside from the “fun” folk Catholicism stuff, which in south Louisiana includes Mardi Gras, crawfish boils on Fridays during Lent (such a big sacrifice, haha), etc., I feel the same way about this show. I get why some people might find it sac-religious at face value, but it’s the opposite for me. It reminds me that the Catholic Church is an imperfect institution ran by men - who are humans grappling with bureaucracy, human nature (& its dark side); legacies of outdated/misogynist traditions vs. modernity; & the inability of humans to still totally understand even when given miracles/seeing the power of a higher power/seeing heaven/resurrecting from the (brain) dead, etc (and how they grapple with not having all the answers even if they have some - for example, Lenny knew that what Brannox had said  at his brother’s grave but didn’t know that the terrorists at the end were members of the cult dedicated to him). Like another of my favorite (and criminally under-appreciated) shows, part of the beauty of this series is seeing the characters (& viewers) ultimately “let the mystery be.”  

This last episode made the so-so first handful of episodes totally worth it (for me). And gods, I loved that last little Kubrick-wink with little kid Pius running into  Voiello. Hunter S Thompson said “it never got weird enough for me” about life. Well, this season was just the right amount of weird to scratch a strange itch I didn’t know I really had as a lapsed cultural Catholic (who also loves her some Hot Pope Pius & thinks this is the best Jude Law has ever looked with that perfect spray tan & hairpiece).   Thank you for that, Sorrentino & Law (and shout out to the actor who plays Gutierrez for breaking my heart in almost every scene and to Voiello’s actor for stealing so many scenes).

Edited by MyPeopleAreNordic
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15 hours ago, MyPeopleAreNordic said:

Probably unpopular opinion: I loved pretty much everything about this episode. The only thing that could have made it even better IMO was if during the crowd surfing scene, we saw Lenny’s parents in the crowd (like at his speech in Venice), but this time they were among the people holding him up as he was lifted/moved via the crowd. That would have given me a bit of closure (or knowing Lenny had some kind of closure about his parents) as to orphan Lenny’s storyline with the parents who abandoned him, which felt like an integral part of Lenny’s story/character in the first season.

I was somewhat underwhelmed by the show until Lenny/Pius woke up (& somewhat disappointed in Malcovich’s character arc as well) but have really enjoyed it since Lenny has been back awake.  This episode was gorgeous and moving. Even with the plot not being as explained as it could have been for some characters (the Lenny cult’s devolution), it was pretty darn close to perfection to me. Maybe I’m just enamored of Hot Pope Pius, though. 😉 

I also really loved Voiello becoming pope. On one hand, I’d love to see a season of Pope Voiello, but on the other hand, I remember that I love this show best when Hot Pope Pius is around (and speaking or living, not just silently appearing alongside characters). I’m okay if it stops here, but hope there’s some way to do a final season with Pope Voiello (and bring back SisterMaryDianeKeaton as part of his storyline) AND also include Hot Pope Pius without doing the “he’s not really dead” thing again (although I don’t easily see how that could be done). As much as I like Voiello and want to see him as Pope, I also think Jude Law & his character is what makes this show.

Same. I was raised Catholic (12 years plus kindergarten of Catholic school, mass every Sunday growing up) & still identify as culturally Catholic, but I don’t actively practice aside from the “fun” folk Catholicism stuff, which in south Louisiana includes Mardi Gras, crawfish boils on Fridays during Lent (such a big sacrifice, haha), etc., I feel the same way about this show. I get why some people might find it sac-religious at face value, but it’s the opposite for me. It reminds me that the Catholic Church is an imperfect institution ran by men - who are humans grappling with bureaucracy, human nature (& its dark side); legacies of outdated/misogynist traditions vs. modernity; & the inability of humans to still totally understand even when given miracles/seeing the power of a higher power/seeing heaven/resurrecting from the (brain) dead, etc (and how they grapple with not having all the answers even if they have some - for example, Lenny knew that what Brannox had said  at his brother’s grave but didn’t know that the terrorists at the end were members of the cult dedicated to him). Like another of my favorite (and criminally under-appreciated) shows, part of the beauty of this series is seeing the characters (& viewers) ultimately “let the mystery be.”  

This last episode made the so-so first handful of episodes totally worth it (for me). And gods, I loved that last little Kubrick-wink with little kid Pius running into  Voiello. Hunter S Thompson said “it never got weird enough for me” about life. Well, this season was just the right amount of weird to scratch a strange itch I didn’t know I really had as a lapsed cultural Catholic (who also loves her some Hot Pope Pius & thinks this is the best Jude Law has ever looked with that perfect spray tan & hairpiece).   Thank you for that, Sorrentino & Law (and shout out to the actor who plays Gutierrez for breaking my heart in almost every scene and to Voiello’s actor for stealing so many scenes).

That was beautifully said.

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Voiello abides.

I'm content with the ending.

So can someone explain - one minute John Paul III is all "you will obey me as the pope" and in the next he is retired and swanning about his estate with Sofia? What was his thinking?

Random fashion observations: when the cardinal army was gathered behind Pius I realized each of their white overskirts had a different lace pattern. And I was dazzled by all of the rubies in Pius' coat. And I read somewhere a while back that Versace makes the red leather slippers.

Missed seeing Assente in the final Where Are they Now.

 

Edited by pasdetrois

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I think after the priest was murdered, he realized his speech is what caused it and he just couldn't deal. 

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