|PAOLO SORRENTINOTHE NEW POPENEW POPEREVIEWHBO|
Don’t be alarmed. Yes, those keeping up with “The New Pope” are now looking at Lenny Belardo, the so-called young pope played by Jude Law, alive and in the flesh. Yes, there’s a lot of flesh, since he’s only wearing white swim briefs, and yes, he’s wet and winking. Doubt, if you must, his impossible fitness — after being comatose for a year, only divine intervention could maintain those abs — but do not doubt what matters most: He is risen.
After six episodes of spiritual apparitions and twitching fingers, Lenny finally woke from his 12-month coma. But one of the most notable scenes, and certainly the most internet famous, takes place in between the land of the living and the world of the dead. Jude Law’s beachside emergence — the one that kicks off the episode, and yes, the one used in early promos for “The New Pope” — is an ethereal moment from an unknown perspective. Is it Lenny’s dream? Is it a shared dream with his followers? Is it not a dream at all, but a peek into purgatory?
“I confess that I don’t know,” series creator Paolo Sorrentino said during an interview with IndieWire. “I had an idea. I thought it was funny that when he wakes up, he arrives from the sea and arrives on a beach full of women. It was just a joke [related to] the very clear fact that Jude Law is a sex symbol.”
“The explanation is on very low-level,” he added with a laugh.
Perhaps Sorrentino’s motivation wasn’t as complex as the ideas his scene elicits, but that’s “The New Pope” in a nutshell: an enthralling blend of high-brow ideas and low-brow humor. From the pointed commentary on the Catholic political world to its recurring jokes about Pope Lenny’s love for Cherry Coke Zero, the HBO sequel regularly contrasts profound significance with outrageous frivolity.
Gianni Fiorito / HBO
Sorrentino, who said he still has not tried his holy character’s most coveted beverage, wanted “The New Pope” to focus on a realistic successor to Lenny Belardo. Because the church tends to elect a liberal pope after a conservative one and vice verse, that meant it was time for a progressive leader — if only that were possible.
“A real liberal pope is not allowed to [exist] in this moment in the church,” he said. “It’s not arrived yet, where a liberal pope [could rule]. Pope Francis is trying to be more liberal, and he’s meeting a lot of resistance. There are a lot of people going against him. So it’s not so realistic we have a liberal pope. In my mind, they couldn’t last too long.”
His solution? Kill off the liberal...
If nothing below suits your sensibilities, check out our guide to What You Should Watch On Streaming Right Now.
The New Pope HBO, 9:00 p.m. — The Church prepares to do battle in the season finale as Voiello receives a visit from a man close to the caliph, a class of schoolchildren are taken hostage, and John Paul III's followers follow his new decree.
9-1-1: Lone Star Fox, 8:00 p.m. — Michelle continues to uncover disturbing information about her sister's disappearance as the team races to aid a gender reveal party gone horribly wrong.
All American CW, 8:00 p.m. — Layla does some quick thinking to solve Coop's tour problems and Spencer focuses his energies on making sure South Crenshaw doesn't become a magnet school.
The Bachelor ABC, 8:00 p.m. — Perhaps the most indecisive bachelor in the history of the series finally chooses which woman to propose to tonight, but not before taking the remaining two ladies on a trip to Australia.
The Voice NBC, 8:00 p.m. — It's another round of blind auditions tonight.
Bob Hearts Abishola CBS, 8:00 p.m. — Abishola and Bob take their relationship to the next level: church dating.
All Rise CBS, 9:00 p.m. — Lola's forced to choose between her career and her mentor's reputation when she learns some shocking information while doing background research for the Attorney General campaign.
Better Call Saul AMC, 9:00 p.m. — Mike does damage control with his family while Jimmy doubles down on Saul, and Kim presents him with an interesting business proposition.
Black Lightning CW, 9:00 p.m. — Black Lightning finally confronts Gravedigger in a showdown that could alter the course of the Pierce family forever.
Breeders FX, 10:00 p.m. — Paul begins to question his parenting abilities when his son starts injuring himself.
The Good Doctor ABC, 10:00 p.m. — Shaun and Claire treat a patient with dwarfism while the rest of the team tries to help a man who had both arms torn off in a previous farming accident.
Manifest NBC, 10:00 p.m. — Tensions in the Stone home boil over as Olive continues digging into a centuries-old text while Zeke comes to Saanvi's aid when her lab research takes a dangerous turn.
Dispatches From Elsewhere AMC, 10:00 p.m. — Janice takes a trip down memory lane as the group have their first encounter with Octavio.
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The New Pope Popedown is a list of the five craziest and/or most notable things that happened in each episode of HBO's 'The New Pope,' ranked from least to most crazy and/or notable. Like a countdown, but with popes.5. Say what you will about this show, it can give the heck out of a speech
It's easy to forget amid all the hubbub of the show, all the disco nuns writhing under a pulsing neon cross, all the slow-motion shots of Jude Law strolling down the beach in his tiny papal Speedo, but The New Pope can really deliver when it's time to bring it all home with a big speech. There were no fewer than three of them this week, one by The New Pope and two by The Young Pope, each of them telling us something important about the man delivering them.
The one by The New Pope, Sir John Brannox, Malkovich himself, was probably the most powerful in its actual content. He spent most of the season shrinking from the moment, hiding or fleeing, panicking on live television as he goes through heroin withdrawal. Here, he took the stage and boomed out a powerful and inclusive speech that described an open church, one where everyone is welcomed with arms spread wide. It was... I mean, it was kind of beautiful. And it was yet another reminder that this show is very much saying something between all the chaos it creates.HBO
The Young Pope's speeches were as different as any two speeches can be. The first was all pomp and bluster, opening with a dramatic entrance atop a throne and proceeding to delve into the nature of power. It was Lenny Belardo at his most unhinged, fully believing his own legend and using it to pound reality into his own vision. It was shot like a few of the scenes from earlier in the season, with the camera spinning around the room as he spoke, zooming in tight on the Cardinals as they listened to him really get after it, then circling back to his face and his bullet hat as he thundered away. It was a lot. And made more interesting by the third speech. Which we'll get to in a minute. I can't wait to talk about the crowd-surfing.4. The ballad of the Vaping Assassin HBO
I can't write a wrap-up of this episode or the season as a whole without one last tribute to my beloved Vaping Assassin, whose name is Bauer, but whatever. What a great episode for him. Highlights include:Threatened to assassinate Voiello Showed up at Voiello's door with the Caliph's advisor to explain that the acts of terrorism were not, in fact, carried out by Muslim extremists Held a meeting with Voiello and a bumbling American general who was not allowed to talk and was very distracted by the seductive lounging of a woman we later learned to be a Dutch prostitution named Amber who travels everywhere with Bauer and will be running off to Korea with him next Had a sweet goodbye with Voiello, a man he threatened to kill just days...
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...