Review: The Young Pope Season 1 Episode 5 “Episode 5”

Powerful and merciless. The first half is masterful, expertly balancing both Lenny’s extravagant, radical ideals with more sympathetic, traditional, christian views. The equilibrium created by the two makes Lenny one of the most well established characters I have seen on TV, as while his demeanour and rhetoric is dark and haunting, it now feels rooted in his faith. This is supported by grand imagery, that albeit often too obvious, presents Lenny’s clear perspective on celibacy and power. Voeillo also benefits from such insightful writing, as his arc of betrayal and deceit is resolved to some point by him finally understanding his place and his comparable lack of cunning to Lenny. But ultimately, the viewer’s opinion of this episode will depend on how bold they like their content. The ending is a slice of nearly self-aware theatre; calculated to reflect Lenny’s stature, grasp and vision, and perfected to elicit a certain emotional response from the audience. The writers want us to see him as a uniquely inspirational villain, with little redeeming features. The lack of subtlety may annoy some, whatever its effectiveness, but it is both revolutionary and familiar. It understands its own absurdity and runs with it, and honestly, that has to be applauded. 9.5/10

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