Seven More Things You Might Have Missed in The Young Pope

by | Jan 24, 2017 | Justice, Pop Culture, TV

For us, this show’s going from weird to downright disturbing.  Watching a megalomaniac impervious to counsel tear apart an institution that we love is a bit too much for us to take at the moment.  That in mind, here are the things that stuck with us, starting with the big one:

1) First press conference déjà vu

As mouthpieces for authoritarian narcissists, Sean Spicer and Sr. Mary delivered uncomfortably similar statements at their first press conference.

Spicer for Trump:

The President is committed to unifying our country, and that was the focus of his inaugural address.  This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenging — that bringing about our nation together is making it more difficult.

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable.  And I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways.  We’re going to hold the press accountable, as well.  The American people deserve better.  And as long as he serves as the messenger for this incredible movement, he will take his message directly to the American people where his focus will always be.

Sr. Mary for Lenny (think Spicer’s statement in Vatican-speak):

I, Pius XIII, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, and Servant of the Servants of God, wish to inform you of my total indifference to your doubts and criticism, in light of which I deem it necessary to reiterate my infallibility in contrast to your human fallibility. And by virtue of the prerogative, which is dogmatically sanctioned by the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff, I will not tolerate any delays or compromises as I carry out my plan.

Also, this from episode 4:

2) He makes the front page of ALL the papers


Trump made sure to share with the CIA that he has the record for Time Magazine covers at 15 this year. 1  Lenny has an international array of newspapers with him on the front.

3)  Dropping bombs and leaving them for other people to clean up

Pius XIII advisors warn him that bomb-laden his first speech to the public has “set every Christian and journalist in the world against you in the first week of your Papacy.”  This press strategy seems familiar.  

4) Hurt people hurt people redux


Let James Cromwell’s words to Jude Law speak for themselves:

You’ve never budged from the front gate of that orphanage where one fine day, without explanations, your parents abandoned you. … You want to make the world pay for the wrong it did you. You’ll be a terrible Pope, the worst and the most dangerous in modern times, and I don’t intend to waste the few years I have remaining being an accomplice to a vindictive little boy.

Or as Jude Law mentioned to Deadline Hollywood:

It’s almost as if the character of Pope Pius XIII is a role Lenny was playing to work out his own dilemmas.

5) Sometimes a red slipper is just a red slipper …

Gianni Fiorito / HBO / Antonello/Montesi / WWD

Gianni Fiorito / HBO / Antonello/Montesi / WWD

… and sometimes it’s not.  As Pio Tredici faints into a woman’s arms, the receding camera can’t help but highlight His Holiness’s red slippers.  What are those about?

Two things, according to the New York Review of Books.  First, they symbolize the blood of the martyrs on which the church is built.  But that’s probably a later justification–pricey red die indicated the owners had money and power.  Since superiority and sacrifice seem to be characteristics of Lenny’s budding papacy, this might not be a bad fit.

6) Forrest Gump allusion of the week

Last week it was the feather, and this week, in the opening credits, we get Pope Pius XIII strutting down a Vatican hallway with a comet tearing through the adorning artwork, all soundtracked by a Hendrix-style cover of “All Along the Watchtower.”  It recalls Forrest Gump’s Vietnam sojourn, where Hendrix plays while Gump’s platoon in on patrol.  Guess the Pope’s also marching to war.

7) Exactly where Jude Law’s accent comes from 

Lt. Dan to the rescue.  Maybe Forrest Gump was Jude Law’s research source, cause in terms of matching accents, Gary Sinise is the best we can do.  Can you find a better match?  Compare and tell us in the comments below.

  1. Incidentally, this is not true.  Rather ominously for Trump, Nixon had 55.

Jason Downer, SJ   /   All posts by Jason