Saint, Sinner, Pope, Man: Why HBO's 'Young Pope' Is Worth Watching

Saint, Sinner, Pope, Man: Why HBO's 'Young Pope' Is Worth Watching

"My only sin is that my conscience does not accuse me of anything."


What would happen to the Catholic Church if an extremely young, extremist, American cardinal was voted to the highest position of the congregation?

That is what HBO's newest limited drama series hopes to unravel. This controversial and psychological approach to the office of the papacy focuses on the inner politics that surround the everyday in the world's smallest sovereign nation. Directed by Academy Award winning director Paolo Sorrentino, the world of Pope Pius the 13th quickly becomes a chaotic battle for power in an otherwise peaceful religion on the brink of self-destruction.

With the basis being the fictional election of a young American cardinal to the papacy, the show spends a lot of time delving into the contradiction that is the central figure of the soul behind the Holy Father, Lenny Belardo, played by Jude Law. Some staunch Catholics could see this as wrong, rude, and crossing the line. The Pope is a holy figure, and to paint him in the light that Lenny Belardo portrays is an insult to the institution. I don't. I think HBO has every right to produce a show like this because it is not about Catholicism, or the Pope, or religion. It is about politics, diplomacy, belief and tenants, and underestimating someone based on their age and previous stances.

The dark themes of secrecy, trust, power, and manipulation make this show a perfect fit next to HBO's success with Game of Thrones, Westworld, and The Sopranos. It has the right amount of sexy (its HBO, so of course there's going to be NSFW themes riddled throughout the episodes. Viewer's discretion is advised). As long as HBO keeps the balance between fiction and truth, the show should be a riveting political drama, perfect for fans of House of Cards, and just enough fiction to be enjoyable if Game of Thrones is too wild for you.

I am really enjoying the show so far. It's an intriguing concept, since there has not been an American that has been voted to the papacy. The current Pope, Francis the 1, is the first from the Americas (he's from Argentina), but no one from the United States. I love the twisted mind that is Lenny Belardo, how he is a constant contradiction and has a strange charisma that leaves you wanting more and more.

The Young Pope is definitely a show to keep an eye on. The episode layouts are somewhat strange, but it showcases the themes and political turmoil in a way that piques interest of anyone. It's dynamic, dark, mysterious, controversial and even revolutionary. I enjoy shows that question societal norms and has a healthy dose of politics, deceit, and myth. Since is it a limited drama, it won't be around for long, but I am definitely looking forward to what the creators have in store. We'll just have to wait and see if it can keep up with dragons, western artificial intelligence, and an infamous Italian mobster family.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Taylar Banks

May 25, 2020: the day that will forever be remembered as the day George Floyd lost his life at the hands of cops.

The day that systematic racism again reared its head at full force in 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 17 Black-Owned Businesses Ship Baked Goods, Rosé, And Even Fried Chicken Nationwide

Eat your way through this country's greatest food — from your couch.

Call it the easily bored Gemini in me, but I'm constantly looking for new food to try. Usually, travel quenches my taste for new and exciting cuisines, but given the fact that international travel is not always a possibility, I've begun exploring alternatives.

In the interest of wanting to support the Black community and Black-owned businesses, and also wanting to try some of the country's greatest food without having to get off my couch, I started off (pessimistically) doing research, only to find that the options were vast.

Keep Reading... Show less

24 Beauty And Style Brands Donating To The Fight To End Police Brutality Against Black People

From small, boutique brands to legacy fashion brands.

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less

22 Black-Owned Etsy Shops With The Perfect Gifts For Everyone In Your Life — Including You

Treat yourself and your loved ones while supporting Black creatives and artisans.

R-KI-TEKT, Pontie Wax, Lovely Earthlings, and blade + bloom on Etsy

The world is taking action against the injustices and under-representation plaguing Black lives, and one small but impactful thing you can do to actively make a difference is support Black-owned businesses.

Etsy is likely one of your go-to sites for gift-buying, but have you ever paid attention to which independent artists and sellers you're buying from?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments