THE CHOSEN S1E2 In-Depth Summary & Review: A Redeemed Woman and a Rejected Man

The Chosen, Season 1, Ep 2: “Shabbat”

In this episode we see the newly-redeemed Mary of Magdala preparing for one of the most important Jewish weekly rituals — the Sabbath — while other important characters’ stories develop around her.

Note: This episode contains one of the (in my humble opinion) most heartrending scenes of the season, making viewers fall hard for a character who, in real life, would have been one of the most unlovable people Jesus ever called.

Ready to get started…?

About The Chosen

The Chosen is a multi-season “binge-able” TV series based on the life of Christ and his disciples. It’s the biggest crowdfunded project in the history of TV crowdfunding, not just for faith-based projects, but ever.

Pre-show disclaimer

In this article, I’ll be summarizing, reviewing, and giving relevant context for this episode of The Chosen.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: Read this article AFTER you’ve seen the show to avoid spoilers. You can watch the show for free at https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen

If you are able and would like to contribute, you can “pay it forward” by getting yourself some swag from The Chosen gift shop or via direct donations.

(Note: I am not affiliated with the show or its creators in any way, just a regular ole’ fan impressed by their storytelling skills and interested in studying it to learn more!)

What’s Happened So Far

In the last episode, we were introduced to the following main characters:

  • Mary Magdalene, a demon-possessed woman who uses alcohol to drown out her traumatic past and hellish present, and who uses the alias “Lillith”
  • Nicodemus, a Pharisee and rabbi, the “teacher of teachers” who attempts to exorcise Mary’s demons
  • Simon Peter and Andrew, two brothers who make their livelihood as fishermen, but are in danger of losing their home and boat due to overdue taxes
  • Matthew the tax collector who appears to be on the Autism Spectrum, and is hated by his fellow Jews
  • And last, but most important, Jesus, who appears in the final scene to deliver Mary from her demons

The first episode was primarily about setting up each character’s backstory:

Lillith/Mary is troubled enough to want to commit suicide. When Nicodemus fails to cure “Lillith,” he starts to reconsider his understanding of God, to his wife’s consternation.

Simon is so desperate to save his home and family that he’s willing to make a deal with the hated Roman official Quintus, to betray other Jews. And Matthew is suspicious when Simon says he’s made a deal with Quintus, promising to follow up with Quintus personally.

We ended with a climactic scene where a Stranger finds Lillith/Mary in a tavern and calls her by her real name, setting his hands on her head and instantly delivering her from her demons. The Stranger is, of course, Jesus.

And so episode 2 begins…

Summary

The episode starts with an unnamed Jewish Bedouin community preparing for the Sabbath in Chinnereth, 948 BC:

A little boy questions his grandmother about the meaning of Sabbath, and she tells him:

“Shabbat is a time for rest, and time to honor three things: family, our people, and God.”

“We’re all God’s people, even friends who haven’t met”

The scene ends with the adults blessing the children and each other* and saying to each other the traditional Sabbath greeting: “Shabbat Shalom!”*

And then, cue the blue fish:

This song is really starting to grow on me 🙂

As the opening credits end, we are transported to the city of Capernaum, AD 26.

A group of women are working in a hair salon of sorts when Mary walks in and compliments one of the hairdressers, her friend. The hairdresser invites Mary to take over:

“You try…I have seen you braid Leah[’s hair]. You’re wonderful! Go ahead.”

When the hairdresser suggests flowers, Mary leaves the “salon” to look for buttercups. She is spotted by Nicodemus’ student Yussif, who was with Nicodemus in the botched exorcism attempt from Episode 1.

He stares in shock as Mary picks her buttercup and walks past.

He can’t believe it’s not butte…uh, a demon-possessed woman (anymore)

Next, we see Matthew and bodyguard Gaius waiting for Quintus, the Praetor of Capernaum. They have come because Matthew wants to confirm what Simon told him in the last episode — that Simon has made a deal with Quintus in exchange for tax debt forgiveness.

Gaius scolds Matthew: “This was a horrible idea. [Quintus] does not need to clarify anything for you!”

When Gaius accuses Matthew of not knowing who he’s dealing with, Matthew protests that he does know:

“He is the Roman occupying overseer of this region and his primary responsibilities are to enforce the law and ensure financial stability.”

This answer leaves Gaius less-than-impressed:

“I am aware of his responsibilities, I don’t think you know what he’s capable of!”

“Listen, I don’t want to carry your corpse out, so I’m going to wait outside for your replacement,” Gaius says, turning to leave Matthew to his asked-for fate. “Good luck!”

But Quintus interrupts them and Gaius has no time to escape. Quintus doesn’t waste time mincing words:

“I’ll get to the point: Why should I not kill you both? You first.”

Matthew tries to tell Quintus why he has come, but Quintus keeps telling him to go faster and skip to the end. Matthew blurts out:

“Did you hire a man to spy on Jewish merchant vessels fishing on Shabbat to avoid paying taxes?”

Quintus confirms the fact, and Gaius tries to beat a quick retreat. But Matthew can’t leave well enough alone:

“I do not find Simon reliable,” he says, citing Simon’s deficiency with his taxes and gambling habits.

The guard in the room threatens to behead Matthew, but Quintus is bemused at Matthew’s response and starts giggling.

“Where did he come from?”

Quintus dismisses Matthew after saying that he may have need of his services in the future.


The scene switches to Simon, who is chatting cheerfully with Jewish merchants in a gambling den.

“Look at this mane, like Absalom, no?…Stay away from low-hanging branches, my boy.”*

Andrew scolds Simon for acting friendly with the merchants, aka “fattening sheep for the slaughter,” knowing that Simon plans to betray them to the Romans in exchange for getting a year’s reprieve on taxes.

Simon replies that the merchants are not family, so he’s willing to sacrifice them to protect those he does consider family — brother Andrew and wife Eden.


Shmuel rushes into Nicodemus’ study to tell him he (Nico) has been summoned before the Av Beit Din*, who reveals that the woman (Mary) Nico tried to exorcise in the last episode has been saved from her demons.

-”You saw her?” -“Yes, teacher. Perfectly redeemed and radiant!”

The Av Beit Din want to report the miracle to Jerusalem, but Nicodemus wants to do his own investigation first. The Av Beit Din acquiesces.


Peter and Andrew are out on the lake late at night, looking out for merchant ships.

Simon is guessing who the lawbreakers might be. Andrew still thinks all of this is a lousy idea, upset that Simon is really trying to betray fellow Jews.

-“That crew is stealing food out of Eden’s mouth. They’re going to take our boat, maybe our lives!” -“Maybe, but we made our choices too.”

Nicodemus is preoccupied with the whole exorcism investigation, but his wife reminds him that he needs to be home to lead the Sabbath meal.

-“It’s a small gathering, you just go through it quickly.” -(sarcastic) ”Oh, well, I try to avoid spending too much time honoring God and our heritage.”

At the marketplace, a grumpy Gaius breaks up a fight by threatening to cut off someone’s nose.

“Only one language keeps their peace, Marcus. Learn to speak it.”

Gaius arrives at Matthew’s tax booth to see him with a cut on his face, holding his cloth to his nose and attempting to scrub a stain from his clothes.

“Another unhappy citizen expressing his disapproval?” Gaius asks. “Ugh, you’re disgusting. Go home.”

But Matthew refuses to shirk his responsibility, as his father taught him. Matthew adds that his father has disowned him: “He says he has no son.”

It ain’t easy being a tax collector…

Meanwhile, an excited but nervous Mary arrives at the women’s salon with newly-acquired Shabbat candles. The local women give her some advice to prepare for her first Shabbat in a long time.

Always good to get advice for your first Shabbat dinner

As she leaves, she bumps into Nicodemus, who is stunned to see her in her right mind.

-”Lillith!”… -“I don’t answer to that name. I am Mary.”

Nicodemus thinks that his efforts have saved her, but Mary sets him straight: It was another man who healed her.

When Nicodemus asks his name, Mary says she doesn’t know. But even if she did, she couldn’t tell him, because his time to be made known has not yet come.

Nicodemus is shocked that an unknown man would perform miracles and not want the credit.

“I was one way, and now I am completely different. And the thing that happened in between, was Him.”

At home, Eden is chopping cucumbers when a bedraggled Simon comes into the kitchen. He tries to say good morning, but she points out that it is not morning.

Eden asks about fishing, and Simon says it’s fine. Eden points out that he hasn’t been to the market to sell fish for days, his hours are upside down, and his “face is frozen with worry.”

When Simon says that he plans to work that night, which is the Sabbath, Eden grows angry sensing that he is withholding information from her. But all Simon will say is “trust me.”

“You answer to God, not me.”

As the sky grows dark, Matthew is seen carrying a bowl of food as he walks down a street. A black dog with large ears follows behind him, and when Matthew turns around, the pup whines:

“If there’s any left when I get back, I’ll give it to you.”

Matthew goes to a house and looks in a window. Inside, a family is seated around a table lit with candles. It’s his family, and it’s clear he is not welcome inside. Matthew turns quickly and carries his bowl away.

“Waving through a window-oh-oh…can anybody see? Is anybody waving…”…oh, wrong show. Sorry 😉

Cut to Nicodemus and his wife and guests in their home.

Nicodemus starts talking to his wife about the history of the Jews, how 200 years ago, the Greek king Antiochus IV suppressed Jewish religious observances until the Maccabbees revolted and brought in the Hasmonean dynasty and restored Jewish religious practices.

“”Hasmonean…do you know the significance?” -”Tell me.”

Then there’s Mary in her home, setting out candles and food for her Shabbat meal. A knock on her door announces her guests, Barnaby and Shula.

Our Abbott and Costello (kinda) — Barnaby and Shula!

A couple of young men, Thaddeus and James, also arrive, telling Mary that “we were told this is a good place to come.” She welcomes them in as well.

“Please come in, you are most welcome here.”

Mary admits she doesn’t know what she’s doing and asks her guests to correct her if she’s wrong.

Shula says she can’t remember the last time she’s been invited to a Shabbat dinner. Barnaby jokes that he’s been to plenty, just never as an invited guest.

They ask Mary why she has an extra seat at the table. When she refers to Elijah, they tell her that that practice is only for Passover Seder.*

As Mary is consulting her notes on Sabbath practice, she mentions that her father taught her to read. Just then, there’s a knock on the door:

WE MEET AGAIN. The Bible DID say: “I stand at the door and knock…”

It’s Jesus, who says, “Hello Mary. It’s good to see you.”

A stunned Mary forgets to invite him inside, so Jesus semi-invites himself in, and the guests remind Mary to ask him to be seated. Jesus smilingly greets Thaddeus and James, who address him as their rabbi.

Mary is flustered but happy and introduces Jesus to her friends. When Jesus mentions that he is from Nazareth, Barnaby makes a joke about the place and everyone stares at him in disapproval, except for Jesus, who winks at him:

Jesus has a sense of humor

Mary tries to defer to Jesus to lead the Sabbath meal, but Jesus gently asks her to lead. She starts reading from her prepared notes:

Now the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
— Genesis 2:1–3

As Mary’s voice continues to speak, this time reciting traditional Jewish blessings, we hear echoes of Nicodemus’ voice reciting the same passages, as vignettes of the different characters having their Sabbath dinners cross the screen:

  • Mary with Jesus, his disciples, and her other guests:
Mary, reading from her notes
  • Nicodemus with his wife and friends:
A fancy Pharisee Sabbath
  • Simon, Andrew, and Eden at their table:
The fishermen’s Sabbath feast
  • Matthew eating on the ground outside his family’s home, with only the stray black dog for company:
The Tableau of the Tax Collector and the Dog
  • Eden looking unhappy when Simon stands up to leave:
Gotta go to work, hon

We come back to Mary, who ends the reading with “amen.”

And in the next scene, we see Simon standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, with Roman soldiers carrying burning torches walking up behind him as ominous music plays…

Spooky cliffhanger ending

*Background

Nicodemus is shocked that an unknown man would perform miracles and not want the credit.

“I was one way, and now I am completely different. And the thing that happened in between, was Him.”

At home, Eden is chopping cucumbers when a bedraggled Simon comes into the kitchen. He tries to say good morning, but she points out that it is not morning.

Eden asks about fishing, and Simon says it’s fine. Eden points out that he hasn’t been to the market to sell fish for days, his hours are upside down, and his “face is frozen with worry.”

When Simon says that he plans to work that night, which is the Sabbath, Eden grows angry sensing that he is withholding information from her. But all Simon will say is “trust me.”

“You answer to God, not me.”

As the sky grows dark, Matthew is seen carrying a bowl of food as he walks down a street. A black dog with large ears follows behind him, and when Matthew turns around, the pup whines:

“If there’s any left when I get back, I’ll give it to you.”

Matthew goes to a house and looks in a window. Inside, a family is seated around a table lit with candles. It’s his family, and it’s clear he is not welcome inside. Matthew turns quickly and carries his bowl away.

“Waving through a window-oh-oh…can anybody see? Is anybody waving…”…oh, wrong show. Sorry 😉

Cut to Nicodemus and his wife and guests in their home.

Nicodemus starts talking to his wife about the history of the Jews, how 200 years ago, the Greek king Antiochus IV suppressed Jewish religious observances until the Maccabbees revolted and brought in the Hasmonean dynasty and restored Jewish religious practices.

“”Hasmonean…do you know the significance?” -”Tell me.”

Then there’s Mary in her home, setting out candles and food for her Shabbat meal. A knock on her door announces her guests, Barnaby and Shula.

Our Abbott and Costello (kinda) — Barnaby and Shula!

A couple of young men, Thaddeus and James, also arrive, telling Mary that “we were told this is a good place to come.” She welcomes them in as well.

“Please come in, you are most welcome here.”

Mary admits she doesn’t know what she’s doing and asks her guests to correct her if she’s wrong.

Shula says she can’t remember the last time she’s been invited to a Shabbat dinner. Barnaby jokes that he’s been to plenty, just never as an invited guest.

They ask Mary why she has an extra seat at the table. When she refers to Elijah, they tell her that that practice is only for Passover Seder.*

As Mary is consulting her notes on Sabbath practice, she mentions that her father taught her to read. Just then, there’s a knock on the door:

WE MEET AGAIN. 

It’s Jesus, who says, “Hello Mary. It’s good to see you.”

A stunned Mary forgets to invite him inside, so Jesus semi-invites himself in, and the guests remind Mary to ask him to be seated. Jesus smilingly greets Thaddeus and James, who address him as their rabbi.

Mary is flustered but happy and introduces Jesus to her friends. When Jesus mentions that he is from Nazareth, Barnaby makes a joke about the place and everyone stares at him in disapproval, except for Jesus, who winks at him:

Jesus has a sense of humor!

Mary tries to defer to Jesus to lead the Sabbath meal, but Jesus gently asks her to lead. She starts reading from her prepared notes:

Now the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
— Genesis 2:1–3

As Mary’s voice continues to speak, this time reciting traditional Jewish blessings, we hear echoes of Nicodemus’ voice reciting the same passages, as vignettes of the different characters having their Sabbath dinners cross the screen:

  • Mary with Jesus, his disciples, and her other guests:
Mary, reading from her notes
  • Nicodemus with his wife and friends:
A fancy Pharisee Sabbath
  • Simon, Andrew, and Eden at their table:
The fishermen’s Sabbath feast
  • Matthew eating on the ground outside his family’s home, with only the stray black dog for company:
The Tableau of the Tax Collector and the Dog
  • Eden looking unhappy when Simon stands up to leave:
Gotta go to work, hon

We come back to Mary, who ends the reading with “amen.”

And in the next scene, we see Simon standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, with Roman soldiers carrying burning torches walking up behind him as ominous music plays…

Spooky cliffhanger ending

*Background Context

Okay, for our background context, let’s take a look at a few quotes and concepts (you could call them Biblical-historical easter eggs) from this episode:

“Shabbat Shalom!” 

We talked about Shabbat in the Season 1, Episode 1 Summary & Review. It refers to the Sabbath, which Jews observe from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

A common greeting that Jews say during Sabbath is “Shabbat Shalom,” which means, “Sabbath Peace,” more or less. Kind of like wishing your friend a happy Sabbath.

Except that the word “shalom” refers to more than peace. It’s a kind of Godly wholeness, completeness, contentment…a rightness of being. Like everything is well and nothing is missing or wrong.

Eshet Chayil

“A woman of valor, who can find?” this is a quote from Proverbs 31, used as a tribute to a good Jewish woman. Here’s the text to Proverbs 31:

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
— Proverbs 31:10–31

“Look at this mane, like Absalom, no?…Stay away from low-hanging branches, my boy.”

When he’s hanging out with the merchant Jews in the tavern, Simon teases one of the men for being handsome, like Absalom, the vain son of King David:

In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him. Whenever he cut the hair of his head — he used to cut his hair once a year because it became too heavy for him — he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels by the royal standard.
— 2 Samuel 14:25–26

Absalom tried to rebel against his father the king, but his downfall was his hair:

Then Absalom met the servants of David. Absalom rode on a mule. The mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth. And the mule which was under him went on.
2 Samuel 18:9

Absalom was killed by one of David’s servants who found him hanging by his hair, and thus ended Absalom’s rebellion.

Av Beit Din

The Av beit din was the chief justice, the second-highest member of the Sanhedrin (the Sanhedrin was an assembly of Jewish elders, the religious leaders of the land), after the high priest. There were different ones appointed for different regions.

A seat for Elijah at Passover Seder

Passover is an important holiday in Jewish religious life, commemorating when the Angel of Death passed over faithful Jewish homes while it was busy killing the firstborn of all the residents of Egypt, due to Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Jewish slaves go. (For the full story, check out Exodus 12. This story is also portrayed in the animated musical movie, Prince of Egypt)

During the Passover celebrations, Jewish families would sometimes leave an empty chair at the table, representing their hope that the Prophet Elijah (a major figure in the Jewish Torah, aka Old Testament of the Bible) would come and visit.

Elijah’s coming is said to herald the messianic era, which is why it’s particularly apropos that in this story, Mary sets out Elijah’s seat on accident, not knowing that the practice is for Passover not Sabbath. However, Jesus shows up just then, and it turns out it’s a good thing Mary has an extra seat out, after all. Not to mention that Jesus is the Messiah, and all that. So yes. Symbolism.

Thoughts on Storytelling, Writing, Etc.

Alrighty, let’s dig in to the craft aspect of this review!

History

I love how the creators of the show tie the events of the story to the past, even really distant history. They open the entire episode with a scene from nearly a millennia ago, showing the significance of the Sabbath/Shabbat to Jewish communities, and quoting from Proverbs, an ancient book (although at the time of the pre-show scene, not so ancient, ha :D)

Then Simon cracks Old Testament jokes (Absalom — see below), and the entire thing just shows you how important history is, especially to the Jews, the Chosen People. As someone who is fascinated by history herself, I really appreciate this 🙂

Story Devices

One thing that struck me during the scene with Matthew and Gaius in Quintus’ waiting room is that it’s useful to have a Matthew-type character who can give background information/exposition.

Since we 21st-century viewers are far removed from the Roman world, it’s helpful for Gaius to ask Matthew “do you even know who Quintus is?” and then have socially-awkward Matthew rattle off Quintus’ role and status, just like that.

In any other setting, this type of expository info-dumping would stick out. But it sounds natural, coming from overly-analytical-and-logical Matthew.

The Giggling Villain

Based on some behind-the-scenes interviews, I learned that Quintus was originally portrayed as a “drunken frat boy” type character — to reflect the state that Rome was in before it finally collapsed.

But in the middle of the actor’s audition, the director changed his mind and asked him to portray the character as a sharper, more competent villain, because it’s unlikely that a drunken soldier would rise to leadership, like Quintus did. Et voila, Quintus was born.

And he’s a great character, but I actually found Quintus a little bit too likable. Not quite as evil and menacing as perhaps he should be.

For example, although he speaks like a murderous racist, Quintus doesn’t really act like one — he’s amused by Matthew and stops the guard from chopping off his head, and even asks for help from Nicodemus, and Simon. Of course, he insults all of them, but I don’t really sense a true hatred in this character. More like dismissal/disinterest/mild condescension.

Of course he thinks the Jews are “beneath him,” but Quintus isn’t vindictive or actively destructive. He just wants something (status, power, prestige) that is at odds with the well-being of the Jews in his jurisdiction. But he doesn’t personally hate them. He just doesn’t care about them.

But then again, who knows? Maybe Quintus will have a dramatic arc of his own and will turn uglier in the future. Or maybe flip completely and have a redemption story. Anything is possible.

Besides, do I really mind that the villain isn’t too scary/evil/mean/horrible?

Honestly, no.

Personally, I’m fine with Quintus being on the more “likable” side of “villainous.” There’s enough ugliness being portrayed in other shows, and I kind of enjoy Quintus’ type of antagonist.

Humor

Also: The jokes are great!

This is one of the reasons why The Chosen stands out among other gospel story adaptations. The characters actually crack jokes and have funny dialogue and actions, like real people in real life.

For example, Barnaby’s line: “I’ve been to plenty of Shabbat dinners…[I’ve] just never [been] invited.” (haha!)

And the way Jesus winks at Barnaby when he cracks a joke about Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown — everyone else at the table is worried that maybe Barnaby just insulted Jesus, but Jesus enjoys the joke instead.

I think that’s a good attitude to have in life, in general. The real Jesus, I suspect, would not have been so easily offended. Especially by people who don’t mean to offend.

Actually, Barnaby and Shula remind me a little of Abbott and Costello, the straight man and the funny man.

Compare and Contrast

The most poignant scene for me in this episode is the one of Matthew peeking in at his family, obviously longing to join them, but knowing that he would be rejected.

The way he turns quickly and walks away with his bowl and his head down is heartrending, as is the scene where he sits on the ground outside, eating his dinner with a stray dog.

Shabbat is a special time for Jewish families, and it must be particularly painful for Matthew to be rejected like this every week, kind of like how the average American might feel if he had nowhere to go for Christmas, if Christmas occurred every week.

Matthew doesn’t even want to go back to his own home, and would rather sit on the ground outside his family’s house to eat his dinner— which is saying something, considering what a “clean freak” he is. (Remember the whole throwing-away-my-shoes-because-I-stepped-in-poop action from Episode 1?)

In other words, just because Matthew is a tax collector who acts like a human calculator, doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel emotions like other human beings.

Intellectually, you may know that Matthew made bad choices in life and has hurt a lot of people with his self-centered, money-grubbing ways, but in this moment you can’t help but hurt for this poor, lonely guy, who has no one to eat with on Shabbat.

Contrast that with Mary, who, now that she is free from the demons, is free to celebrate Shabbat again for the first time in God-knows-how-long. And not only that, she has friends to invite, and even gets three unexpected guests: Jesus and two of his disciples.

The contrast of Mary’s happy and warm Sabbath dinner makes Matthew’s lonely meal that much more stark and pitiful.

Actually, the show does a great job of comparing and contrasting two storylines or characters, in general, as we’ll see coming up in future episodes.

Tugging at Heartstrings

In fact, I think the writers may have made Matthew a little too sympathetic.

In one of the behind-the-scenes videos floating about on Youtube, show creator and director Dallas Jenkins laments the fact that many viewers were upset by Simon and the other disciples being mean to Matthew (in later episodes), considering how Matthew really DID do some horribly wrong things—tax collectors at the time did betray their people by colluding with the Romans, not to mention most if not all tax collectors also stole from their “clients,” and Matthew probably did as well.

But you can’t really blame the audience for protesting their favorite character’s mistreatment, can you, when you make your character so sympathetic? 😉

I think Matthew’s story particularly resonates with us at this time in our lives because with recent events, people are feeling more cut off from each other and more lonely than ever.

And Matthew is hands down the loneliest character in the whole show — rejected by his people, disowned by his family, used and looked down on by the Romans — he literally has no one to love, no one to belong to.

It’s one of the reasons the show creators had to give him a dog, actually (more insight from BTS vids — thanks, behind-the-scenes team!).

The writers mentioned how they needed to give Matthew a character to “play off of,” but it couldn’t be a human, because all the humans around him hated him. So they came up with the idea of a dog.

Which was a stroke of genius. That image of the rejected tax collector eating his dinner outside in the cold with just a stray dog for company is a scene that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Sabbath

Finally, I love the Sabbath montage, in general, showing the different ways our main characters observe this special day which emphasizes togetherness and God’s creative abilities.

For observant Jews, the Sabbath is supposed to be a time for rest, reflection, getting closer to God and to other people, and I think this episode serves this purpose within the storyline as well.

And so we let our characters rest, for now, knowing that the real work is about to begin in the coming episodes…

Reminder

Watch The Chosen for free on their website, or download the app at: https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen


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