I’ve made no secret about my love for The Chosen. You can read some of my thoughts about the show here and here. The Chosen is far and away the best “faith-based” television or film production in my lifetime. There really isn’t a close second. To put an even finer point on it, I would easily place The Chosen right alongside the best the secular TV and film industry has to offer. It is really that good. The Chosen is engaging, funny, challenging, and perhaps most importantly, emotionally honest and poignant. In other words, The Chosen makes me cry.
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. I can appreciate intellectual art that is intricately and masterfully constructed or pieced together. But for me to truly fall in love with a TV show, a movie, a song, or a book, it has to engage my heart. The Chosen does that and then some. Season Three is just around the corner, so in anticipation of its release, here are five times Season Two of The Chosen made me cry. (If you want to read about the five times Season One made me cry, click here.)
“In the Beginning…” (Episode 1)
If I’m honest, I could write this entire article and only choose moments from episode one. Man, what a start to the season! From the flash-forward that opens the episode to the spiritually resonant final moments, the episode is everything that is good about The Chosen.
If you know your Scripture, you know that John, son of Zebedee, becomes one of the closest and most trusted followers of Jesus. Yet, Season One didn’t give us a very clear picture of that relationship, so I was interested to see if Season Two would start to really flesh it out in a significant way. It absolutely did. I loved how the writers connected Genesis 1 and John 1 in a moment of beautiful symmetry. Seeing the full realization on John’s face of just what he was witnessing as Jesus read the Scriptures took my breath away. I did more than tear up during that scene.
Dance Party (Episode 1)
Another Episode One moment. I’m not sure this one needs a lot of setup on my part, but I’ll try to give a little context. There is a lame man who is visited by Jesus in his home. During their interaction, we find out some interesting and not-so-pleasant information about the man’s past. It’s a creative and inventive spin on a well-known Bible story. Seriously, watch the whole episode to find out more because I would rather not spoil it.
Later in the evening, Jesus and his disciples depart. Jesus does not heal the man then and there. They share words and the man is clearly penitent for his sins, but no healing comes. The next morning, everything changes. Sometimes, it is hard for films or TV shows to capture pure happiness. Fortunately, The Chosen doesn’t seem to have any problems in that area. Excitement, bliss, and joy pour off the screen as the family rejoices and dances around the house. When God moves in our lives, could we react any differently?
Tired and bloody Jesus (Episode 3)
I’ve written an entire article about Episode 3. It’s linked above if you care to read it. To me, it’s possibly the best example of the heart of The Chosen. It’s a technically complex episode, with a nearly 15 minute “one take” scene to start things out, followed by a wonderfully performed campfire conversation between the disciples. The campfire scene is a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from pleasant and jovial and ending with tension and borderline hatred.
And while all of that stuff is incredible and very necessary, the episode primarily works because of the closing few minutes. The exclamation point provided by the first appearance of Jesus in the episode. Here is what I wrote about that moment in my previous article:
Just as Simon Peter declares that he will never be able to forgive Matthew, Jesus staggers into the camp. He is disheveled, sweaty, and appears to have blood on His clothes, hands, and head. He is exhausted and barely able to make it to His tent, so Mother Mary lovingly helps him clean up, wash His feet, and prepare for bed.
The argument dies on their lips. Every disciple looks ashamed and embarrassed. Rightfully so. I felt ashamed and embarrassed.“The Conviction of Good to Better” – Rambling Ever On
It is incredibly rare that I will feel conviction when watching a movie or television program. I guess The Chosen has made it a goal to provide as many of those moments as possible and this moment probably takes the top prize.
Mary Magdalen falls. (Episode 6)
I guess I’m cheating a little with this one, since it’s not one scene, but since it’s my article I’m going to make, and break, the rules whenever I see fit. Elizabeth Tabish (Mary Magdalen) has consistently been one of the strongest elements of The Chosen. Her performance in the early episodes of Season One is as good as I’ve seen. It’s dramatic, emotional, and real. Her Season Two journey is different, but no less rewarding for fans of the show.
After an encounter with a possessed man, Mary disappears. Clearly, that event brought up a lot of baggage from her past; stuff she hasn’t fully processed. Instead of running to Jesus, her past shame and regrets send her running away. Tabish plays every moment of this with pitch-perfect honesty and believability. We see Mary drinking and gambling, tossing down drinks as easily as she tosses out verbal jabs to the somewhat hostile men around her. It’s jarring for us to see her slip so easily into this version of herself. And that makes it all the more powerful.
We are confronted with our own propensity to fall as we watch Mary’s struggles. I know I am. I’ve been exactly where Mary finds herself in this episode, running from Jesus instead of running to Him simply because my shame was too great. When Simon and Matthew find her, she says, “He already fixed me once…and I broke again.” While The Chosen beautifully answers that unspoken plea from Mary in a later scene with Jesus, I appreciate the vulnerability of that statement.
If you are a believer, Jesus has fixed you. That doesn’t mean you won’t break again. Run to Him instead of fleeing in your shame and regret. This episode captures that profound truth with grace and tenderness.
The Beatitudes (Episode 8)
One of the things that makes The Chosen stand out in the crowd of films and television series that deal with the life of Jesus, is how creatively the writers incorporate well-known Bible stories into the show’s narrative. All while making it feel so fresh and new.
One of the best examples of this is when Jesus is discussing and planning the sermon on the mount with Matthew. It’s a simple adjustment to what we know, but it plays out in a completely believable manner. Plus, connecting the disciples with each of the Beatitudes makes every word mean more. We know these people. We care about them. And it is perfectly evident how Jesus feels about them. It’s a lovingly poignant moment that gets me every time.
Five more down, possibly hundreds more I could write about. Let me know which parts of Season Two of The Chosen made you cry. Tell us in the comment section below or on our social media accounts.