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The Chosen Season 3 Review: Great writing makes viewing compelling

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Mary Magdalene, played by Elizabeth Tabish, shares her encounter with Jesus with Nicodemus, played by Erick Avari, in The Chosen’s first season. Photo: The Chosen
Mary Magdalene, played by Elizabeth Tabish, shares her encounter with Jesus with Nicodemus, played by Erick Avari, in The Chosen’s first season. Photo: The Chosen

When Season Two reached its summit on the Mount in it’s final episode, The Chosen Director Dallas Jenkins used extensive dialogue between Jesus and Matthew to unpack the passages and go deeper into the Beatitudes.

Dallas’s direction, as described by him in the Come and See show last year, was in response to his concern that a 30-minute sermon wouldn’t be compelling.

Witnessing the fruits of that decision, Dallas begins the long awaited third Season right back on the Mount where it left off and does so in a complimentary way.

“In doing so, they not only look back to previous storylines but foreshadow future ones which take place throughout the season.”

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Now that context and commentary on the Beatitudes had been given throughout the previous season, the series further unpacks history’s greatest Sermon by turning attention towards the impact it has on the disciples themselves.

Relying on the audience’s investment in the personal life of the disciples, the writers cleverly juxtapose the words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount with the expressive faces of his followers watching from afar.

In doing so, they not only look back to previous storylines but foreshadow future ones which take place throughout the season.

Matthew, for instance, remembers a heartbreaking moment when his parents disowned him and is then confronted by Jesus’s words to “first reconcile with your brother and then offer your gift”.

The women and the Disciples watch on as Jesus feeds the 5000 in Season’s 3 final episode. The last two episodes comprising the Season 3 finale will be in cinemas for two days only, on 3 and 4 February. Photo: The Chosen
The women and the Disciples watch on as Jesus feeds the 5000 in Season’s 3 final episode. The last two episodes comprising the Season 3 finale will be in cinemas for two days only, on 3 and 4 February. Photo: The Chosen

For Peter, Jesus’s call to “love your neighbour and pray for those who persecute you” provokes him to rethink his hatred for the Romans which he does by working alongside one for the betterment of the community.

Likewise Simon “Zee” the Zealot, Andrew and even Zebedee are taken by certain words and find their own struggles resolved amidst the third season’s main storyline.

After Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount, word continues to spread about His ministry, gaining attention from not only His followers but from the Roman authorities and the Pharisees.

Before returning home to Nazareth for a final time, Jesus and the disciples welcome His newest and final follower, Judas.

“Not only that, in talking up his education and resume to Jesus, the scene sets up Judas’s character for his downfall in the beginning of Christ’s Passion.”

What is interesting about this interaction is the way Judas becomes the only disciple to ask to join rather than being called to follow.

Not only that, in talking up his education and resume to Jesus, the scene sets up Judas’s character for his downfall in the beginning of Christ’s Passion.

Those producing The Chosen’s episodes must be acknowledged for this high quality writing and construction of compelling scenes.

In Episode 3, after almost being thrown off a cliff by his friends and neighbours, Jesus reunites with his mother at the tomb of his earthly father before leaving Nazareth for good.

This was a beautifully crafted scene, highlighting the role Joseph played in Jesus’s life and ministry.

A scene from Episode 2 involving an encounter between Little James and Jesus regarding the disciple’s desire to be healed from his disability provides the deepest and most Catholic moment of the season so far.

“To know how to proclaim that you still praise God – in spite of this – to show people that you can be patient in your suffering, here on earth, because you know you will spend eternity with no suffering. Not everyone can understand that,” Jesus tells an emotional Little James.

“So hold on a little longer. And when you discover yourself finding true strength because of your weakness, and when you do great things in my name, in spite of this, the impact will last for generations.”

“Meanwhile, Director and script-writer Dallas Jenkins continues to steer away from the preachy, focusing on powerful themes in scripture and society, unpacking them in a way that’s deep, honest and spiritually fulfilling.”

This sequence, along with the portrayal of Eden’s struggles with her inability to have a family with Peter amid the growing pressures of the Ministry, serves as an important reminder of how sanctity can be found in suffering.

Though the dialogue can be cheesy at times, each performance is delivered with heart and an authenticity still to be matched by any other scripture-based series.

Meanwhile, Director and script-writer Dallas Jenkins continues to steer away from the preachy, focusing on powerful themes in scripture and society, unpacking them in a way that’s deep, honest and spiritually fulfilling.

Season 3 of The Chosen will come to it’s climatic conclusion on 3 and 4 February when the final two episodes are shown at Events Cinemas across all states.

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