The Young Pope Recap: Episode 5


In which we see the two sides of Lenny

As is tradition, The Young Pope’s fifth episode begins with a dream. In it, Lenny’s parents continue to haunt him. He’s been figuratively dogged by them for almost his entire life, something which has helped shaped him into the man that he is today. For better or worse. Seeing Lenny standing there alone, on the dock, silent, makes it easy to feel sorry for him. This leads to a somber, softer intro, instead of the usual rockin’ one that we’ve become accustomed to. The Young Pope enjoys defying expectation.

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The fifth episode finds Lenny feeling sad and reflective. That doesn’t cause him to waver, however. He intends to “start a revolution,” and is still getting fed gossip from his friend Tomasso. This is how he learns that he is apparently in an unseemly relationship with Esther. There is palpable tension between the two of them, especially when Esther asks Lenny to bless her womb because people say that he is a saint. She also tries to push Lenny a little more, all according to Voiello’s plans, but he lets her down easy in an achingly truthful and human moment.

Lenny cannot love anyone besides God because it’s too painful. He is too unhappy be with people. This is not the answer that Voiello wants, and so he calls off the voyeuristic photo session that has comically been taking place just behind some hedges.

We also get another peek into the past to watch a young Lenny and Andrew hop a fence to run away. In the present, the two of them once again head off on their own, leading everyone else to panic. They’re close; comfortable with each other. It’s nice to see Lenny spend time with someone who he can relate to and shares a past with. Lenny refuses to share images of himself or be seen, so he can freely move about without being recognized.

The two of them meeting a prostitute in a hotel stands as the best scene of the episode. When she says that she has proof that God exists, Lenny implores her to tell him. Because he is desperate for that proof.

Andrew refers to Lenny as his best friend, and it’s almost odd to imagine Lenny having friends. Andrew keeps trying to bring up a scene from their childhood, when a young boy was taking care of his dying mother. But Lenny doesn’t want to talk about that, because something happened that he didn’t understand. And he doesn’t want to talk about anything that he doesn’t understand. It’s an interesting insight into Lenny as a man. In the end, when he and Andrew return, it’s obvious that they are still brothers and Sister Mary is still their mother. It’s touching.

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Sister Mary turns to Voiello for assistance, and he hits on her several times. There’s more to their conversation than that, but that’s what really sticks out. Does he really find her beautiful, or is he further trying to get into her good graces? He even goes so far as to tell her that he has given up on trying to destroy Lenny. We’ll see.

“The emotional first half gives way to the vengeful second, in which Lenny continues his power struggle with Voiello.”

The episode is divided into two parts with two distinct tones. The emotional first half gives way to the vengeful second, in which Lenny continues his power struggle with Voiello. It turns out that Lenny already knows all of the dirt that Voiello has been gathering, and he has no problem lording it over him. It’s about time that the tension between these two came to a head, and that time is now. Lenny knows about the blackmail with Esther – he knows everything. And he makes Voiello cry while walking slowly up a slope while Voiello continues on even ground, which leads to a fantastic shot of Lenny literally standing tall above Voiello, and when Voiello grovels at his feet, Lenny kicks him off.

And then comes time for Lenny to address the Cardinals. We desperately need to discuss the use of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” while Lenny tries on shoes and prepares. It’s perfect. It’s too perfect. It is a snapshot of how over the top and ridiculous The Young Pope can be in an episode with the strongest emotional core so far. If you were still looking for reasons why this show is great, look no further.

During the actual address, Lenny begins with a smirk and by saying “knock knock.” Nobody wants to play. “Tolerance doesn’t live her anymore,” Lenny says, in a speech about how the Church must close its doors. Lenny’s speeches are always riveting material, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The Cardinals react in silent fear while Lenny rails against openness and the outside world, looking more and more unhinged as he goes on. He expects no applause, and he gets none. Michael is the first to walk up and kiss his foot.

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We start episode 5 by empathizing with Lenny, and end it by fearing him and what he stands for. Still, he is only human, and when Andrew walks up there is a visible expression relief on his face. The Young Pope enjoys playing with expectation, and it does so expertly in what is now its best episode.

This time, when Lenny tells the kangaroo to jump, he does.