Seeing does not always mean believing. This is more true than ever in the latest episode of Netflix’s brand new geopolitical thriller series with its religious twist. ‘Messiah’ is that uniquely gripping suspense thriller that people will remember despite its flaws and controversies. It obviously raises pertinent questions on beliefs, religion and politics. But more importantly, it also serves as a critique of our times.
But I guess the show’s brilliance lies in the way it maintains being a cut-throat, unnerving thriller piece without including any real violence or a villain. At least not yet. It offers us multiple layers through its different narratives which is what builds up the suspense. It feels like the viewers are walking on a minefield, where the next step could either lead to something disastrous, or it just won’t. There is no way to know what to expect. With each episode the questions about who Al Massih is and what his intentions are become growingly complex. The seventh episode of ‘Messiah’ takes this a step further. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Messiah Season 1 Episode 7 Recap:
The seventh episode of Messiah explores the widespread uproar and unrest in both Washington and the Middle East as a result of what happened in the previous episode. The Vatican has become involved, and so has the President of America. Thousands of people from across the country arrive in DC because of Al Massih, blocking both roads and airports. There is massive rioting, looting and vandalism taking place. As a result, curfews are introduced in parts of the city. There are believers whose faith is at an all time high after the miracle they witnessed. While others label the man to be a false messiah.
Due to Jibril’s act of bravery, a wave is created in the Middle for Palestinian Independence called Messianic Revival. Jibril and Samir find themselves on separate paths and at different ends of the political unrest. Samir is getting refuge in Jordan from a Sheikh who is anti-Al Massih. The Sheikh believes that the man is a fraud, and him and his followers are both doomed. It is evident that this troubles Samir because of Jibril’s involvement. Meanwhile, Jibril is hailed a hero, and is taken under protection in the West Bank.
Several people believe that Al Massih walking on water was merely an illusion, as magicians before have performed the exact same trick. Felix continues to be blinded by his faith and decides to build Al Massih’s church. Anna is still unsure if she believes what she saw and seems to be troubled with all that’s happening.
Geller has a meeting with the President’s secretary along with her boss, Bailey. The secretary wants solid proofs so that they can capture the man. In a thought-provoking scene, Geller explains to him her theory about Al Massih. She believes that he is getting help from Russia and that he is working under Oscar Wallace. As discovered in previously, Wallace taught Al Massih. Geller believes that Wallace converted and recruited him. She discusses the evolving nature of terrorism. Al Massih causes widespread social disruption through the power of an idea:
“What better agent to chaos than a new Messiah?”
An important aspect of Al Massih’s (Payam’s) real life is also revealed in the episode. Qamar interviews Payam’s brother Ardas in Tehran, who reveals that the two of them are orphans. Their parents passed away while fleeing Iraq in 1991, and they were raised by their uncle who was a very talented magician. He taught both the brothers all that he knew.
Back in DC, Mathers keeps an eye on Al Massih through a hidden camera. Massih is visited by the lady whose daughter has cancer. He decides to meet just the daughter in his room. It is unclear what happens except that the two just sit. It is hinted though that the little girl is pretty done with all of this and just wants to go home.
The meeting is followed by another. A lady named Eliana shows up at Al Massih’s door, saying that she wants to be healed. Massih sees through her act, and tells her that she was paid to come here to have sex with him. He continues to say some deeply moving things to Eliana about her life, and about God. She feels overwhelmed and breaks down, while Massih tells her that he loves her. This entire interaction deeply impacts Mathers who has been carefully watching it.
Keon plays a key role in the episode. He was introduced in the premiere as a server at a Diner Geller goes to. While bonding with Aviram, Geller reveals that he is the nephew of her mentor who she deeply cared for. So she checks up on him from time to time. But Keon is shown to be struggling with all that’s been going on as he believes Al Massih is the dajjal (deceiver). He seems to be deeply troubled and angered with the events, though the reasons remain unclear. He ends up burning all his papers on religious studies and political science.
After all the attention and love Rebecca gets on social media, she begins to get strong hate messages. She decides to head outside the hotel and spots Eliana coming out of Al Massih’s room. Massih follows her and talks to her, and it is revealed that Rebecca seems jealous of the Eliana. Massih assures her that Rebecca has a special place in his heart. He gives her the task to shed her burden, her pain and shame, and holds her face. The two then head back. The episode ends with someone kidnapping Massih from his room.
Messiah Season 1 Episode 7 Review:
What becomes deeply interesting in the seventh episode of ‘Messiah’ is how the different narratives work as a spiderweb interweaved together, as all characters continue to cross paths. There is a growing sense of anxiety and anticipation with each passing episode as it somehow feels like a timebomb is going to go off leading to something terrible.
There is chaos and unrest everywhere due to Al Massih. His past as a magician’s apprentice and his relationship with Wallace suggest that the man is really upto no good. He doesn’t really have a goal as a religious leader, except that he performs what Aviram calls “parlor tricks” to get attention. This still does not explain the bad weather conditions in the earlier episodes or the resurrection of the young boy. But things do seem more than just a little fishy with Al Massih. At the same, there are redeeming incidents that paint him in a warm and positive light.
I also believe that Keon’s growing anger could lead him to do something drastic. But only time will tell. There is also something slightly weird between Al Massih’s relationship with Rebecca. What does he mean when he tells her to shed her burdens? Why would she be jealous of another lady? Is there some creepy sexual tension here, or am I just reading too much into the situation? Also, I can sense something terrible happening in the Middle East which will probably include Samir and Jibril pitted against each other. Let’s see where the coming episodes take us.
Read More: Where Was Messiah Filmed?