Netflix’s ‘Messiah’ is filled with contradictions, which is what keeps us on our toes as we never know what to expect. This is also why the show makes for such a brilliant suspense thriller. One of its best bits though is just how refreshing the premise is. Of course, there have been controversies relating to the premise where people found the trailer to be offensive. But I doubt they will feel the same when they watch the series.
‘Messiah’ is provocative, yes. But it is also balanced in a refreshing manner as it serves to critique both religious and political institutions. This makes it not only gripping, but also thought-provoking. It is the first series I have come across that presents the Syrian crisis in the mainstream. It makes sure that it does not put any institution in a bad light. Yet it remains critical of each one of them. With the eight episode of ‘Messiah’, Al Massih raises relevant questions on America’s foreign policy, it also looks at the different ways in which people approach faith. This adds much-needed layers to the concepts it explores which is precisely what makes it balanced. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Messiah Season 1 Episode 8 Recap:
The episode begins with an interaction between Al Massih and the President. We realise it was the secret service who took him away in the previous episode. Massih does not seem surprised with his sudden abduction, and tells the President that he was the reason for his visit to to DC. What follows is an intense conversation between the two.
Massih tells him that he could bring peace for a thousand years if he removes all American troops from everywhere. The President disagrees and tells him that the troops are required for peacemaking measures. Massih responds to his by telling him how America has enforced borders and given power to brutal dictators like M Lai, No Gun Ri, Azizabad etc. He tells him that history has ended and the world is going to begin again. If the President doesn’t do his part, a heavy price will be paid. This is followed by a moving conversation that leaves an impact on the President, who asks for time.
The President’s secretary, Collier, goes behind his back and contacts the CIA chief in order to quietly deal with Massih. He asks the chief to set up a back channel to Israel. We also have Eliana meeting up with Collier and she gives him back the money. He tells her she is a fool to believe he’s real. She responds by saying, “Doesn’t matter if he’s real, he’s good.”
Somewhere in Florida, we see Eva’ father by the sea, with a thousand of fishes out of water. What follows is a massive catastrophic flood that leaves thousands of people homeless. Due to this, the President begins to sense some truth in what Massih said.
Eva finds out that Payam (Massih) was involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Tehran. She then goes to Williams College to find more information on the man. She finds out he wrote a thesis on Transformational Politics, but the thesis goes missing. Eva is also worried about her father who she loses contact with due to the floods.
Meanwhile, Mathers has a change of heart after what he witnessed in the previous episode. He makes a call to his partner, and we learn that he is homosexual. Mathers decides to leave the case because he begins to believe in Massih.
Massih finally addresses the media who flood him as he went missing the previous night. He tells them about his meeting with the President. He is asked several pertinent questions by Miriam, which he answers, but vaguely. Seeing Massih talking to the press troubles Felix as he doesn’t feel needed. He angrily confronts Massih and asks him what’s his part in all of this. Massih’s response to this leaves him quiet.
Aviram too confronts Massih and tells him all that he knows about him, including his real name. He calls him a fraud. Avi later calls his daughter, but we learn that his phone gets tracked. He then goes to Eva’s place and they kiss, till she tells him to leave. Meanwhile, back at Avi’s office, a worker confesses that he let Massih go.
In the Middle East, the old Sheikh taking care of Jibril asks him to read a statement he wrote in public. The Sheikh tells him its about how they need to be recognized as a nation, and if Jibril reads it, he will give it a powerful voice. But Jibril confesses that he cannot read. While, Samir, in Jordan, sneakily reads the Little Prince, but is caught by the Sheikh taking care of him, who takes it away. He tells Samir that there is only one book, and that’s it time for him to put away childish things. Later, a woman is sent to Samir who tells him she will be his wife.
Back in DC, Rebecca confronts her father and tells her about her abortion. This deeply troubles Felix who thinks he will not be able to stand next to the messiah after knowing what his family did. Rebecca then confesses to him that Massih wasn’t here for Felix, but for her. This stuns Anna, who then confronts Massih as she feels protective towards Rebecca and doesn’t trust the man.
Messiah Season 1 Episode 8 Review:
If the past couple of episodes were all about unrest and chaos, and made us question Massih’s intentions. The eighth episode of ‘Messiah’ does the exact opposite. As the episode progresses, and as Massih is confronted repeatedly, we sort of a see a sense of honesty in him. As Eliana mentions to Collier, it doesn’t matter whether he’s real or not, because he does seem to be good. Of course, we cannot know this for sure though. Not yet at least.
This is exactly what keeps us on the edge of our seats with ‘Messiah’. It is also what keeps us on our toes as we try to anticipate what could happen next. Things can always take an unexpected turn. As I previously mentioned, it feels like walking on a minefield where you never know what you might step on next.
Massih is definitely still causing widespread unrest in both America and Middle East. We can only assume that things will get worse before they get better. Massih, in his conversation with the President, speaks of how the world will begin again. Previously, during a scene in Keon’s class, a student speaks of how if Massih is in fact real, it would lead to a major bloodbath before the world begins again. That’s the role he plays in the Quran. What if the same follows as we go ahead? What if it is all really true and Massih is merely a pawn in a much larger plan? This explains the catastrophic flood and all the previous natural calamities that occured.
The show has built up all its narratives in such a way that there’s heavy anticipation with each one of them. Is God really behind all of this? Who is tracking Avi? What will happen to Rebecca next? What about Samir and Jibril? It feels like there is so much at stake because of Al Massih, whether or not he is good. You just can’t stop yourself from rushing to the next episode in hope for more answers. This is probably why ‘Messiah’ makes for such binge-worthy watch.
Read More: Where Was Messiah Filmed?