The Young Pope Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Fanaticism is Love

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Lenny is an unhappy man. He's also a coward. But maybe it's all just a joke.

At this point, who really knows?

The more we delve into The Young Pope, the more odd it becomes. The Young Pope Season 1 Episode 5 was no exception.

Lenny in All His Glory - The Young Pope Season 1 Episode 5

Lenny definitely wanted to get it on with Ester, but he was afraid. He said as much to her after she put his hand on her breasts. He didn't resist, but he didn't go any further either.

Voiello thought this would have been a way for him to bring the young pope down, but it didn't work. His blackmailing of the young girl was a failure. 

And part of that could be because Lenny Belardo is a saint.  Sister Mary believes it's so, and after his failure to embroil Lenny in a scandal, so does Voiello.

Lenny may even have thoughts about it himself, but he doesn't believe them. He doesn't believe in himself. Not one bit. Even with all the little miracles happening around him, he can't see the forest for the trees. 

He's blind to it all. Or maybe he isn't.

Ester - Young Pope 6

And therein lies the problem of The Young Pope.

Just when you think you've got it figured out, some other image is thrown at you to make you second guess what you originally thought. 

It gets tiring after a while. 

Voiello is a conniving bastard, but yet he cares for a young boy. 

Sister Mary is a caring mother figure, yet she keeps something hidden (the pipe) from Lenny (she still has it) and lies to him on a regular basis.

Lenny is basically a victim of manipulation and the only way he can gain control of his life is by exerting control over everyone around him.

I love God because it's so painful to love human beings.


Yet Lenny didn't just become the Pope. He had to have been involved in the decision somehow. He had to have worked it at least a little bit. Didn't Voiello tell him earlier that they voted him because he appeared to be progressive? 

If that's the case, then Lenny is just as manipulative as everyone around him. 

But is he that way because that's the only way he knows how to survive?

Something happened when he and Andrew were kids. Lenny didn't want to talk about it when Andrew brought it up, but it seemed to have to do with some sort of miracle...maybe?

Did Billy's mother recover from her deathbed? That's the feeling I got when Lenny he didn't want to talk about it because he didn't like talking about that which he didn't understand.

Tolerance doesn't live here anymore. It's been evicted. It vacated the house for the new tenant who has diametrically opposite tastes in decorating.


He doesn't understand God, so how would he understand a miracle? He doesn't seem to be able to accept the simplicity of a miracle.

Even a daffodil blooming isn't enough for him to believe that God is everywhere. Ester is pregnant. It's the miracle of life, even though she doesn't know it for sure. She just saw the daffodil bloom and "felt" it. So did Lenny.

But even "feeling" something isn't enough for Lenny. No amount of miracles will be. 

The only miracle that he'll ever believe in will be when he finds his parents. When he finds his parents, he'll find God. That's been an ongoing theme from the very beginning.

Until that happens he's going to assert his control over everything he possibly can, including entering the Sistine Chapel on a chariot (like a God) to address the cardinals.

The Cardinals - The Young Pope Episode 6

They looked at him like he was a Martian. And with that headpiece, he certainly looked like one.

I would have loved to have seen their faces as he was getting dressed beforehand, contemplating every detail even the ornate shoes. The music was perfect, but what did it really mean? Does he really think he's all that? Not hardly.

Lenny is a confused man. A powerless man seeking power through pomp and circumstance and ultimate control.

I want fanatics for God, because fanaticism is love.


His speech to the Cardinals was as ballbreaking as his homily to the people. Inaccessible, mysterious, closed off. You can thank his parents for his closed-minded thinking. 

His couldn't control his childhood, but he can control the Church. He demands complete obedience.

 And if he tries hard enough, maybe he'll receive a miracle of understanding. 

Maybe we all will.

Other Thoughts:

  • The Pope's curiosity got the best of him as he decided to visit the self-proclaimed healer. It's going to be interesting to see how that goes.
  • Why has sister Mary kept the pipe? Maybe if she gave it back to Lenny, he wouldn't be as crazy as he is.
  • I still can't get over the tiara he wore to the Sistine chapel. Or the ornate shoes. Or the demanding that the Cardinals kiss his feet. Can't they rebel against his craziness?
  • Was Voiello really not going to kiss Lenny's feet? 
  • Lenny going out with Andrew was the only time we saw  "real" Lenny. He dropped all his pretenses when he went out with Andrew. It was hilarious watching him try to flirt with the hooker. I loved when they denied they looked like priests. 
  • Does the Pope always have to wear white?

What did you think about this installment of The Young Pope? Hit the comments and share your thoughts.

Fifth Episode Review

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Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Young Pope Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

People say you're a saint who performs miracles.


I intend to start a revolution.