The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7 & Episode 8: Recap, Review, & Analysis
Updated: 2 days ago
****Spoiler Warning: Don't read further if you're not ready for spoilers****
Episode 7 and Episode 8 of The Chosen Season 3 bring a close to the biggest season of the show so far, while juggling a lot of storylines, biblical material, and Jewish culture, including:
The celebration of Purim
Simon Peter struggling with his grief/anger at Jesus for allowing Eden to suffer, with the help of John (the Apostle)
Eden struggling with her own grief and her marital issues with Simon, with the help of Zebedee, his wife, Mary Magdalene, and Yussif
Andrew and Philip, unable to fix the issues they created in the diverse area of the Decapolis, need to bring in Jesus to teach the people, eventually leading to the Feeding of the 5,000
Thomas returns without Ramah, who has remained behind to try to win her father over
Mary Magdalene helping Matthew work through an issue from his past and recognize his faith
The mute man being healed by Jesus (Mark 7:31-37)
Shmuel trying to find witnesses to testify against Jesus
Atticus spying on the Jewish leaders and their response to Jesus
Simon discovering that Gaius' slave/son is sick
King David listens to Asaph and his choir recite a psalm their working on (Psalm 77)
A Jewish healer in the Decapolis name Nashan opposing Jesus
Jesus walking on the water and calling Simon Peter to join him
The "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden" speech (Matthew 11:25-30)
Tons of parables [The Great Banquet (Luke 14:12-24), the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32), the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9), the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32), the Treasure (Matthew 13:44), the Pearl (Matthew 13:45-46), and a brief allusion to the Wheat & Tares (Matthew 13:24-30)]
There are a lot of moments to love and I'm sure many fans will enjoy The Chosen Season 3 Finale. For my part, as I'll explain in my review below, I had several issues with Episodes 7 and 8 that left me with mixed feelings but there were also plenty of moments that I really enjoyed. Before I get into my opinion, however, let's unpack what happened in greater detail.
[Want to study and discuss the Season 3 Finale? I've got discussion questions for both Episode 7 and Episode 8!]
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What Happened in The Chosen Season 3 Episodes 7 & 8
There's a lot to unpack in The Chosen Season 3 Finale, so let's just dive right into the storylines:
Simon Peter, Gaius, & John
Episode 7 opens with the joyful Jewish celebration of Purim, which commemorates how God saved the Jews from the genocidal schemes of Haman (Esther 9). While the family of Zebedee is busy rejoicing, however, Simon Peter is busy smashing whine vessels on the roof of his house, as he continues to deal with anger over the revelation about Eden's miscarriage.
In his drunken anger, Simon ends up stumbling his way into the Roman Quarter, unnoticed by the Roman guards (this is an easter egg in reference to how Simon walks out of Roman prison unnoticed in Acts 12). Gaius finds him and takes him home to prevent other Roman soldiers from harming him. While in Gaius' home, Simon meets his wife, Lydia, his legitimate son (Marius?), and his servant boy (Ebo?). Lydia wants to know if Simon is the Jewish doctor she's heard Gaius talk about (i.e. Jesus). Gaius sneaks Simon out the side door and takes him home. As they walk home, Gaius tells Simon about how the servant boy is sick and the Roman doctors won't treat him because he's black. Gaius also confides that he is the father of the servant boy and feels guilty about it, but it's something he and his wife simply don't speak of. Simon warns him that silence between a husband and wife is deadly and wishes him perfect peace and wholeness.
Simon misses an important meeting between Jesus and the Apostles, in which they plan to go to the Decapolis. Jesus asks John to stay behind to bring Simon Peter, because Simon's presence is crucial to the success of the mission. John is frustrated and feels like they should either leave Simon behind or have another wait for him, but Jesus insists that it has to be John.
The next morning, Simon is trying to figure out where everyone went. He runs into Zebedee, who expresses annoyance at how disconnected Simon has bene lately. John shows up and pulls Simon aside and explains where the Apostles went and how grudgingly forces Simon to come along with him. As they walk, Simon grumbles about traveling to the Decapolis, pointing out how they've seen Jesus perform miracles remotely. John expresses frustration at how Simon gets treated as special and his a beautiful wife and has nothing to gripe about - only to apologize almost immediately when he recognizes that Simon is struggling. Simon finally confides in John about Eden and explains that she may not be able to have children because of the miscarriage. He can't understand why Jesus goes out of his way to heal distant people while allowing them to suffer. John reminds him that Jesus never promised that they'd be exempt from suffering and that Eden could have miscarried just as easily if he wasn't following, but Simon is still mad when they arrive and find Jesus and the crowds.
In Episode 8, Simon is present as the crowds gather around Jesus near the Decapolis and plays his part in the unfolding events (described more below, since they aren't really Simon's story). He's clearly still annoyed and frustrated throughout the time, as we see, for example, when Andrew tells him that the crowds are hungry and he responds that nothing is forcing them to stay. Andrew is frustrated at him and needs to be encouraged to be gracious. Simon insists that Jesus is capable of doing whatever he wants so what they do doesn't really matter. Even after the miraculous Feeding of the 5,000, when all the other disciples are marveling, Simon isn't impressed and stalks off to get them a boat back home. He's encouraged to have faith but insists that faith isn't his problem.
Later, as the Apostles are rowing the boat back to Capernaum, they get caught up in a massive storm and are making no progress, although Simon pushes them to keep going instead of turning back. Suddenly, John notices a figure walking on the waves (echoing Psalm 77, which Eden is reading with Yussif) and points it out to Simon, who tells everyone to stop [the pattern of John noticing and understanding things before Simon comes up a few times in Scripture (e.g. John 20:3-9)]. Simon says if Jesus is who he says he is, he should invite Simon to walk out to him on the water, and Jesus insists that he can do so, if he has faith. The other Apostles aren't so sure, but Simon steps out.
As he's walking on the waves, Simon confronts Jesus about how he seems to chase after the problems of Gentiles while ignoring their personal problems. Jesus responds by repeating his invitation for Simon to come to him for rest. Simon insists that his problem hasn't been faith - that he's given everything to follow, but Jesus explains that trials prove the genuineness of our faith (an allusion anticipating 1 Peter 1:6-7) and tells Simon to keep his eyes on him. Of course, Simon immediately gets distracted and begins to sink, but with the helps of Eden's prayers (more on that below) he is pulled out of the waters by Jesus (while Yuss. Simon grabs ahold of Jesus and begs Jesus to never let him go. Jesus explains to Simon that he has a lot of hard things planned for him and that he needs to keep his eyes on him. He tells Simon that he's always here and though he may let him go hungry for a time, he will always feed him. Jesus then calms the storm. Later, in a final montage, we see Simon return home and joyfully reunite with Eden.
Eden, Zebedee & his Wife, & Yussif
Although Eden's storyline is obviously intertwined with Simon's, they actually spend relatively little time on screen together and so it's helpful to look at them separately.
Eden's story is set up thematically by the opening teaser of Episode 8, in which David and one of his pregnant queens (perhaps Bathsheba, pregnant with Solomon?) get to hear Asaph and his choir perform Psalm 77. The Psalm establishes the idea of crying out to God in the midst trouble and grief.
Early in Episode 8, Eden is confronted by Zebedee, his wife, and Mary Magdalene, who want to know what the problem is with Simon. Zebedee is annoyed at Simon's insolence but acknowledges that he is trying to be a better man and is in a much better place than his father Jonah ever was. Eden confides that the issue isn't just with Simon - it's with both of them. Zebedee puts his foot in his mouth, asking Eden if she's pregnant, but his wife and Mary quickly pick up on what's actually going on and ask Zebedee to let them talk privately with Eden. Eden confides about the miscarriage and how she hasn't yet healed. They wonder if it's tied to how she hasn't properly completed the ritual of purification - and also if she just needs space to grieve. Eden expresses her frustration that Jesus healed and purified Veronica and gave her joy but hasn't done so for her. The women decide that Eden should visit the synagogue to listen to God's word.
Eden arrives at Yussif's office and shares her story with him. He offers her his condolences and admits that Torah has very little to say about her situation and tries to sympathize with what Simon must be going through, being caught between her loss and such a momentous cause. Nevertheless, he understands why she would be angry with Simon. Noting how Eden was only able to wash in the sea and not in the ritual cistern, he wonders whether doing so in a prayerful state of mind might help her. When Zebedee's wife insists on a joyful and uplifting reading from Torah, Yussif points out that that would not be true to her situation and instead suggests that they read a psalm of desperation to draw them closer to God. He reads through Psalm 77, which begins by invoking desperation and anguish, but eventually takes a turn toward remembering the deeds of the Lord (Psalm 77:10-11). Eden is clearly affected. Later, as Simon is having his encounter with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, we see Eden descending down into the ritual bath, praying a ritual prayer of purification and praying for God to not let Simon go. She submerges herself into the bath even as Simon begins to sink and they both remerge at the same time, signaling how they've both been pulled out of their downward spiral by Jesus. As already noted, during the final montage, Simon and Eden have a joyful reunion when Simon returns.
Andrew, Philip, the Apostles, & the Crisis in the Decapolis
Near the beginning of Episode 7, Andrew and Philip are walking home, having revisited the Decapolis. Philip is lost in thought, worried that they've only made matters worse, while Andrew, frustrated, keeps pressing him to hurry up. Philip ends up stubbing his toe badly - a fitting end to their bloody trip. Andrew is surprised that Philip isn't handling things better, given his time with John the Baptist. Philip points out how they've caused a multi-ethnic crisis that could lead to bloodshed and insists that they've failed. When they arrive back in Capernaum, they tell Judas how they've only made the situation in Decapolis worse by telling the Parable of the Banquet. He understands immediately: they've angered the Jews (since it implies the Gentiles are welcomed) and insulted the Gentiles (since it implies that they are second-class). Judas suggests that they ask for Jesus' help.
The topic of the Gentiles is briefly discussed amongst some of the other disciples during the following scene. Simon Z points out that the Gentile rulers think that they've gathering ash for some kind of violent plot. When they hear about what happened with Andrew and Philip, Big James is against intervening, but the other point out that Isaiah prophecies that the Servant shall bring justice to the nations (e.g., Isaiah 42:1). Matthew also points out that, having been studying the genealogy of Jesus, he's noticed several Gentiles that feature prominently in it (allusion to Matthew 1:1-17).
Later, Jesus asks Philip and Andrew about what went wrong and affirms their decision to use a parable (and not to use the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares/Weeds, which can be misunderstood - a nod to how it's been used to justify violence and inquisitions in church history). Philip and Andrew give more information on the situation in the Decapolis: their preaching has inadvertently converted pagan priests and augurs, which has had downstream effects on the economy of the area, leading to ethnic strife. Big James doesn't think it's a good idea to send Jesus into such a fraught situation, but Jesus insists on going. He comforts Andrew and Philip, pointing out that when you carry heavy things, sometimes it gets dropped, and that's okay.
The Apostles travel toward the Decapolis. In order to protect them from the unrest, Leander, the messenger from Episode 6, meets them outside the city, along with a boy, Telemachus, and his deaf/mute father. Telemachus asks Jesus to heal his father, despite the protests of the disciples that there are more important things, and Jesus rewards his faith by doing so, asking only that they keep it quiet to avoid drawing unwanted attention (Mark 7:31-37). Unfortunately, a local Jewish healer, Nashan, arrives and takes offense at how Jesus is consulting with Greeks like them - and that he's healed a man that he deemed to be punished by God.
At this point, crowds begin to gather. First, a group of Syrophoenicians arrive. They demand to see the miraculous signs that they've heards rumors of, especially since the unrest caused by Jesus' followers have cost them their homes. They're followed by a group of Nabataeans arrive, who ridicule the idea of the Messiah, some local Jews, who take issue with Jesus consorting with Gentiles. The Apostles question whether they need to get to higher ground.
The storyline picks up in Episode 8, with the Nabataeans complaining that the Apostles are unable to share and live out Jesus' teaching. Jesus invites the crowd to listen while he talks to his Apostles. He asks the Apostles what healed Veronica and initially they claim it was the power that went out from his cloak. Jesus corrects them, by pointing out that faith is what healed her, not the cloak, and he explains to the mixed crowd that faith in him is what is most important. The disciples recognize that they lack faith and so Judas asks Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus goes on to point out that they only need faith as small as a mustard seed to uproot a mulberry tree (Luke 17:5-6) or even to cast a mountain into the sea (Matthew 17:20) - the issue is not the size of their faith but the object, namely, Jesus/God and his promises. Jesus explains that other people will only listen to the Apostles if they see them displaying secure faith. As an example of secure faith, a man with an infected leg arrives, asks Jesus to heal it, and runs off rejoicing. Immediately, all the combating factions that have been watching are amazed and decide to sit down and listen more to what Jesus has to say.
Jesus now begins to engage with representative of each faction, learning more about how the preaching of his disciples caused a breakdown in the social order of the city. The conversation is fraught with sniping between the Gentiles and Jews over their respective religious practices and differences and even Big James and John get triggered, but Jesus is able to keep the peace. The local Jews are frustrated that Jesus is presenting a new way that involves including Gentiles when the prophets command them to seek the ancient paths (Jeremiah 6:16) although it's pointed out to them that the prophets also foretold how God would do a new thing (e.g., Isaiah 43:18-19). Nevertheless, they want no part of a feast that involves Gentiles. The Gentile factions, on the other hand, are intrigued, but they want to know why Jesus inspires such polarized responses and so, after arranging the Apostles as a kind of living telephone/speaker system, he tells the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9).
The crowds continue to grow and grow as people arrive from neighboring cities. Jesus keeps preaching into the night, explaining that he faces opposition from Jews just as much as Gentiles in the cities in which he preaches and does miracles. He points out that those who are listening to him eagerly ultimately have more wisdom than the high and learned religious leaders and thanks God for revealing himself to them and invites them to come to him for rest (Matthew 11:25-30).
Judas and Matthew recognize that their must be thousands there. Andrew is worried that the people are out of food and some haven't eaten for days. He begins looking for food. The next day, Jesus is telling the Parable of 2 Sons working in the vineyard to talk about how repentant Gentiles can be welcomed and faithless Jews can be rejected (Matthew 21:28-32) and the Parables of the Treasure (Matthew 13:44) and the Pearl (Matthew 13:45-46) to talk about the value of the Kingdom. Meanwhile, Andrew continues looking for food and Telemachus offers him fish and bread (and not just bread - barley bread a joke on the distinction between the different accounts of the Feeding of the 5,000) . The disciples are debating the food situation while Jesus is teaching and so Little James finally decides to interrupt him to ask for help. Jesus insists that they give the people food to eat. When Andrew and Telemachus apologetically bring the five loaves and fish, Jesus insists he can do a lot with it, which Thomas can tell is a sign of a miracle, remembering the water into wine.
After Jesus has blessed the bread, he continues to tell parables [the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32)], while the Apostles distribute the five loaves and fish into twelve baskets. The disciples are surprised when, having closed their baskets for a moment, they open them up to discover that they are brimming over with bread and fish. Jesus thanks the crowd for staying so long to receive spiritual food and invites them to enjoy the physical food as well, while the disciples distribute the bread and fish.
Later, after the crowd has had its fill, the Apostles bring back their baskets, still brimming over with bread and fish and note how Jesus gave them more than they needed. Matthew notes that he isn't even surprised anymore and John points out that, like Simon said, Jesus always achieves what he intends. The crowds disperse and head home.
Matthew & Mary Magdalene
Toward the beginning of Episode 7, Mary takes Matthew aside and asks about the tassels that she found in Episode 6 while looking for money. Matthew is annoyed that she's been looking through his personal things and storms off. Later, however, he comes back and apologizes to Mary, who also apologizes for invading his privacy. Matthew explains that he's been off in the wilderness like Jesus but when he walked in a bunch of mud, he took it as a sign that he should turn around and apologize and explain himself to Mary.
We get a flashback to Matthew working in the tax booth with Gaius. An old man arrives and begins chatting with him. Matthew is shocked at how much debt the man has accrued - especially given how little income he has. The man explains that he's bought the debt of all of his children and put it under his own name, a feat that really impresses Matthew. The man recognizes that he is about to meet his maker and is content to go to a Roman labor camp, knowing that he won't last long - an act of symbolic self-sacrifice. He gives Matthew his last object of value - some prayer tassels that date back to the exile. Though Matthew insists he has no use for these right now and wants to sell them off to pay the man's debt, the man is confident that one day Matthew will learn the value of the gift and insists that he keep them.
Back in the present, Matthew tells Mary how he kept the tassels out of repect for the man and as a reminder of his sins against his people. When he confides how ashamed he feels to her, Mary encourages him, explaining that what the man really wanted is for Matthew to share his faith and that he would be very happy to see that Matthew has indeed come to faith. She confides in Matthew about her near suicide in Episode 1 of Season 1 and how God sent a dove to pull her back and suggests that this man was Matthew's dove. Mary points out that the painfulness of life can lead people to believe that the world is full of scarcity, not abundance but that occasionally there are moments when the world expresses its longing to be whole and God steps in. She encourages Matthew to move beyond shame and embrace the life of faith by taking proud ownership of the tassels.
Later, Matthew asks Thad to help him add the tassels to his garment. In a funny/awkward moment involving Matthew not wanting to undress in front of others, they discuss how the 600 threads and 13 knots represent the 613 laws of the Torah and how God's word should surround them all day long. When the Apostles eventually set out for the Decapolis, Matthew is proudly sporting his tassels.
Shmuel, Yanni, Atticus, & Nashan
Near the beginning of Episode 7, Shmuel is eagerly interviewing a witness about a man named Jesus who claimed to be the Messiah and scammed him out of money. Eventually, however, Shmuel realizes that the witness had merely been conned by a swindler and in frustration sends him away.
Outside of the Temple, Atticus interrogates a Jewish leader about who the authority on rogue preachers is. He learns that it's Rabbi Yanni (Shmuel's friend/partner).
During Episode 8, as I've noted above, when Jesus heals a deaf/mute Gentile, it offends a local Jewish healer named Nashan. Nashan travels to Jerusalem, where he's a fish out of water, lacking the proper prayer tassels and violating the prohibition against wearing a garment woven out of two types of fabric (Deuteronomy 22:11). Although Shmuel shows nothing but contempt for Nashan, he eagerly listens to his testimony about how Jesus of Nazareth is consorting with Gentiles. As Nashan leaves Shmuel's quarters, he encounters Atticus, who has recovered his lost mule. Atticus (who is disguised as a normal person) asks Nashan to tell him more about the important news that brought him from so far away.
Later, Shmuel, Yanni, and an elder Pharisee are journeying toward Decapolis in a carriage. The elder Pharisee is annoyed at how Shmuel summoned him in the middle of the night to travel to the Decapolis. Shmuel points out that Shammai insists on strict adherence to the letter of God's law and serving God should be their top priority. The elder Pharisee thinks Shmuel is arrogant, but Shmuel explains that he is merely doing what Shammai told him to do: finding abundant evidence to condemn Jesus. Nevertheless, the elder Pharisee questions the value of tracking down a single rogue preachers around the Decapolis, where there is all kinds of religious syncretism. When Shmuel claims that Jesus is a sorceror, the elder points out that sorcery cases are unwieldy. Meanwhile, Atticus is trailing their carriage.
Shmuel and the Pharisees arrive just after Jesus has finished teaching and the crowds have begun to disperse. Shmuel frantically begins interrogating travelers, seeking the three witnesses needed to establish a crime according to the Law of Moses. One man tells him how Jesus multiplied bread and fish and they all ate together - which scandalizes the Pharisees, since it means Jesus broke bread with Gentiles. They're even more horrified when Leander shares how Jesus said men will come from east and west to sit and eat with Jesus (Matthew 8:11).
Shmuel is looking for more witnesses but having no luck when he meets Jesus. Jesus in pity invites Shmuel to pray with him, noting that he looks troubled. There's a brief moment where it seems like Shmuel may be softening but he ends up responding that he is troubled and quotes Psalm 13, questioning how long his enemy will be exalted over him. Jesus says he knows what it's like to lose something - he's losing time. He goes up into the hills to pray and again invites Shmuel to come with him.
Thomas & Ramah
Thomas and Ramah only get a very brief couple beats in Episodes 7 & 8. Thomas returns back to Capernaum near the beginning of Episode 7 and is clearly downcast. He explains to the others that the situation is complicated. Kafni hasn't said no to his proposal, but he also hasn't said yes. Moreover, Ramah has decided to stay back home to keep working on her father. We later return to them both in the closing montage of Episode 8 and see that Thomas is praying and Ramah is busy studying the Torah, using the ability to read that Mary taught her in Season 2.