The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5: Recap, Review, & Analysis
Updated: 5 days ago
Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 3 has some of the heaviest moments in the show so far. It's also dense with Scripture, packed with plot, and an engaging episode of television. There's a lot to unpack, reflect on, and analyze, so let's get to it. [Want to study Episode 5 with your youth group? Check out this Bible study & discussion guide!]
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What Happened in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5
As the culmination of a two-part arc, there was a lot happening in this episode. Perhaps that's appropriate in an episode about a crowd. I'll do my best to lay out the various threads that were woven together to form Episode 5:
Eden, Simon, & Gaius
Before Episode 5 begins, there's a brief warning about how the opening scene is very sensitive. As someone who's seen a lot, I kind of disregarded it. I'll be honest though, I was taken aback (my wife is pregnant so I'm especially sensitive). At the start of the scene (set two weeks ago), a doctor awakes in the middle of the night to desperate pleading. A pregnant woman is bleeding (in a way that evokes Veronica's bleeding) and she's placed on the table as if to give birth. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a stillbirth/miscarriage (it's hard to tell what stage the pregnancy is in). Only then is it revealed to us that the pregnant woman is Eden.
Back in the present timeline, as Eden and Simon silently prepare his lunch for the day, the tension is palpable. Simon makes a classic husband blunder, feebly admitting that "whatever it is, you're right and I'm sorry." Unlike Simon, we (the audience) understand the gravity of what she's dealing with.
As Gaius and Simon work on the cistern, they banter about the differences in lifestyles of Jews and Gentiles. Simon complains that Gaius' advice didn't work, so Gaius has to explain to him that you have to know what you're apologizing for when you apologize. As they're talking, Gaius mentions how he has two children - his own child and a servant child that his family has raised as their own. Simon rags on him a bit for having a slave, but it's clear that Gaius has a deep concern that he isn't ready to express (this is almost certainly set up for the story of Jesus healing the centurion's servant as told in Matthew 8:5-13).
Later, while Jesus and the disciples eat breakfast, Eden is in the room and Jesus notices that she's clearly struggling. She is present when Jairus comes to beg for the life of his daughter - a moment that clearly triggers her. Nevertheless, she joins Jesus as he goes to heal Jairus' daughter.
Simon and Gaius continue to banter, discussing the differences between Jewish and pagan worship and religion. Simon notes how their work reminds him of the prophecy of Jeremiah, in which God says they've rejected the source of living water for broken cisterns that cannot hold water (Jeremiah 2:9-13). Gaius points out that if this situation is truly a fulfillment of that prophecy, they (the Jews of Capernaum) must have done something wrong. They see the crowd charging toward Jesus and go to investigate.
Simon and Eden are present for the healing of Veronica and Simon is present for the healing of Jairus' daughter. After the healing, Simon joins all the disciples as they frolic in the Sea of Galilee. Eden watches from the shore, doing her best to mask her pain in the midst of the celebration.
In Zebedee's house, James and John continue to bicker over John's friendship with Thomas. We get a quick update on Thomas, who is still away on his mission to Ramah's father. As they discuss Ramah's good taste, Zebedee is prompted to announce to his sons that he's sold the boat. He explains that he inherited the fishing business from his father who died awaiting the Messiah, but unlike his father, he has met the Messiah. The fishing was meant to feed them but now his sons have a better job; he's ready for a change in work too. He's going to buy an olive grove.
Later, Zebedee, Judas, Tamar, and Mary Magdalene are viewing a field that they're considering purchasing. The trees are dying but the seller explains it's because his father has grown ill and can't take care of them. They negotiate to buy the field and have the seller stay on for a time to teach them the business.
Jairus & Yussif
After the credits, we cut to Jairus discussing his daughter's condition with a doctor. The doctor tells him that there's nothing they can do; she will die soon. He kindly offers to arrange for professional mourners - a ritual required by Jewish custom - but Jairus refuses and goes out in search of help.
Later, in the synagogue Yussif finds Jairus riffling through biblical texts on healing. Jairus begs Yussif to take him to Jesus, but Yussif doesn't know where he is. He does know where Andrew lives, however, so they head there. Judas greets them when they arrive; noting that they are Pharisees, he's cautious. Even when they explain the situation, Judas says he can't help them but Simon might be able to, and so they head over to Simon's house. There they finally find Jesus. Jairus tells Jesus that he knows who he is, having read Yussif's account, and falls on his knees, begging him for healing. Jesus, having explained that he is both a physical and spiritual healer, raises Jairus up and agrees to go with him, praising Jairus' faith.
As they head to Jairus' house, a large crowd slows them down. After a healing encounter with Veronica, Jesus is able to convince the crowd to back off so they can press on to help Jairus' daughter. Unfortunately, as they're about to arrive, they hear professional mourners and see a Pharisee leader. The Pharisee explains that Jairus' daughter, Miriam, has died while he was away. Jairus is devastated, insisting to Jesus that he came as fast as he could. Over the objections of the Pharisee, Jesus insists on entering. He dismisses the professional mourners, who laugh at him, and the Pharisee, who accuses him of necromancy.
Only Jairus, Simon Peter, James, and John are allowed to go up to the girl's room with him. When they arrive, Jairus' wife is furious that he wasn't there, but he pleads with her to trust him and trust Jesus. Jesus whispers, Talitha Cumi ("arise my daughter") and she immediately awakes. Jesus explains to them all that they must not share what they have seen, even with the other disciples. It's not yet time for the news to get out that he has this type of power. He thanks Jairus for his faith and is leaving when the Pharisee confronts him. He accuses Jesus of touching a dead body and a bleeding woman, acts that would render him ritually unclean. He threatens to report Jesus to the Sanhedrin if he doesn't follow the rules for cleansing, but Jesus counters by telling him the girl isn't dead and the woman isn't bleeding.
Veronica, Thaddeus, & Nathanael
Nathanael and Thaddeus are carrying water through a shortcut when they come across a trail of blood. They follow it and discover Veronica, who has passed out. When they offer to get her a doctor she explains her problem. They offer to bring her to their Rabbi and she almost turns them but ultimately she realizes who they're talking about and goes with them. She explains she doesn't need to waste his time - she can just touch his garment. They warn her against superstition but she pushes back and explains that it might be to do that with others but not with him. In the course of their conversation, we learn that Veronica has been disowned by her father.
Veronica, Thaddeus, & Nathanael arrive in Capernaum in the midst of a massive traffic jam, generated by the news that Jesus is going to perform a healing. Thad and Nathanael ask her to remain on the edge of the crowd as they try to get Jesus but they're unable to push through the crowd and tell her she'll just have to wait for another time, but Veronica is set on reaching Jesus, repeatedly telling herself that she just needs to touch his garment. At the same time, the man who shamed Veronica in Episode 4 for her unclean condition notices her and asks Yussif to have her removed. Threatened with the possibility of being removed, Veronica makes a desperate lunge and is able to touch the tassels on Jesus' cloak.
Jesus immediately recognizes what's happened and quiets the crowd, demanding to know who touched him. Veronica, on the ground, admits that she touched his clothing because she knew if he touched her he would become ritually unclean. She heard about his power from Simon Z's brother, Jesse. Jesus explains to Veronica that it wasn't his clothing that healed her but her faith. When Yussif objects that she's still ritually unclean because she hasn't gone through the waiting period, Jesus firmly insists that she is clean. He thanks Veronica for blessing him with her display of faith and entrusts her to his disciples.
Later, we see Veronica cut off the rags she used to staunch her bleeding with a knife from the disciples. She goes to the Sea of Galilee and swims in it, basking in the joy of being clean. When Jesus arrives, she's concerned that she's made him unclean and that he's in trouble but he tells her not to worry; he and the disciples are just going for a swim.
Jesus & the Disciples
Most of the Jesus storyline is covered above, but there is one significant scene between Jesus and the disciples that doesn't fit squarely into any of the other plot threads. As Jesus breaks his fast (i.e. has breakfast) Phillip asks him why they don't fast like John's disciples and the Pharisees, concerned that the Pharisees might weaponize this against them. Jesus responds with the Parable of the Bridegroom and the Parable of the Wineskins (Matthew 9:14-17) and explains that John taught fasting because it was a time of repentance, but he brings a time of salvation; the kingdom he brings doesn't fit into old frameworks or ways of doing things. Matthew and Little Thomas observe how, in the Parable of the Bridegroom, Jesus hints at how he will be taken from them and they express concern, but Jesus says they will have to discuss that at another time.
The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5: Review
For the most part, I found Episode 5 to be a satisfying resolution to the plot threads set up in Episode 4 and another strong installment for The Chosen Season 3. I do have a few issues that I'd like to point out, however:
For the most part, I think the Eden plot went in a bold and interesting direction. That said, I have questions about the timeline. Episode 4 gave me the impression that the first missionary journey of the Apostles was maybe a month. If that's the case, assuming Eden and Simon conceived during Season 3, Episode 1, she would be very early on in her pregnancy. On the other hand, during the opening scene, I got the impression that she was much farther along in her pregnancy. I could definitely be wrong about the opening scene - she might have been only a month or two into her pregnancy. But if she's meant to be farther along in her pregnancy, that raises a lot of questions. It would mean the missionary journey was longer than it seemed (which I can accept), but, more importantly, it would mean Eden was showing and yet the disciples who remained in Capernaum (e.g. Mary Magdalene, Tamar, Zebedee) didn't notice (otherwise I would have expected to see signs that they were concerned for Eden). It would be helpful if the show had found a way to communicate to us how long the disciples have been away in order to clear up the potential confusion here.
I'm not against Thad and Nathanael, but I think they work better as background characters. If the show let Eden (or maybe Mary) be the one who led Veronica to Jesus, I think that would have been more significant.
I have a minor quibble with how the show interprets the Parable of the Wineskins. In many cases, Jesus offers two or three parables that have essentially the same meaning (e.g. Luke 15) and I think that's true of the Parable of the Bridegroom, Parable of the Garments, and the Parable of the Wineskins. The point of all three parables is: certain responses are only appropriate for certain times. The show gives the Parable of the Wineskins a distinct meaning (the Kingdom I am bringing will not fit into old containers or frameworks). I don't necessarily disagree with that idea, but I don't find it persuasive as an interpretation.
I feel like Jairus should have been a little peeved/impatient when Veronica interrupted them on their way to heal his daughter. Putting myself in his shoes, I feel like he would have had more urgency.
Having noted a few issues, there was a lot about the episode I like:
Again, even though the episode was packed, the plot felt unified and it moved efficiently from story to story. Moreover, even though the episode resolved a few major story lines, it set up several more, ensuring that the season will flow well and feel unified.
Like I said, I think the decision to have Eden miscarry was a bold choice. Lara Silva's portrayal was excellent and the graphic nature of the scene was fitting, even though it was hard to watch. Miscarriage is an experience that doesn't get represented enough in popular media given how common it is, and it adds a whole new layer of complexity to the Eden/Simon conflict, which was already interesting and relatable. Although the twist raises some questions for me, I think it makes sense for the most part and will make rewatching Episode 4 an interesting experience for dedicated fans.
I really like that the show didn't resolve Eden's struggle by the end of the episode. That's what I would have expected from The Chosen Season 1 or Season 2. Instead, by allowing us to sit with Eden in her pain and the complex emotions she must be feeling, watching the disciples celebrate after Veronica's healing. The last shot of her was so moving for me. It also felt like the show was being a bit self-aware. The complicated emotional experience of Eden as she watches the disciples celebrate in that final shot almost certainly resonates with some viewers, who experience the exciting and joyful events of the show in a complex way due to their own unresolved issues.
The show did a good job of creating subtle visual connections between the Eden, Veronica, and Miriam characters - analogous to the types of connections that the Bible creates through word choice and other literary devices.
In general I like the portrayal of Jairus and Veronica. It would have been easy to overact their parts, but I found their depiction to be believable and moving.
Going into the scene with Zebedee, I was doubtful, but I found myself moved by his speech to James and John. I understand now why they left the scene in with him selling the boat - although I actually wonder if the moment would have been better as a surprise.
The show is doing a good job of inching along minor plot threads (e.g. the conflict between John and James, Simon the Zealot's pursuer, and Gaius' kid)
I continue to enjoy the Simon/Gaius dynamic. Their banter was interesting and felt like a realistic depiction of the difficulty that early Jews and Gentiles would have faced in building relationships.
The claustrophobia and chaos of the crowd scene was very well done. The show created exactly the kind of mood it was aiming for while simultaneously juggling numerous character and plot beats.
Key Themes in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5
As the second half of a two-part arc, Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 3 picks up on many of the themes and ideas that were set up in Episode 4. I'll look at these first before turning to some of the themes that were unique to Episode 5.
The Joy & Cost of Serving Jesus
Episode 5 gives us several more snapshots that highlight the joy of serving Jesus. We see the joyful response of the disciples to Veronica's healing and the joyful response of Jairus, his wife, and the three Apostles to the healing of his daughter. We also see Jesus' own joy in response to the faith of Veronica and Jairus. Most significantly, the episode lingers on the disciples joyfully celebrating in the Sea of Galilee on account of what they've seen Jesus do.
The topic of joy also comes up several times in conversation. Early in the episode, Zebedee expresses his joy that James and John have found their true calling and that he too can pursue a new calling in service to Jesus. When the disciples ask Jesus why he doesn't ask them to fast regularly, he uses the Parable of the Bridegroom to explain how the coming of salvation in him is a time of joy and fasting is not a time for fasting and mourning. This parable sets us up for later on when Jesus dismisses the professional mourners who have come to grieve over Jairus' daughter, Miriam. The topic of celebration also comes up as Simon and Gaius work on the cistern; although Gaius insists that Roman parties are better (because of the sensuality), Simon insists that the Jews know how to celebrate (i.e. experience true joy) in their own way.
For all the joy we see and hear about, however, Episode 5 ends up feeling very heavy. By sandwiching the joyful events of the episode between such a painful opening scene and such a haunting final image, Episode 5 underlines the complex relationship between the joy and cost of serving Jesus. Churches take note: while it's appropriate for us to celebrate when we see God work in a marvelous way, we need to remember that those who look out on our celebration may be carrying unseen sorrows. It may be painful for them to be present in the midst of our joy, because it reminds them of how God seems absent from their struggles and because they feel pressure to wear a mask. That's how I interpreted what was going on with Eden. The opening twist also adds a layer of complexity to the events of Episode 4. Simon's joyful experience of mission came primarily at the cost of his wife, who had to suffer her miscarriage alone, without his support. Moreover, while I believe Eden will ultimately emerge from her grief to taste joy once again, the cost that she has suffered can never be recovered.
While we're discussing the cost of following Jesus, it's also worth observing that in Episode 5 Jesus predicts his death for the first time through the Parable of the Bridegroom. Even though he tries to move on from the topic quickly, the disciples are clearly bothered by the implication of Jesus departing. I expect that they'll be even more concerned when he starts telling people they need to eat his body and drink his blood after the feeding of the 5,000.
The Cost & Joy of Seeking the Truth
During Episode 4, Jairus and Yussif spent a lot of time debating the cost of seeking the truth about Jesus. In Episode 5, Jairus is desperate, so there's very little time for debate. Moreover, his primary concern isn't truth; it's keeping his daughter alive. But just as there's a cost to seeking the truth, there's also a joyful reward. Because Jairus already sought the truth about Jesus using Yussif's account and the Scriptures, he knows who to turn to when his daughter is in a critical condition. Still, the appearance of the Pharisee at the end of the episode bodes ill. Though Jairus' pursuit of the truth has been beneficial so far, he is now publicly associated with Jesus and will suffer the cost when the Sanhedrin investigates what happened.
Episode 5 continues to explore the concept of ritual purity and cleanness primarily through Miriam (Jairus' daughter) and Veronica (the bleeding woman). The Pharisees approach the impurity of Miriam and Veronica with fearful self-protection. Even though Yussif believes in Jesus' ability to perform miracles, when faced with the uncleanness of Veronica, he's more concerned about keeping the contamination contained than he is with bringing her to Jesus for healing. Likewise, when Jesus shows up at Jairus' home, the Pharisee's preoccupation with the potential contamination of touching the dead turns him into a barrier between the girl and salvation.
By contrast, Jesus is totally unconcerned about being contaminated by uncleanness. When Yussif and the other Pharisee tell Jesus he needs to cleanse himself because he's come in contact with ritual impurity, Jesus defiantly ignores their request. This isn't because he rejects what the Old Testament teaches about ritual impurity; he simply has a better grasp of his own authority and that leads him to apply the Law of Moses differently. The Pharisees have a category for physical healing, but they don't have a category for the type of holistic healing that Jesus brings - healing that can wipe away not only physical disease but also ritual and spiritual impurity. Whereas most people spread impurity and uncleanness, only Jesus has ability to spread purity and cleanness.
Episode 4 also set up two other sources of uncleanness: Gentiles (specifically Gaius) and the cistern. In Epiode 5, we gain a better understanding of why each of these is unclean. On the one hand, Gaius shares more about his beliefs and practices as an unclean pagan (wild parties, multiple gods, transactional sacrifices). On the other hand, Gaius has insight into the spiritual significance of the unclean cistern. His insight comes in response to Simon's reference to Jeremiah:
Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods?But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:11-13, ESV)
As Gaius reflects on the prophecy, he concludes that the broken cistern u a sign that the Jews have done something to anger God. What's interesting to note (but almost certainly not intended by Gaius) is that in Jeremiah's prophecy, the broken cisterns are a symbol of the idols that the Israelites turned to instead of remaining committed to Yahweh exclusively. I may be reading into this too much, but I wonder if the show implying that the Jews in Jesus' day have fallen into a form of idolatry, worshipping the works of their hands just like Gaius and the other unclean Gentiles do (c.f. Stephen's sermon in Acts 7, which implies that the Jewish leaders are treating the Temple like an idol). We'll have to wait to see if