The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Confessions

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John Paul III has been Pope for only a few weeks, and he's already regretting his decision to don the papal robes.

His quest for public admiration and love fell short on The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4, but it also doesn't seem like anything is going his way.

The lady in red is only the beginning.

Visiting His Nemesis - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

Pope John Paul III may not have "idolized" Marilyn Manson in any way, but he wanted to meet him.

So, when it finally happened, the pope was more than a little disturbed that Manson was confused about which pope Sir Brannox actually was -- Lenny or the new pope.

The admiration John apparently had for Manson wasn't reciprocated, which seems to be a prevailing problem for him.

It was also surprising that John Paul III had never gone to see Lenny before Manson suggested it.

Pope John Paul: Marilyn Manson doesn't know who I am.
Sofia: Marilyn Manson doesn't know who he is.

John Paul III saw it as an opportunity to "up" his image to the public even if he wouldn't allow any photographs of him actually in Lenny's room in Venice.

But that wasn't a move to maintain privacy and decorum, it was more because he didn't want Lenny to upstage him more than he already has.

And when John Paull III asked the doctor about Lenny's prognosis and whether or not he would ever come out of the coma, it wasn't because John cared about Lenny.

Visiting His Nemesis - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

He asked because he wanted to make sure Lenny wouldn't steal his spotlight.

Yet, it took the lady in red to make John realize that the spotlight had all along belonged to Lenny, and it wasn't going to become John's any time soon.

It's clear that the lady in red doesn't like Pope John, and whatever she whispered to him outside the hospital didn't sit very well.

The lady in red has been holding a vigil outside the Vatican from the beginning of Lenny's coma. She believes Lenny's predicament is a a scheme of the clergymen in the Vatican to silence him and his popularity.

But whatever she whispered to John might have more to do with his big "secret" than anything else. It's possible that she told him she knows his true nature.

And if she knows, then who else knows?

Marilyn Manson - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

Pope John is a smart guy, but he's also a bit dense.

He didn't acknowlege what Cardinal Spalletta was telling him about their youth when they met privately.

Spalletta didn't reveal much, but the only indication that Pope John might recognize others know his big "secret" is that he made Spalletta his personal secretary.

I never answer questions in the evening, especially after three glasses of champagne.

Pope John

It kind of fits with the old adage of "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

Then again, Pope John is taking Spalletta's advice seriously, so the veiled threat Spalletta made might have gone over John's head completely.

Still, Spalletta might prove useful in regards to protecting the Vatican from the outrageous tax they've avoided for so many years.

Pope John doesn't have the political savvy to navigate through any waters, stormy or otherwise. He also doesn't have the personal savvy to navigate through the politics of the Vatican.

He's so blinded by his need for love and admiration that he's unable to see that he's not interested in making the Church better. 

The Nuns Take a Stand - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

His only interest is in elevating his low self esteem and feelings of inadequacy.

His fantasies about Sofia is another layer of his "woe is me" complex.

Although he won't necessarily act on his crush on her, he has no problems fantasizing about her (even if his fantasy was actual reality that he didn't know about).

On a Mission - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

And those fantasies taking place while Guiterrez was confessing his homosexual "sins" again showed that John's pious act is nothing more than an act.

He doesn't care about the church, and if being Pope doesn't get him what he wants, he's going to walk away.

Or maybe he'll come up with a new plan and kill Lenny in an attempt to harvest the attention he so much desires.

Sister Lisette: If we suspend our strike, what will we get in return?
Voiello: Wi-fi.

If he killed his brother, then killing Lenny will be no big deal.

It hasn't been established that he killed his brother, but I'm starting to believe more and more it's exactly what he did.

If John was smart, he'd get involved in the nun controversy. He'd score lots of points if he showed the nuns the respect they long for and deserve.

But he doesn't care about them, either. And more than likely, he probably feels the same way Voiello and the others do, that the nuns are only there to serve them and God.

At Odds - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

John takes the same stance of "privilege" as Voiello does by demanding, so to speak, that people kiss his ring. Voiello expects it from the nuns. John expects it from the public.

And let's not forget about Esther and her "prostitution" problems. When she didn't acquiese to Fabiano's demands she "service" the VIP, he told her she wasn't a real Christian. 

So, to make herself whole again in the eyes of God, she went ahead and had a liaison with the VIP anyway.

It's apparent that the message being sent is that women are less and are only good for a few things. 

My admiration for well-read women will never fade. Perhaps that's why I don't miss Meghan.

Pope John

While I appreciate Sorrentino's take on that issue and how it relates to the Church in general, I hope it's not going to become the overriding theme of the series from here on out. 

If you've read any of my previous reviews of any series, you know that I'm not a fan of tv shows being used as vehicles for political messages -- especially blatant ones like what we saw here.

A Gift - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

While it's true that the nuns do deserve respect and equality in the Church, they, like the priests, have have taken a vow of servitude. Sister Lisette and the others knew when they signed up what their role would be in the Church.

And as a Catholic, I will tell you straight out that I am totally NOT on board with women (especially lay women) handing out communion and, even worse, becoming priests themselves.

I'm also not ignorant of the fact that priests do abuse their power and that the Catholic church might be an outdated institution.

We can go round and round about religion and paganism and how women were shoved out of the way by men, but that's not why I watch television. I watch television to be entertained and escape from all the moral and political garbage prevalent everywhere you turn.

And to take it a step further, if Sorrentino is trying to send a message, then he's doing a piss poor job by exploiting the very women he's trying to support.

Visiting the Man - The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4

I'm not a prude by any means, but when every episode includes erotically dancing nuns, long takes on bare breasts, and women masturbating at every turn, the only thing I have to ask is when are we going to see some naked men (I wouldn't complain if we got a full frontal shot of Jude Law)?

So, now that I'm done with my tangent, over to you!

Will John kill Lenny, or will he be exposed before he even has the chance?

What's the big secret anyway?

Will he give in to his desires regarding Sofia?

Will the nuns win their fight with the Church?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts. 

If you need to catch up, you can watch The New Pope online right here via TV Fanatic!

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

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The New Pope Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Seeing you around all these men makes me swell with pride.

Tomas

Many, far too many, members of the clergy believe that love is an infinite meadow, and they're allowed to pick all the flowers they want. But they are not picking flowers. They are ripping plants from the earth and assuring, by their actions, that in the scorched and barren soil they've defiled, nothing more will ever grow.

Pope John