Before The Chosen, there had never been a long-form, multi-season television series about the life of Jesus Christ. There have been plenty of movies, sure. Even a mini-series or two have faithfully chronicled the New Testament story.

Failed attempts at a multi-season continuation (A.D. The Bible Continues, anyone?) have resulted in wondering whether it’s even possible to make a successful TV show about Jesus. That said, it almost feels miraculous that this series (produced entirely independent of Hollywood) could become as popular on a global scale as it has. But perhaps The Chosen’s latest entry — the long-anticipated Season 4 — helps us better understand why this sort of thing has never properly worked before.

The Chosen Season 3 Recap

Season 3 of The Chosen seamlessly picks up from where Season 2 left off, immersing audiences in the impactful Sermon on the Mount delivered by Jesus. Throughout this season, viewers witness a deeper exploration of the disciples’ lives, unraveling the profound effects of Jesus’ ministry.

the chosen season 4 review

Character development takes center stage, with portrayals of Jesus showcasing compassion, wisdom, and a heightened awareness of his divine purpose. The disciples, each with their own struggles and transformations, provide a nuanced look into their evolving relationships with their charismatic leader.

Key plot arcs include the expansion of Jesus’ ministry, internal conflicts within the disciples, escalating tensions with religious authorities, and the introduction of new characters like Little James and Ramah. The season culminates in a gripping cliffhanger, leaving viewers eagerly anticipating the resolution of Judas’ betrayal and the future trajectory of Jesus’ impactful ministry.

The Chosen’s Endearing Elements

The Chosen’s fourth season is filled with all the things fans have loved about previous years. The interpersonal connections between Jesus’ (played by Jonathan Roumie) twelve disciples, the growing tensions between the local religious leaders and the occupying Roman forces, and the visualization of miracles performed on-screen are, in many cases, why so many viewers stuck around. The series isn’t a global phenomenon for nothing, and it continues to point impressively back to its source.

the chosen season 4 review

Jesus’ earthly ministry reportedly only lasted around three years, and given series creator Dallas Jenkins’ clear intent to get seven seasons total out of this production, the slow-burn pace leading toward the inevitable crucifixion is finally starting to pick up some real steam now.

Political Drama Meets Faith-Based Program

What makes Season 4 unique is that the tension between the Roman forces like Quintus (Brandon Potter) and Gaius (Kirk B.R. Woller) and the Jewish Pharisees finally feels like it may implode at any moment. In some respects, The Chosen’s latest season begins more like a political historical drama (a la Rome) than a faith-based program, and that’s certainly the point.

the chosen season 4 review

Things feel personal, political, and spiritual all at the same time. The way Season 4 frames the conflict almost hints that the series may outlive Jesus’ eventual crucifixion and resurrection story, well into the early life of the church chronicled in the Book of Acts.

Disciples’ Struggles and Personal Journeys

By far the biggest strength in this show is the relationship between the disciples, specifically the twelve whom Jesus had, well, chosen. Previous years have teased an inevitable break between Simon Peter (Shahar Isaac) and Matthew (Paras Patel), who have been at odds for quite some time.

the chosen season 4 review

Every conflict reaches a natural boiling point, and it can either bubble over and become uncontrollable or be calmed by something from the outside. As usual, Jesus is that something, and while their frustrations with each other have been largely valid (Matthew was going to get Simon sent to prison, after all), they remain nonetheless antithetical to the teachings of their new wandering rabbi. Season 4 finally addresses this issue in a powerful and finite way that reminds us of what this series has always been about.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other significant issues among the disciples. One of the best parts of The Chosen is watching how these characters stumble around each other while considering the hard and sometimes confusing sayings of their teacher.

Production Value and Character Dynamics

The cinematography, costumes, production, and set design elevate this series far beyond the dismissive “faith-based” label it’s often filed under. No expense has been spared to make The Chosen feel like a big-budget streaming series set in the first century A.D., and that production value has only increased over time. Additionally, Shahar Isaac, who perhaps had more to do last season than in the three episodes provided for review, has proven himself both a strong and complex leading man who can still surprise us even now.

the chosen season 4 review

Fans may have trouble getting used to the new Phillip this season, now played by Reza Diako after Yoshi Barrigas’ sudden departure. Diako doesn’t carry the same hopefully optimistic charisma that Barrigas’ two-season take on the character had, and it’s kind of abrasive, to say the least. For a while, it was hard to discern if he was Phillip at all, though the series, likely anticipating that response, makes sure to give a name to the new face almost immediately.

Uncertain Arcs and Creative Liberties in The Chosen Season 4

It’s unclear what Jesus’ arc might look like this season, but considering that the promotional materials have all implied that Demetrios Troy’s Lazarus will be featured as a major part of Season 4 (the season’s tagline, “Rise,” is by no means accidental), we can only assume that his resurrection story will play a major role.

Additionally, the trailers highlight Jesus’ title as the “Man of Sorrows,” and from the get-go, the show doesn’t even think to pull its punches. Nonetheless, Roumie’s Jesus continues to delight whenever he’s on-screen, even when he’s aggressively calling out the religious leaders in the streets.

the chosen season 4 review

There are obvious challenges when it comes to bringing the Bible to life. While The Chosen has never claimed to be a one-for-one adaptation (the very first episode expressly states otherwise), it does take some creative liberties with the lives of Jesus and his followers that many might deem questionable.

These adjustments continue into Season 4 and are by far the show’s weakest link, despite being framed narratively as the strongest. While it’s true that The Chosen is at its best when it centers on the relationships between Jesus’ ragtag group of followers, focusing too much on their personal lives also proves a detriment and distracts from the larger narrative.

Balancing Drama and Authenticity

We see this most obviously in this batch of episodes through the life of Thomas (Joey Vahedi), one of the show’s more embellished disciples, particularly regarding his love story with Ramah (Yasmine Al-Bustami).

While these moments are often done dramatically well and can prove either enduring or comedic at times, they take the emphasis off vital and dramatic plot points in the larger narrative in an attempt to elevate this subplot to a higher level of importance. In this case, the significant fallout from the season opener is strangely brushed over, instead opting to put Jesus in a tricky position as the show’s creators wrestle with the age-old question: what would Jesus do? Their answers are questionable.

the chosen season 4 review

Maybe this is why there has never been a long-running series about Jesus Christ as there has been about other historical figures. Maybe the pressure of bringing such a powerful and important story to the screen is too much for most to handle.

Maybe adding too much to the story of Christ muddies the water too much so that it can’t be properly turned into wine. In any case, these creative liberties don’t fully weigh The Chosen Season 4 down. There’s still plenty that works with this show, which is another testament to the progressing nature of faith-based entertainment.

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