Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 1, Episodes 5-8)

Image result for the chosen Christian series jesus

The Chosen has certainly already been a transformational series, and it’s barely gotten off the ground. It has grassroots appeal and will likely grow into a larger and larger movement as time goes on. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we’ve seen through episode eight of the first season.

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Simon, Andrew, Eden, and Dasha

In the second half of Season 1, we saw Simon and his family taking more center-stage than they previously were. Simon consistently tried to assert himself as a protector of Jesus and a leader of the other disciples, including trying to be gatekeeper for who could and could not have access to his Rabbi. At the same time, Simon tried to hide the illness of Dasha, his mother-in-law, from Jesus. However, despite her mother’s sickness, Eden was glad for the turn of events in her husband’s life and formed a special connection with Jesus. Simon and Eden appear to have rekindled their romance with each other. Andrew continued to play a background role for his brother, his sister-in-law, and his new teacher; he wanted to protect Jesus as much as Simon did, but Andrew showed he was a faster learner than his brother was. In the end, Jesus healed Dasha’s malady, and Simon was forced to accept new things that were previously foreign to his culture, such as interacting with tax collectors and Samaritans.

Thus far, Simon, Andrew, Eden, and Dasha have either directly or indirectly crossed paths with Jesus and with all of the other current disciples and their families, with the exception of Matthew’s family. Simon and Andrew have additionally interacted with Jesus’ mother Mary and some of her close friends. Thus far, Eden and Dasha have only been seen in Galilee while the brothers have been seen there as well as Samaria.

Matthew, Gauis, Quintus, and Matthew’s parents

Matthew’s storyline and his related characters, including his parents, Gaius, and Quintus, have also been given more focus than before. Throughout the latter four episodes of Season 1, Matthew was consistently distracted and confused by the fish miracle he witnessed at the end of Episode 4, which was something that defied reality and could not be explained by his logical way of thinking. Thus, this drove him to seek answers from anyone who would listen; when his superiors passed it off as a trick, Matthew tried to get closer to Jesus and His disciples but had difficulty doing so. However, after witnessing the miracle of the walking paralytic and not receiving answers from a visit to his mother, Matthew made his decision and followed Jesus when the Messiah passed by his tax collector’s booth. The new disciple left his affluent lifestyle behind and began chronicling what he saw. Gaius, his former bodyguard, was stunned at this decision because he had developed an attachment to Matthew and had previously been awarded a military promotion due to the tax collector’s work. Gaius relayed Matthew’s desertion to his superior, Quintus; Gaius also took Matthew’s dog to Matthew’s parents since the former tax collector had asked that he take the pet there to protect his parents’ business from thieves. Upon hearing of Matthew’s resignation, Quintus became angry and made it his goal to find Jesus, especially since Quintus was already frustrated about Jesus drawing a crowd at Zebedee’s and Salome’s house, which disrupted the arrival of an important Roman official who was Quintus’ childhood rival. Before this, Quintus had assigned Nicodemus to meet with Jesus to find out His angle.

At this point, Matthew has encountered Jesus and all the current disciples besides interacting with his parents, Gaius, and Quintus. Gaius has also crossed paths with Matthew, Matthew’s parents, Quintus, and Jesus for a brief moment. Quintus has had contact with Matthew, Gaius, Nicodemus, and Zohora. Gaius and Quintus have only been seen around Galilee while Matthew has been in both Galilee and Samaria.

Nicodemus, Zohora, Shmuel, and Yussif

Nicodemus’ and Zohora’s subplot remained relatively stable throughout the second half of Season 1. Zohora consistently wanted to return home to Jerusalem in order to once again live their affluent lifestyle and to meet their new grandchild. However, Nicodemus was intent on remaining in Galilee until he had solved the mystery of Mary Magdalene’s transformation. In pursuit of this goal, he interviewed John the Baptizer and went to the areas around Zebedee’s and Salome’s house just in time to see Mary Magdalene and to witness the healing of the paralytic. This led to Nicodemus begging Mary for an audience with her Rabbi. Mary agreed to ask Jesus, and later, Quintus demanded that Nicodemus seek a meeting with the mysterious teacher. Jesus agreed to the rendezvous and gave Nicodemus earth-shattering teaching about being born again and about saving the world from sin rather than from Rome. Nicodemus appeared to be converted to Jesus’ cause, and the Rabbi told Nicodemus to follow Him by meeting Him at a designated well before they departed on their journey. However, as Nicodemus gave it some thought and as Zohora convinced him, the esteemed Pharisee decided against publicly aligning himself with the controversial teacher and instead provided money for their expedition. Elsewhere, Shmuel played a much larger role in the second half of this inaugural season as he developed a very legalistic stance on the enforcement of Jewish law in response to his mentor’s (Nicodemus) possible openness to seemingly new ideas espoused by Jesus. As the season progressed, Shmuel became a more extreme character who may play a larger role in future seasons, especially since he has already directly interacted with Jesus at the healing of the paralytic. After using Old Testament passages to argue that John the Baptizer and Jesus were advocating heresy, Shmuel informed Nicodemus that he intended to make his mark on Pharisaical history by specializing in studying false prophecy, possibly in Jerusalem. Further, Yussif continued to be a minor character throughout this season as he remained in the background during major events like the healing of the paralytic. His most major contribution was discovering that Jesus was having a dinner party at Matthew’s house.

Up to this point, Nicodemus has only interacted with Quintus, Shmuel, Yussif, John the Baptizer, Mary Magdalene, Andrew, and Jesus. Zohora has only had contact with Quintus and her husband. Shmuel has been seen with Nicodemus, Yussif, and Jesus. Yussif has interacted with Nicodemus, Shmuel, and Jesus. All of these characters have only been seen around Galilee up to this point.

James, John, Zebedee, and Salome

The second half of Season 1 also saw the expansion of focus on the Zebedee clan. James and John became more main characters, and the audience saw a new side of Zebedee, along with the introduction of his wife, Salome. James and John went with Jesus and the other disciples to the Cana wedding, where they witnessed Jesus’ first public miracle. Then, they returned to their own home to watch the miracle of the paralytic unfold before them. Later, John accompanied Andrew to protect Jesus while their Rabbi met with Nicodemus under the cover of darkness. Further, James and John accompanied Jesus and the other disciples on the journey to Samaria, where they witnessed the Lord’s interaction with Fortina at the well. Zebedee and Salome only interacted with Jesus and His disciples in their own home prior to seeing the paralyzed man healed after he was let down through their roof. Zebedee appears to have mended his relationship with Simon, which was previously tenuous after Simon’s underhanded plans. Also, Salome has already developed a special attachment to Jesus.

Zebedee, Salome, James, and John have interconnected with Jesus and all His current disciples. Zebedee and Salome have only been seen in Galilee while their sons have been seen in both Galilee and Samaria.

Mary Magdalene, Thaddeus, and James son of Alphaeus

After being set free by Jesus, Mary Magdalene became a slightly secondary character as she began following the Messiah along with two other secondary characters, Thaddeus and James son of Alphaeus (“Young James”). They all attended the wedding at Cana, where Mary revealed a little bit about her past while Thaddeus disclosed that he had met Jesus while working on a construction project. In a private conversation, Thaddeus told Mary that he became a stonemason even though his father was a smith because Thaddeus liked the fact that chiseling stone was more final and once the first cut was made, the block would never be the same. Also, it was suggested that Mary and Thaddeus might be forming a closer relationship with each other. Later, Young James disclosed to Simon that he was originally going to sing in a temple choir before Jesus called him.

Thus far, Mary’s, Thaddeus’, and Young James’ storylines have all intersected with Jesus and with the other disciples. Mary has had personal contact with Nicodemus. Mary, Thaddeus, and Young James have all been seen in both Galilee and Samaria.

Thomas and Ramah

Thomas and Ramah were hired by Raphi and Dinah to oversee the preparation and distribution of food and wine at the Cana wedding. It seems to be implied that Thomas and Ramah are a couple and are running a business together. Once they arrived at the wedding, they discovered that there were far more guests than they had planned for and were soon running out of food and wine to keep everyone supplied. Thomas was extremely distraught at the situation since it would make him look bad. After dilution of the wine was a failed venture, Jesus’ mother Mary alerted the Messiah to the plight, and He came to the aid of Thomas and Ramah. Jesus told Thomas to follow him so that He could show Thomas a new way to count and a new way to view time. Jesus wanted Thomas to meet Him in Samaria in twelve days. Thomas was very skeptical until he saw the result of Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine. Thomas did not think Jesus’ directions would work, but Ramah was more than willing to supply the water for the miracle. When it was all over, Thomas told Ramah that he didn’t know what to think about Jesus’ offer, but Ramah told Thomas to not think for once.

Thomas and Ramah have only been seen in Galilee and have only directly interacted with Jesus, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary’s friends.

Mary the mother of Jesus and her friends

Raphi and Dinah were implied to be longtime friends of Mary the mother of Jesus, which is why Mary agreed to assist them with their son’s wedding in Cana. Mary had been previously introduced in the the Christmas pilot episode, and a flashback at the beginning of the Season 1’s second half revealed a special connection Mary had with her Son. After inviting Jesus and His disciples to be her guests at the Cana wedding, Mary asked her Son to prevent her friends’ embarrassment after the wine ran out.

Thus far, Mary and her friends have only been seen in Galilee, and they have only been seen with Jesus, Jesus’ current disciples, and Thomas and Rama.

Other Characters and Notes

Blind man in the Red Quarter: Although we never saw the blind man from the Red Quarter in the second half of Season 1, but he may still appear again when Jesus and His disciples return to the area in later seasons.

Barnaby, Shula, Rivkah, and Mary Magdalene’s other friends: Barnaby, Shula, and Rivkah had very small parts in Season 1’s latter half as they asked Jesus questions while He was at Zebedee’s and Salome’s house and appeared at Matthew’s dinner party. Abigail’s parents also brought questions to the Rabbi. They will likely all return for more seasons, with Shula and Rivka possibly playing larger roles in the future.

Fortina, Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well: Fortina was introduced right at the end of Season 1 as Jesus and His disciples came to her Samaritan village. Jesus revealed to her that He was the Messiah, which prompted her to go tell others even though she was a social outcast due to living with a man who was not her husband and due to having multiple marriages and relationships throughout her life. It’s implied that her story is not over yet, so she may be seen again in Season 2.

Abigail and friends: Abigail and her friend Jeshua were seen outside of Zebedee’s and Salome’s home when they offered Matthew a front row seat to witnessing the miracle of the paralytic. It’s likely that they will return in future seasons.

Tamar of Heliopolis and her friends: Tamar witnessed Jesus healing the leper, which prompted her to bring her paralyzed friend to Him at Zebedee’s and Salome’s house. She and her friends fought to get to the Teacher and let him down through the roof so that Jesus could heal the paralytic. Jesus commended her for her faith and her perseverance. It’s highly possible that some people from this group of friends will be seen in other seasons.

Old Testament flashbacks: One of the arguably best elements of Season 1’s second half was the use of Old Testament flashbacks to enhance storytelling. Thus far, the viewers have been shown Moses and Joshua as Moses fashioned the bronze serpent on the pole and Jacob and some of his sons as they dug what was later known as Jacob’s Well. It’s highly likely that this Old Testament flashback trend will continue in all seasons of The Chosen.

Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 1, Mid-Season Update)

Image result for the chosen Christian series jesus

The Chosen has certainly been a transformative series already, and it’s barely gotten off the ground. It has grassroots appeal and will likely grow into a larger and larger movement as time goes on. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we’ve seen through episode four of the first season.

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Mary Magdalene

The series started off with a bang as Mary’s demonic bondage was explored from multiple angles while at the same time providing key flashbacks to her character’s core motivations. Her father taught her Isaiah 43:1, which she clung to during her darkest hours. After neglecting suicide to follow a bird to her only friend’s (Sol) eating establishment, Mary encountered the Messiah, Who quoted her favorite Scripture to her before setting her free. She then set her mind to helping her friend at the hairdresser shop and re-adapting Jewish customs in her new life, including preparing Shabbat for local outcasts. It was there that she encountered Jesus again and first learned His Name.

Thus far, Mary’s storyline has intersected with Jesus and Nicodemus. She has primarily been in Capernaum.

Nicodemus

Nicodemus’ opening scene–the journey to Capernaum with his wife Zohara–was interrupted by Quintus, a recurring magistrate character, who wanted the rabbi to assist the Roman Empire’s effort to stop fishermen who worked on Shabbat in order to avoid Roman taxes. Nicodemus is a very staunch interpreter of the Torah, which is why another Roman official asked him to cast demons out of Mary Magdalene, who was causing havoc in the Red Quarter, where she worked as a prostitute. Nicodemus reluctantly went, but his exorcism was unsuccessful. Nonetheless, Yussif, a local Pharisee, later informed Nicodemus that he witnessed Mary in her right mind, so Nicodemus paid her visit again to see for himself. He learned her true name and discovered that his work had nothing to do with her freedom. Mary told him of Jesus’ words to her, which prompted Nicodemus to wonder if his work as a rabbi was even honoring God anymore. After receiving word from the priests and rabbis of Capernaum that the radical preacher called John the Baptizer was speaking against the Pharisees and had been imprisoned by Herod, Nicodemus determined to ask the crazy man questions about the miracles he had heard about.

Up to this point, Nicodemus’ subplot has crossed over with Mary alone. He has primarily been seen in Capernaum.

Matthew

As an outcast Jewish tax collector, Matthew’s closest human companion is his Roman bodyguard Gaius; he also has a stray dog for company. Matthew was shunned by his family for supporting the Roman enemy, but he appears to be nonplussed by this. He is a very conscientious accountant who challenged Quintus’ scheme to relieve Simon’s family’s taxes in exchange for his turning in fishermen who worked on Shabbat to avoid taxes. Gaius advised against Matthew’s resistance to Quintus, but Matthew ignored the social cues and faced the powerful official anyway. Quintus was impressed by his courage and ordered Matthew to follow Simon to see if the fisherman was going back on his word. As Matthew spied on Simon, he was able to witness Jesus’ massive fish miracle from afar.

At this point, Matthew has also encountered Simon and Andrew; he has seen Jesus work from a distance. Matthew’s work has primarily been in Galilee so far.

Simon, Andrew, and Eden

Simon made a deal with Roman magistrate Quintus to turn in any Jewish fishermen who fished or Shabbat to avoid paying Roman taxes in exchange for his family’s taxes being cancelled, but Simon’s brother Andrew disagreed with this plan. Simon hid his secret source of income and covert tax evasion from his wife, Eden, but she was suspicious of his unusual work hours, including his work on Shabbat. Andrew has been continually trying to keep his brother from getting into trouble with his in-laws and from using schemes to get ahead in life. However, when he was assisting the Romans one night with patrolling for Shabbat fishers, Simon changed his mind when he saw remnants of Zebedee’s work since he and his sons were friends. Later, Simon confessed to Zebedee, James, and John what he had done and begged for their help to pay off his tax debts, but they refused. In midst of the turmoil, Simon had to tell Eden what was going on after her ill mother had unexpectedly moved in with them. Eden and Simon both agreed they needed a miracle to settle their financial situation, so he set out to fish all night. Eden asked Zebedee and his sons to help, so they brought Andrew as well to assist the colorful Simon with his bind. However, after catching nothing all night, the fishermen encountered Jesus on the shore, whom Andrew had already told Simon about. Jesus used Simon’s boat to briefly teach before telling people to put out the nets one more time. This led to the miraculous catch of fish, which gave enough revenue to settle the debts. Jesus promptly called Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him from there on out.

Simon and Andrew have interacted with Matthew, Zebedee, James, John, and Jesus. Eden and the brothers have only been seen in Galilee thus far.

Abigail and friends

Abigail is a young, assertive girl who accidentally discovered Jesus’ makeshift carpentry shop in a clearing of the woods near her house. During the events of the first two episodes, Abigail took her friends to see Jesus each day, and He taught them rudimentary wood-working skills and reinforced His lessons for their lives. He shared with them some of His future teachings before letting them know it was time for His work to begin.

Abigail and her friends have only crossed paths with Jesus in the outskirts of Capernaum.

James, John, and Zebedee

Zebedee and his sons James and John are fellow fishermen with Simon and Andrew who heard of the Roman scheme to arrest fishermen who worked on Shabbat to avoid tax laws when Simon confessed to his part in it. At first, they refused to help Simon, but at the pleadings of Eden, they decided to help Simon bail out his debts. In doing so, they witnessed Jesus’ miracle of the massive catch of fish, after which James and John were called to be His disciples.

Zebedee, James, and John have interconnected with Simon, Andrew, and Jesus and have only been seen in Galilee.

Other Characters and Notes

Blind man in Red Quarter: In the first two episodes, we saw other characters run into a blind man in the Red Quarter who is waiting for the Messiah to pass by, so we are likely to see this previewed storyline in a later episode.

Quintus: Quintus has been a recurring character who’s crossed paths with Nicodemus and Matthew already, so it’s possible we will see a larger role from him as the series progresses.

Gaius: Matthew’s bodyguard has the same name as the recipient of 3 John, so we may continue to see his character developed as more seasons are released.

Shmuel and Yussif: These two Capernaum priests have thus far been in the background of Nicodemus’ main storyline, but it’s possible that we will continue to see more of them as their subplots break off from Nicodemus’ to play the roles of future Pharisee characters who challenge Jesus.

How to Spot an Amish Fiction Novel

Oh, where to begin. Ok, for starters, there are steps that you want to take when perusing the shelves of a Christian bookstore for the perfect Amish fiction title. Before you start looking, you’ll want to narrow down your options. There’s plenty to choose from, so let’s dive right in!

Disclaimer: The books displayed below may or may not actually feature these satirical storylines. But they’re close enough.;)

Paperback The Hidden Life Book
The Amish Woman has a secret life plot

Ah, the original point of interest for Amish fiction writers. First off, what you want to look for is an cover displaying a generic-looking woman staring wistfully into the distance while holding a quilt, doily, dishtowel, or other inanimate object. Next, you should flip the book over and look for something along these lines: On the outside, Mary Beth is the perfect Amish girl. She goes to meeting, sews her own clothes, and churns butter once a week. What her friends don’t know is that she lives a very different life from the one they can see…..To be sure and certain, open the book to a random page and see if the main character is having an awkward conversation with someone who she thinks knows her secret. Even better, see if someone from her ‘secret life’ shows up in the Amish community and she has to awkwardly claim that they are someone they’re not. Just for grins, flip to the final chapters and see if she has either been shunned, converted to an Englisher life, or rejected her wild fantasies of living in the real world and accepted her fate as a good little housewife.

His Amish Baby: Amish Love (Amish Christian Romance Book 1) by [Bayarr, Samantha]
The out of wedlock pregnancy ending in heroic romance plot

This one is a real doozy. First, you want to look for an eye-catching cover, like a pregnant woman in a field of flowers, holding/wearing flowers, and staring at her stomach. Hey look! There’s one right up there! Then you’ll want to flip the book over and scan the plot description, it should say something like: Will her secret be found out? Will her circumstances cause her and her true love to be shunned? To be sure, open the book to the middle. Something like this should be happening: the hero and heroine stand face to face as the moonlight/sunlight shines down on her flowing hair and his muscular physique. They lean forward for their first kiss….and…her water breaks! If this doesn’t convince you that this plot is the real deal, flip to the final chapters and see if the hero delivers the woman’s child outside in the rain, in the backseat of his buggy, or in the middle of an Amish church service. The hero may also be fighting with the heroine’s relatives in the hospital room/waiting room, in a fistfight with the child’s father, or passed out on the floor. The novel gets bonus points if the hero is an EMT/firefighter/policeman/conservation officer/doctor/nurse/midwife/nurse practitioner, or if the heroine almost dies in labor/has premature labor at least twice/is kidnapped by her evil former love/has a final showdown with her sadistic parents that causes her to go into labor.

An Amish Homecoming: Four Stories by [Clipston, Amy, Wiseman, Beth, Gray, Shelley Shepard, Fuller, Kathleen]
The wayward/widowed daughter finally comes home and finds love again/finally plot

I see you, oh commonplace work of Amish fiction. This plot is considered standard for Amish fiction. First, you’ll want to look for a generic book cover that doesn’t stand out. Like a woman in all black with her face cut out of the picture standing in the forefront, with an Amish buggy creeping up on her that is probably driven by her eventual love interest. Oh look! I see one right up there! Next, you know the drill! Flip it over and check out the back cover. You should see something like: Susan just lost the man of her dreams. In pursuit of a better life for her son/daughter, she has reluctantly taken up her parents’ offer to return home. While there, Susan will learn that the heart can learn to love again. You know what’s up, now open the book and see if the protagonist if having a remember-when conversation with someone she knows from childhood upon returning to her hometown. Additionally, she could be weakly resisting the charms of her love interest, rebuking her matchmaking child, or helping her mother bake bread while enduring a lecture on why she never should have married her late husband. Just FYI, the actual advertisement for the above novel says: ” Experience what it means to love without modern distraction” What does this even mean!?!?

The Christmas Remedy: An Amish Christmas Romance by [Woodsmall, Cindy, Woodsmall, Erin]
The mystery ending in romance set in an Amish community at Christmastime plot

At last we reach Christmas with the Amish. If the front cover doesn’t feature an Amish buggy in the snow, an Amish couple holding hands and laughing under the mistletoe, an old Amish woman in a rocking chair looking out a window while sewing a kapp, or a muscular Amish man chopping wood by a holly bush, don’t waste your time. You know you have the right book if the back cover says something like: Christmas has come to Ella’s small Amish community, but she just isn’t into it this year. All she can think about is how her father died on Christmas Eve last year under mysterious circumstances while climbing into the hayloft, and how she can keep avoiding that cute Amish boy next door who wants to marry her. That cute Amish boy and her will have to work together to uncover the truth in the circumstances surrounding her father’s death. To be sure, you can flip to the middle of the book and see if she and that boy are being held captive by her father’s killers, only to be rescued by a handsome Englischer – who ultimately creates a love triangle. Who will she choose!?!?!?

A Seat by the Hearth (An Amish Homestead Novel Book 3) by [Clipston, Amy]
The on-again off-again shunning plot.
I’m shunned. Now I’m not! Maybe now I am. Am I?

As we reach the end of this post, what better way to come to a conclusion but with the most common of plots among Amish fiction? This is the one that made it all happen. Keep in mind that there are many variations on the same idea that all come down to the same conclusion, so don’t get confused! First you want to look for generic and uninspiring cover art, the novel pictured above is a perfect example. I like to call the art displayed above Confusion in the Midst of Order. Basically you want to look for a single Amish woman in a rocking chair looking wistfully past a hearth and daydreaming about the Englischer life, an Amish woman standing with her back to the viewer watching a sunset while looking at a graven image (a secret photograph of her fully clothed true love), a young Amish woman with her kapp cast aside on the ground standing alone with her arms crossed, or a ‘rebellious’ Amish teen holding an instrument of eternal damnation – a guitar, car keys, or a bottle of hairspray. Then you want to page through the first chapters and see if the character is secretly angry all the time, arguing with her (its pretty much always a female lead) parents, or berating herself for not adhering to the religion of their heritage. To be sure though, you’ll want to look forward and see if she gives in to temptation and decides to commit the unholy trio of fictional Amish sins. 1. Take off her kapp and go out in public with hair not in a bun. 2. Hold hands with a man who is not Amish (and now for the unpardonable sin) 3. Shave her legs and wear a non floor length skirt! (shocked gasp). To be for sure and for certain, you can check the ending and see if the protagonist has either given herself fully to the ways of the world (marries an Englischer) or gone home to be a good little daughter again…until next time. At this point, you’ve read the entirety of all these books and should probably leave the bookstore before closing time! Otherwise you’ll be locked in – surrounded by Amish fiction books…..f..o..r..e..v..e..r….

Image result for you monster meme

Or you could leave and never have to read another Amish fiction book again!

For sure and for certain!;P