HBO

Young Pope, Episode 2: The Stunted Pope

Please remember that this pope is still very young for a pope

The essential purpose of The Young Pope's second episode is for Paolo Sorrentino to be like, "You guys ... please ... calm down about this 'young pope' shit. I am tired of it. The real thing is that this pope is EMOTIONALLY young." This pope is trapped in his traumatic childhood (which, OK, kinda, he was raised by hip nuns, which doesn't really seem that bad?). This pope does not fuck with emotional growth. This pope is stunted. This pope is Peter Pan, crossed with Hook, in the body of a (hot) alligator.

That's all well and good. But we must remember that this pope is still young for a pope and, of course, fuckin' hot, and how are we to grapple with all of these truths at once, except to continually remind ourselves that we are watching

The episode begins with a nun (unclear; she is nude but has nun-like qualities) getting railed by a cardinal (?).

She seems disinterested in the sex and very interested in the Jesus on her ceiling. Jesus was also a famously hot Young Religious Guru, so I get it. The couple (?) engages in a brief intellectual debate over whether sex is fun (the man) or for procreation (the woman). Groundbreaking gender dynamics at play here.

The men of the Vatican are beginning their days as follows: washing their hands in a toilet. Wearing a potato sack as a nightgown. Getting shots in the tush. Getting sprinkled on while praying (a metaphor). Eating toast like a serial killer might. Getting their capes fixed. Inhaling oxygen through a mask while smoking. The contradiction!!!!!!!!!

On the other hand, the women of the Vatican are engaging in a healthy game of soccer. I know. Nuns ... but playing sports? Please try to hold these opposing images in your mind without dying.

A chunky young redhead is flashing back to meeting Diane Keaton, who says it's cool for him to call her "Ma," even though she did not extend that same privilege to the Yung Pope. Cold, Diane Keaton. This little alabaster pudge's name is Andrew, and in the present day, Ma lies to him about being hot. Only the Yung Pope can be hot, Ma. Andrew is a cardinal who grew up alongside the Yung Pope, and he's not thrilled about the Yung Pope's ascension to power. Diane Keaton's lines convey a more positive sentiment, but her face conveys utter disengagement from this entire project.

The Vatican's marketing director, Sofia, a French woman who speaks English as if she is spitting out poisoned cherry pits, is arguing with Voiello. She wants to sell napkins with the Yung Pope's face on them. The problem with the napkins is that this whole plotline is extremely boring; if somebody could bring a Young Pope–branded napkin and place it gently over my mouth that would be fine. Also, the pope hates napkins, so this will never work. Sofia! You should have known! Who in their right minds would dare discuss napkin marketing with ...

Sofia is staring at the Yung Pope's face, which is closed for business because he is praying (to hot Jesus). Sofia is the latest to realize that this pope is, in fact, young and fuckin' hot. "Please forgive me, but you are fuckin' hot," she says dreamily. The Yung Pope responds by shitting all over Harvard, her alma mater, and telling her a gross story about feet. Sofia tries to explain to the Yung Pope why he needs to put his face on napkins. "The faithful just love them!" she warbles. "Mr. Napkin Head, from The Holiday, remember???" The Yung Pope seems into the idea, which is suspicious because his whole entire thing is just being a dick for no reason.

Within moments, of course, he is a dick for no reason. Mr. Napkin Head leaves the room in order to find a white plate to use as a prop. "Only Christ exists!!!!" he yells, shaking the plate in his hands but not smashing it, this is not that kind of show, this is a prestige show. "I am worth nothing!!!!!!!!" This scene has now been going on for more than five minutes, and in order to keep us from nodding off into our own blank plates, a spooky EDM-y score begins to play beneath the dialogue, and Diane Keaton marches around the pope castle looking serious. Federico (I think this is Federico; everybody is a man and everybody is dressed the same on this show, help) drags his hand along the wall to convey that he, too, is serious. "I have been training my whole life ... to be an invisible pope," says the Yung Pope.

By the way, this scene is literally 10 minutes of straight dialogue. The pope begins to list pop-cultural totems in order to prove that he is young. "Banksy. Salinger. Kubrick. Daft Punk. Jennifer Hudson. Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer Grey. Jennifer Aniston. Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer Garner. Olivia Pope from Scandal. Pope. Me. The Young Pope." The Yung Pope is disgusted that Sofia does not know anything about EDM, being a Harvard grad and all. He explains that, just like Daft Punk and Kubrick and Olivia Pope, he will be unknowable to the world and therefore extremely cool. Voiello says, "But you are not an artist. You are the head of a thing." (He might actually have said "state," but can we just let me have this?) But oh, my aching brain, it cannot parse this pope! A pope ... who listens to Daft Punk ... and criticizes the Ivy League? A pope ... who has a year-round tan but does not want anyone to see it? This can only be ...

Now the Yung Pope is walking around his pope basement taking stock of his empire, i.e., a basket full of lighters and a pile of letters from kids without Netflix. Meanwhile, upstairs, Voiello and Probably Federico are playing pool while conveniently summarizing the Yung Pope's entire career. Basically, the Yung Pope snatched the pope crown from his mentor, James Cromwell, by being unassuming and quiet and having zero sexuality to speak of (again, very confusing waste of a tan) until the very moment of the pope crown–snatching. It's still unclear why the conclave picked him, but it's probably because they, like Diane Keaton, were convinced of his sainthood (and because he's young and fucki— you guys know).

Speaking of which, back in the pope basement, the Yung Pope is now coaxing a kangaroo out of its cage. Everyone seems mystified. But, like, how hard can it really be to get a kangaroo out of a cage? It's a cage!

Diane Keaton is following Voiello everywhere, including the gardens, where the kangaroo has been released. Yes, you are still watching The Young Pope. Voiello is worried about the Yung Pope, because he hasn't given a homily yet, and because he is a Daft Punk fan. "The Yung Pope is a saint," says Diane Keaton, giving perhaps the worst line read of her life. I'm so sorry, Diane — I love you. Nancy Meyers and I are going to save you somehow. "At any rate," says Diane Keaton, "we will tackle your concerns one by one." "Oh, do we have two popes now?" says Voiello. WOW. Does anybody have any kangaroo-shaped ice for that burn????? "At any rate, here is the address," adds Voiello. Do people really say "at any rate" this much in Italy? Or is it just a Vatican thing? Or just a Sorrentino thing? Please advise.

The Yung Pope and Diane Keaton are eating dinner. Diane Keaton is like, "So how about that kangaroo, huh?" The Yung Pope says, "Stop it. I do not want to discuss kangaroos."

Meanwhile, across town, Voiello is getting stressed out by a sculpture of a lion that is behind bars. Do you ... understand?

Diane Keaton is following him, doing that classic espionage thing where you just stand totally still right next to the person and hope the person doesn't see you. It works!

She smokes a cig and walks up a parking structure while she watches him. A woman in a sexy dress follows him into an apartment building. The implication is that Voiello has a secret fuck life. But no! The woman in the sexy dress is just a red herring. Voiello's true purpose: talking sweetly to a kid in a wheelchair. Expectations = subverted. Though, on second thought, why would the secretary of state be fucking a woman when he could be sitting patiently with a disabled child? What is wrong with us, the viewers, who assumed he was fucking a woman?? Are we sick? Are our souls beyond repair? Or are we merely watching ...

No, Diane Keaton is reading Voiello's address in her apartment. "God is love" is the basic premise of this address. The only thing is that the Yung Pope hates love. This is made abundantly clear in his meeting with the prefect of the congregation for the clergy. The POTCFTC admits that he did not vote for the Yung Pope because he is a conservative and because that guy is young, gawd, so young. "At any rate, holy father, please don't take this as a criticism," the POTCFTC says. THERE IT IS AGAIN. Why can we have any rate? What if we just pick a rate and stick to that rate?

The Yung Pope asks the POTCFTC if he's "a homosexual." The POTCFTC removes his glasses, puts them back on, and says that he is. The Yung Pope pushes the secret "get the fuck out" button under his desk and a nun appears immediately, telling him that it's time for his snack. The Yung Pope is rightfully embarrassed by this verbiage; the correct term is always "Dunkaroos." The two men in dresses and ornate jewelry bow to one another, one of them kisses the other's hand, and the hand-kissee flounces off, enraged about gayness.

The Yung Pope is talking to Tomasso, whose hairs are not hurting him today, I hope. Tomasso is like, "Everybody is talking shit and saying Diane Keaton is acting like the pope." "That is a lie," says the Yung Pope. "I am the pope." No, my man. You are

The Yung Pope inexplicably kicks the guy who looks like Italian Santa out of his office and gives his job — overseeing the Pope Museum — to Cardinal Aguirre. The Yung Pope, clearly still wrestling with what the fuck to say to the entire world, proceeds to ask a bunch of people why the hell they joined the church. Aguirre says, "Because life is so short, I opted for eternity!" Monsignor Gutierrez is like, "When I was 16, those cool-ass windows convinced me to do it." I get it, the windows are lovely.

Practicing his speech before the mirror, the Yung Pope screams, "What have we forgotten? We have forgotten — " over and over and over again with different intonations. We are getting a brief and rare glimpse into Jude Law's acting process here. Just imagine, if you will, all of the different ways Jude could have said "Mr. Napkin Head" in The Holiday. "MISTER Napkin Head." "Mister NAPKIN Head." "MISTER NAPKIN HEAD IS MY FATHER, CALL ME NAPKIN HEAD."

The Yung Pope is rude to Diane Keaton. She responds by playing basketball. What?! Nuns love sport. Do you have a PROBLEM with that? Wow. I think this says more about you than you'd like to admit. I think you have to acknowledge that this show has really tested your perceptions and challenged your norms.

She tells Voiello that she loved his speech, partly because she's never "really lived." To address that problem, she decides to eat in her apartment alone and then have a strained conversation with the Yung Pope. I think that's what Matthew McConaughey meant when he said "L-I-V-I-N" that one time in that movie. The Yung Pope thinks Voiello's speech is "rather weak," says he'll give his homily tomorrow night, and demands that Diane Keaton call him "Your Holiness." More like your holey-ness! Because he has holes in his heart. You get it. OK.

Later that night, the Yung Pope is chatting with his mentor James Cromwell, who was supposed to be pope, oops. Maybe he was too not-young. The Yung Pope is like, "You taught me everything, thanks!" James Cromwell is like, "Literally fuck you, you ruined my life." What's more important here is that James Cromwell is wearing a cute robe and eating and spitting out grapes with seeds. Eating grapes with seeds in a bathrobe is a ballsy move, one that requires great oral coordination and confidence in one's ability to avoid beginning to choke to death and having to run into the streets in one's bathrobe.

James Cromwell tells the Yung Pope he will never be nice to him, that he doesn't know how to love, that he should resign so the conclave will elect James Cromwell pope, and that it would be nuts (not grapes) for him to take over the POTCFTC. "What do you take me for, a kangaroo?" says James Cromwell. "You're the pope now, and you're all alone, just as you've always been." Somebody get my rap airhorn!!!!

Diane Keaton saves the entire episode and perhaps the world when she opens the door wearing the following garment:

The Yung Pope gets his Harry Potter on. "Tell me about my parents!!!!!" he demands. Diane Keaton explains that the Yung Pope's parents dropped him off on her stoop and went to Venice. (California? Italy?) The Yung Pope says he doesn't see God because he doesn't see his parents, which, oy, come on, you were raised by a nun in an "I'M A VIRGIN BUT THIS IS AN OLD SHIRT" shirt, Lenny! What a dream! "No one loves me," says the Yung Pope. Diane Keaton slaps him, then makes a subtle ginger joke about the other, less-hot orphan being a "paler" reflection of Christ. I like this show now.

Daytime on the day of the homily. The Yung Pope is reading Voiello's address out loud in preparation for this evening. Great! This speech will be fine. Nothing to see here. No Yung Popery, no siree Bob. Meanwhile, all of the Italians in the world are on a field trip to the Vatican. I hate field trips, so this scene is giving me heartburn. The nun (?) from earlier is getting ready as well. She may not be a nun, now that I'm thinking about it.

Nighttime, suddenly. The Yung Pope is preparing for his homily by shutting down completely.

Everyone is concerned that the pope is going to Yung Pope right off. There's Sofia, still dreaming fretfully of what might've been re: Mr. Napkin Head merch. There's Gutierrez, thinking about his window. Outside, though, everyone is losing their fuckin' shit. They are so excited for the premiere of The Young Pope, because everybody's been talking about him for so long, and making fun jokes about him on Twitter, and wondering what he might be like, and it's like, how could The Young Pope possibly be bad or boring or self-indulgent or written stiltedly or a waste of Jude Law's tan? Right?!

The Yung Pope finally stands, bedecked in lace, and walks to the balcony. He clears his tan throat and begins. "What have we forgotten?" he shrieks. "We have forgotten God!!!! You have forgotten God! I want to be very clear with you. You have to be closer to God than to each other. I am closer to God than I am to you. God is peanut butter, and I am jelly, and you are Tostitos salsa. God is a Dunkaroo, and I am the frosting for the Dunkaroo, and you are the snack. God is Angelina, I am Maddox, and you are Brad. God is Bert, I am Ernie, and you are the Muppet that got fired."

All the cardinals are looking at each other like, "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat, lol." The crowd, horrified, is silent. James Cromwell calmly sips tomato juice.

"God exists, and he isn't interested in us until we become interested in him exclusively. Twenty-four hours a day, your heart and mind is filled only with God. There's no room for free will, no room for liberty, no room for emancipation, no room for Dunkaroos (except for me, I have room), no room for kangaroos, no roos of any kind, do you understand?"

A young cute man, who could be a Yung Pope if he weren't such a degenerate overalls-wearer, screams, "We want to look you in the face!"

"You want to look me in my extremely tan face?!?!" roars the Yung Pope. "No way, my face is too ... fuckin' ... hot!!!!" Somebody in the crowd laser-points him, and this really chaps his tush. "I don't know if you deserve me," he says, storming back into his pope castle.

It begins to rain. Everybody is fucked right on up. Voiello holds his son and begs for forgiveness for the things he's going to have to do to save America from the Trump administration before it's too late.

Let us all be gentle to this misguided laser-pointer wielder. The laser-pointer wielder must be forgiven for his mistake. We can all agree on one thing, to be sure: There is nothing younger, nothing fuckin' hotter, than a laser pointer. This was an attempt at connection. This was the laser-pointer wielder's way of reaching out, of saying, "I, too, am a Yung Lover of Christ. I, too, know my Daft Punk from my Charlie XCX." But the laser-pointer wielder forgot something. He forgot that this was not a mere run-of-the-mill pope who happens to be quite youthful for his position. He forgot that this was