By Zakariya Jourane
Netflix’s Messiah stirred up quite a controversy online upon its initial announcement. Many people went back and forth about how the titular character, Al-Masih, was supposed to be the Dajjal, Islam’s false messiah. While the premise is reminiscent of that, it is more similar to a ‘What if Jesus came in modern times?’ scenario than something taking from Islamic beliefs—although there is an obvious influence from the latter. Despite the hype for this series, after its release it hasn’t received much of a buzz, especially when compared to before it’s release. Could it be because the show was bad or another reason?
It seems most people had the wrong idea of the show. Once they realized the show wasn’t some modern take on the Dajjal they lost interest. Like stated earlier, Messiah is actually a depiction of what would happen if a prophetic, miraculous figure appeared in contemporary times. To top it off, Messiah is heavily dialogue driven with the intent to be thought provoking for the audience. It begs viewers to question if Al-Masih is as he says, a prophet sent to do God’s work, or a con artist—a belief of onMessiahe of the main characters. The story is interestingly told not through the perspective of Al-Masih, but a variety of normal people from all walks of life. This is likely to portray the impact and mystique of Al-Masih since different people will react in different ways to his appearance. For example, some characters are religious while others are not. This factor will obviously influence the beliefs of said characters. The cast is comprised of believable characters who are portrayed by quality actors. For a show that is carried by its dialogue, this is important, and it delivers.
The final verdict is that Messiah is a decent show that can be slow at times, but it is a necessary sacrifice for the theme of the show—faith. Because the story is not told from the point of view of Al-Masih, the viewers are not certain of his true identity. They are left to their own thoughts. This is probably an intentional decision from the director as to allude to how prophetic figures were received during their own times. As a result, Messiah would likely not benefit from a second season that makes things more concrete. An open ended conclusion suits the show perfectly because it allows the viewers to make up their own minds just as religious followers and disbelievers do.