Messiah Recap: Running Out Of Options

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: January 1, 2020 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Messiah (Netflix) Season 1, Episode 5 recap: "So That Seeing They May Not See"


“So That Seeing They May Not See” introduces a whole host of new followers drawn to Al-Masih, though his miracles might not necessarily be what they imagined.

This recap of Messiah Season 1, Episode 5, “So That Seeing They May Not See”, contains spoilers.

Messiah Episode 5 opens with on-camera testimonies from people who have been touched, in some way, by Al-Masih (Mehdi Dehbi). Among them is Staci Hardwick (the apparently ageless Emily Kinney), whose daughter, Raeah (Nicole Scimeca), is dying of cancer. Together they arrive at the ad-hoc tent community that has been set up outside Felix’s church in Dilley, Texas, where Al-Masih himself is staying in an isolated tent, interacting with only Felix (John Ortiz) himself as his new devotees wait around for further miracles.

The tent community at the Israeli border is faring much worse in “So That Seeing They May Not See”. Jibril (Sayyid El Alami) is still badly injured, being tended to by Samir (Farès Landoulsi), while Felix takes Al-Masih butties. The difference between the circumstances of this new prophet and the followers he has left in his wake is stark. And Al-Masih can’t help but be deliberately enigmatic when Felix questions him about what actually happens next. He tells Felix to “be like the bird” he saw drinking melting frost that morning — in other words, just do what he feels he needs to.

Eva (Michelle Monaghan) is also present, smoking with Rebecca (Stefania LaVie Owen), who thinks Al-Masih’s followers “don’t have a clue”. Will (Wil Traval) reveals to Eva that he recorded their conversation, and also that Al-Masih’s speech about different subjects of worship was quoted word-for-word from the nutcase manifesto of fugitive radical Oscar Wallace, who hacked the Stock Exchange. A curious and not exactly flattering “coincidence” for the messiah.

At the border, one of the Palestinians drops dead while praying, due to dehydration, starvation, exhaustion, or some combination of the three. This causes opinion among the refugees to become split even further; should they stay or should they go? Jibril is still badly hurt but refuses to leave nonetheless, despite Samir’s insistence that Al-Masih is a charlatan.

Avrim (Tomer Sisley), meanwhile, is revealed in Messiah Episode 5 to be missing. His wife spots his car clamped outside her home and visits his superior to find out where he is. She learns that he has been suspended. But we quickly discover in “So That Seeing They May Not See” that Avrim is in Texas, buying guns with a fake ID. It really is that easy.

Anna’s (Melinda Page Hamilton) televangelist father Ed arrives, quizzing his daughter on the state of her marriage and his son-in-law on the state of his relationship with Al-Masih. He, like most of us, wouldn’t want to be the one letting all these people down if the new messiah turns out to not be what he says.

We then return, briefly, to Staci’s testimony from the top of the episode, explaining to CNN reporter Miriam Keneally (Jane Adams) why she brought her daughter here, leaving her husband Jonah (Jackson Hurst) and Raeah’s on-going chemotherapy treatments behind. A lot is at stake.

As we approach the climax of Messiah Season 1, Episode 5, we learn that Avrim is now at the church in Dilley, and see various characters gradually come to the conclusion that there is a dog buried under some of the rubble left by the tornado. As Felix begins to address the crowd in the hopes of assuaging some of their frustration with Al-Masih’s lack of engagement with them, a man and his son find the dog, starving, wounded, and near feral. Avrim visits Al-Masih’s tent with a gun, though he can’t bring himself to shoot him. Al-Masih instead makes his way to the house where the dog is buried, and the crowd follows, partly thankful for finally getting a glimpse of him, and partly with the expectation of witnessing another miracle. What they get is not quite what they expected. Al-Masih arrives just as the man is about to shoot the dog. Taking the gun from him, he puts the animal out of its misery. The boy cries, insisting that Al-Masih was supposed to save him, but Al-Masih says that he wasn’t. The dog isn’t suffering now.

In the final scene of “So That Seeing They May Not See”, Al-Masih joins Rebecca on the bridge. She asks what he’s doing here and he says he came for her.

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