Six: The Mark Unleashed: Part 2
Jeseca takes Tom to some guy in charge. I’m not sure precisely what he is in charge of, but at the very least, he’s in charge of Jeseca and this mission.
(Yeah, I guess because it’s The Future, she’s Jeseca, not Jessica. My bad.)
They show Tom some footage of Elijah Cohen (proponent of the “dangerous” “Christian heresy,” explaining that The Leader is the Antichrist and the implant is the Mark of the Beast, and that anyone who takes it is going to hell.
Tom sensibly asks why they haven’t just killed him themselves already, and they say it’s because “it’s difficult for anyone bearing the implant to get close to him,” but somebody took that very up-close footage of Cohen preaching. So why did they film him, and how did Jeseca get her hands on the footage?
So the solution is for Tom, who has “no religious inclination whatsoever” to go into “deep cover” in the prison and get close to the Christians, who will in turn lead him to Cohen.
My question is: why don’t they just torture the Christians? They may constantly forgive the torturers, but I see no reason why they wouldn’t eventually break.
So Tom enters the prison. For reasons that are never made clear, this “deep cover” assignment for a nonbeliever involved little to no religious training: Tom wanders past Jerry and addresses him as “brother” (which makes no sense, as Jerry is not a Christian). This prompts another piece of sense from Brody:
Brody: I don’t know who’s weirder: the implant morons, or these Jesus freaks.
Jerry: I guess you don’t believe in heaven, then.
Brody: Yanno what’s good about that? I don’t believe in hell, either.
Amen, brother. Also, gorrammit but Jerry is dumb.
Tom’s cell, too, is plastered with Bible verses on every available surface, and Tom’s eyes are drawn to the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which he can’t get more than halfway through before declaring it “boring.”
I think Tom would fit in around here just fine. 🙂
This critique catches the attention of his cellmate, Luke, who has been lying on his (lower) bunk and reading his Bible in complete darkness.
Luke reads the second half of the parable (closing his eyes for part of it, so we get that he knows it by heart). Then he asks Tom for an interpretation. As you would. Tom correctly guesses that the bridegroom is Jesus, but then goes right off the deep end into the most awesome interpretation in history:
Tom: Christ only wants to deflower five virgins because the others forgot the oil. Yanno, seems to me there’s some kind of message about sharing in there. I mean, aren’t we supposed to share? Maybe it should be called “The Five Selfish Virgins.”
Tom, I think I love you and I want to have your babies.
Luke chuckles at Tom’s amazing interpretation, and then we get some wild Christian magic: Luke knows Tom’s name without being told!
Luke: I know things. Like why you’re really here, and why you think you’re here. God told me you were coming, Tom.
Heh, really? That’s how God talks to people?
“Yo, Luke. Some guy names Tom Newman is gonna be your cellmate soon. Keep an eye out, ‘kay?”
At least now I can be sure that I’ve never heard from God, if this is how he makes his presence known.
Tom: So, did God also tell you what the stupid story means?
Okay, now I know I love you, Tom.
Luke gives him the very distilled version (Jesus is coming back), and then he gets to explaining the difference between the implant and having Jesus on your heart. Except he does it…very badly.
Luke: When you’re talking about [getting] the Holy Spirit, you become more like the way Jesus wanted you to become. More like him. More unique. More individual. Opposite of the implant.
Tom: That doesn’t make any sense. I mean, everyone becoming more like Jesus? I mean, c’mon—he’s just one person.
Luke: He’s also God. The god who made each one of us as a unique creation. Sin destroys that, creates conformity. Redemption in Christ restores that. Brings us back to what God truly wanted us to be.
Tom: Still, I gotta tell ya: sounds awfully close to The Leader.
Luke: You’re just gonna have to figure that out for yourself, Tom. ‘Cause if you don’t, you’re gonna burn in hell forever.
Tom: Ooo, hell. Frightened now.
I LOVE YOU
And Luke, there’s no need to lash out at Tom with your little hell-threats. It’s not Tom’s fault that you suck at explaining how your religion is different from the totalitarian leader running your world: the one who demands complete obedience lest he destroy you.
I surprised that Tom and Larry didn’t get along better. Larry ain’t scared of hell, either.
Yanno, this whole thing is terribly confused, but I do like how Tom and Brody are have similar thoughts and motivations about the two primary belief systems of the world. Jeseca aside, both characters value their individuality and worry about losing it under either system.
The next day, our four main characters have lunch together, and Luke reveals that God also told him that Tom is going to bust Brody and Jerry out of prison. Which doesn’t make a ton of sense right now, since Brody and Jerry have exactly zero connection to Elijah Cohen. Still, for lack of a better option, Brody’s ears prick up.
Later that day, Luke has a small-group session in his cell. (This is seriously the most lax prison ever. Sure, everyone! Let’s just all go and hang out in my cell!)
As if it wasn’t evident enough from the previous scene with Tom, Luke turns out to be yet another smug, smirking dickweed for Christ. He plays teacher to the students, including Jerry, who is kinda getting into it, and Brody, who seems to mostly because he has nowhere else to go. Brody gets annoyed when Luke and Jerry start talking about nature and the stars and trees and shit being proof of God:
Brody: You can’t prove God from nature. It’s been shown to be impossible. It’s the cosmological or the teleological argument and it was destroyed by Hume and Pascal—
Luke: Pascal? Oh, he was a Christian. You didn’t know that. Oh, I guess you don’t know very much at all.
Pascal was a Catholic, Luke. And I know how you RTCs feel about Catholics.
Brody: Why don’t you tell them the other side of the argument? ‘Cause you’re just like The Leader: it’s all propaganda.
Luke: You’re right, Brody. God’s existence cannot be proven logically or in nature. It’s really just a subjective experience unique to each and every one of us.
THEN WHY DID YOU BRING UP THE ARGUMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE???
Two possibilities: Luke is embarrassed that Brody had a counter-argument, and is trying to save face…or, once again, this movie has completely confused itself.
Brody is right, of course, so Luke moves on to his next “argument”: the god-shaped hole argument or, in other words, the idea that Christians know the thoughts and feelings of nonbelievers far better than we do.
Man, who says Christians are arrogant, amirite?
Luke brings up hell, and Brody chuckles.
Luke: You know why you’re laughing? It’s ’cause you’re scared. You’re scared. You know that hell exists and that, sadly, that’s probably where you’ll end up.
Christians are soooo not arrogant! And they know this nonbeliever’s thoughts so well, too!
Fear of hell: Pascal would be so proud.
Brody, pissed off, storms out of small group, but later confronts Tom. Tom, none too happy with the way things have been going (especially the fact that he has no way of contacting his handlers, especially Jeseca), spills almost the whole story, leaving out only the part about a manufactured escape in order to find Elijah Cohen. Brody is wise to the fact that this can’t be all there is to it, but simply offers himself and Jerry up as accomplices in the great escape. Tom drily observes that Jerry seems well on his way to a conversion, which might make him unwilling to leave prison.