"A.D. The Bible Continues" picked up with the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the second episode of the miniseries on Sunday night, and used the gospels of Matthew 28 and John 20 to continue to tell the story of mass confusion and conflict.
A confrontation between Pilate and Caiaphas, set while Caiaphas is bathing, shows the immense power dynamic between the two. Not to mention that all of the Roman authorities are panicked by the "loss" of Jesus' body, which they believe to be an open act of defiance. As the two men argue over what must be done to protect their honor and authority, Caiaphas' ultimate fear begins to show and is masterfully presented by actor Richard Coyle. He is not in fear of losing his position but more in fear of losing his life at the hands of Pilate, whom he convinced to have Jesus killed.
"We found nothing, and everything," the disciple John says before walking away from the empty tomb.
Chipo Chung's honest portrayal of Mary Magdalene's love, grief, and confusion at Jesus' tomb is soon turned to an overwhelming joy as Jesus utters her name for the first time. Her face shows the transformation of emotions, and her trembling as she tells the disciples for the first time that Jesus has risen adds a layer of honesty in her storytelling. Chung is the one to break the news to Jesus' mother, Mary, whose face visibly changes from a mother's grief to the ultimate relief as she is one of two who fully believed her son's words.
It was quite an undertaking to stay faithful to the Bible, but the directors did so ... even having Jesus be present behind locked doors with the disciples and gone the next in accordance with the biblical text. Thomas (aka doubting Thomas) directly states what it will take for him to believe and seems to pout because he was not included in Jesus' intiial interaction with the disciples post-resurrection. However, Jesus does appear to his follower just long enough for him to believe before disappearing again.
And, as politics are never far from the situation, the Romans descend upon the disciples' hideout, forcing them to flee, but things take a different turn for the guards, perhaps showing the frustration that the peole felt being overrun and abused by the government. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus also appear willful and adamantly withhold the information the leaders demand. Even Joseph of Arimathea stands up to Caiaphus for his seeming betrayal with the murder of Jesus and the desecration of his tomb, and as he puts it, "You smothered a Jewish flame with Roman oil."
These moments of chaos are directly contrasted with the disciples on a boat, fishing in the sea. They appear relaxed, tranquil, and the setting is more beautiful than the city that has descended into chaos. And Peter's joy at being fully reunited with Jesus is a wondrous occasion, full of lightness not before seen in the series.
The interaction between Juan Pablo di Pace (Jesus) and Adam Levy (Peter) is a testimony to the acting in this series. Whilst Caiaphus and Pilate struggle over power and authority, Jesus gives his power to a not-yet-understanding Peter. It's excellent writing and storytelling at its most complex, yet viewers must be prepared for CGI to become a regular part of the series as the Holy Spirit "joins" the cast.
"A.D." airs Sunday nights on NBC.