Missionaries of Death – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Science’s Faith – | Review Score – 3/5
The Relic – | Review Score – 3/5
Love Thy Enemies – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Holy Refuge – | Review Score – 3/5
Gift of Death – | Review Score – 3/5
Faith VS Science. It’s one of those universal rivalries that will almost certainly be debated as ferociously in 100 years’ time as it is today. Nestling itself into the heart of this debate comes Netflix’s latest Brazilian thriller, The Chosen One. Revolving around a strange religious cult in the heart of Brazil, The Chosen One has glimmers of brilliance in a series that never quite delivers on its promises, despite a strong start.
The story begins really well, with our three lead protagonists, Enzo, Lúcia and Damião heading off to the mysterious, remote village of Aguazul to administer vaccines for the Zika virus. Although initially met with hostility, they’re eventually welcomed into the village by charismatic leader Mateus. With a prophetic figure known as the Chosen One monopolizing every decision made, the trio of doctors soon find themselves in over their heads in the midst of this religious cult.
Split across 6 episodes, The Chosen One is reasonably well paced and the story certainly delivers an enjoyable enough narrative. Thematically The Chosen One is extremely strong, touching on ideas around wavering faith, temptation, denial and a higher spiritual being. It’s all pretty taboo stuff but feels a little shallow with its execution, playing off closer to something like the video game Far Cry 5 than a deeper examination of faith and cult-like behaviour. This is especially problematic when you do eventually meet The Chosen One too, whose lack of charisma and presence really doesn’t sell the idea that well.
The trio of Doctors at the heart of this one are pretty likable although if I’m honest Enzo doesn’t really have a whole lot of development across the 6 episodes which does make it difficult to warm to him. Lúcia and Damião however, go through a pretty transformative experience across the series and as they become more heavily involved with the cult, the line between science and religion continues to blur. It’s here where the series really shines and these small windows of inner conflict really help glue the series together.
Stylistically, The Chosen One doesn’t feature much in the way of slick camera work or expensive production design but the episodes do feature a good use of flashbacks that help depict relevant information about different characters. At times these do offset the pacing slightly, given their placement in the episodes, but certainly help bring some much-needed background to some of the characters, especially the mysterious Angelina whose flashbacks are the most revealing here.
With a cliffhanger ending and many questions left unanswered, The Chosen One sets the foundation for a second season to follow that may or may not be green-lit. Whilst there isn’t anything inherently bad about The Chosen One, there isn’t a whole lot to really sink your teeth into either, despite the intriguing premise and strong opening episode. If you’re a fan of Netflix’s foreign dramas, there’s enough here to check out but this latest Brazilian drama fails to really establish itself as the heavy hitter it so easily could have been.