Last week I found myself watching the first episode of NBC’s new show, The Cape. This was primarily due to the fact there was nothing in our queue on Hulu for the shows we regularly watch, aided by my thinking that this show was probably so bad that it’d be an entertaining 45 minutes of mockery. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who thinks that way, right?
Instead of being allowed to let my inner Englishman run free in all his snarky-commenting glory, I found myself really enjoying the show. In fact, I was quickly rooting for the good guy, gunning for the bad guys and generally being embroiled in all the gung-ho superhero action. It was like watching Batman being blended with Aragorn and reborn as a former star of ER in his own brand new show. With the female Terminator from the recent TV series. Actually, it was just like that, and I had a really good time with it all.
Sunday night we queued up the second episode and, again, I was impressed with the production. It certainly isn’t a unique show, but it hits all the right things for a superhero adventure, and it hits them well. There was one moment that got me thinking though. *SPOILER ALERT* I’m going to reference some things from the opening two episodes so if you want to watch the first 90 minutes of the season in blissful ignorance, close this down now.
The basic premise of the show is that Vince Farraday, a cop, is framed for murder so that an evil corporation (ARK) can take over the police force as the first private security firm for the city. ARK has already corrupted a lot of the police force, and is owned by Peter Flemming, who just happens to be the supervillain Chess. Farraday is set up, then seemingly killed, leaving his wife and young son unsure whether he was really the hero they thought he was, and also believing he is dead.
But under the streets of Palm City, Farraday is rescued by a crime syndicate known as The Carnival of Crime who kidnap him and beat him up until they discover that they can use him for their own ends. Yep, they’re kind of like a modern day Robin Hood and his band of merry men, but with more circus, less giving to the poor and more guns. Farraday helps them steal money from Peter Flemming’s banks, in return for which the ringmaster, Max Malini, trains Farraday in the art of illusion, and beating people up with a cape (made of spider silk). On paper it sounds so silly, but trust me, it’s a very entertaining show.
How does all of this relate to family worship? And to be specific, I’m not talking about worship done by the family, but instead I am referring to the family being the object of the worship. In that second episode, Max begins to question Vince/The Cape’s ability to be a superhero after he gets poisoned and very nearly killed by Flemming and Cain, a hired assassin. After a period of superhero training in isolation, Max visits Vince and removes a picture of Vince’s family from the wall. It is sitting right at the heart of the montage of villainy and superhero planning. Vince takes the picture back and says, “You thought my family were my weakness. But they’re not. They’re my strength,” or something akin to that.
I thought about it a lot more this morning and realized that alongside the explicit message given by the central character, it is backed up by the behavior of Max and his crew. They commit crime, stealing from the bad guys, not to give to the needy but to support, sustain and prosper the family. Their crime is validated by their motive. For Vince, his drive is all about the family – restoring it and protecting it.
As the husband of my beloved, and the father of my precious sons, I understand the strength of conviction Vince is working under. I too would go through any hardship for them, would fight the powers of evil to rescue them, and would put their safety over my personal honor any day. But would I do anything for them? Are there limits to not what I would do, but what I should do for them?
Maybe you think I sound weird or crazy so let me give you some definites:
I would not renounce Jesus for them.
I would not disobey God for them.
I would not worship them as God.
I would not ask them to be my savior.
In effect, the family unit, for both Vince and Max Malini, is the ultimate reason and inspiration for life and work. This is too weighty a thing to put on our families. Only God can withstand that kind of reliance. And it is only as we put all of our hope in him that we can really serve our families well.
Here’s to more adventures with The Cape, to the downfall of Chess, and to discernment whilst viewing media!