Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Taking things a little (but not entirely) off topic--and, hey, it's summer and time for some fun--I want to commend to Mirror of Justice readers a new television program this summer—“Falling Skies” on TNT on Sunday nights. Now I’m a huge sci-fi fan, so I’d be easily intrigued by this series set in the near future when civilization has destroyed by an alien invasion, most of human-kind has been wiped out, and a small band of humans continues to fight on as a guerilla movement near Boston. The story isn’t only about the aliens (who appear only occasionally) but really about people and how people respond to tragedy, fear, the loss of everything and everyone around them, and the need to simply survive from day to day.
For this Mirror of Justice audience, I want to draw your attention to a continuing character in the show who is a faithful and thoughtful Catholic. Lourdes, played by Seychelle Gabriel, is bright (she was a pre-med student at age 17 when the invasion came), young, pretty, Mexican-American, and openly and unapologetically Catholic.
In the opening episode, Lourdes explains that she had fallen behind the group as it moved to a new location because she had stopped in a church to pray (saying, amusingly, “it was Episcopalian, not Catholic, but it’s close”). Another character mocks her faith and she responds:
Karen: “Next time you get on your knees could you see if the Big Guy can get us a operational B-2 Bomber loaded with nukes?”
Lourdes: “I don't pray for God to give me things. I don't think it works like that.”
Karen: “Then what do you pray for?”
Lourdes: “I ask God to show me what I can do for Him.”
In the most recent episode, the small human community hiding in an abandoned high school is able to scrabble together the ingredients to bake bread for the first time in a long time. Lourdes leads the group at her table in prayer to “The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The camera pulls away to show the hard-bitten, cynical military commander, who lost his family in the invasion and is doubtful about allowing the civilians to accompany the fighting division, sitting at a table and facing the opposite direction, but mouthing the prayer along with them.
Lourdes is a powerful character in this series, all the more so because she is not powerful in any conventional sense. She is very young, she’s among the civilians tagging along with the military division, and she acts as a servant to others in the make-shift hospital. It is her faith that makes her come alive and touch the others.
If you’re a sci-fi fan, you really need to check this out. And even if you’re not, call up some of the earlier episodes on “On Demand” and see what you think.