Friday, August 29, 2014

Christianity and the Small Screen: NBC's "Crisis"

What would you do to protect your child? Would you kill others? Would you kill yourself? Would you risk national security? Would you threaten a global war?

What would you do to protect your child?

That is the question which permeates the short-lived NBC show Crisis which was canceled after just fifteen episodes. Fortunately, the writers were still able to bring the series to the end making it more like a mini-series.

The plot of the story centers around a kidnapping of dozens of high school students in Washington DC. The students are children of America's privileged including the first son himself. The criminals want absolution for a crime they have been falsely accused of committing. Their plan is elaborate, detailed, and risky, but the criminals are desperate for a clean record.

The plot thickens when the kidnappers contact the parents of the children and threaten to kill their students if they do not give into the demands. Most of the parents do exactly what the kidnappers demand risking their lives and even national security.

One parent fails to follow through with the kidnappers request. She is told to plant a virus in America that shuts down the electric grid. Washing DC comes to a stand still preventing the FBI and Secret Service from finding the mansion where the kids are being held. This is an act of war as the parent is a spy from China. So though she goes through with it, she aborts the mission before the timeline the kidnappers give her. As a result, her son is shot in the back.

By the end of the story, the children are saved except for one: the child of the main kidnapper. The tables now turn. What will he do - the one so often on the other side of the phone making demands - to get his child back?

My wife and I found the story fascinating and were disappointed that it ended so abruptly. It is clear that the writers had a lot of tricks up their sleeve and did not have the chance to show them. Nevertheless, we were pleased that the story had a satisfying conclusion. Often such shows (like Revolution) conclude anticipating future episodes and the audience is left with a cliff hanger.

With that said, the question raised at the beginning continues to echo in my mind. What would you do for your child? Anything? Anything?

For the general viewer, the question is a frightful one. Of course most of us would do anything to save our child. One parent straps a bomb around their waste while another tries to kidnap a man. One parent, the President of the United States, must refuse to negotiate with terrorists thus his son is almost murdered on a live feed directed to the White House.

But for the Christian, this narrative ought to remind us of another story. What would you do to protect your child is the wrong question for the Christian. The story of Christianity asks the opposite question. What would a Son do for the glory of the Father? Would He willingly die? The answer is an emphatic yes as Jesus, the Son of God the Father, puts on flesh and dies upon the cross for sinners like us.

And make no mistake, we are worse than criminals. It is no accident that Jesus bares the cross of a notorious criminal (Barabbas) in order to set us free.

In the end, I ask myself which story is more beautiful - the undying love of a parent toward their child or the dying love of a Son for His Father and, even more unbelievable, the Son's redemptive love for those who war against Him.

Here is a trailer for the show:

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