THE ENCOUNTER Explores What It Would Be Like to Meet Jesus in Your Daily Life

Pure Flix

THE ENCOUNTER Explores What It Would Be Like to Meet Jesus in Your Daily Life

By Movieguide® Contributor

Torquing smart scripts with high quality performances, the plots for each episode of the Pure Flix original THE ENCOUNTER: Season 2 are highly diverse: an executive preparing for a stockholders meeting; a U.S. Army Ranger in a battle zone; a stay-at-home mom pondering an exciting career life; a high school crush and a prom; a Space Station astronaut preparing for an unscheduled spacewalk; expectant parents on their commute to the maternity ward.

Most vitally, what ties them all together are first the critical decisions needing to be made in the given situations, and second a literal come-to-Jesus moment for the lives involved. And the stroke of genius for pulling all this off well is the casting of an actor who has already effectively played Jesus in a successful biblical movie.  THE ENCOUNTER: SEASON 2 is well worth gathering family and/or friends to watch and to talk.

With a new set of actors for each episode’s main characters, and even four different directors at the helm for the eight-part season, the common thread holding the series together is Bruce Marchiano in the role of the undercover Savior; “undercover” as the Jesus character is disguised differently in tandem with each entry’s plot.

In one episode, He is a package delivery driver. In another, He is a substitute teacher. Add to it rideshare driver, funeral director, and Afghan shepherd, and you get the gist of Jesus showing up in the varied contexts of each episode as someone interacting with the key lives involved. Marchiano brings compassion, intensity, humility, and believability to the role as his portrayal of Jesus invites the other characters into deeper conversations in which they can explore their dilemmas, their options, their futures, and their purposes in life.

The predominant worldview of THE ENCOUNTER: Season 2 is Christian and biblical. Six of eight of the episodes begin with black screen, then phrases of a theme Bible verse that appear line by line before the opening scene begins. Creative names are used for the disguised Jesus; in Spanish class, he’s the substitute Mr. Camino de la Vida (Mr. Way of Life) and to a couple grieving at their young daughter’s death, he is Victor the funeral director, just to name a couple. The centerpiece of each story, though, is the respectful, caring, and wisdom-filled discussion had by Jesus with each episode’s principal players. Pertinent Christian Scriptures are quoted in some fashion in every prominent conversation.

In character with such a family showcase for Jesus in everyday lives, THE ENCOUNTER: Season 2 has: no foul language; no nudity; no implied or depicted sexual content; no smoking; and no drug use and abuse.

Viewer cautions may be needed, though, as there is implied but not depicted alcohol consumption in two episodes: one, at the high school prom; and the other at the young girl’s funeral. Only one episode displays violence when all but one member of an army patrol in Afghanistan is shot and killed in an ambush. A more subtle content advisory would warn of the devil showing up incarnate in two episodes: as an alternative ride share driver in episode 4 “Delivery”; and as a preacher intruding at a funeral in episode 7 “Homeward Bound.”

In both portrayals, though the viewer is initially unaware of his true identity, The Accuser gradually shows himself through persistent attempts to influence the episode’s characters into divisive disagreements and bad choices.

The overarching plot concept, the production company, and the identical casting of the Jesus character all began in feature film form with THE ENCOUNTER (2010), and returned with a sequel, THE ENCOUNTER: PARADISE LOST (2012). In 2016, Pure Flix released the first series version, THE ENCOUNTER: Season 1, as an eight-part entry, each episode at almost a half-hour in length. This latest series, THE ENCOUNTER: SEASON 2, offers a lengthened timeframe of about 45 minutes per episode, providing more depth and intensity to the conversations with the Savior. These well written pastoral and theological scripts are consistently supported by production values that uphold high standards. Smartly chosen and carefully framed location settings provide the realistic feel needed for audience buy-in.

With its Biblical, strongly Christian worldview, and only a very few minor questionable elements, discernment required for young children is needed only sparingly. With such a strong portrayal of the risen Christ’s presence and participation in our own personal worlds, the discovery and viewing of THE ENCOUNTER: Season 2 is strongly advised.