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THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY: Episodes 1.1 and 1.2

"Entertaining Redemptive Allegory"

Content: +1 Discernment required for young children.
Production:
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY is a mystery adventure streaming on Disney Plus. MOVIEGUIDE® screened the first two episodes. Nicholas Benedict, a disheveled, brilliant scientist, has uncovered a plot to spread worldwide anxiety, fear and chaos by sending subliminal messages though TV and radio. The signals are coming from a mysterious school for gifted children located on an isolated island. Using strange tests, he picks four special children to infiltrate the school, find out who’s behind the school and locate the actual source of the signals.

The first two episodes of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY are humorous, whimsical and lots of fun. The actors are very good. So far, the program’s fairly devoid of offensive content. It also seems to have strong Christian allegorical elements. These redemptive themes include a worldwide war between good and evil, adoption into a family, having a higher purpose in life, and a “great commission” or mission to share an invisible truth to those who don’t see it. The first two episodes also promote truth, empathy, fellowship, and integrity. THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY does have some light violence.

Content:

(CC, BBB, Ro, PC, Fe, L, V, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Allegorical elements of Christianity including that of the heavenly war between good and evil, adoption into God’s family, being given a purpose in life, and the Great Commission, with very strong moral values of truth, integrity, leader-ship, empathy, friendship, and teamwork, plus there’s a comment that most people care about the truth but can be easily distracted by the things around them, and a politically correct feminist moment when a little girl demands to be called Ms. instead of Miss

Foul Language:
No obscenities and two light OMG profanities in Episode 1, and no obscenities or profanities in Episode 2, but a reference to pooping one’s pants

Violence:
Light violence includes a boy accidentally trips, a teenager tackles another teenager outside of an orphanage, two teenagers briefly shove one another outside of the orphanage, and a boy shoves another boy out of the way to complete a physical test in Episode 1, and a man is shocked asleep and kidnapped by two men, girl throws flashlights to bean the two kidnap-pers, a guardian for the first man punches one of the kidnappers and knocks him down (this causes the kidnappers and two other men to run away),

Sex:
No sex

Nudity:
No nudity

Alcohol Use:
No alcohol

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Lying, all four main children are orphans but deal with their pasts in a healthy and positive way, one of the four children is very rude and disrespectful to the others but does have some positive elements such as her ability to al-ways tell the truth, there’s an attempted kidnapping of an adult character, and a teacher at a weird school for gifted children confuses the four young heroes by telling students in a class that the free market must remain free, but it also needs to be controlled in certain circumstances (it’s unclear from this single scene whether the rest of the series is going to have a conservative, pro-capitalist element or a leftist, anti-capitalist element).

More Detail:

Episode 1.1: A Bunch of Small Orphans and Episode 1.2: Carrying a Bird

In the first two episodes of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, four orphans pass a series of strange tests designed by a truth-seeking scientist who sends them under-cover to an exclusive boarding school to find the mastermind who’s feeding lies to humanity through the media. Streaming on Disney Plus, the first two episodes of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY are humorous, whimsical and lots of fun and seem to tell a strong Christian allegory with strong moral values promoting truth, good over evil, helping others, empathy, fellowship, and integrity.

The series opens with a 12-year-old boy, Reynie (pronounced “Rennie”) Muldoon, living in an orphanage. Bullied by his peers and constantly bombarded in the news by something called “The Emergency,” Reynie an uncommon ability to resist anxious thoughts and to think clearly. After receiving an advertisement for a scholarship to a prestigious school, Reynie competes in a strange series of tests against numerous other children. Reynie and two other children, Kate Weatherall and George “Sticky” Washington, win the final test by ringing a bell together instead of separately.

The three children are taken to Nicholas Benedict, a disheveled but brilliant scientist who introduces them to a fourth child, a younger girl with a German accent named Constance Contraire. Benedict admits to the children he deceived them, that there is no scholarship. Instead, he wants them to infiltrate a children’s academy called The Learning Institute of Veritas and Enlightenment, or L.I.V.E. He tells them someone from the Institute is sending subliminal messages through all TV, video and radio signals that’s creating fear and anxiety around the world. He believes the signals are causing The Emergency, which appears to be creating a total financial breakdown.

The first half of the second episode shows Kate, with help from Benedict’s mysterious bodyguard, Milligan, foiling an attempt to kidnap Benedict. The second half shows the four children starting classes at the Institute, which is located on a special island. At the end of the episode, they finally meet the headmaster, a man calling himself L.D. Curtain, who, except for a more styled hairdo and beard, has the same face as Mr. Benedict. (Note: At the beginning of the third episode, they learn that Curtain is Benedict’s long-lost brother.)

The first two episodes of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY are humorous, whimsical and lots of fun. The series has high production values. The children actors are all very good. Tony Hale, who also produces the series and helped develop the series for tele-vision, is a hoot as Nicholas Benedict and Headmaster Curtain. Kristen Schaal and Ryan Hurst are very entertaining as Benedict’s two assistants.

So far, THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY seems to possess allegorical Chris-tian elements. The major redemptive themes include a worldwide war between good and evil, adoption into a family, having a higher purpose in life, and a “great commission” or mission to share an invisible truth to those who don’t see it.

The first two episodes also possess strong moral elements. They extol truth, integrity, empathy, friendship, and teamwork. The episodes also teach children to do hard things, to be brave in the face of fear, to show leadership, and to act in the interest of others even in the face of danger. It calls children to be different and to believe that, even though they are small, they are still valuable and are still needed to bring truth and light to the world.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY is void of any offensive content. There is some light violence and jeopardy, including the attempted abduction of Mr. Benedict. While this violence and jeopardy may upset a few sensitive children, it furthers the program’s allegorical elements, demonstrating that seeking truth and overcoming evil are not an easy pursuit void of persecution and problems.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY is a quality production for viewers of all ages. It has the power to teach and remind both children and parents that the meaning of life isn’t self-fulfillment, money or happiness, but fighting for other people, even when they don’t know they need help. It is to spread the truth to those who need it, as well as a re-minder that God will use the most unlikely people in the most unlikely ways to accomplish His mission.