Air Date 5/31/15

It’s night and there’s trouble in the streets of Damascus. It seems everyone’s after Saul, whose preaching at the synagogue yielded a riot. Now Barnabas is trying to sneak Saul out of the city – which means lowering him over the city walls in a basket. Back in Jerusalem, Leah is furious at Saul’s betrayal. She orders Reuben to find him, shame him and kill him. Across town, Pilate and Claudia get on their knees at Caligula’s behest. His interest immediately turns to Claudia, to whom he offers a hand and asks, “Are you loyal to your Emperor? How loyal? How would you show your devotion to me?” When Claudia fails to answer, Caligula screams for Aurelius, Tiberius’ trusted advisor. Claudia doesn’t love Caligula – does Aurelius? After a prolonged interrogation, Aurelius insists he would offer his life for his emperor… so Caligula orders him to prove it. Claudia looks away when Aurelius falls on his sword, which merely bores Caligula all the more. Jerusalem doesn’t love him, and Pilate is going to change all that, by putting a statue of Caligula in the Temple. Once Caligula stalks off to prepare for his immediate return to Rome, Pilate and Claudia summon Agrippa, who’s well aware that a statue of Caligula in the Temple will cause at best a riot, in which thousands will perish. Pilate wants Agrippa to persuade Caligula to forget about the statue, which seems like a ridiculous idea to Agrippa. Nevertheless, he promises to try; maybe once Caligula is back in Rome, he’ll forget all about Jerusalem. After Agrippa leaves, Pilate asks Claudia about the trouble that plagues both their minds: how do you control a madman? Since this is a problem that will plague all Judea, Claudia insists it’s a burden everyone in the city must share.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “Saul’s Return”

Once back in Jerusalem, Barnabas tells Saul to wait outside while he persuades the apostles to meet with him. Thomas and Simon the Zealot have many doubts, especially since Saul burned down their camp. Impatient to get on with his mission, Saul invites himself in. John and Peter arrive just as Saul explains that he’s turned to Christ. Peter pulls Saul aside, demanding to talk to him alone. He needs to hear what happened on the road to Damascus. When Peter remains skeptical, Saul reminds him that Jesus taught forgiveness. Together, bound by Jesus, the two men can work wonders – can’t Peter see it? The argument continues with Saul begging for forgiveness. He’s scared; he knows he will suffer, and it would be easier to run. But he can’t. So can they get on with it already? It’s time to go out and preach. Little does Saul know, Reuben and his men are scouring the city for him.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “Saul’s Return”

Mary Magdalene is scrubbing the floors of Pilate’s palace when she hears a woman’s sobs. Agrippa pulls Caligula out of a room, promising a much better selection of wenches in Rome; it’s time they took their leave. When the coast is clear, Mary comforts Tabitha, who’s clearly suffered at Caligula’s hands. Meanwhile, Pilate and Antipas visit Caiaphas to relay Caligula’s request. Stunned, Caiaphas explains that the Book of Daniel foretells such a moment, promising death and destruction. The three men argue, trying to find a way forward. But at the end of the day, Pilate says, “Caiaphas. This is the Emperor’s wish. It isn’t my problem. It’s yours. Deal with it.” Meanwhile, Claudia, Heroidas and Leah hold a conference of their own. When Claudia suggests keeping the peace in hopes of boring Caligula out of caring about Jerusalem, Leah hatches a plan. Since Caligula has a taste for blood, they pick a scapegoat and destroy him in public. She knows the perfect candidate… the dangerous blasphemer Saul. His belief in Jesus is a direct challenge to the deity that is Caligula. Afterwards, Herodias hustles to report back to Antipas, unaware that Mary Magdalene is overhearing every word. When Antipas laments they’re prisoners in their own former palace, Herodias points out that war in Jerusalem will be the perfect opportunity to seize control back from Pilate and reclaim what’s rightfully theirs.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “Saul’s Return”

Hearing a hubbub in the marketplace, Mary Magdalene rushes outside to spy Reuben announcing that he’s looking for Saul. She asks Joanna to cover for her so she can warn Peter. Joanna presses money into Mary’s palm and sends her off, angering Chuza and causing another argument. He’s beside himself, but Joanna can’t remain silent, because it’s a matter of her faith. Overhearing their conversation, Tabitha asks who gave Joanna the strength to speak to her husband that way. Joanna smiles, and starts spreading her faith. Meanwhile, Mary tells the apostles about Caligula’s statue and the impending war it purports, according to the Book of Daniel… which also predicts Jesus’ return.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “Saul’s Return”

That night, Leah is more than disappointed to learn that upon Saul’s capture, Caiaphas only means to talk – then he’ll decide how to move forward. Across town, Peter confides his doubts in Saul to Barnabas. Why did Jesus have to choose him? At the palace, Claudia, Cornelius and Saul discuss the prospect of full-scale rebellion; it could be months before the Jews accept the statue. Refusing complacency, Claudia wants the men to come up with a plan to circumvent the whole thing, but the most they’ll do is bolster the garrison. Afterwards, Cornelius finds a scared Claudia praying alone. Maybe it’s not the prospect of all-out war she’s so afraid of, but the prospect of being called to Rome by Caligula, who will destroy her to destroy her husband.

Having finally made up his mind, Peter introduces Saul to the apostles as their new brother in Christ. An angry Simon rushes out, so Saul runs after him; then Barnabas rushes after Saul, whose shouts for Simon attract Reuben and his men. While Saul is arrested, Simon escapes to a tavern, where he asks to hand off vital information to “enemies of Rome.” Moments later, the tavern owner pours more wine for Simon, who takes a drink, then collapses to the floor. When he wakes up, he’s surprised to behold Eva, widow of Boaz, who says, “This is the first step. You can get up and leave now if you want.” When Simon asks to meet their leader, Eva explains that this would be the second step.

Preview Next Weeks Episode “Brothers in Arms”

While Pilate makes a big play to get right with Rome, Saul’s fire to spread the word brings trouble to the apostles.

Here are a few added resources from A.D

Beyond A.D. A digital talk show Hosted by “E” Jason Kennedy 

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