A few weeks ago my wife and I joined the millions of people who watched Netflix’s new original series, The Queen’s Gambit. While I wasn’t sold on it at first, by the final episode I was completely invested. Although religion isn’t featured prominently in the series, the story is clearly rooted in a Christian understanding of sin and redemption.
The show revolves around the chess career of Beth Harmon, but the underlying story is that of Beth’s personal healing from the wounds inflicted on her during her upbringing. In this sense, the Russian chess master Borgov is only a secondary antagonist to her own self destructive addictions.
Some critics took issue with the view of the human person presented in the series, preferring an individualistic anthropology. Their perspective, however, is in many critical ways opposed to Christianity. I found that the portrayal of Beth’s story of healing and transformation illustrated a vision of the human person echoing many of the central themes of Francis’s pontificate: mercy, love, and community.
I wrote a piece over at The Catholic Herald about all of this. Check it out.