Steve reads a Third Testament briefly; he drops it and picks up another. He dumps out mailbags, parcels, piles. None of them are right. He starts a minor meltdown, and Peter looks him right in the eye. "You start over there, and I'll start over here." There's your Third Testament, you idiots. That's all you need. Steve whines, "There's millions!" and resumes his wobbler, but Peter holds his gaze. "You start over there. And I'll start over here. And we'll meet in the middle. Okay?" And he smiles. Less magic, more problem solving.
Later, they're all reading Testaments, camped out surrounded by piles and piles. It's another unavoidable scene, isn't it, but it sparkles nonetheless. Peter: "Nutter. Nutter. Nutter." There are lots of funny and crazy and sad pictures of Jesus. Single girls with their photos attached. That's how you know you're famous, when they start sending pictures attached. Jude finds one that says all you have to do is work out the (Subway? One-way? Manchester, what are you like?) system in Oxford. Oxford City Council called, they said, "Park and Ride, bitches! We keep telling you!" So I guess the Oxford City Council is Jesus now. There's another one Steve describes as "a novel," and Frank reads a long screed along the lines of "England for the English, kick out the blacks and Asians and refugees, burn the gays and the Jews, burn them in a pit and salt the earth, whatever." I bet there were a lot of those. Frank is interesting: "What if they're right?" Valid question. Jude's got a bunch of death threats. Steve's been blown up and survived forty days on the moors. He's fine. (Note: Peter's got all the crazies to deal with, Frank has the traditional hate literature, Jude's got the death threats. And Steve's got a bunch of nothing.) "I can die," Steve says. "Wouldn't be human if I can't die." Jude is still doing her bit for secular humanism: "How do you know?" Download, he gestures to his temple. "When? How?" When it's time, he thinks. "Dunno." And Jude throws a wobbler of her own, that has more romantic relevance than anything else. Even though it's mostly true about them both. "I dunno! I dunno, don't ask me. Dunno, dunnoooo. Ask a simple question..." He protests. Things are getting weird. "I don't know!" he shouts, and she cuts a violent glare. "Yeah, I know. Want a cup of tea? Mmm, dunno."
Nothing fuels the anger of an atheist more than mystery. Just as things are getting too awkward to watch, we switch to Big Brother's video. "I know more things than you'll ever see!" Steve screams. "Ooh, big boy," Jude shouts, accent going buckwild. "Gizza straight answer then! Nevermind this stuff, what happens after tomorrow? Because the Third Testament doesn't exist. And even if it does exist, it isn't here, and even if it is here, we'll never find it, and even if we find it, we won't believe it -- so what happens then?" That's one of my favorite speeches in this whole thing, because it's totally true. Take out mystery, and it's completely true. The story structure itself begs the question: ask for the impossible, and while that's lovely, you're still dealing with the impossible. The smartest thing this movie ever did was make Jude the valid third voice. Steve v. Johnny is wonderful, if you're an 18th-century woodcut, but we don't live in a Steve world. We don't even live in a Johnny world. We live in a Jude world. Her last name is Roach: the only thing that will survive. And that's the other side to the atheist allergy to mystery: the religious allergy to the obvious. And they're both right, and they're both fucking morons. It's a triangle, but not thesis/antithesis/synthesis classical stuff. It's a real triangle, a love triangle: bad/good/ironic. She packs as much power as either of the other two, and this is where that starts. She's not trapped in anybody's Manichean duality but her own, and it has to do with the real post-Nietzschean shit. I love her. The power of the human mind to reach grace on its own terms, and the resolution of that lies in an ability, a bravery, to take it all on: the seen and the unseen.