#8 "Silence" -- Joan of Arcadia (2004)
Joan of Arcadia is a darker, more grounded counterpart to Touched by an Angel. It tries to present the reality of faith with all its challenges, doubts, and dangers. The premise, a modern take-off on Joan of Arc, is that of a teenage girl who receives visitations from God. God appears to her in a variety of forms tailored to the situation – a handsome young man, a little girl, an old lady, etc.
The episode “Silence” concludes the first season. Joan experiences a crisis of faith in her life and at the one moment when she needs God the most, the God who had always spoken to her in the past, suddenly falls silent. In one scene, God appears to Joan in her hospital room but won’t speak to her. She yells at him, begs him, questions him, and doubts him. No response. It is the harsh reality of one who prays to God in an hour of need, yet perceives only deafening silence in return.
As the episode unfolds, Joan comes to the conclusion that God does not exist. Convinced that all of her past encounters with God have been the result of hallucinations, she voices her denial of his existence. The episode pointedly concludes with Joan asleep in her hospital bed, as God, still silent, enters the room, walks to the side of her bed, and strokes her hair. The honesty of Joan’s lament, coupled with the episode’s assurance that God is present even in the silence, creates a thought-provoking study on biblical lament.