‘God Friended Me’ fall finale hits close to home for Miles
15th December 2018

It’s that “Very Special Episode” time of year — and Sunday night’s chapter of “God Friended Me” doesn’t disappoint.

The freshman CBS drama, one of this season’s few brighter spots (it’s been renewed for the entire season), has averaged around 8 million viewers a week in telling the tales of Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall), a good-natured atheist podcaster (“The Millennial Prophet”) in New York City who receives anonymous “friend” requests from an online account run by “God.” These requests lead Miles to help his chosen “friends” and do some good. He’s joined by pals Cara (Violette Bean) and Rakesh (Suraj Sharma) while his father, a Harlem pastor (Joe Morton), turns a dubious-yet-loving eye toward his son’s endeavors.

Sunday’s episode, “17 Years,” focuses on forgiveness and displays all of the show’s strengths: a winning cast with nice, easygoing chemistry, strong acting (particularly by Morton in this episode) and a dollop of humor mixed in with the earnest corniness (and there’s plenty of that to go around).

It’s been almost 17 years to the day since Miles’ mother was killed by a drunk driver, and he’s taken aback when the “God account” sends him a “friend” request for Charles Cole — the 35-year-old man who killed his mother by drunkenly speeding through a busy city intersection.

In the meantime, Miles, Cara and Rakesh are one step closer to uncovering the identity of their virtual “God” — something to do with the mathematical Fibonacci equation (a season-long plot device). Rakesh has figured out that, using the equation, he can place “God” within a 10-block radius of the intersection where Miles’ mother died.

What a coincidence!

Miles eventually meets Charles Cole face-to-face. Cole has an intriguing backstory — the basis for this episode — and suffice it to say there’s more to him than meets the eye. I won’t spoil the rest of the plotline; the episode ends on a cliffhanger that will, presumably, pick up when “God Friended Me” returns early next year.

Hall, Bean and Sharma are all appealing and gel nicely onscreen; Morton, unfettered from the overwrought acting that infected the cast of ABC’s “Scandal” (he played Eli “Papa” Pope” opposite Kerry Washington for five years), is the veteran presence who moors the younger cast members and lends the series an air of gravitas.

While “God Friended Me” does sometimes stray into saccharine-sweet, “Touched By An Angel”-type territory — “You need to let go of the past … and start living the life you have,” Miles tells Cole in Sunday’s episode — it doesn’t overstay its welcome and seems to know when to dial it back and inject some levity into the proceedings.

It’s a pleasant primetime diversion.

The fall finale of “God Friended Me” airs 8:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

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