The episode begins with Pius addressing the adoring masses in Rome, and saying he wants the Church to be a spearhead of freedom, for everything from abortions to priests openly marrying. This extraordinary scene turns out to be a dream - which we should have guessed when the heavens cleared of rain right before Pius began to talk. But the scene at the end, when Pius tells a priest that he doesn't believe in God, was no dream at all.
So the young Pope is not only young and a New Yorker, but an iconoclast that goes eons beyond anything we've seen or heard even from the real current Pope Francis. But part of the power of The Young Pope is that he's an extension of what Francis has wisely started.
Where The Young Pope will go from here is anyone's guess. We don't know how and why Lenny Belardo was selected. We don't how much support he'll get for his reforms - which seem far too light a word for what he's thinking - and how long that will last. Most of all, we don't yet know exactly what Pius XIII ultimately wants, if he knows that himself.
But we can expect a searing, provocative examination of the current basis of a religion of 1.27 billion adherents, which daily has profound influence on many more in the world.