In a not-too distant future, humanity is addicted to cybernetic implants created by tech corporation, TEMPLE. Numbed by digital interaction, the world has forgotten how to feel emotions. ELISSA was born different: her brain has evolved around the implant, allowing her to access her feelings and release emotion in others. She leads a secret community of people she has ‘released’. PETER is among them: he and Elissa are in love. Elissa teaches her friends to love; Peter talks of overthrowing Temple. Elissa longs to pass her gift to Peter, but he cannot master it. When Elissa is framed for a murder, it endangers the community. To protect them, she allows herself to be arrested. Peter is afraid: waiting outside Elissa’s ‘trial’, he denies knowing her. Temple tries to access Elissa’s chip to steal her source code and erase her memory. Elissa dies; Peter is inconsolable. Later, Elissa appears to Peter in digital form. She has uploaded herself to Temple’s servers and can release people by spreading herself like a computer virus. Elissa needs Peter to lead the community. She asks him if he loves her. He responds with humility: he loves her, but imperfectly. Elissa kisses him. She enters his implant, disappearing. A new future begins.
TEMPLE is based on the relationship between Jesus and Simon Peter described in the Gospels, showing Peter’s transformation from a passionate but naive idealist into the wise, gracious leader of a movement that changed the world. Temple’s primary narrative is a reimagining of Christ’s Passion as told from the perspective of Peter. Peter had a special place in the heart of Jesus: he was passionate and outspoken (Matt. 16:16), eager to declare his love and loyalty (John 13:37, Matt. 26:33)… but he also misunderstood Jesus’ ultimate intention (John 18:10) and deserted him at the vital moment (Mark 14:50). Peter’s denial of Christ (John 18:15-27 et al.), and subsequent reinstatement following the resurrection (John 21:15-19), was a turning point in his understanding of Christ’s love. From Jesus’ prophetic response to Peter after his threefold – and newly humble – declaration of love (John 21:18-19), we can deduce that these events were so transformative that they were what enabled Peter to remain faithful to the point of his eventual martyrdom. In Temple these same transformative events form the basis of Peter’s character arc, reimagined in a new scenario: a genesis story of an ordinary man becoming the leader he dreamed he could be.