With 'The Pentaverate,' Secret Socities Are Suddenly Everywhere on TV

References to All-powerful societies—very loosely
based on Freemasonry—seem to be in vogue these days.

By Ian Stewart

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The forces that shape our world, from pandemics to Tik-Tok crazes, are unknowable indeed. Or are they? If you’ve been watching TV or movies lately, you might be forgiven for thinking twice about that question. Because—call us crazy—but it sure seems like we’re suddenly surrounded by references to secret societies steering world events. With Netflix’s latest offering The Pentaverate and its not-quite-veiled allusion to Freemasonry reaching streaming audiences worldwide, it now appears we’re reaching secret-society saturation in pop culture. 

First, in late 2021, came Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Peacock’s streaming adaptation of the best-selling prequel to The Da Vinci Code, with its not-quite-accurate portrayal of Masonry, murder, and intrigue. Then, in May, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness—partly filmed inside Freemasons’ Hall in London—introduced Marvel fans to a new superhero-run secret society that rules an alternate-reality version of Earth. And now, Netflix’s farcical comedy series The Pentaverate takes it a step further: Its benevolent secret society, complete with robes, masks, and elaborate initiation rituals, attempts to solve the world’s biggest problems, from the Black Plague to global warming. It doesn’t take a Master Mason to draw a line between the bumbling fraternal order of the Pentaverate and Freemasonry.

Netflix's "The Pentaverate"

So what’s with all these pop culture allusions to Freemasonry—or rather to the Illuminati, the legendary (and legendarily misunderstood) quasi-Masonic order? Who knows. Perhaps in an era rife with conspiracy theories and online misinformation, there’s something reassuringly old-fashioned about a group of elite overlords guiding affairs from behind closed doors. But as any Mason worth his salt knows, that’s got nothing to do with us.

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT:
Courtesy of Netflix

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