Yet the streaming drama isn’t all about its titular (possible) messiah. Instead, Messiah’s protagonist is Eva Geller (The Path’s Michelle Monaghan), a dogged CIA officer dealing with some demons of her own. Eva is revealed to audiences slowly. When we first meet her in series premiere “That Hath an Ear,” we learn she has (had?) a husband named Ben, but seems extremely single at this point in time. Eva has a strained relationship with her father Zelman Katz (Philip Baker Hall), yet the reason for that familial tension goes unexplained. Then there are Eva’s mysterious abdominal shots and, apparently, the hair loss that comes with them.
Messiah really wants you to be thinking hard about Eva Geller and her backstory while you watch. Thankfully, the show’s 10-episode first season leaves us plenty of clues about Eva’s history. Keep reading to get all of your biggest Eva questions answered.
What is Eva’s medical problem?
Considering how quickly we see Eva doing stomach injections — now the pillar of TV shorthand for in vitro fertilisation — you may have guessed she is going through IVF. Fourth episode “Trial” confirms your suspicions with a tragedy. After seeing her vomit on the side of the road in previous chapter “The Finger of God,” a doctor confirms Eva suffered a miscarriage.
It is here Eva gives the most exposition about her life yet. She explains that this is her fourth miscarriage and she is taking injections for a fertility program (she is on no other medications). Eva also says her husband Ben is dead; she banked his sperm samples before his death.
So Eva’s attempt to have a child with her late husband is the reason she needs medical attention.
Does Eva have a brain tumour?
“Trail” opens with the image of a brain scan and a medical professional writing notes about the results. The documents explain that the patient in question has four brain tumours — or, “abnormalities” — and at least some of them have metastasized. The tumours are inoperable and will continue to harm the patient’s neurological and behavioural functions. Those documents are then placed in a CT scan folder.
It initially appears possible Eva is the patient since we see her in a hospital bed directly after that opening scene. However, it is far more likely the ill individual is Judge Pleva, who eventually grants Al-Masih asylum. At the close of “Trial,” we see the exact CT scan folder from the cold open again. It is in Pleva’s desk and has his name on it. Pleava also announces that he is dying while taking prescription meds.
This deadly reveal explains why Pleva helped save Al-Masih. If the supposed messiah is connected to God, why wouldn’t Pleva, who has multiple brain tumours, want to be in Al-Masih’s good graces?
How did Eva’s husband die?
As Eva tells her doctor, her husband Ben died of cancer. A late-night Facebook deep dive suggests Ben died in 2016, since comments mourning him started two years prior to the events of Messiah. You can see in the corner of Eva’s Facebook session that it is 2018 (a Facebook copyright note reads “2018”).
What happened to Eva's mother Ruth?
Eva’s mother Ruth is also dead. Al-Masih suggests that Ruth is Jewish during his first meeting with Eva, which occurs in “Trial.” When Eva asks if Al-Masih’s father is Jewish, he responds, “It follows the mother’s line. As you would know. Just as your mother had you.”
We also see Eva at a Jewish cemetery in the series premiere, although it is purposefully unclear during that moment if she is visiting Ben or Ruth.
What on earth is happening with Eva’s dad?
With Ben and Ruth dead, Eva’s dad Zelman, a former federal agent himself, is her final living relative. Due to this fact, father and daughter are forced to lean on each other, even though Eva clearly resents her father. Seventh episode “God is Greater” finally gives us some insight into why she refuses to fully embrace Zelman.
Zelman tells Eva that Ruth was a true believer in God and persevered through six miscarriages to get her daughter. Eva becomes frustrated by Zelman’s flowery words about his late wife and finally shares the opinions she has been pushing down. “Don’t talk about Mom like you loved her. We don’t get to rewrite history,” she says. “You weren’t there for mom.”
Eva is so visibly upset, it seems possible Zelman wasn’t physically there for Ruth’s dying days — in much the same way work apparently took Eva away from Ben during chemotherapy. Eva is angry with Zelman because she is terrified she has already become him.