The video for “Judas,” Lady Gaga’s religiously and musically confused second Born This Way single, has arrived. As with all Gaga videos, it is something of an “event,” but despite the crowns of thorns, biker gangs, impressive eyeliner, and religious symbolism, this feels less “eventful” than videos past. We’ve seen Gaga wearing crosses before: Her washing a Jesus stand-in’s feet and wearing a blue Virgin Mary cloak isn’t fresh territory (and, besides, the bar for being scandalous about Jesus in a music video is pretty high).
It begins with Gaga on the back of a motorcycle, clutching Jesus, who in this iteration is a hottie in a Hell’s Angel–ish biker gang. (Apparently only Gaga gets to actually be a motorcycle.) Jesus wears his crown of thorns all the time, maybe because when made of gold metal, and not thorns, crowns of thorns don’t hurt and look pretty cool. The through story — interrupted by very energetic, antic, almost zippity-doo-dah-vibed dance sequences — is that of Jesus and Judas (with Judas played Norman Reedus), if their beef went down in a biker club not that dissimilar from where the werewolves in True Blood like to hang. There’s a Judas kiss, a guy named Peter (you can tell from his jacket), and Gaga hovering over the proceedings in a series of outfits with increasingly notable headgear (bandana, Marie Antoinette–ish updo, etc.). In the most remarkable image in the whole video, Gaga pulls a gun on Judas: A red bullet seems to emerge slowly … but nope! The bullet is lipstick. Gaga holds her big gun, with a phallic, pink little lipstick attached at the end, and smears it on Judas’s face: Makeup, Not War! Around the 3:50 mark, the music stops and Gaga washes Jesus’ feet while a wave crashes down on her head. Her very long nails make feet-washing look like a dangerous activity. At the end, Gaga comes out in a puffy white outfit and gets flogged a bit — come on, she wasn’t going to go the whole video without making some analogy to being Jesus herself, now was she?