Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fauda Season 1 Netflix Series Review

Fauda (2015-)
Season 1 - 12 episodes (2015 YES/ 2016 Netflix)
Fauda Season 1
Watch Fauda on Netflix
Created by: Avi Issacharoff, Lior Raz
Starring: Lior Raz, Hisham Suliman, Shadi Mar'i
Rated: TV-MA/R

This Israeli political  thriller follows a deep cover Israeli Defense Force unit that  infiltrates Palestine to thwart terror attacks.
Season 1 aired on Israeli television and was the most watched series in history on Israeli TV, breaking barriers by giving equal screen time to Jews and Arabs. It airs with Arabic and Hebrew languages and English subtitles. Netflix will distribute season 2, with a release date to be determined.

What made this a hit will be lost on many audiences outside of Israel. It was novel for a show to provide screen time to terrorists. In that respect, it feels like The Wire (2002-2008) which often portrayed the struggles of the criminals caught between crime or death. Fauda also finds similarities in its characters. While this has hints of The Wire, it in no way fills that void, feeling more like 24 (2001-2010) with a terrorist attack imminent.
Watch it.

The name fauda translates to chaos, a line spoken in the first episode when a shootout occurs at a wedding.
The first episode is easily my favorite, free of the complicated story arcs later. The team has a mission to nab a terrorist that was already confirmed dead, The Panther. This is the arc through the first season as they try to catch him, with a few unnecessary plot points.
It's an interesting look at a culture I'm unfamiliar with. Warrants and citizen rights aren't as big of a deal in this country apparently.
Top cop Doron, the man that must save Israel.
While you never really feel bad for the terrorists, there are moments that at least make them seem human. The main characters, undercover agent Doron and terrorist Abu The Panther do overlap. They both plant a bomb on people, have siblings die, and their work causes trouble at home. The people are similar, though their causes differ drastically. I wish the series did a better job of clarifying why the terrorists do what they do, but maybe there is no way to even begin providing a reason for it.

Doron comes out of retirement to kill Abu. Abu was thought to be dead, killed by Doron eighteen months ago. While reluctant, Doron wants to finish the job and he's the only person that can identify Abu. Of course Abu manages to escape and after a taste of the action, Doron is compelled to rejoin the Israeli Defense Force and find Abu.
No half measures here.
This isn't always as smart as I'd like for it to be. Doron working outside of protocol to save his brother-in-law Boaz felt a little too typical, though the conclusion to that arc was a surprise. The family problems Abu and Doron have makes sense, though the show strays too far with Doron.
The cultural element makes up for the shortcomings in the story. The Jews and Arabs talk about each other similarly. The terrorist Arabs call the Jews murderers, though after the events in this series, that's not always wrong.

The second episode was a let down as it was used to set up the arcs for the season. We do see how the terrorists are able to convince people to become suicide bombers out of revenge or despair.

Surveillance is much less restrictive in Israel. There are drones everywhere and the Defense Force has a bunch of pictures of a doctor, Shirin, that's helping Abu. They're even ready to tap the doctors phone, but can't because she bought it abroad. That means that if you buy your phone in Israel it's out of the box ready to be bugged and that's a standard feature. The Defense Force doesn't need permission.
Walid and Abu.
Doron is going deep undercover to find Abu. He begins dating Shirin who is cousin to Walid, Abu's lieutenant. When Doron's brother-in-law Boaz is kidnapped Doron runs an off the books extraction.
Yes, Doron's broken protocol a bit by strapping bombs to a detainee and a child.
Episode seven has a crazy ending. Doron and Walid confront each other on a deserted road, prepared for a hostage exchange. That exchange takes a sudden, sharp turn. Doron becomes a monster while chasing a monster. He fights on their level, and while his superiors don't like what he's doing, when he infiltrates the terrorist organization, they let him continue.

I wonder how realistic this is. American movies often stretch the truth and let a cop continue their mission even if reality wouldn't agree. Doron murders a suspect and harms a child, putting his entire unit at risk of being disbanded. Since he managed to infiltrate the terrorists, they don't stop him. Would that really happen in Israel? This series seems realistic, but I don't have a basis for how far out of bounds an agent can go. We've already seen how lax some of their laws are. I don't know. Doron gets to continue with his plan because if you could potentially save lives you get a pass.

Shirin plays a large role in the growing rift between Walid and Abu. It's soon revealed that Walid doesn't just trust his cousin boundlessly, he's in love with her. He's been blinded, and Abu was right.
Oh no. Is Doron's cover blown?
Gearing up for the conclusion. Abu's bosses recruit Walid to terminate Abu while Abu plans for a big unsanctioned attack. Doron is on the brink of stopping the attack, but must maintain his cover.

1 comment :

  1. "It's an interesting look at a culture I'm unfamiliar with. Warrants and citizen rights aren't as big of a deal in this country apparently." Never heard of the Middle East...Arabs and Israelis? Do you have to show your ignorance here? Its the Middle East not Bradford or Golders Green...


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