Tag Archives: Sarah Koenig

The Greatest SERIAL Recap: Escaping

I know a lot of you are relying on me to cover Serial in a timely manner so you don’t have to listen to it. Good news off the top: Episode 4 won’t be released until next week. This means I don’t have to cram two episodes into the allotted word count and my editor won’t be pissed that I slacked off on Christmas. I caught up on Episode Three during my drive home from work yesterday.

Fair warning to those of you with children closely following the Bergdahl case: this episode features harsh language right off the top. Similarly, if you have trouble stomaching torture and years of diarrhea, this would be the episode to skip.

Episode Three details how Bowe’s experience with the Taliban was less than pleasant. Chained to a bed, given little nutrition, his time spent in their company was a lot less enjoyable then his YouTube videos with them would insinuate. Turns out those videos were nothing more than propaganda, and not the good kind, like American Sniper.

Hold on—is that a guy with an INFOWARS bumper sticker? What are those other bumper stickers? I can’t even read them. These people need to learn to condense their messages, if they want anyone to learn about their Illuminati conspiracy theories via bumper stickers. The guy driving the car looks like one of the old kooks you’d expect to be contributing to Infowars. A guy living off the grid, but has enough of a presence to be a conspiracy theory journalist.

Anyway, during his time in captivity, Bowe Bergdahl is asked to answer to rumors about America. “Are all the women prostitutes? Is President Obama gay?” An Infowars reader would likely take the time to grill the Taliban for not asking the right questions: “Is President Obama a lizard man, conspiring with the shadow government to control the world?”

Eventually, things get so bad for Bergdahl that he hatched a plan to escape. This is really proving not to be his thing. Sure, he makes it out of their mountain fortress but he’s eventually (surprise!) captured by the Taliban. Sure, he’s not wrong for trying to get away, but he’s not blessed with much luck. Especially once the United States begins to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, or at least, that’s what Sarah Koenig promises to tell us about next week.

Kevin Cole

The Greatest SERIAL Recap: The Golden Chicken

Episode two of SERIAL kicks off with some pretty big news, Bergdahl is set to be court martialed. It’s the point of the episode, but it’s news. This episode is about the side of a story we rarely hear from, The Taliban.

Somehow or another, Sarah Koenig is able to interview a Taliban soldier, she keeps his identity hidden because she’s a classy gal. I imagine that must have been quite the negotiation: “Hi, I run a very popular podcast, I know you’re a member of a terrorist cell, but I can I talk to you?” “Sure! I love SERIAL! Just be sure to change my name like you did with Cathy, Jay’s friend from season one.” “No problem George [Bush].” Now, I’m not insinuating that George Bush is behind the Bowe Bergdahl kidnapping, but that would make a hell of a third episode if it did.

We learn that Bowe wandered off into Taliban territory and boy did the Taliban hit the jackpot! To explain the name of the episode, Bergdahl was a “Golden Chicken” probably the terrorist equivalent to a goose that lays golden eggs, I’m not sure what good a solid gold chicken would do otherwise. I guess we can’t expect the Taliban to understand western culture.

Oh shit, do you think the guy Koenig interviewed reads these recaps? Googles himself? Let’s call him George Bush just to give him a name, because at this point I’m already 19:22 into the episode and I’m not rewinding it to find out what fake terrorist name Koenig gave him in the beginning. Anyway, do you think he might read this and get upset about that western culture comment?

They moved Bowe eastward and Koenig (years later) was able to talk to George Bush via a burner phone (smart move, but an awful lot of work for a guest appearance on a podcast, you don’t hear about Maron’s dad buying a burn phone to talk to him).

George Bush’s convoy came within one kilometer of Bowe’s former base. They had spent so much time disguising themselves that no one could recognize them, Groucho Marx glasses over thick beards I presume. American armed forces immediately began a campaign find Bergdahl, handing out fliers threatening to hunt down whoever had him. This is a small threat for the Taliban who have been hunted for the last 14 years, business as usual.

Bergdahl was labeled a guest, he would be treated with respect, not to be beaten or killed by Taliban soldiers like George Bush. Meanwhile, Bowe’s fellow soldiers had come to hate him with a violent passion. He had been impossible to find and the military spent months exhausting their researches to find him, pulling countless battalions into the search. Everyone wanted him.

The golden chicken. My family’s doing a white elephant gift exchange again this year, I need a golden chicken. I’m great with specialized gifts, but I’ve never been good as a mainstream gift giver. Maybe if I kidnapped a puppy or something. Everyone loves puppies. They probably wouldn’t even ask where it came from.

Eventually the Taliban starts to play games with the military, setting traps.

Games. I know a guy who worked on Fallout 4… maybe an autographed copy of that? That could be a hit. Although, if Grandma got Fallout 4 it would likely end up in the DVD player failing to load. Plus, how am I to know what gaming platforms my relatives have when I see them once a year. Guess that’s out the window. Ugh. Even a literal golden chicken is bound to exceed the price cap.

Maybe there’s a jumbo Where’s Waldo collection. People love Serial, it’s pretty interesting to hear about how the military didn’t sleep while searching for Bergdahl. I could always get the book, find Waldo and then tape pictures of Bowe Bergdahl over his face. Nah, too niche.

Bowe began to feel remorseful as he realized how much resources were spent searching for him, which I get, no one wants a bad gift. Eventually, the battalion’s Executive Officer, Major Larry Glasscock went on leave…

Wait. Glasscock. Now there’s an idea.

The army spends a year hunting for Bergdahl and after all that work, the Taliban releases their first hostage video. That’s where they leave us. I don’t see why SERIAL should stop for Christmas, so look for the next installment of The Greatest SERIAL Recap next Friday.

Kevin Cole

 

A Very SERIAL Christmas Special

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Episode 21 of The Last Hurrah is now online! You can click the picture above to listen!

The podcast no one is talking about takes on the podcast that everyone is talking about. Based on the podcast Serial, from Sarah Koenig and This American Life, The Last Hurrah will put a live, comedic, Christmas spin on the true crime show. Join reporter Sarah Koenig (portrayed by Lisa Burl) as she investigates Adnan Syed’s (Giovanni Kavota) claim that a big man in red named Kris Kringle can prove his innocence. It’s the story of one journalist’s quest to find solid evidence that Santa Claus exists and whether convicted criminal Adnan Syed is on the naughty or nice list.

The Very Serial Christmas Special is in no way affiliated with NPR, This American Life or the parties involved and is a protected work of parody.

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Join the fun next Sunday 7pm at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre (31 West Patrick St. Frederick, MD).