POL103-Episode 6

In this episode, Sarah tells about Bowe’s motivation of leaving, by illustrating his troop experience. That is the part that Bowe mentioned before, the “leadership failure.” Bowe talked about how inefficient and careless the officers are, which drives him really angry.

In Serial, their primary sources are the interviews, Mainly, the interview of Bowe from Mark Boal. They also interview people around Bowe,  from Taliban to his battle companion,to his families, his friends… basically, everyone who involved in this issue. They also use quotations from President speech but seldom directly quote sentences from a scholar article or a magazine.

From my point of view, I guess the team did tons of research on Bowe’s interview. They probably interviewed everyone Bowe mentioned in the interview and everyone who used contacted him. They seem checked every fact they can — there are many layers of interview — and trying to get closer to the fact. If there is any part that may make the audience confusing, they will also interview a related expert to illustrate the situation or provide an answer. I do think they did the research well because all the experts seem credible and they can always “translate” expert’s explanation into simple words. Sometimes, Sarah Koenig will add her own comments there, for example, “I was confused as well…” which is also helpful. She makes the story-telling more vivid and easier to follow.

When telling the story, the team did not really follow a single narrative way. I guess they rearranged Bowe’s interview recording into different sections, for example, the Taliban part, the troops part, the returning part etc. For each part, they found a group of people to interview in order to confirm or question what Bowe said. So that they provide to the audience not simply one person’s words, but a group of people in order to make the story relatively objective. They did not just focus on the so-called exciting parts or the “main storyline” parts, they checked everything. For me, although I think a few episodes are boring, they give me an impression that the team did not hide anything, and they are just as curious as us, want to know the truth. I think I need to learn from their patience and earnest and always questioning– try to reproduce the real scene for the audience.

I think they make Serial more like an artwork is the moment I heard “my understanding of the person telling that story changed.” I was really frightened. Is that means every quotation from Bowe in the previous episodes are lies? Is he mad? I feel the team hide the most important part in the back. Actually, for every episode’s ending, they end by setting a suspense, and kind of forces the audience to keep listening. I guess that is the characteristic of a program consists of a couple of episodes.

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