It's been 357 days and many excruciating hours of silence since the last episode of Serial season one appeared on our Podcasts app and life ceased to be as thrilling as it once was. But now, after almost a year of insane anticipation, Sarah Koenig and the This American Life crew have uploaded the first episode of season two. And, boy, is the Internet excited.
While season one focused solely on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and whether the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed for the crime was right or wrong, this season's story looks like it will be asking more than one question. It will follow the story of Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who, in 2009, walked off his army base in Afghanistan, was captured by the Taliban and held as a prisoner of war for five years. There has since been speculation as to whether other soldiers died directly or indirectly because of his actions. And now, he's been charged with desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy, which could result in a life sentence. Oof.
The podcast was released yesterday morning U.S. time, and host Sarah Koenig promptly posted this on the Serialwebsite:
"This story—it spins out in so many unexpected directions. Because, yes, it’s about Bowe Bergdahl and about one strange decision he made, to leave his post. (And Bergdahl, by the way, is such an interesting and unusual guy, not like anyone I’ve encountered before.) But it’s also about all of the people affected by that decision, and the choices they made. Unlike our story in Season One, this one extends far out into the world. It reaches into swaths of the military, the peace talks to end the war, attempts to rescue other hostages, our Guantanamo policy. What Bergdahl did made me wrestle with things I’d thought I more or less understood, but really didn’t: what it means to be loyal, to be resilient, to be used, to be punished."
The podcast will be one of the first times the public has heard from Bergdahl and — if season one is anything to go by — it will surely be as gloriously addictive to listen to as it is to talk about with everyone from your colleagues to the lady sitting next to you on the bus. Sarah, it's so good to hear your voice again.