Fauda season two dives deeper into the root of international conflict


Fauda is back with Season 2 now available on Netflix. Fauda again delivers another stimulating season of Doron trying to singlehandedly bring grace to a torn world. There is another hunt for an anti-Israeli terrorist entering the fray from out of nowhere.

In the second season of Fauda, the nuances of the Palestinian and Israeli operations are examined more closely. The familiar characters have their emotions exposed in more intimate settings and more life-changing situations. Fauda made great leaps in quality and storytelling in the second season but still, there is obviously more to the story.

In season 2 of Fauda, Doron’s wife has found a new bed with a new man yet again. He now has a spartan farm and his love interest with a Palestinian woman is compartmentalized. Doron Kabilio (Lior Raz) is again a giant on the screen. His acting is superb. Though he plays the tough the emotions are real. There is more to this character than a pugnacious hardass.

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The first episode starts with an explosion leaving the viewer curious and the ending of the first episode was shocking. The credits rolling with just radio chatter was eerie. What does it sound like after a tragic event? It sounds like the clatter of shocked people trying to adjust and regroup amongst the ruins.

It sounds like the radios are robots. Those voices through a radio are not connected to the carnage in front of the “attack dogs” on the scene. In season 2, the PTSD angle, the collateral damage and the similar tactics used to harm the opposition are explored. As one operative asks during a brief hiatus in action, “how to say post-traumatic in Arabic.”

Season 2 introduces al-Makdasi, an ISIS operative seeking to carve out an area of influence in the West Bank and Israel. Al-Makdasi does not mind warring with Hamas to achieve these gains. Along with revenge on Doron for killing his father, The Panther, al-Makdasi is a man with many irons in the fire.

In later episodes, the revenge story and the political conspiracy story are not connected. At times it feels like al-Makdasi has to remind himself to be filled with vengeful anger. Not every plotline needs to have multiple connections, especially in the new wave of spy thrillers. Al-Makdasi’s character had more than enough backstory that he did not need forced motivations.

The Hamas versus ISIS versus Mossad triangle is too busy and complex as it is, in life and in the show Fauda. Adding a personal vendetta is just relying on the usual plot angles instead of allowing the story to unfold. The writers inserted a device just to ensure action. In this militarized zone of occupation, that should not be necessary.

Throughout the show, it seems the writers want the characters and warring factions to grasp one simple idea. To find a solution better than the present reality, we can’t approach this situation like robots. Tension coupled with dehumanizing behavior does nothing but make the situation worse. We need to settle it down. Sadly, people are too petty to come together for the common greater good.

There is infighting even amongst comrades. There are too many small tribes weaving a web of revenge and distrust so that progress has nowhere to spout in the middle east, the supposed gardens of civilization.

Personal vendettas and religious/national allegiances and never sure which one is more precious until the emotions of the moment. Season one ended with a killing and a kiss, and the scene told the story of the last millennia of Isreal v Arabic v Persian V Sunni V Shia over land and ideas. Same as Religious doctrine v Akmed V Muhammed over and for the love of Khlaia.  Nidal faces tough decisions of loyalty and allegiance, and his decision ripples through both sides.

Doron ends up facing a new threat, a clear threat. The plan is unfolding everyone sees the trains about to collide on the tracks. Doron Nidal and Madkasi are on a collision course. Doron’s team, Abu Samara, and Shirin all work to protect themselves first then Doron, but hope for the best.

Doron wants a peaceful loving relationship with his Palestinian mistress, but only on his terms. His interrogation of her was not at all endearing. The noble warrior protecting the interest of his clan has shown himself, and his agencies, to be just as manipulative as any other even when in a position of strength. This happens every day when a Palestinian throws a rock towards Israeli dirt, and Mossad answers with a rocket to a Palestine school.

Doron still cannot get along with his authority figures. He has gone rogue several times and mostly gotten terrible results. Going off script leaves everyone on the wrong page. Both sides use the others tactics though, and comically get offended. Imitation is the best form of flattery, and spies infiltrated other spy networks is in the first chapter of every agency. Kids hiding flags sent in saboteurs.

The dialogue among the groups have tightened up, seem refined like the characters have years of experience with each other and seem sincere. The plot twists require small suspensions of disbelief, but not much. There is more Israeli bias than improbable scenarios. The countryside is still beautiful.

Doron and al-Makdasi fail to hear reason when their vengeance is the more macho expression to impress their teams. Their battles just to find the war against each other moves the show along at a great pace. There is plenty of politics, romance, and double-crosses to fill in between shootouts and chase scenes.

Doron and al-Makdasi both believe the battles will continue forever. The vengeance and loss are perpetual, the guilt and oaths to avenge were inherited. The next generation already must choose who to sacrifice before being born, the carnage goes so deep. As long as leaders subscribe to that inevitable war, there will be no peace.

Doron and his team torment and beat Palestinian civilians. If Doron or any Israeli is threatened, they have no remorse for shooting into a crowded street. If Doron has a subject in interrogation, he has no mercy, even when dealing with a woman he claims to love.

What is being depicted seems most real, all of it plausible. But the legitimate nature of the show should not glaze over the illegitimate violence being suffered in Palestine. The way Doron plays with the Palestinian lover’s emotions to gain information is proof that even love can be blinded by rage, revenge, and nationalism. Love can possibly overcome all the obstacles, but the last thousand years have proven difficult.

There are rules, laws, and orders given. However, it seems a local custom to disregard anything that does not fit the narrative of the individual asked to act.

Fauda does a great job depicting the lives of the Isreali’s but shows its bias with a glossing over of all Palestinian issues and just an inconvenience. Anyone who believes this is an honest portrayal of the West Bank and Gaza Strip daily routine is mistaken. Checkpoints and rocket launches, and rocket alerts are routine. Approaching Fauda with a nuanced understanding of the Palestine-Isreal conflict makes season 2 upsetting in that these same issues were present in season one. Hopefully, season 3 will be better. It is being filmed for an international audience. But will it feature a truly Palestinian voice?

We see each side struggle with unity and discipline over revenge and going rogue, with causes taking precedence over family relationships, lured into a violence that creates its own momentum. Both sides are compromised, manipulative and varying degrees of unhinged.

Plenty of aggressive machismo, even the female trainee is angered when her male counterpart takes it easy on her during combat.

Each side suffers. Each side has losses. But only the Palestinians are fish in a barrel. Corner any animal and it will fight to the death. Relieve the tensions. Lower the walls. Ease the sanctions. Understand the plight. Show empathy. Have mercy. Forgive and have faith. Fear not.

Have Faith. Spread Compassion. Grant Mercy. Achieve Understanding.

Palestinians are dealing with open air concentration camps.  They cannot leave. Israel turns off the water occasionally. Jewish soldiers shoot Palestine children with no remorse or consequences. When your home is attacked, you fight back any way possible. Even if the cause is from a lie, one must fight on that lie.

Mercy, compassion, and faith come in short supply to Fauda. Doron and al-Makdasi believe only in their abilities to destroy a threat. That tunnel vision leads the show but is a detriment to actual progress. The show creators want to humanize Palestinians. That they feel that is necessary shows how the inhumane treatment continues.

Palestinians are humans being tortured, persecuted and starved. When Isreali’s attack a wedding (season 1) and then vow revenge when the wedding host takes umbrage with their actions, the problem is never going to stop. There is always a different reason to hate and attack. Plenty of good reasons to understand, to find a middle ground for peace.

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The West bank occupation completely vanished in Fauda. Netflix might as well make a version of ‘Roots’ where Kunta is able to tell the Master he is running to town for whiskey. Been a hot day. No, the reality on the West Bank is very brutal.

Being renewed for a third season should be expected after the awards haul and acclaim so far. Here’s to hoping the third season is infiltrated with even more nuanced than the second season, just as this second season expanded upon the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exponentially more than the first.