The Weekly season 1, episode 4 recap: Collision

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THE WEEKLY “Collision” Episode 4 (Airs Sunday; June 23, 10:00 pm/ep) — Pictured: Bike Memorial at the attack site off the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. CR: FX

The Mastermind

The Weekly then transitions to talk about Hussein, showing how he scouted targets, collected money and bought a new cleaver before the attacks. But Callimachi isn’t concerned with how it happened, she wants to know why.

So, Callimachi briefly sits down with Gulchehra Shodmonova, Hussein’s mother. Hussein is described as someone who was a good student and child, but who dropped out of school and drifted away from his family after meeting a cleric in 2004.

Hussein was sentenced to life in prison for the attack. Callimachi was approved to speak with him, becoming the first journalist to do so. He’s considered so dangerous that he has to remain handcuffed and he has two guards close enough to have their hands on the back of his chair.

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(Side note: An interesting tidbit here when Callimachi touches on the complicated nature of getting consent for an interview from prisoner and making sure that prisoner is truly speaking freely.)

As the interview gets set up, Callimachi notes that interviews like this have helped her put together an idea of ISIS’ structure. Hussein begins the interview talking about recruiting people to join the Islamic State and getting occasional orders to commit terrorist attacks. (It’s not addressed, nor asked, but you have to wonder: Was this his first attack? Or just the first one where he got caught?)

Now we’ve caught up with the opening. Callimachi shows Hussein a photo of Austin and Geoghegan and asks why killing them was worth doing. Hussein says that he had pledged to commit jihad and was supposed to attack the European Union Parliament, but that fell through, so he was sent to Tajikistan. Because Muslims are being killed around the world, he continues, they believe they must kill any “non-believers.”

He says they’ll stop when people stop killing Muslims.

THE WEEKLY “Collision” Episode 4 (Airs Sunday; June 23, 10:00 pm/ep) — Pictured: Gulchehra Shodmonova, mother of one of the attackers, sits down for an interview with New York Times Reporter, Rukmini Callimachi. CR: FX

Callimachi points out that Austin and Geoghegan never killed anyone and, in fact, lived lives of kindness, openness and acceptance. Hussein simply says he was following orders and didn’t stop to ask them questions.

When Callimachi pushes again, trying to figure out why he chose this group specifically, Hussein admits he decided on them that day because he just happened across them. In fact, he spoke to some of the people in the group at a gas station when the group had stopped for some water.

Hussein found out they were Americans and says that Americans had to be killed.

He’s asked if he feels any regret and responds by saying that Americans don’t regret when they kill Muslims. Other than the basic fact that they’re also human, he sees absolutely nothing in common between him and his victims.

In voiceover, as the interview ends, Callimachi talks about how she’s come to understand more and more that ISIS’ worldview is “a supremacist one” that dehumanizes anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their narrow interpretation of Islam (which is about as close as this episode gets to making the clear statement that ISIS doesn’t speak for all Muslims).

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This episode of The Weekly winds down with Callimachi meeting up with Nazarkhon Kharkashov, an orchard owner who hosted Austin, Geoghegan and their group and served them tea the night before the attack.

He shows Callimachi a note left by Austin, describing their journey and goals and thanking him for his hospitality. It’s a note that may be the last message Austin and Geoghegan were able to leave the world.

Finally, Callimachi shows a memorial, built by local Tajiks, to remind people to live their lives unafraid and open to the world.

What did you think of this episode of The Weekly? Let us know in the comments.