Now That Serial Is Over, What Will My Brain Do?
The podcast Serial has finally reached its conclusion-- and while the ending might not satisfy the binge-listeners, anyone who listened to Sarah Koenig slowly explicate the case: the major and minor players, the details, the neighbor-boy and Mr. S., the time-lines, the Nisha call, the Asia alibi, the theories, the issues, the geography, the criminal justice system, the nature of narrative, human nature and truth . . . anyone who consumed this thing week-by-week, with plenty of time to process and discuss each episode with other rabid fans-- these people can't be disappointed by the ending (and I am speculating, of course, which is just what the podcast simultaneously invited us to do and warned us against) but the final episode had it all-- new shit, old theories, new possibilities, Deirdre, the phrase "West Side Hitman," and a final (sort of) conclusion about the case and our justice system; this is not to say that I wasn't rooting for The Last Minute Solution and the greatest forty-five minutes of digital audio ever recorded, and it's not to say that I didn't laugh (really hard) at the Funny or Die parody of the ending-- but I was setting the bar low (because that is the key to happiness) and I set it low enough (and I'm not ashamed to admit) that I got a bit teary-eyed at Adnan's last words-- his stoic attitude towards the universe and the case; he leaves Sarah with this: "I think in a sense you leave it up to the audience to determine" but Sarah says she can't do this -- she can't "take a powder" on a conclusion-- and then she says what we know she has to say, and while it's not last second Hail Mary into the end zone (my friend Kevin said it was more like when the quarterback takes a knee in order to preserve a hard fought tie) but I still think it was more than enough-- she provided plenty of drama and thought provoking commentary, brilliant pacing and superb detail and flawless transitions and dense tape-- tape we have listen to, and so we have to really pay attention, we can't just look at it and draw some quick conclusions; generally the only type of drama that can get me all weepy like the last two episodes of Serial are sports stories-- Friday Night Lights and Hoosiers and Rocky, that sort of stuff-- and I think that's how I felt here; I admired the fight, both from Sarah and her "little garden spade" and from Adnan, who allowed this awful time to be pried back open and scrutinized (would a guilty man agree to go through with this?) and even though it's cliche, sometimes you play as hard as you can, and you don't get a result, and that's frustrating and disappointing, but the important thing is that you put it all on the line and played . . . and that's what this podcast and Sarah Koenig and Adnan did . . . I don't think I've ever spent three months following anything this closely: a news story, a TV show, a book, a sports team . . . Serial takes the cake in that department, and now it's finally come time to conclude this sentence and I think I will end with the moral of the story-- endings are hard . . . there's so few that are memorable and perfect (The Shield, The Winter's Tale, and Let the Right One In immediately come to mind) but that's because endings are contrived and in reality there are no endings, things just keep on going, whether we like them or not . . . so hopefully Episode 13 of Serial (otherwise known as the universe that Serial resides in) will eventually provide us more information about the case, but we have to remember that our universe isn't obligated to explicate anything, and so we just do the best we can with what we have.