Yesterday was the last episode of Serial, the most excellent podcast that has taken the world of audio storytelling by storm.
Host Sarah Koenig has made commutes everywhere infinitely better because of her storytelling abilities, and we’re going to miss listening to her every Thursday.
If you’re one of the 5 million people who downloaded it, good luck finding your next fix. I’ve listened to similar podcasts like Criminal and Sword & Scale, but they don’t have that allure that Serial was able to capture.
If you haven’t listened to Serial yet, I’m jealous that you can binge listen all 12 episodes without having to wait a week in between.
In hindsight, I would have liked to have done that.
But you’re probably saying, “Brad, then you would have missed out on reading the amateur detective work on Reddit!”
This is true.
Like I said: I would have liked to binge listen all at once.
Since I have spent a good portion of my free time discussing the podcast with my wife and my friends, and convincing others to listen, I wanted to share a few thoughts I have as the story comes to a close, at least in serial form.
(Yar! There be spoilers ahead.)
1. We were never going to get a satisfying conclusion. As long as you accepted there would be no definitive conclusion to this story, then it was easier to enjoy the ride. Barring some huge bombshell Koenig was holding back, I think we all knew there would be no closure. That said, I’m pretty happy with some of the information that came to light in time for the last episode.
2. It lost steam. In the end, the podcast became became less about the whodunit, and more about hearsay and psychology. While it was fun to think about, it didn’t add a whole lot to the mystery.
3. Adnan should not be in jail. It’s pretty obvious at this point that the state did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Adnan committed this crime. This sounds like a case of the jury not following their instruction, but what do I know?
4. If Adnan is guilty, he’s a good liar. I can’t fathom being in jail for 15 years and never, ever slipping up when it came to telling my side of the story. Saying he can’t remember that day sounds so implausible that it might just be true.
5. There is such a thing as too much information. Before this story was told, hardly any of us had ever heard of Adnan Sayed or Hae Min Lee. But now that we’ve spent so much time crowded around iPhones listening to the episodes, we think we knew these people. This has led to people expressing outrage for various reasons, including a harmless tweet from Best Buy that I’m surprised took so long to see the light of day. People need to get over themselves. The podcast has entered the lexicon of pop culture. Everything’s fair game. Even tweets about a 15-year old murder case. (Don’t even get me started on Redditors discovering Jay’s identity and stalking him on Facebook.)
6. Occam’s Razor might be our only saving grace. After the first four episodes, I repeatedly referred back to the idea that the theory with the fewest assumptions is probably the right theory. That’s Occam’s Razor. And after listening to 12 episodes, and becoming even more confused, that’s the only thought that brings me comfort.
Possibly the best result we get from this podcast are the copycats that are sure to follow. Now that it’s been proven there is an appetite for podcasts told in installments, I’m sure we will see many podcasters try to emulate the success of this one.
Speaking from the perspective of someone who spends two hours in a car every day driving to work, I’m surely not going to complain.