‘Waco’ Sequel Series Is A Brutal Punch To The Gut: REVIEW

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“Waco: The Aftermath” wrapped up Friday, and the series definitely exceeded expectations.

The original six-part series with Michael Shannon and Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh aired in 2018 and focused solely on the 51-day standoff between the Branch Davidians and federal authorities at Mount Carmel in Texas.

It was the most famous standoff in American history. By the time the situation was over, 82 Branch Davidians and four federal agents had died. The attempt to arrest Koresh failed miserably, became a horrific black eye for the federal government and ended in mass loss of life.

The 2018 series was outstanding, and “Waco: The Aftermath” shines a light on the brutal fallout that followed.

“Waco: The Aftermath” tells the story of what happened after the siege ended. (Photo by Shelly Katz / Liaison)

“Waco: The Aftermath” is definitely worth watching.

Michael Shannon returned for the sequel as famed FBI negotiator Gary Noesner, and his new focus is stopping extremism in America that is spreading in response to the deaths at Waco.

At the same time, several Branch Davidians are on trial for their alleged roles in the siege. There’s no real need for spoiler alerts here.

The fallout has been well-documented, and the worst of the situation was Timothy McVeigh blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was two years to the day that the Branch Davidians’ compound went up in flames in Texas.

McVeigh’s evil actions were directly tied to what happened at Waco. He protested during the siege and two years later killed 168 people.

In the series’ premiere, Noesner states, “I just feel this undercurrent of rage in America, and I think we helped create the monster we’re trying to stop.”

That’s a theme that carries the entire way through “Waco: The Aftermath.” Noesner and other officials are attempting to figure out what response is coming, but failed to do so. McVeigh slipped through their grasp, and it cost 168 people their lives.

The series also follows the criminal cases.

The other part of “Waco: The Aftermath” is the focus on the trial of four survivors. I would encourage everyone to do their own reading on the trials that followed the horrific siege.

The show definitely appeared to take some artistic liberties with how the situation in court played out. It’s understandable. Movies and TV shows juice storylines for entertainment reasons.

Having said that, the point was crystal clear. Many wanted blood from the Branch Davidians and didn’t care at what cost it came.

“Waco: The Aftermath” is outstanding. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of SHOWTIME.)

Let’s be clear, there are no heroes in this show. In fact, there’s a great scene with defense attorney Dan Cogdell (Giovanni Ribisi) when he makes it crystal clear they might be not guilty of the charges they’re facing, but the Branch Davidians are far from angels.

More than anything, the main theme of “Waco: The Aftermath” is that situations rarely get better when communication breaks down. Painting those you disagree with as the enemy and subhuman doesn’t yield positive results. It makes people bitter and more than willing to make horrible decisions.

Michael Shannon stars as Gary Noesner in “Waco: The Aftermath.” (Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/SHOWTIME)

You won’t walk away from watching “Waco: The Aftermath” feeling good or happy. Quite the opposite, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching. It’s a must-watch for anyone who loves history. Yes, there have been some liberties taken, but overall, it’s still an outstanding series. Michael Shannon’s time on screen as Gary Noesner might be the best of his career, and Ribisi is also great as Cogdell.

“Waco: The Aftermath” is very dark. (Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/SHOWTIME)

You can catch the whole series on Showtime. For those who have watched, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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