Israeli political and action thriller Fauda’s Season 4 on Netflix has brought to screen exactly what its title means — chaos, chaos and chaos.
The opening scene with its high-tenacity chase sequence draws you in, setting the tone for the rest of the season. Every single second counts in the current season as the squad tries to keep up Adel — Omar’s cousin who is backed by Hezbollah and has become as influential as some of the leaders of Hamas. With tumult at its core, that’s what Fauda has achieved with extreme complexity and sensitivity.
The production has gone international for the first time since its debut in 2015. Set in the streets of Brussels, this season follows and chases (quite literally) anti-hero Doron Kavillio (played by series co-creator Lior Raz) and his risky expedition to unearth the relationship between Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and Palestinian militants in the West Bank. It seems to be Doron’s most dangerous mission after three whole seasons.
As the episodes progress, the plot unravels itself and the script slowly peels off the layers of the characters. It seems that the final season’s focus is on Doron himself — known for his characteristic scowl, hot-tempered nature and irritability. The show places emphasis on un-layering the character to highlight his relationship with his past, especially when his ex-boss Captain Ayub is contacted by an agent in Brussels. With every plot development, Doron’s emotional stability is battered. But it’s all about watching him carry on.
In the previous seasons, Doron’s eyes were bare, lifeless and almost empty. But in season 4, the character has softened, his eyes hold a bit of light as he begins to open up and have more tender moments with people around him. “Let her go”, he says to a shattered Steve when the latter confides in Doron that his partner is leaving him.
Reinventing every season
Fauda’s achievements, apart from its stellar action performances and a sensitive interpretation of a tense geopolitical landscape, is also in the manner in which it has reinvented itself over the past few seasons. Viewers are not tired, instead they are promised more guts and grit with every season. And season four is no different. This could also be read as the show’s way of expanding itself to more international audiences since its broadcast on Netflix as well as Israeli TV.
Fauda and its artistic vision cannot be merely reduced to purely high entertainment value. Its creators, Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, have been able to embed the personal and political so deeply that it cannot be seen without. The show has brought awareness of territories, the extensive amount of resources that are poured into maintaining the occupation and steers clear from marking the Palestinian as the homogenous other. It also manages to showcase Palestinian talent to Israeli viewers.
Its resounding success also inspired an Indian remake called Tanaav, created by Sudhir Mishra.
However, the show creators have clarified that Fauda is not a “political manifesto”, but is definitely an attempt to give viewers perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and a more renewed perspective since the riots of May 2021.
The award winning show in a way sets the benchmark for content in 2023 — viewers are ready to consume content that’s complex and engages with their political and social surroundings regardless of how far they may be placed from them.
What happens when Doron feels the guilt of losing his team members? Can he serve Israel one more time? Get ready for a gut-wrenching and intense series finale, as Doron and his team do whatever it takes in their encounter with Shin Bet, the Israel security agency.
(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)