What Does 'Serial' Have In Store For Episode 3?

by Haley Chouinard

It's no secret that Serial has become one of the most popular podcasts in the country. After capturing the attention of the nation during the first season, Serial host and producer Sarah Koenig took on a bigger, flashier subject for Season 2 — the case of Bowe Bergdahl, the American solider who walked off a military base in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. The new season aims to tell Bergdahl's account of the events in a more candid way than has previously been recorded — and, after the release of Serial Season 2 Episode 2 on Thursday, it's clear that the podcast is definitely succeeding at that. Episode 2 focuses on the beginning of the search for Bergdahl, and features more than just Bergdahl's perspective, bringing in the voices of the soldiers who made up the search party. Like Serial has been known to do, this installment of the series left listeners on a huge cliffhanger, which begs the question: what will Serial Season 2 Episode 3 be about?

At the end of the second episode, Koenig plays a short audio clip of Bergdahl's first hostage video and follows it up by saying that he would spend the next year trying to figure out how to escape. So it would appear that the third episode could be about Bergdahl's time in captivity, and his failed escape attempts, some of which happened during his first year as a prisoner. According to a previous statement Bergdahl made, he tried to escape 12 times while he was held captive. As we know, he never actually manages to escape from the Taliban and was only freed five years later, when the United States government arranged a prisoner swap. The hostage video that Koenig references was released after Bergdahl was transferred to Pakistan.

Given the recent news of Bergdahl's court martial, Koenig could not have picked a more interesting subject for Season 2. Bergdahl's case is still a topic of national interest, and one that people have a lot of opinions about. A lot of people (including politicians and presidential candidates) believe that President Obama's decision to free Bowe by trading several Taliban prisoners was a poor choice, and that Bergdahl was at fault for deserting his post. It's a controversial matter, and one that, given the court martial (which is essentially a military court where Bergdahl is being charged with desertion and could be facing prison time), will remain relevant for some time.

It's fascinating to hear Bergdahl's thoughts on the events in a relatively unfiltered way. Americans are getting the chance to try and understand what happened to Bergdahl, and, if the next episode really is about him trying to escape, then listeners will get insight into what it was actually like to be held prisoner for so long. One thing's for sure: the third episode is bound to be just as gripping as the second.