Anyone who is familiar with the true story of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas knows where the season finale of Paramount's Waco miniseries is heading. The show is based on real events that occurred in Waco, Texas in 1993, and will be coming to an end with Day 51 of the Branch Davidians stand-off with the federal government. TV viewers looking for a Season 2 of Waco will be learning that there simply isn't much left to tell in this story after its explosive finish.
CBS reported that by the end of the siege that Waco dramatizes, over 80 people were dead, including religious leader David Koresh. Played by Taylor Kitsch in the show, Koresh is the central figure of the series, and will certainly meet his end in the finale. So if there is any more story left to tell in Waco, it's about the legacy that the Waco siege left. This specific event in history will be fully explored by the time the finale arrives.
Waco is described as an "event series" on the official site, indicating that the show was designed as a one-off, and was never intended to be the beginning of an ongoing, multi-season series. However, the event and the media coverage of it rocked America, and ended up inspiring a variety of actions, some of them resulting in even more loss of life.
Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Houston Chronicle that Waco was "viewed by a huge segment of the American population as evidence of what the government was willing to do to politically heterodox groups." People fearing for their own safety began to react to Waco, newly fearful of their government. "Virtually all the groups on the radical right saw the confrontation as heralding an upcoming battle between the government and its citizens," Potok claimed.
One part of the aftermath of the Waco siege, The New York Times reported, was a rise in militias. Some citizens saw the Waco siege as an example of the government trying to keep American citizens from being able to defend themselves, and formed militias in response. Mike Vanderboegh, a member who joined his militia after Waco, told the Times, "Waco proved to us that citizen disarmament was coming. Scared the crap out of us, and it mobilized [us]."
The Waco siege inspired a great deal of push-back against the government, but no response was more louder or more deadly than the Oklahoma City Bombing. On April 19, 1995, a bomb went off in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building and resulted in the deaths of 168 people, according to Rolling Stone. The magazine also reported that convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh said during his trial, "If you continue this sh*t like Ruby Ridge and Waco, this is what's going to happen." (The 11-day Ruby Ridge stand-off, between federal agents and a family that declared themselves white supremacists, occurred pre-Waco in 1992, per ABC.) The Murrah building housed a branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the agency whose investigation into the Waco Branch Davidian compound led to the siege.
All the signs indicate that the Waco miniseries will be coming to a definitive end on Feb. 28, but the ghost of the siege has been hanging over the country for the past quarter of a century. The coverage of the siege was met in many corners of the United States with government distrust and even reactionary acts of domestic terrorism. Waco won't be continuing on to a second season, but the impact of this tragic event can still be felt today.