Saturday, August 17, 2019

Round Two: Our Boys

Our Boys: Season 1, Episode 2 “Chapter 2: I Love Toto” (B+)

This episode aired immediately after the pilot, but I wanted to review it separately since the first two installments were produced separately. This show is premiering at a very interesting time as Israel is in the spotlight for the questionable policy decisions of its prime minister regarding the admission of two Congresswomen into the country, and I don’t think that this show will help with any sort of public relations. That said, it is a tremendously involving and honest depiction of the layers of society in Israel, with tensions understandably high as a result of the events depicted here but also emblematic of deeper historical and cultural decisions. This episode was grounded by the incredible performance by actor Jony Arbid as Hussein, who, frustrated by the inaction of the Israeli police, chose to go with them to the station despite all of his neighbors warning him not to, and ended up being interrogated and not told that his son has already been found brutally murdered. I neglected to note in my pilot reaction that Simon, the one investigator who believes that Jews are indeed responsible for this revenge killing, is played by Shlomi Elkabetz, brother of the late, great actress Ronit Elkabetz. The two directed “Gett: The Trial of Vivianne Amsalem,” a superb look at the difficulties of religious divorce. I’m impressed with how this show manages to make me feel like I’m right there, experiencing it all, and I plan to keep watching to learn more. I hope other viewers will too, and won’t make any problematic, generalizing real-life assumptions based on events depicted thus far that can lead to the kind of conflict that is emerging here.