Life & Culture

Fauda series four TV review: The gruffmeister tells the world about Israel

Season three lost its way but fear not - season four starts with a bang...


Netflix | ★★★★✩

Guess who’s back? The gruffmeister. The last Jewish action hero. Stocky shlocky. Bald Zelensky. It’s… Doron “Killio” Kavillio! Fauda Season 4 is out, baby, and this time it’s personal. Well actually, every time is personal, which I guess is kind of the point.

It’s personal for the specialist IDF unit tasked with operating inside the Palestinian territories, it’s personal for the Palestinian terrorists they’re chasing, and it’s personal for those caught in between.

Kicking off in similar circumstances to the first season, with Doron called back into action just…one…last…time, this isn’t a bad spot to jump aboard the Fauda juggernaut.

Instantly shooting to the top of Netflix charts in various countries around the world, most notably across the Middle East, with bilingual flip-flopping between Hebrew and Arabic and a somewhat even-handed approach to the conflict, the show obviously resonates further afield than might be expected.

Regular action scenes probably help, and with the lead Lior Raz along with co-creator Avi Issacharoff basing the series on their own experiences in a similar army unit, these have an authenticity marking them out from traditional Hollywood fare.

It’s also rare to see a nuanced take, certainly in the guise of an action thriller, on the ever-complicated and seemingly intractable dynamic that exists between the different peoples in the region.

The title is Arabic for chaos, and Fauda captures the escalating and unexpected effects of violence, but it never forgets it is a TV show with the desire to entertain, and so guides that mayhem via a twisty plot. This season the Israelis get bitten as Palestinian double agents become triple agents, and a lifetime of machinations from the big boss come home to roost.

That takes the action abroad, and there’s some fun to be had, and a point to be made, at Doron’s frustrations by how he’s restricted by local laws. Mind you, the pugilistic manner he smokes a cigarette, so that you end up feeling sorry for the cigarette, is indicative of someone who doesn’t need much excuse to explode.

There are snippets of shoddy acting across the board, perhaps the price to be paid for an authentic cast, but what will strike anyone unfamiliar with the series, or for that matter anyone unfamiliar with Israel, is how physically intertwined the different populations are, enough to put to rest any claims of Israel being a white colonialist project.

It should also be pointed out that with terrorists constantly banging on about killing the Jews, they obviously didn’t get the memo from BDS supporters and the like that “anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism”.

Season three at times lost its way, but this season has started strong. All the parts are quickly in play, and with a team we’ve come to know and feel for, the stakes couldn’t be higher. I haven’t made it far enough to see how it ties up, though, but I suspect it’s not in declarations of peace. Which makes another season fortunately, and unfortunately, likely.

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