There is rarely a time that I’m not right when I say that the second season of a show is never quite as good as the first. I believe it happens as a way to bait watchers into ‘hoping’ that things will pick up and sucking us all into a third season. It’s a magic trick that works and we all come back! An amazing second season is a rare bird!
Such a rarity is the television show from Israel with PRISONERS OF WAR: Season Two. To be very honest, after watching this first season I spent weeks thinking about this series and took my time in writing it up. The first season was gripping, moving, sad, frightening and intriguing all rolled into one. I even gave it a four tubs out of five because something told me this wasn’t over – and it wasn’t.
Season two begins where we left off discovering that Amiel Ben Horin is alive! Having become a Muslim and living in Syria, he is living with Jamal (Salim Dau), one of the terrorists. Jamal took Horin in, changed his name to Yussuf and put him to teach his son Ismail (Abdallah El Akal).
Back in Israel, Nimrod (Yoram Toledano) is living on his own away from wife Talia (Yael Abecassis), daughter Dana (Yael Eitan) and son Hatzav (Guy Selnik). Living the high life Nimrod seems to be trying to make up for what he considers a lost life. Talia also begins to realize what she has lost in the 17 years Nimrod was gone.
Hatzav knows that his parents are dealing with their problems but he is also scared time draws closer to when he must do his time in the military. Dana is still up to her ridiculousness pushing people’s buttons but boyfriend Ehud (Doron Amit) gives her some focus.
Uri (Ishai Golan) and Nurit (Mili Avital) have moved in together to discover where there lives are now all these years later. But Uri can not shake a recording he and Nimrod discovered that points to Amiel being alive. Unable to continue pretending things are normal, Uri goes to Haim (Gal Zaid) and tells him everything.
Haim and Iris (Sendi Bar) slowly begin to uncover that one of their own Dr. Kaplan (Shimon Mimran) is working on something that no one else knows about called Operation Judah. Going to Kaplan, Haim believes they can work together but, as always, nothing is what it seems.
Yael (Adi Ezroni) has changed things in her life as well. Missing her brother Amiel is never far from her thoughts but Yael has begun to return to life. She gets a little help from Yinon (Jonathan Uziel), a good looking and funny young man that brings light into her life.
There lives became connected 17 years ago with one event – an event that holds serious consequences for them all!
FINAL WORD: Once again Yoram Toledano as Nimrod is such a phenomenal actor. Toledano continues to give the character of Nimrod intensity, confusion and pain that just never goes away. Watching him this season become practically a teenager reliving lost youth, part of me just kept say ‘he’ll get it out of his system’ but did so biting my lip. Yes, I wanted Nimrod and Talia to reunite and have another chance and this season gives us the answer whether we like it or not.
Ishai Golan as Uri is equally a phenomenal actor. There is such a huge sorrow in this character that just hurt my heart. This season it is Uri who says ‘enough!’ and will do whatever he can to bring Amiel home. He goes into detective mode to follow the clues but isn’t sure how they are connected. Golan still has the look of a wounded human being with haunting eyes that just draw you in and this season he captures our hearts.
Abecassis as Talia does some changing of her own this season. Realizing that she is not getting any younger decides its time to stop waiting for the past to catch up but instead make a future. I really enjoy Abecassis’ characters personal growth. Eitan as Dana is just a girl who just absolutely rubs me the wrong way and continues it this season. Selnik as Hatzav has his own fears with the military calling for him.
Avital as Nurit has left her husband and son for a life with Uri. The problem is she hasn’t deal with her own guilt that has lasted 17 years. Ezroni as Yael has grown this season and letting someone into her life. It’s good to see her moving on and when Amiel is discovered – well, that’s a scene worth watching.
Zaid as Haim is the calm force in this crazy chaos! Following each lead, he is not about to let anyone get over on him – not even a colleague. Along with Bar as Iris are crazed with finding out who knows what, when they knew it and for how long. The latter is what will shock everyone!
Other cast include: Salim Dau as Jamal, Hadar Rotem as Leila, Yousef Sweid as Abdallah, Dalik Volonitz as Dr. Shmuel Ostrovsky, Nevo Kimchi as Ilan Feldman, Makram Khoury as Sheikh Qasab, Youset Sweid as Rashid, Sinai Peter as Atar and Boaz Conforti as Oren.
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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give PRISONERS OF WAR: Season Two four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Yes, I’m saving the last half for Season Three because there has to be one!
The intrigue is intense, the flashbacks tell their own story and the plot of the series is staggering. There are bits from the first season that carry over and I was irritated that I didn’t catch them. The writing is just stellar and I can not begin to say enough about the acting.
This is the kind of series that makes it impossible to stop watching. Instead, carve out a few hours of time because once you begin, like me you will demand to know how it ends. Each character finds redemption, forgiveness and acceptance but in their own unique ways. I had to admit without giving anything away, I did get teary eyed in a few places.
Each actor is brilliantly put in their right character. There is such a sense of sadness for Nimrod and Uri, and even a little anger at Amiel. Of course this is intentionally but creator Gaff wrote the series in such a way that it’s absolutely alright with me because I’m in it for the long haul.
It is a non-stop and never ending storyline that delves into the dark side of human beings, war and the fanatic ideals of those who would seek to do harm. I seriously can not say enough wonderful things about this series and suggest highly to get PRISONERS OF WAR Seasons one and two!
Since 2011, PRISONERS OF WAR has been the number one drama in Israel and I don’t find that hard to believe at all. The second seasons’ DVD includes the bonus features Introduction by Gideon Raff, Cast Interviews and Episode Commentaries. Gideon Raff created, wrote and directed PRISONERS OF WAR which became the US version HOMELAND.
In the end – it is time for answers and a chance for life!