Jim and I have seen episode three of HBO’s Chernobyl series, “Open Wide, O Earth”, and are shaken by the graphic depiction of the Chernobyl first responders’ last days. We get to see the horror from multiple perspectives, the victims themselves, the and the friends and family who struggle to cope with this strange manner of death and the danger it poses to them. Meanwhile as the Soviets manage to contain and stop the fire, we gear up for the long war ahead; to fully contain the death and destruction of Chernobyl it will require 750k lives and three years of sacrifice. Will they be up for the challenge? And will they solve the mystery of the reactor’s destruction, so that it might never happen again? All this plus some light discussion on the relative merits of free market capitalism vs centrally planned economies in feedback. You know, kids stuff.
Jim and I strap on our lead shielding and check our dosimeters before doing a deep dive into the second installment of Chernobyl, the HBO miniseries about the doomed nuclear facility. In “Please Remain Calm”, the stakes increase as the lives of over 60 million Europeans are threatened by the crisis, and decisions are made that will lead to the deaths of individuals to potentially save millions.
Chernobyl is already one of the most fascinating and relevant disaster movies I can think of, and we’re only one episode into it’s five episode run. “1:23:45” does a great job of introducing us to the men and women that will be affected by the nuclear power plant’s explosion, sets up the political dysfunction that will impede the increasingly desperate and heroic attempts to contain the environmental catastrophe, and visually and audibly highlight the dangerous, hellish conditions the rescue workers and plant technicians were forced to confront. Is the Chernobyl disaster a uniquely Soviet phenomenon? Could something like this happen in the West? And what lessons about a pervasive culture of lying and misinformation can we apply to our lives today? We hash out these questions and much more.