So I watched this…
Episode 1 is a fairly pedestrian doco retelling of the days following the plane’s disappearance. It features some sad interviews with select family members of those on the flight, along with copious cutaways to snippets of tv anchors talking about the story. It sticks to the factual information.
Episode 2 continues in the same direction until around half way through when it starts on this guy’s alternative theory which is that the russians hijacked the plane, sent it to crash in kazakhstan, to distract from their invasion of Ukraine in 2014. The following evidence was presented in its favour:
- Three russian nationals were onboard
- It was possible to turn off the avionics of the plane from a hatch near the first class cabin
- Some satellite data pointed to the plane going south in the indian ocean, but it is possible to hack the system on the plane to make it pretend like it went south when it actually went north.
- The timing is coincidental
- With what happened to MH17 later in the year, it’s clear the Russians have no qualms downing a plane when they want to.
You can see the huge leap of logic to go from ‘this is perhaps theoretically possible’ to ‘this is something with a non-trivial probability of actually occurring and should be shared with the world’. In fact, the whole theory is based on a dumb premise: ‘what if the one piece of data we have of the plane’s trajectory from these satellites is actually wrong or fabricated by hijackers?!’ Come on now, this isn’t serious inquiry.
It was at this point I feared the doco had completely jumped the shark, but then after laying out the ‘hijacking’ theory they cut immediately to two different guys who tear it apart for the following reasons: 1) You can’t control the plane controls from this avionics hatch, and 2) the satellite analysis giving hints to the planes direction had never been done before, so why would the hijackers think to hack the system in a way that to sabotage something that isnt even normal use case and noone had yet thought to use before.
Then when the plane debris starts showing up on the beaches of Africa, the guy who presented the hijack theory mostly recants it right after. Makes me wonder why they even bothered talking about it in the first place…
There are also interviews with two family members who for understandable reasons are highly emotive around MH370 and would very much like to have people they can blame for their grief that are still alive (unlike the captain). So when new evidence appears, they do mental gymnastics to rebuff it. E.g. “oh many of the debris pieces were found by this guy who has links to Russia”, “Oh, it was the fbi that determined the captain’s flight simulator had him practicing this route once? Of course the americans would say that, they are deliberately hiding the truth!”
The fact is that we can’t prove to 100% certainty what happened to the plane. To some people, that is somehow a damning thing and allows us to conjecture and speculate whatever we want and that becomes just as valid as any prevailing hypothesis of what occurred. They don’t seem capable of weighing up probabilities, and judging which of the explanations and interpretations of data is most intuitive and direct.
The show never condones these alternative viewpoints, and since it is mostly family members giving them then they probably get a pass right? But I don’t really see a reason for including them in a documentary in the first place, unless the documentary makers have their own doubts that the captain took the plane down to the southern indian ocean in a sad case of murder-suicide. Despite what the documentary chooses to include, any thinking person watching it will come away with the conclusion that this is the most likely explanation that we’ll probably ever have.
So in conclusion, the three episode series could have easily been condensed to 2 episodes, or even 1 extra long feature, and would have been better that way. I wouldn’t recommend watching it unless you want to have a refresher on what was learned when, there is nothing to really gain out of this documentary that you wouldn’t have gotten from following the news about mh370. But it isn’t wholesale peddling conspiracy theories.