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HBO’s explosive documentary series The Vow has ended this past Sunday. Or has it? The documentary series about the take down of the cult NXIVM and its leader Keith Raniere finished its first season on a surprising note.
Everything seemed to be tied up into a perfect bow. Raniere was put into federal custody with a whole host of charges against him including sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor. Multiple people featured in the documentary talk of abuse, manipulation, and some were even forced to recieve a brand of Keith’s initials. After a brief flight to Mexico, Raniere was extradited back to the United States. Nearly every single one of his co-conspirators were also arrested as well. In a moment of pure catharsis, Keith’s many victims were shown celebrating together having put their tormentor behind bars. The remaining survivors’ nightmare had finally come to an end. However, after this joyous success, the documentary doesn’t end. Instead, we cut to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. In a shocking twist, Keith speaks to the documentary filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer on the phone.
“Your side is only the very top layer. And depending on what you’re willing to present as the truth, it can go very deep. So, talk to me.”
The Vow season one placed a very heavy focus on former NXIVM members as they left the cult behind and pursued Reniere legally. What is being offered with Raniere’s final phone call is his side of the story. The ending of the documentary also teased Reniere’s fellow convicted NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman sitting down for an interview. For the first time, we will hear this story from the perspective of its villains. HBO was quick to post a teaser for The Vow: Part 2, which promises to dive into Raniere’s 2019 trial. Season two is due to come out 2021.
If you don’t want to wait until 2021 to go deeper into the layers of mystery within NXIVM, then you’re in luck. The Vow isn’t the only documentary series about Keith Raniere and NXIVM out at the moment. Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult on Starz feels almost like a companion series to The Vow. Several important figures from The Vow make reappearances in Seduced. One of the most notable is Catherine Oxenberg, who’s harrowing fight to save her daughter India in The Vow made her a fan favorite. Unlike The Vow, in Seduced we actually hear from India herself. Now reformed and out of the cult, India is able to recount her own experiences. While The Vow often feels more like a character study than a documentary at times, Seduced gives a chronological top down look at NXIVM.
As for Raniere, he was ultimately convicted last year of racketeering and sex-trafficking charges. His sentencing is on the horizon, but keeps getting pushed back due to motions filed by Keith’s lawyers.
Kelly Levine is a screenwriting student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and an intern at AfterBuzz TV. She hopes to one day pursue a career in television writing and production. Kelly loves television, movies, and all things nerdy in pop culture!
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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