You can’t look away from Waco: American Apocalypse, an immersive three-part revisiting of the tragedy that took place outside Waco, Texas, in 1993.

After a 51-day siege at the compound of the cultlike Branch Davidian religious group, 82 congregants, including 25 children, perished in flames, seemingly at the behest of their leader, David Koresh.

'Waco: American Apocalypse'

(Credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

A warrant had been issued for Koresh, whose group had been stockpiling illegal weapons. Word came of his hold on fellow Davidians, of his having sex with women and girls. An attempt to seize him led to four agents being killed in a shoot-out. Asked if he put his trust in the Lord, Koresh answered, “I am the Lord.”

But this astonishing series also points to bungling by FBI agents in charge that turned a powder-keg situation into something explosive. One agent was “brutally honest about the [bureau’s] failings” in interviews, recalls director Tiller Russell. Some 30 years later, the debate over rights concerning guns and God continues. Says Russell, “When history is at its most compelling…it holds up a mirror to who we are today.”

Waco: American Apocalypse, Premieres Wednesday, March 22, Netflix

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