MH370: The Plane That Disappeared Postmortem Documentary Review, 3 Theories on What the Hell Happened

One of the greatest mysteries of the 21st Century is what happened to MH370. The missing Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared on its way to China and almost ten years later we still don’t have a positive identification as to what exactly happened.

MH370: The Plane That Disappeared is Netflix’s newest documentary covering what happened. It presents three theories. One involves the pilot purposefully crashing the plane, another accuses Russian hijackers, and the other involves a major conspiracy with the United States and China both involved.

I’m going to add a spoiler alert here because rather than review this incredible documentary, I’d like to react to the three theories and my feelings on each.

MH370 Theory: The Pilot Did It

Zaharie Ahmad Shah became the Richard Jewell in this story at one point. The main pilot was theorized to have purposefully crashed the plane into the ocean in an apparent suicide. The evidence of this is so weak and always has been. 

The way the documentary reenacts this and the other two theories was done brilliantly. We see how Zaharie would’ve pulled this off. It’s the first one presented in the documentary. Both the simplest and one with the fewest hoops to jump through, there just isn’t enough of a reason for him to take so many lives with him. What’s more, if he was going to kill himself and others, one would think there would be more evidence. The plane doesn’t need to disappear.

MH370 Theory: The Russians Did It

Blaming the Russians has become a popular theme. The Tetris Murders, another documentary pointing the finger at them, has a far more conceivable plot in terms of connecting the dots to Moscow. The somewhat eccentric Jeff Wise, the man who presents the first two theories in this documentary, takes a couple of leaps for this theory. There are quite a few holes in it.

One of those holes I’m not convinced has much merit is how Blaine Gibson, a proclaimed adventurer, has found multiple pieces of the plane close to Africa. Wise makes the suggestion that Gibson is actually connected to the Russians. This gives the documentary a fun little back-and-forth bickering session between the two. I wouldn’t put it past Gibson to plant these false pieces of evidence for the attention alone, not just to help the Russians cover something up.

MH370 Theory: The US Shot Down the Plane

French journalist Florence de Changy tackles this third theory. It makes the most sense but does require the most steps. She proposes the idea that there was some kind of cargo on-board getting delivered to China. When the pilot refused to land the plane, the US had no choice but to shoot it down.

There actually are several threads of evidence making this a possibility. Eyewitnesses have made claims giving this a ton of merit. Logically, it fits. However, there just isn’t enough to make this the definitive conclusion.

MH370: The Plane That Disappeared is not like most documentaries. Elements of true crime, conspiracy, and acts of war are all sprinkled in. This is a huge mystery I’m not sure we’ll ever see publicly solved. The way each episode led up to a separate theory worked incredibly well. I postponed my lunch break to finish it.

Overall Score: 10 out of 10

There isn’t much more MH370: The Plane That Disappeared could’ve done to improve itself. The theories, the mystery, and zaniness of Wise and Gibson made this a much more fun watch than similar documentaries. I could’ve used a lot more of those two. They definitely hate each other and honestly, if there was one area to improve, it would’ve been with those two in a ring together for three rounds.

A special shout out for Wise for his line in response to some of the other theories out there: “Sometimes you feel like you’re drowning in horse shit.”

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