The NXIVM cult docuseries, which was renewed for Season 2 on Friday and ends its first season on Sunday, reveals how a person's BS detector can be tripped up in this age of QAnon, says Hank Stuever. The Vow, he says, "may well be this dreadful year’s most vital and relevant documentary, and that’s saying a lot, as I’m currently drowning in top-notch documentaries about voter suppression, Russian hacking, White House corruption, racist policing, a dying planet and culture clashes of every kind — all of which have aired or will air before this apocalyptically approaching Election Day. Strong as they are, most of them will only be viewed by people who’ve already heard the alarm bells. The Vow, however, strikes a rawer nerve. On its face, it’s just another story of how badly people can be deceived, especially when they lack self-confidence or an ability to smell a steaming pile. Sympathy for suckers is in short supply these days, especially as one realizes that NXIVM thrived by preying on a privileged class of mostly well-off, mostly White people, many of them trying to make it in Hollywood. To watch The Vow is to recognize how faulty our personal radars have become, no thanks to four-plus years of political gaslighting. The other day I nearly failed an online quiz that asks you to spot fake-news postings on social media. I correctly identified seven and missed three. It was chilling. NXIVM, which at its core was a twisted kind of multilevel marketing scheme, isn’t all that different from QAnon’s Facebook presence or the anti-vaccine movement; Trump University or Vladimir Putin’s robo-network of online infiltrators. You may not be in danger of joining a sex cult or spreading a conspiracy theory, but what about that old friend who is still trying to sell you a lifetime supply of essential oils? What about those scam calls asking for your Apple ID, from unlisted numbers you can somehow never block? In other words, how’s your BS detector holding up these days? That’s what The Vow is really about."