Titled “Bardo”, Episode 4 is when the momentum of the show really picks up. Events on both the tracks start rolling out at breakneck speed. With eight days to go till the bomb goes off, Sartaj and Majid are working round the clock to investigate Shahid Khan, who seems to be the epicenter of the attack. Tracking him down is no easy feat, but they finally make some progress via an internet chat room.
Gaitonde takes the viewers on a tour of life on the ashram. Masked as a spiritual haven, it is actually a hot seat for drugs and sex. Through the Guruji’s spiritual teachings, he encourages free sex among his disciples. Why do they do everything the Guruji asks? A little red pill has a lot to do with that. A strong hallucinogenic, both Sartaj and Gaitonde in the past and present fall prey to it. And with such an intoxicating atmosphere for company, Guruji takes a special liking for Gaitonde, both sexually and otherwise.
In another piercing scene from this episode, Majid Khan is speaking to his wife about the rough day at work he has had. And he says that because of his Muslim name, half the people use him and the other half doubt him. Even though it has no connection to the larger narrative, scenes like this make Sacred Games the show it is. It holds a mirror to society today.
Both Kalki and Pankaj Tripathi shine in the ashram scenes in the past and present. Although it is manipulative, they manage to be enigmatic characters played to perfection. It is perhaps these portions that lead to the Osho-Ma Anand Sheela comparisons. We concur, they truly are as terrifying as a duo as they were.
This episode is also when we start seeing shades of grey in Gaitonde’s character. He seems to have softened over the years and is no longer the face of evil we were used to seeing. Seeing his character arc develop further in the upcoming episodes will be a treat to watch!
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