REVIEW: Sacred Games S01E02 – Halahala

In episode two of Sacred Games, we learn the backstory of the notorious gangster from the premiere. His full name is Ganesh Gaitonde and his reappearance has caused ripples all throughout Bombay. Sartaj recounts the events of episode one in a statement to his DCP (Deputy Chief of Police), Pallukar. The mystery of the girl shot in the premiere, presumably by Gaitonde, is pondered upon by Sartaj and Pallukar. Was she friend or enemy? Despite what I thought from the last episode, Gaitonde is indeed dead but Sartaj imagines his voice in his head. The episode furthers his origin story through monologue.

The viewer is witness to Gaitonde’s rise to power, and the people he associated with in order to make said rise a reality. A major chunk of episode two consists of the exposition about Gaitonde. It’s a fascinating flashback to witness, what happened in his life after killing his uncle (who he refers to as his second father). The way he methodically chose his allies and came to rule the Bombay underground was masterful. I found it very interesting how his most trusted ally and inside source wasn’t any man but a woman named Kanta Bai. In Hindi “Bai,” or more commonly spelled “Bhai,” means brother. It seems intentional that the writers would choose that name for her. Nawazzudin Siddiqui is playing the hell out of this role.

In present day, Sartaj is suspended from the police force for not being loyal to the precinct in the current trial. Despite this, Sartaj is still investigating Gaitonde and getting to the bottom of his chilling prediction of all of Bombay, with the exception of Trivedi, perishing. The viewer still does not know who Trivedi is, but the name carries some significance to Pallukar and a local politician. This episode introduces a research analyst outside of Pallukar’s precinct, Anjali Mathur, which (alongside a fictional famous actress having a reaction at Gaitonde’s death) exhibits the importance and reach of Gaitonde’s suicide. The episode ends with Anjali discovering a long line of bodies and Sartaj discovering a hidden room full of cash. Both have been carrying on with the investigation even though neither are officially signed to this case.

The introduction of what seems to be the third main character of this series in Anjali is intriguing but also a bit puzzling. So far she seems emotionally removed from the case as opposed to Sartaj, and I wonder how the story will play with this in future episodes. Radhika Aapte is a great actress, but as of episode two her role doesn’t require much ability.

The mysteries of the dead woman and the Bollywood starlet, as well as their connection to Gaitonde, intrigued me more than the episode’s cliffhanger.