Breathe: Season 1 Episode 2 Recap - The Hunt Begins
A gripping ride for the audience, as this episode of Breathe brings forth twists in the story.
The episode starts with gripping music in the background and we see an intense Danny going around the city, stalking people from the Organ Donors’ list in the previous episode’s climax, and clicking their photos. He is no longer the sweet & gentle Danny, and his eyes tell me that soon, he will have a hell of a tale to tell.
Danny is sitting at home in front of his laptop with a search bar that reads, “How to make a person brain dead?” Hesitation fills him to the brim before clicking on ‘enter’. He stares at the key for a few seconds...the last stage before he loses his innocence. Finally, he clicks on the key and the opening theme for the series starts. I am hoping that this episode will lift up my hopes which were let down by episode 1.
Danny sets up his base-camp for the new task at a small warehouse he owns far from his home, which looks like an old sports room. Here, he conducts his research and preparation. From ‘B’ to ‘H’, he tries to get a hold of every detail about ‘Brain Death’.
Meanwhile, Kabir and Ria’s estranged marriage worsens when the former visits her at her workplace - an art gallery, and gets into an argument regarding whether or not to sell their house. The house; his wife is ready to let go and move on, while he clings to it along with its tragic past.
Further into the episode, we see Danny’s preparation taking some serious turns as he shuffles through the photographs of his to-be victims, to choose his first prey. He takes heavy breaths and without looking at the contents of the photograph, randomly chooses his first prey – 63-year-old Sudhir Verma from North Mumbai. Madhavan’s expressions along with the background score provide just the perfect amount of intensity required in the scene.
The stalking resumes and Danny spies on Verma using a camera, from a building which reads, “Construction site temporarily closed”, opposite the latter’s apartment. Surprisingly, I feel the bar of expectations lifting a little. I want to know whether or not Danny will kill someone! Though, it’ll be a disappointment if he doesn’t. So the only question is – HOW?
During Danny’s first day of spying, we get a glimpse of his phone cover which is an image of Walter White (Breaking Bad protagonist). Perhaps, this is the makers’ way of paying their respects to the legendary character W.W., a gentle person at the beginning of the series, who eventually transforms into a ruthless, cold-hearted criminal towards the end of the series just for the sake of his family.
Over the course of four days, Danny makes a note of every single detail about Verma’s activities. On the 5th day, he decides to visit Verma! I am secretly hoping that he gets caught or at least some thread knots up in the story due to this visit. He reaches the society with a huge gift box covering his face to avoid the security guard’s eye. He rings Verma’s doorbell and comes face to face with him! But ah, he doesn’t kill him, just acts like a man who has lost his way to another apartment and scans the drawing-room. Verma is getting a few days more to live; such disappointment.
Finally a twist! On the 6th day, Danny gets to know that Verma is asthmatic and feels let down with the old man since what his son needs is – a pair of lungs. He packs his stuff and leaves the building. I wonder if he’ll still go after the imperfect pair of lungs or move on to the next photograph.
The plot changes and we can see what’s inside Ria’s world, for the first time in the series. She asks a colleague of hers – Sameer, about a lawyer phone number regarding her divorce. It appears from Ria and Sameer’s conversation that Kabir’s obsession with his past is the reason for their divorce. This scene too, like a lot of scenes in the series has been overly dramatized, and the casual flirting between the duo hints that Sameer might become a subject of jealousy for Kabir.
The episode unveils that Aruna (Josh’s doctor) and Danny are dating. On a date, Danny plays his wit-card and uses a friend’s asthma problem as an excuse to clear his doubts about how to plan Asthmatic Verma’s murder. Once again, this scene failed to live up to my expectations (maybe I’m expecting way too much from this series), thanks to the high-school melodrama.
In the meantime, Kabir visits Prakash for the latter’s 16th wedding anniversary. Prakash’s family in Breathe is what Katekar’s was in Sacred Games. It fills the emptiness on the screen with the obvious but delightful humour of mundane life. Here, he sees Prakash’s daughter making some drawings and is instantly reminded of Shreya. Sadh depicts his character Kabir’s emotions with such beauty...it is going to be a thrilling ride to see how his character transforms as the story advances.
The next day, we see Danny remove the cross from his neck before he heads out. So this is it! This is probably the last day Verma breathes. Danny arrives at Verma’s apartment and is terrified beyond imagination. He stands in front of the main door, puts on his gloves, brings his hand forward to ring the doorbell and freezes before the action begins. Ring it...Ring it.... Sadly, he draws his hand back and begins to descend the flight of stairs. While heading down, he comes across a hallucination of his family and his ears ring with his wife’s last words, “Danny, you promised me (To take care of Josh).”
The scene changes to Danny’s house where Josh is playing Snakes & Ladders with his Granny while Danny watches him play. When Josh asks him to play along, he refuses, saying that he’s tired and needs some rest. He looks exhausted...I wonder what he has been up to in the past few hours.
Josh complains that grownup people are boring and says that he doesn’t want to and will never grow up. To this, Danny asks him to sit on his lap and tells him that he has no choice but to grow up. Danny talks about what it takes to be a ‘good dada’. Gradually, he starts talking to himself rather than his son. He says, “Jab kisi parent ko pata chalta hai ki uske bache ka future daao pe hai...toh vo uske lie kuch bhi kar sakta hai”. The sudden appearance of a cold look in Madhavan’s eyes hints at SOMETHING!
The story rewinds to the moment back at Verma’s apartment. Danny rings the doorbell and pushes Verma to the floor as soon as the door is opened. A shocked Verma tries to speak but cannot seem to gather words. The same soft-spoken and gentle Danny now holds a knife in his hand. He makes Verma run on the treadmill to induce an Asthma attack and uses some dust from the vacuum cleaner to speed up the process. Verma breathes and sweats profusely but Danny wears his coldness fiercely. Verma gets a major asthmatic attack and tries to crawl towards his inhaler. Danny picks it up before he does, exhausts the pump and hands over the empty inhaler to Verma. In a few seconds, Verma becomes unconscious and a petrified Danny rushes out of the apartment.
The next scene brings us to a hospital where Verma’s family is waiting outside the ICU and Danny is sitting a few feet away from them to hear the confirmation of Verma’s death. A doctor walks out of the ICU and informs that Verma is not dead and instead has slipped into a coma, a condition which he can come out of at any time. While Danny is recovering from the unexpected turn of events, Verma’s toddler grandson who witnessed the attempted murder is looking at him. Danny walks away with his face full of terror and anxiety. He fears if this will make his worst nightmare come true – his son’s death.
I ought to say, the makers and the actors have done a commendable job in this episode titled ‘The Hunt Begins’. Though there was some complimentary melodrama in this suspense thriller, the knot in the thread towards the end of the episode seemed worth it! I am anxious to know what happens to Verma and who will Danny hunt next?
Episode Rating: 3/5