Sacred Games: Season 1 Episode 8 Recap - Yayati
Yayati, the final chapter of the first season of Sacred Games, brings us closer to the truth without actually providing any answers.
Sacred Games takes us through a wild ride in the first season. While certain plot points seem more like conveniences (really, Anjali, I liked you, but I’m not surprised that you’re dead), overall the story telling narrative of the show has been fast paced and engaging.
I was excited for the finale which begins with Anjali’s dead body being discovered. Sartaj is still on the train trying to figure out what’s in the tankers and who’s behind the operation. As police officers start clearing out Anjali’s body and investigating the crime scene, they find an eye witness describe Malcolm Murad. They show him a photograph of the man and he confirms that Malcolm is the killer.
Sartaj meanwhile gets off the train, when it reaches its destination and is immediately surrounded by goons with guns. He’s taken to a room and tied up. Murad appears and begins to torture him. He chops off his thumb! Poor Sartaj sits their bleeding and vulnerable. Murad is speaking philosophically about thing meant to be. Like, both of them being there in this moment, at this time. Murad is about to strike Sartaj again (Murder him? Chop another finger off maybe?) when the police appears on the scene with loudspeakers, sirens and guns. Murad goes out to check the commotion and Sartaj frees himself.
A cat and mouse game ensues as they Sartaj tries to catch him and Murad tries to flee. Really? Murad should have just picked up a gun and shot him. I mean, the man has already has a finger chopped off. He’s operating on half capacity. But of course, our hero can’t die. And so Murad runs away as Sartaj faints, after I’m assuming having lost too much blood. The police find a warehouse filled with illegal guns. That’s probably what was in the tankers and being smuggled in illegally. However, given the sheer number of guns, it’s not clear what the purpose was. It can’t be for a war in the middle of a city. There were too many guns for a guerrilla attack. Perhaps it was a smuggling operation, but why would you choose Mumbai as a base is unclear. Why not a smaller town with less scrutiny?
In Gaitonde’s storyline, we see him in jail being beaten brutally by Parulkar. He thinks that Trivedi and Bhonsle are behind this torture that he’s going through. He reunites with his friend Mathu who’s also in jail. His gang comes to meet him and he tells them that he thinks he’s not going to make it. This man who thought he was God is having an identity crisis because he’s discovering his own vulnerabilities. In order to cheer him up, his gang send him a girl for a conjugal visit along with some food.
The girl comes in a burka and we discover that it’s Zoya. Except that her name is Jameela and she’s from Afghanistan (not Pakistan as I’d previously assumed). She is kind to him and this is probably where their association starts. After she leaves, he opens the box to discover a small knife inside. This is another one of those moments that seems unlikely. He’s in prison. Surely, they checked the box before letting the girl in and letting a weapon inside a prison. But it does get inside. He uses this to attack Isa’s men and some goons troubling Mathu in jail. This earns him around a month in solitary confinement.
Dilbagh Singh (Sartaj’s father) is working at the station and takes pity on him. He gives Gaitonde a torch, so he can see in the darkness. This feels metaphorical and foreshadows an event that takes place later in the episode.
In present day, Sartaj is in the hospital, recovering. I hope they’ve stitched his finger back. Things are serious now because a RAW agent is dead. (Why were things not serious before? Mumbai will be destroyed in 25 days was not enough to be taken seriously?) Anyway, Trivedi is implicated. Murad’s fingerprints are all over Trivedi’s home. Sartaj visits Anjali’s funeral and it is an extremely somber affair. Bhonsle is questioned. He rambles off incoherently about saving the city but won’t clearly explain what he means. Instead he tells the police department, somewhat sarcastically, to figure it out since they are such great investigators.
Sartaj goes back to the crime scene of Gaitonde’s death to try and find any clues that they may have missed. We see the mandala on the floor again. This symbol really does keep popping up everywhere.
Gaitonde is being tortured rather badly. In solitary, they aren’t giving him food or water for days. He feels like an empty shell of a man. He wonders about who’s behind all this brutality. His voiceover tells us that while he didn’t know it at that time, it was his third father. We know the third father is played by Pankaj Tripathi. But we still don’t know much else about the man other than the fact that he’s a Guruji of some sort who preaches to a wide following.
13 Days Left
Sartaj is visiting his mother again. He is trying to figure out the connection between his father and Gaitonde. He doesn’t understand why Gaitonde would remember his father dearly enough, to call his son decades later. They obviously had a deeper connection, but he doesn’t know what it is. The mother is irritated at first and keeps reiterating that her husband was a good man. Then she shares that he was stationed at the police station when Gaitonde was in jail. And he speaks of Dilbagh’s kindness in feeding him food while he was in solitary.
This comes as a revelation to Sartaj. His mother sits down next to him to watch TV. A mandala appears as a welcoming shot and we see the Guruji on TV. He starts sermonising and says “Aham brahmasmi.” Throwback to the first epsiode, this is exactly what Gaitonde said to Sartaj when he first called him up.
Back in the prison cell, we see Dilbagh Singh bring a plate of food to Gaitonde. He also brings a walkie-talkie and tells him that someone would like to speak to him. It’s Guruji. He tells Gaitonde that he has to live. There is a purpose to his life which has not yet been fulfilled. And thus, he needs to live on. Gaitonde is a weakened man, close to death and looking for anything to cling on to. This faceless voice comes to him as some sort of messiah and saves him.
Guruji in present day is on TV preaching about a father and son relationship. He talks about how it is a father’s duty to sacrifice the son. And the son must allow himself to be sacrificed. I can see the wheels turning in Sartaj’s brain.
In the jail, Guruji tells Gaitonde that he’s a mandala, a door, to a greater purpose. He asks him to recount his first great fear. Gaitonde remembers killing his mother and perhaps feels remorse for the first time. This was a powerful scene. Gaitonde is feeling his mortality in solitary, but this voice gives him the strength to tap into himself. After all, he is Ashwatthama. He can’t die.
When he finally makes it out of solitary, he is immediately attacked by Isa’s men in the prison. Gaitonde is too weak to fight back. He is stabbed a couple of times but a masked man comes to his rescue and saves him. it is weird that Gaitonde is holding on to Guruji because he’s been tortured but he also knows that it’s Guruji who tortured him. Wouldn’t he then know that he’s been manipulated and be resentful for that? Or maybe he only realises all this later, when he calls up Sartaj and reaches out to him.
On TV Guruji is talking about the significance of mandalas. The fact that they signify a path and must be placed on doorways, entryways - a place through which people may come and go.
Sartaj rushes back to the crime scene. As all the mandalas we’ve seen flash before our eyes. The one at Jojo’s house was a door to a secret room. The one at Zoya’s house was on curtains that led to a balcony. The only one that didn’t have a known gateway is the mandala at the crime scene. Sartaj gets to work and starts tapping on the floor. He finds edges that could be loosened and sure enough, the mandala on the floor opens up and leads to a bunker in the basement.
In the bunker, he finds a man tied up and murdered. There are scenes to show gas masks, machine with radiation warnings and other ominous items. Sartaj takes all this in as he hears multiple voices in his head cautioning him about the impending doom.
I guess someone is planning a nuclear attack on Mumbai in 13 days. At least he knows what it is, even if he is no closer to solving the who, how and where. With that the first season of Sacred Games comes to a close.
Who is Guruji? What is Dilbagh Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde’s connection? What happened in the past? And what will happen to Mumbai in the future?
The season started off with these questions and ends with them. But as a viewer, I feel like I’m closer to the truth.
Episode Rating 4/5