A Call To Action
Episode 1 of Bard of Blood wastes little time getting right to the heart of the drama. We begin with a haunting flashback from our main protagonist Kabir as he remembers an explosion going off during a mission, hitting his comrade.
We then jump forward to Pakistan on the cusp of a major operation. At an internet cafe, a man begins uploading files onto a computer until the police arrive and tell them all to get out. Only, it turns out they’re not actually the police and a gunfight soon ensues. At 97%, guards storm the internet cafe and interrupt the transfer before it can be complete and arrest the men. As it happens, these men are Indian operatives working behind enemy lines and the guards are actually working with the Taliban.
We then cut across to the Indian intelligence in New Delhi, where we’re introduced to Isha Khanna giving a briefing about a terrorist attack. As a female officer, she takes offense at her rejection for a job posting and it’s here we learn she’s one of the best analysts in India.
Tanveer receives a video soon after showing the four Indians kidnapped by the Taliban. As he turns the car around, we cut back to see the supreme leader of the taliban, Mullah Khalid, arrive and greet the gun-toting crowd. As he discussing dispatching the Indian spies, Tanveer arrives soon after and greets the leader. He asks him to stop before negotiating a way of keeping the Indians alive. Infront of the TV, the operatives are forced to relay the words of the leader – they can have the four Indians back in exchange for the men they’re currently holding captive.
With the Chinese Premiere on the horizon, the ISA suspect the public beheading and execution of the captive Indians will take place then. Isha is told she needs to be ready to go on a mission completely off the books by Sadiq but in order to do so, he tasks her to bring Adonis (Kabir) into the operation; only he can save their boys now.
In Mumbai we see Kabir working as a teacher, lecturing a class about different literature, including Shakespeare. After a thought provoking speech to one of the students, Kabir receives an urgent text message and leaves the school. As he does, he realizes he’s being tailed and manages to shake them, for now. He arrives at the hospital where he finds Neeta lying in a hospital bed. After talking to her, he’s confronted by a guard in the bathroom who asks him if he’s going to come quietly. He doesn’t and a 2 on 1 fight ensues.
As the camera shakes and rapid cuts ensue, Kabir manages to get the upper-hand and dispatches them both. As he gets into the elevator, Isha stands waiting for him. The lights flickering above distracts him momentarily, enough time for Isha to inject him with something that knocks him out. She brings him to New Delhi and it’s here Kabir is told why he’s been brought there, including the information around four agents that have been taken. With bad blood brewing between him and the agency, Vikram’s death hangs heavily over his conscience, prompting him to storm out and decide not to take part in the risky operation.
Back in Pakistan, one of the Taliban gives the USB stick holding the crucial information to Tanveer. Putting it into the laptop, he’s immediately given the 100% message and, realizing the files have been successfully transferred, curses to the heavens. As he does, confidential files are transferred straight to Sadiq who begins decrypting everything he’s been sent. He immediately phones Kabir and tells him he’s been deceived. He knows who murdered Vikram and the answers lie in Pakistan. As Kabir rushes back to Sadiq’s, he finds the man lying dead on the floor, a bullet through his head.
Bard of Blood gets off to a good start here and wastes absolutely no time showcasing its action. The 2 on 1 brawl in the bathroom is probably the highlight of the episode here though and it does well to really set the scene. While the series itself doesn’t do a whole lot to progress its characterisation, there’s enough here to make for an entertaining and action packed watch nonetheless.