Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
When the first season of Breathe dropped back in 2018, it brought with it a surprisingly well-paced, competently written thriller with decent characters you understood and empathized with. The interesting shades of grey this Indian thriller reveled in helped to give the show a lot of depth and made for a really enjoyable watch.
Back for a second season with new characters and a brand new plot, Into The Shadows is an aptly titled name given that’s exactly how it feels watching this. Season 2 remains in the shadows to its predecessor for much of its bloated 12 episodes, running out of steam long before the story climaxes into an open-ending that leaves the door open for another season.
To backtrack, the story here takes place some time after the events of the first season. There’s no Danny this time around and with Kabir in prison, the season instead hones in on family man Avinash. Unfortunately his world is turned upside down when a masked thug kidnaps his daughter Siya.
When Avi receives a video from the kidnapper, forcing him to kill people based on the 10 headed ravana in order to save Siya’s life, he decides against going to the police and tumbles down a dark path of murder and anger. On paper, there’s definitely room for a Se7en-esque thriller to play out and early on the show definitely has the pace and set-pieces to try and match the first season blow for blow.
Sadly, what begins as a simple thriller soon becomes a much more complicated and unnecessarily convoluted series that tries to be cleverer than it actually is. I won’t spoil anything here but suffice to say the halfway point reveals just who the kidnapper is and dissipates a lot of tension and good work done up until this point.
To be fair, Into The Shadows does attempt to answer some of the questions it raises and by the end of the show you do get a pretty clear indication as to exactly what’s happening and why – at least at the surface level anyway. Unfortunately, Breathe is forced to dedicate a good few episodes to exposition and flashbacks to try and stitch everything together in a competent manner.
Compared to the first season though, the 12 episodes here each clock in at around 45 minutes or so, with an hour finale used to wrap everything up. This longer run-time feels unjustified and at times Breathe loses sight of that same level of intensity and thrill that the opening episodes had so much of.
Given the 10-headed ravana and the teasing hint that the season will be full of bloodshed and murder, there’s very little of that here. Instead, the series plays out as a cat and mouse game with sprinklings of investigative crime and psychological thrills instead.
It also doesn’t help that the characters here are largely forgettable. Abhishek Bachchan does his best to bring Avi to life but when you compare his protagonist to Madhaven’s Danny last season, the two just don’t compare. This goes for almost everyone else in this season too and it’s such a shame because on paper there’s actually some nice ideas but the execution is disappointing.
As a big fan of the first season I was really looking forward to Into The Shadows but this follow-up season fails to capture the essence of what made the first such an enjoyable thrill ride. Aside from the returning Kabir and a shared title, there’s very little to tie this one to the original story.
Unfortunately Breathe: Into The Shadows is a disappointing follow-up and despite some initial enjoyment early on, is unlikely to be one you’ll return to in a hurry.
Verdict - 4/10