Shantaram – Season 1 Episode 2 “Down and Out” Recap & Review

Down and Out

In a flashback, episode 2 of Shantaram sees Dale taking off from the country and preparing to come to India to “lose himself”. Charlie, one of his friends, helps him out with the passport and his “share” of the money for not disclosing Charlie’s identity to the police.

In the present, we pick up from when we ended episode 1. Dale is down on the ground, beaten up. All his belongings are stolen and he has nothing to fall back on. He is helped by a policeman who accompanies him to his hotel after he refuses to go to the hospital. Prabhu spots him coming in quite timely and gets Dale out of the establishment.

The reason for the same is that this particular policeman is corrupt and will ask for bribes from him. If he can’t shell out money, Dale would be thrown into prison.

Although it is not much, Prabhu’s jhopadpatti in the Sagar Wada slum area provides safe shelter to Dale for the night. There, the two men bond over food, whiskey, and cannabis. Lisa finally gets her senses back and tells Karla what she needed to hear.

Someone called Rujul Aadekar will be handing over the contract for the Sagar Wada land to Wadil Shah. This puts Karla in a spot of bother, as she makes an urgent appointment with her associate. Lisa accuses Karla of being selfish in getting her out as this information was essential for her and her associate, Khader. At the same time, she’s thankful to Karla for having gotten her out as the other girl, Sunny, who witnessed the deal is now dead.

Dale is left with no options and help when Karla returns him back when he asks for help. Although Prabhu does offer to become his business partner to earn money fatafat, Dale rejects that idea. Dale’s experience and maturity in handling Lisa’s heroin withdrawal lead to her concluding he had someone who suffered from the same fate. This girl was his charm back in Australia and they had planned to come to India together only for the plan to go sideways. Dale was also an addict but has been able to avoid taking the drug.

Karla meets with Khaderbhai, who seems like a gentleman at first looks but is in fact a local mafia. She informs him of Lisa’s information. Like Karla helped Dale, Khaderbhai had once helped Karla too to get her footing in the business.

His line of work, though, is quite clean and morally “sound” in relative terms. He is like Vito Corleone in that regard, who rejected doing the drugs business, despite its immense profitability, with Sollozzo. Karla and Khader were planning to buy the Sagarwada land and had a deal with Rujul. But in light of the new information, that bid is inclined to be given to Wadil Shah. Karla tries to protect Dale from Khader’s suspicions that he might know too much but only in vain.

The next stop for Dale is Reynaldo, where he meets Didier. The French handyman only has limited abilities and resources and the only person who could get him his passport and life back is Khaderbhai. Didier flatly refuses to talk about the Palace, Rujul, or Khader openly, but this makes Dale only more frustrated. He is taught a crucial lesson by Maurizio when he spits him at his table. “Know the game and the players before you enter it”, is the Italian’s advice to Dale. Modena has a different reaction to the news that Lisa isn’t well and goes in to check on her.

Khaderbhai invites Rujul to his place. The two were previously on good terms. While the former provided bribes and commissions to the latter, Rujul provides the power of his government connections. Khader’s tone completely changes when Rujul says he has “called behind” Walid. Because Khader has opted not to get involved in the brown sugar and sex business has made him irrelevant.

In a fit of rage, Khader stabs and kills Rujul, as his handyman watches on. Dale is formed to take Prabhu’s offer of becoming a business partner after Charlie refuses to send more money. Karla comes to meet him and pays him a thousand dollars, just the amount he needs for a new passport, to keep him quiet about what he knows.

Dale is once again compelled to ask Prabhu’s forgiveness after he tries to abandon him. Since Karla gave him the money, he thought he could leave without a trace. When some goons come to confront Dale, the entire houses in the area are inadvertently set on fire. It is a risky prospect for Dale to stay but he does and helps out the slum people. Back at Karla’s place, Lisa and Karla dance together and Lisa admits to loving her, having looked up to her a lot in the past in wanting to be like her.


The Episode Review

Episode 2 reveals the real game of muscle and power going on in central Bombay. Karla is certainly not who we thought she was. She is actually one of the higher ups with a morality skewed to look out for own interests.

Her “gift” of deceiving people into thinking she cares about them and exploiting their vulnerability and helplessness was on full display here. But she redeemed herself in the climax by helping Dale and comforting Lisa. Important players in the plot like Khader and Walid Shah were also introduced as menacing figures.

The two belong to different factions within the local fabric of criminal underworld. It will be interesting to see how that pans out.

Charlie Hunnam has done almost everything in a matter of two episodes. From jumping off buildings and putting out fires, to risking his life for strangers and helping people with his kindness. The show definitely benefits from his presence and he is the one holding the story together.

Shantaram promises a wonderful ride but with some more focus, the upcoming episodes could be even more interesting.

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  • Episode Rating
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3.5

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