Shantaram (Season 1), Episode 4: Bad Medicine
With four episodes down, it’s not a stretch to see that the characters of ‘Shantaram’ are extremely one-dimensional. How we think of them depends entirely on whether we like them or not, instead of being on anything that they’re doing. ‘Bad Medicine’ does little to progress the plot but, like a side mission in an open-world game, expands the world of the series while giving us a tiny glimpse at emerging conflicts and Lin acclimating himself to life in a slum.
Shantaram (Season 1), Episode 4: Recap
Following his arrest after the bank robbery and subsequent shooting of the policeman, Constantin Floris, a lawyer, is sent to Lin by his mother. Lin was caught trying to save Inspector Floris and has no evidence that supports his participation in the robbery or Floris’s shooting. Yet his conscience refuses to treat the death of a man as a trifle, and therefore at his trial, he pleads guilty to the charges brought against him, much to his mother’s disappointment.
In the present day, Rujul’s corpse is discovered by the cops, but Khader instantly pays them off. Walid wastes no time in holding on to his position and, to that effect, instantly buys off Deputy Minister Pandey, who is soon to succeed Rujul officially as the new Land Development Minister. When Karla talks to Pandey, she finds Walid at their meeting, who tells her to warn Khader against going after Pandey and Sagar Wada lest a war erupts. Karla informs Khader and also how there seems to be no dirt on Pandey that they can use to coerce him. Khader asks her to keep looking and tells her he liked Lin after their first meeting. We find out that the pretense of being unfamiliar with each other is something that Khader plays in front of the rest of the world to protect Karla from the dangers such an association would lead her to.
At Sagar Wada, Lin now occupies Lakshmi’s hut and is constantly busy as their doctor-in-residence. One patient, an older woman named Sonam, has a terrible infection that is worsening and can only be treated at the hospital. Finding out that the hospital staff isn’t taking her in, he accompanies Sonam to the hospital, only to find out that the doctor refuses to take care of her unless he’s bribed. Lin decides to hustle alongside Prabhu to secure the money he needs for Sonam’s treatment. When he manages to get some, Prabhu refuses to give him any more than Lin’s share, asserting that he needs to save up for his marriage with Parvati and that Lin’s attempts to save Sonam are a lost cause. Realizing there’s no other way, Lin contacts Khader and asks him for help, agreeing to put him in touch with someone who can supply him with what he needs.
Modena takes Lisa to his place, where he takes care of her. When he takes her back to her place, Modena agrees to let Lisa use some heroin if she feels it’ll help her, but she gets into a fight with him, asking him to ensure that she does not relapse. For Lisa, it’s essential; therefore, she asks him to prevent this to allow them to be together. Following this, Lisa brings a client for Maurizio and Modena’s new brown sugar business. When the deal is being made at Reynaldo’s, Karla is there too, meeting with Didier, who is curious about Rujul’s death and Lin’s connection to it. She notices Lisa there and tries to convince her to return to her place. Lisa is sickened by Karla’s patronizing attitude and refuses.
Karla meets Lin, pretending to be curious about how he knows Khader. In the conversation that follows, Lin informs her that being a doctor is the least he can do to return the favor to the people of Sagar Wada, who helped him when no one else did, and also reveals a suspicion about having been attacked by Zhou’s man on the night the fire spread in Sagar Wada. Ravi gives Lin a peace offering in the form of a dish made from Bombay Duck, a local seafood delicacy, but he still acts confrontational in front of him. The following morning, he is taken to Kala Topis by Abdullah, a leper colony and the shady hub of Bombay’s ring of thieves and smugglers. Their leader, Ruby, a leper, agrees to give Lin what he needs but for a large amount of money that he doesn’t have. Ruby’s anger reveals the prejudice of the people of Sagar Wada, who ousted them from their midst. Lin pays her whatever he has and gets the essential medicine required for Sonam’s immediate treatment.
As Lin and Abdullah are headed back, Lin has to visit the washroom to nurse an upset stomach, something he believes he got from Ravi’s fish. As he’s inside, Abdullah is attacked by Rafiq, a man who works for Walid. Lin instantly comes to Abdullah’s aid and helps beat the goons up but does not allow Abdullah to kill Rafiq. At a pier, Abdullah tells Lin how he came from Iran, where he had two brothers, both of whom he lost, and how his life then had nothing in it other than mindless violence. When Lin, in a friendly way, tries to tell Abdullah that he cannot afford to get involved with Khader and his underworld business, Abdullah tells him that people in their position don’t get to decide their own fate.
Shantaram (Season 1), Episode 4: Ending, Explained
Lin discovers that the fish Ravi fed him was one the latter caught from sewage water, yet he doesn’t complain about this to Qasim in the hopes that Ravi will stop hating him one day. Abdullah tells Khader about Lin’s selfless bravery in saving him from Rafiq’s attack, a man who has a personal vendetta against him. It also means that Walid did not orchestrate the attack, and Khader asks Abdullah not to take any action unless it’s in the interest of self-defense.
Abdullah arrives at Sagar Wada to provide Lin with all the medical supplies he needs as a gift from Khader. Lin knows that accepting it is a Faustian bargain, yet he does it anyhow because they’re necessary. He ruminates on how in that position, instead of feeling scared about what he was getting into, he felt excited at the prospect of what was ahead of him.