Shantaram (Season 1), Episode 8: ‘Like in the Time of Cholera’, has the series’ best opening sequence yet as the danger in love for Lin haunts him in his ailing state. Thankfully, the rest of the episode lives up to it. Within the now-established formula of one, it’s one where character motivations seem the most genuine, and the uneasy alliance on which the climax hinges is particularly excellent to witness. All in all, the finest episode till date.
SHANTARAM (SEASON 1), EPISODE 8 “Like in the Time of Cholera” RECAP:
Lin gets infected with cholera and falls terribly sick. In his state, he hallucinates about the time he met his ex-girlfriend, Gemma, while working part-time as a paramedic and how selfishly she broke up with him after his imprisonment. Karla takes care of Lin at his shack during this period. One night, when in a relatively better state of health, the two of them start conversing about Karla’s past with Zhou and why she blames herself for having gotten her friend, Ahmed killed and his girlfriend, Christine’s face disfigured. When Lin admits to Karla how he blames himself for the fire at Sagar Wada in which Lakshmi died, Ravi overhears him. At the end of their conversation, Lin admits to Karla that he loves her and she states that while she can reciprocate his feelings, that’ll only land him in more trouble.
Minister Pandey secretly goes to Kamathipura to inquire about Sunita but doesn’t get any helpful information. At The Palace, Sunita tries to escape but fails. Nishant gets all the Interpol Red Notices from his uncle, which puts him and an excited Kavita to work right away on finding out more about Lin’s fugitive status. Nishant has made a promise to his uncle about giving him a lead should they find Lin among the notices. On her way to The Palace, Karla’s talk with Abdullah makes her realize that Khader may soon find out about her knowing Lin from his sources in Sagar Wada. At The Palace, she tries to convince Sunita to call Minister Pandey, without taking his name, but she refuses, stating that they’re in love and she won’t hurt him. Madame Zhou, who was eavesdropping on their conversation, asks Karla to break Sunita’s delusion about Pandey actually being in love with her, to get her to give him up. Here, Zhou divulges information about her past as a KGB spy’s mistress, who abandoned her in India, following which she was raped by the men who were after him.
Modena gets the money from Raheem but gets into a fight with Lisa after that her night with him and leaves angrily. At Maurizio’s place, he learns about how Abdullah knows about their business, which worries him about his future. They both infer that it must be Lin who has exposed them since he’s friends with Didier (who they’ve used as a middleman) and Abdullah. Maurizio decides to not honor his part of the deal with Raheem and sells the heroin meant for him, in small packages. Lisa goes to meet Karla and tells her that what she did to earn the money from Raheem makes her feel empowered at having taken agency over her exploitation. She admits that she loves Modena but finds him to be an extremely weak individual.
At Sagar Wada, when Ravi tries to accuse Lin of killing his mother, Prabhu stops him and lies to him that when the fire broke out, Lin was with him. When the latest batch of fresh water from Khader arrives, Rafiq shows up with goons and warns the people of Sagar Wada on behalf of Walid Shah, to not make any more deals with Khader. The goons break the bottles of water and even beat up those trying to stop them. Realizing his own mistake in putting the people of Sagar Wada in harm’s way, Lin goes to meet Khader. He tells Lin how the land around Sagar Wada is some of the most valuable real estate in the world, with a large vote bank and Walid cannot stand him controlling the latter with his generosity. The eviction of the people of Sagar Wada is inevitable but Khader, unlike Walid, doesn’t simply wish to own that land and evict the people who live there but is sympathetic to them and wants to help them as much as he can. Lin asks him to directly talk with Qasim since it’s Khader’s rivalry that has placed the people of Sagar Wada in the middle of a gang war.
An agitated Qasim meets with Khader as Lin moderates the meeting. Khader outright admits to Qasim that their homes in Sagar Wada won’t remain so forever and this honesty impresses him. What Khader promises is that if he gets the land, enabling the construction of newer properties on it will require the installation of facilities like electricity, plumbing, etc. People of Sagar Wada would benefit from these and he would even build and fund a school for children there. When the inevitable arrives and the shacks of Sagar Wada are cleared to make space, Khader will find the residents places to live elsewhere, along with legitimate jobs. These are the reasons why he wants Qasim to stand with him.
SHANTARAM (SEASON 1), EPISODE 8 ENDING, EXPLAINED:
Maurizio and Modena make a fortune from the former’s plan, enough for them to escape and go wherever they wish to but Maurizio has a condition – Lisa cannot come with them. On hearing this, Modena runs away with their money. At The Palace, Karla asks Sunita to call Pandey and ask him to pick her up from The Palace and if he arrives, she’d actually be set free from there. Sunita insists that she can’t, as that would mean him losing everything he has and that’s exactly what Karla tells her, will be the test of his love being true. Sunita scoffs at Karla’s inability to understand true love, though her intentions remain ambiguous.
When Rafiq and his men arrive again to smash the latest supply of fresh water, everyone in Sagar Wada shows up to fight them. Abdullah is with them too. They easily overpower Rafiq and his men but during the fight, a catapult shot from Ravi, meant for Lin, accidentally hits Abdullah and knocks him out of his senses. In the wake of their victory over Walid Shah’s men, an elated mood prevails all over Sagar Wada. Parvati is now cured, so she and Prabhu pursue their courtship, now with her mother’s blessings. Abdullah and Ravi form a bond as the latter expresses his admiration for the former’s status, his bike, and how he wishes to be like him. Abdullah tells him that Lin is important to Khader Khan, so Ravi shouldn’t do anything to harm him. Lin is extremely happy because of the victory of the people of Sagar Wada, but it doesn’t deter him from running away from there.