Shantaram sets up its final shadowy showdowns [Apple TV+ recap] | Cult of Mac

Shantaram sets up its final shadowy showdowns [Apple TV+ recap]

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Shantaram recap Apple TV+: Karla (played by Antonia Desplat) will seemingly stop at nothing to save Lin (Charlie Hunnam).★★★
Karla (played by Antonia Desplat, left) will seemingly stop at nothing to save Lin (Charlie Hunnam).
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewOur outlaw hero Lin is running out of road this week on Shantaram, and everyone wants him dead or simply out of the way. Karla is neck-deep in a desperate attempt to clear Lin’s name — and makes Bombay a war zone in the process.

Also in this week’s episode, entitled “Banquet of Consequences“: Lisa and Modena’s great escape turns into no such thing. Prabhu makes a promise he can’t keep. Wally Nightingale closes in on his prey. And Ravi decides he’d rather not change after all.

It’s a thrilling penultimate episode, as the Apple TV+ limited series finds all its bloody pieces falling into place.

Shantaram recap: ‘Banquet of Consequences’

Season 1, episode 11: Prabhu (played by Shubham Saraf) is worried about Lin (Charlie Hunnam), and it’s getting to Parvati (Rachel Kamath). She hears about his excursion with Lin and Abdullah (Fayssal Bazzi) to bust up the drug racket, and makes Prabhu promise he won’t take any more stupid risks on behalf of his crazy Aussie friend. He begrudgingly agrees, even though of course he told Lin not to get involved in the first place.

Madame Zhou (Gabrielle Scharnitzky) and Maurizio (Luke Pasqualino) had Karla (Antonia Desplat) followed when she left with Sunita (Tharanya Tharan) to give her testimony to Kavita (Sujaya Dasgupta). So their only recourse now is to go to war. Zhou doesn’t know Karla acted clandestinely — Khader Khan (Alexander Siddig) didn’t know. Not that that helps anyone now. There’s going to be bloodshed.

Zhou goes to Walid Shah (Mel Odedra) for backup just as Kavita hits up Minister Pandey (Alvin Maharaj) for information. Khan confronts Karla about this and is properly outraged. Karla walks away and Abdullah is dispatched to get Lin so Khan can hear from him that he had nothing to do with this. There may yet be a way to salvage this before a war starts on the streets of Bombay.

Abdullah picks up Lin, and meets a disaffected kid with a bad attitude. Lin’s behaving like a teenager now that he finds out everyone in town’s been lying to him. Not sure what he expected, but I guess ultimately it’s true for this character to be so insanely proud and obstinate.

The hunt for Lin is on

Meanwhile, Australian detective Wally Nightingale (David Field) continues his hunt for Lin. He has Didier (Vincent Perez) picked up so he can interrogate him about his involvement with the fugitive. Didier doesn’t give up Lin, but eventually, information on Lin’s residence in the slum reaches Nightingale’s ears. Didier is set free, but he notices he has a tail, so he slips out of the cafe he goes to for a celebratory drink. Some of Shah’s men try to kill Khan during breakfast, but Abdullah saves him and they escape unscathed.

While Lin talks a big game about not caring about Khan and Karla, the next day he goes back to Karla and Lisa’s (Elektra Kilbey) place to talk to her about her choice anyway. He agrees to stay because she finally admits she did all of this for him. Lin goes back to his shanty in time for Shah’s men to come to kill him, and they nearly kill Qasim Ali (Alyy Khan). The cops show up and Lin is still treating Qasim, refusing to leave behind somebody who’s dying on his account.

Modena (Elham Ehsas) shows up to get Lisa and escape, but Maurizio and a bunch of thugs show up and stop them. He shoots Modena and leaves him to die, taking the girls back to Zhou. Wally and some other cops torture Prabhu for info while Lin saves Qasim from a hematoma. Ravi (Matthew Joseph), however, doesn’t care how much he’s done for the village. He still wants revenge. He turns Lin into Nightingale — and it’s only because Prabhu heads them off and slashes the cop’s tires that the two escape.

Wizard of Oz

Shantaram recap: Aussie cop Wally Nightingale (played by David Field) is just one of the people who wants Lin's scalp.
Aussie cop Wally Nightingale (played by David Field) is just one of the people who wants Lin’s scalp.
Photo: Apple TV+

This was a very exciting episode of Shantaram. I like that we’re finally dispensing of dramatic dead weight, and also we’re taking loose threads from early in the season and using them in ways that track. Ravi still having a chip on his shoulder about Lin lines up with everything we know about the kid, and indeed about how kids process trauma and perceived betrayal.

Lisa doesn’t do much for me dramatically, but as a conduit to the killing of Modena and the apology between Karla and Lin, the character serves a purpose. Modena being killed is a good use of a character we didn’t care about, because it hotwires the seriousness of Maurizio and Zhou’s war on Khan.

Prabhu’s decision to hold up the police is also a very exciting and tense use of this character. Shubham Saraf’s performance has been excellent and likable all season, but in moments like this, he really earns his paycheck.

In praise of Prabhu

We like Prabhu because he’s a pragmatist and he’s loyal, but also because he knows right from wrong in a way guys like Abdullah don’t. Lin likes both of them, but he knows Prabhu is the angel on his shoulder, who will lie a little to survive but won’t give in to the bigger sins that keep Bombay’s wheels turning.

So, when Prabhu agrees to stand between Lin and the police, we know he doesn’t really know what he’s signing up for, because he still kind of believes there’s a moral order to the universe. When it looks like Nightingale might actually blind him with a broken bottle, there’s real tension. Nightingale’s a bastard who thought nothing of killing Lin back in jail. Why would he blink at permanently crippling someone he doesn’t know?

It’s very good stuff, the kind of glimpse into darkness that Shantaram offers as a riposte to its usually breezy atmosphere (even with all the sex and crime and drug use). I’ll miss a few elements from this show when it ends, and Saraf is definitely one of them.

★★★

Watch Shantaram on Apple TV+

New episodes of Shantaram arrive on Apple TV+ every Friday.

Rated: TV-MA

Watch on: Apple TV+

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.