Final section! If you want to talk about the whole thing and get a summary of it, you can check out the full spoiler review here. This is if you want a summary and discussion of just these episodes.
Episode 7: Rudra
In the present, Saif and Radhike are teamed up again, both with similar leads. They go to train station where they are stopped by a gang, Saif jumps on the train while Radhike holds them off with his gun. Saif is captured and taken to the hide out where they are unloading boxes from the train. Radhike goes to search the apartment of the assassin and finds some kind of plans but before she can call in what she has found, the assassin comes home and kills her. And then goes to the hide out and cuts off Saif’s thumb and is about to cut off his hand when the police arrive with back-up. Meanwhile in the past, Nawazuddin is more and more in love with his wife, and she starts feeding him a new way of looking at religion, as a way of giving strength and value to the community. She encourages him to retaliate and protect “his” people after the bombings injure them. Saif resists, until another attack kills his wife. He goes on a revenge spree, killing innocents in the Muslim neighborhood and then setting it on fire. The people cheer him, thinking he did it for them, not realizing it was simple revenge. And then he is arrested by Neeraj Padi and knows he plans to kill him.
The title “Rudra” means the stormgiver, the angry vengeful face of Shiva. Clearly a reference to Nawazuddin in the past. But possibly also to the assassin in the present who is killing and gutting thumbs off with no control.
Radhike is killed, after Jitendra in the last episode. This is something that is unique to the structure this show has created. Characters who might just be a small part in the novel are given a leading role for one series, and then killed or otherwise written off. Instead of having a massive cast that never get their own focus, they just sort of stretched out the story so that each individual character has their own series. Radhike is listed a the co-lead for this series, and she isn’t quite, definitely just behind Saif and Nawazuddin. Probably tied for screen time with Neeraj Padi. And Jitendra gets more to do in the episodes he is in, time with his family, a backstory, all kinds of things. Radhike is great with what she has to do, but I was a bit disappointed to see her killed off just when it felt like her character was finally going to do something. And, come to think of it, in the same episode we also lose Rajshri, Nawazzudin’s strong wife in the past.
Episode 8: Yayati
Everything is seemingly over in the present day. They have found the guns and connected the politician Girish Kulkarni to them. It’s just time to clean up the loose ends, Neeraj Padi confronts Girish, they find the boxes of guns, Saif goes to Radhike’s memorial service. Until at the end, Saif is with his mother and recognizes the words a Hindu talk show host, Pankaj Tripathi, uses and realizes he must be the hidden hand, the final “father” Nawazuddin referred to who is controlling everything. And he also realizes that there must be something hidden under the floor in Nawazuddin’s hide out, under the Hindu symbol for a doorway. He goes back and finds a fall out shelter with the dead body of “Trivedi”, the one person Nawazuddin said would survive. Saif realizes that the attack is much much bigger than he thought, and they know nothing. In the past, Nawazuddin also thinks it is all over, he has been arrested and thinks he will die in jail. Saif’s father gives him food and minor comfort, but he has no real hope. Until Saif’s father sneaks in a phone and he speaks to Pankaj Tripathi for the first time.
Yayati is a Puranic character, a king who was cursed with old age, but traded it with his son, forcing his son to carry his burdens. A uniquely Indian story. And now Saif is carrying his father’s burdens, his father who did nothing wrong but ended up setting this whole thing in motion. And Nawazuddin is carrying his “father”s burdens, his chosen father of Pankaj Tripathi who forced him to set up this plan.
This is a very well-constructed ending. Just as Saif is seeing the beginning of the end, realizing it is a lot bigger than he thought, Nawazuddin is seeing the start of this new beginning, an actual purpose in life and something to believe in. Both of them are set up for a second season with more challenges and new situations.
To help support my work, donate to the site, $1 or $2 or $20 or $200, however much you want.