Breathe Into the Shadows season 2 review: Abhishek Bachchan, Amit Sadh try hard but can't save this dull drag of a show
Breathe Into the Shadows review: The star cast tries their best to bring their A-game but shoddy writing and a tepid plot do no favours to this disappointing entry in the Breathe franchise.
The best part about Breathe: Into the Shadows’ season 2 is its background score. Unfortunately, it is the same score as season one which essentially means this new outing fails to bring anything good to the table. Which is sad because the franchise began with such promise. But it seems now it is just puffing and panting, out of breath, unsure of what it wants to do, despite such abundance of talent at hand. Also read: Breathe Indo the Shadows season 2 trailer: Abhishek is back in his evil avatar
Season 2 takes off three years after the events of the previous one, where Dr Avinash Sabharwal (Abhishek Bachchan) was unmasked as the Ravana serial killer, or at least, it was discovered that his split personality J was behind the killings. Avinash/J has been in an asylum for three years but things change as an unpredictable former inmate Victor (Naveen Kasturia) enters the fray and breaks him out, to restart the killings. It’s again up to renegade cop Kabir Sawant (Amit Sadh) and his team to stop J, this time maybe forever.
The previous two seasons of Breathe (the original with R Madhavan and Into the Shadows 1) worked because they brought something new to the table. The first was a race against time of a desperate man. The second brought in the element of Ravana and his ten vices. In that regard, Into the Shadows 2 falters. It is thematically a repeat of season 1, and never feels like an extension or follow up. We once again follow J as he selects victims from his past and marks them for execution. Episode after episode, we learn to predict how it will all go down. And predictability is never a good for a thriller.
This season gives Abhishek’s character a thick plot armour. Nothing can touch him, nobody can harm him, and he will always find a way to make things work. Things just fall into place for him beautifully. Unlike the previous season, he never seems to be cornered or fighting. The threat of being caught never feels real, which reduces the urgency and thrill. Only once in the entire eight-episode season did the show manage to surprise me with how things panned out and that was in the (no spoilers) cleverly-crafted Kannauj Jail sequence.
The background score and cinematography are yet again the true stars of the show. Mayank Sharma lenses Delhi in a noir, dark manner yet again, bringing the claustrophobia of the city out quite well. But those elements alone do not make a great show. All that needs to be backed by solid writing, which this show lacks. It’s almost as if the show is too reluctant to entertain. It wants you along for the ride but barely makes an effort to make the ride interesting.
The actors do well with what they are given. Amit Sadh is underrated to say the least, and he is ever-dependent as Kabir Sawant. Abhishek Bachchan does well to portray the vulnerability and guilt of Avinash but is found lacking while trying to bring out the menace and rage of J. A good element of this season is Avinash’s inner turmoil as he wonders if he is turning more into J and less of himself. Abhishek nailed that dilemma quite well. Nithya Menen and Saiyami Kher have been given too little to work with, which is a shame as they had both been quite good in the previous season. Naveen Kasturia leaves a mark though. As the unpredictable Victor, he is the show’s lost energy and one of the few highlights.
The season is intended to be a grand culmination of the two-part Into the Shadows saga. But with exposition that is too on the nose and melodrama that is too overt, it never gets to be as slick as its predecessors. In the end, it is a letdown and not what fans of the show would have waited three years for. The show began streaming on Prime Video from Wednesday, November 9.
Series: Breathe: Into the Shadows season 2
Director: Mayank Sharma
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Amit Sadh, Nithya Menen, Naveen Kasturia, and Saiyami Kher.