SHE 2 series review: Sloppy seconds

SHE 2 series review: Sloppy seconds

The Netflix series lets go of all the saving grace from the first season 
Rating:(2 / 5)

SHE doesn’t know what it wants to be. In the first season, it began as a story of a docile woman constable, who treads the path of discovering her sexuality when she is roped in to honeytrap a drug lord while masquerading as a prostitute. Those were simple days. The constable, Bhumika Pardeshi (Aaditi Pohankar), had fewer battles but more opportunities to exhibit valour. She was understanding her own body, trying to be a dutiful daughter, controlling the boiling jealousy against her ‘prettier’ sister and learning the ropes of seduction. Then she decided to fall in love with the drug lord and become a double agent, and another show bit the dust. 

Created by: Imtiaz Ali 

Directed by: Arif Ali

Cast: Aaditi Pohankar, Kishore Kumar G, Vishwas Kini 

Streaming on: Netflix 

The second season of the Netflix series offers no redemption from the sloppiness of the first. In fact, it jettisons the seemingly promising parts. Bhumi’s family dynamics are forgotten, professional hazards become convenient, character arcs are abandoned. The drug operation she was sent to infiltrate seems like it was created after reading the synopsis of Narcos on Wikipedia. Nobody knows what drugs they are supplying. Cocaine? Heroin? From constable to prostitute to undercover cop, Bhumi is now balancing her time between being a drug kingpin and a murdering psychopath. She is also the Bonnie to the mystical drug kingpin Nayak (Is he a person? Or a syndicate? Or just the first draft of a character outline?). He shows her execution videos, tells her ‘real power’ lies in killing a loved one and in his spare time, runs a drug operation by dropping dialogue boxes from one computer screen to another. Moreover, the operation’s text application on the ‘darknet’ is called Darkchatorr. As the series progresses, the suspension of disbelief feels more like the abandonment of reason.

The series is created and written by Imtiaz Ali, whose female characters have been criticised to just exist as catalysts for his male leads (Exception: Highway). This time, his notion of a solution is to surround the female lead with one-dimensional men. Vishwas Kini, as Bhumi’s operating officer Jason Fernandez, gets no wins. He guesses Bhumi is backstabbing him but there are no repercussions (even Bhumi shifting her allegiance frequently is a weak attempt at portraying a flawed personality). Kishore Kumar G as the illustrious Nayak showed promise but is no match to Vijay Varma’s chaotic Sasya from the first season.

Noir is not just the flickering neon signs, the damp streets or the rising shadow of a fedora-wearing man on a wall. It’s a mood. The looming consistency of any mood is what makes a genre. Any depiction of art which flows in all directions, ultimately goes down the drain. SHE 2 has made its choice.

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