In episode 3, Chief Minister Madhuri Yadav is forced into bed with a gangster—the very element she’s promised to destroy.

Akhil Arora, a member of the Film Critics Guild and a Rotten Tomatoes-certified film critic, who has watched all 10 episodes of Mirzapur season 3. He has been reviewing TV series since 2015 and has written for NDTV and SlashFilm.

Madhuri Yadav CM Mirzapur season 3 episode 3
Isha Talwar as Madhuri Yadav in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3 // Photo: Prime Video

After two Guddu-heavy episodes, the third episode of Mirzapur season 3—directed by Gurmmeet Singh and written by Avinash Singh and Vijay Narayan Verma—shifts its focus to the other parties that make up its giant ensemble. Following the failed assassination attempt, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Madhuri Yadav (Isha Talwar), is forced to look for new alliances. That involves making concessions to her grand destroy-all-gangsters plan. Episode 3 adds a little bit to several other storylines too, most of all Ramakant’s (Rajesh Tailang), but you can’t help but feel that the episodes are too long. Mirzapur’s glacial pace—and the fact that not much ground is covered—is cause for concern. When will this season get going?

Episode 3 opens with Robin (Priyanshu Painyuli) going to see Ramakant in jail. He tries in vain to convince him to fight the case. After all, Robin has documented proof and he’s ready to provide said evidence in court and stand up for him. Ramakant instead asks him to stand up for Dimpy and Vasudha—Ramakant’s daughter and Robin’s fiancée, and Ramakant’s wife and Robin’s mother-in-law, respectively—and look after the family. Ramakant doesn’t want the case to connect to Guddu or the evidence they have in any way whatsoever.

Over in Siwan in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, Sharad Shukla (Anjumm Shharma) is speaking with Kaleen Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) who woke up at the end of episode 2. He says he could’ve either killed Guddu or saved Kaleen Bhaiya. When Kaleen learns that Munna is dead, he asks Sharad to hand him the gun lying nearby and questions why he saved him. Sharad says he lost his father once, but that can’t happen again, thereby implying that he considers him as his father now.

Both Mirzapur and his family need Kaleen Bhaiya, Sharad adds in episode 3. But the patriarch seems to have given up. The Tripathi legacy has ended in Mirzapur, he says. Sharad notes that the only option left when everything is over is resurrection. It was Kaleen Bhaiya who gave Guddu a free hand and turned him into a monster. In return, Guddu killed Munna and Shukla Sr. Sharad says that Kaleen Bhaiya still has the power to decide how future generations will remember him.

From the beginning, Mirzapur set up Kaleen Bhaiya as that mighty figure. Now, when he’s at rock bottom, what does the show want him to be? Is he going to try and rise to his former glory? That would make season 3 a classical gangster drama where power and survival are everything. Will he realise the inherent problems of the world he once ruled? That seems too far-fetched for a man in his situation and a show of this calibre. Or will he end up being used as a pawn in a fight between the next generation? Knowing Kaleen Bhaiya, that feels unlikely.

In Jaunpur in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, Shakuntala Shukla (Meghna Malik) tells her son that Purvanchal must soon learn that Kaleen Bhaiya is alive. And that he owes his life to Sharad. When he says that Kaleen Bhaiya’s wounds haven’t healed yet, the mother notes that it will only happen the day Sharad takes Munna’s place. You know what she means—she’s speaking figuratively.

At the Tripathi manor in episode 3, the house help Radhiya (Prashansa Sharma) tells Golu (Shweta Tripathi Sharma) that she enjoys poetry. She would’ve loved to go to college, but her family sent her here to work. Golu lends her one of her books. With her male abusers gone and seeing powerful women around her, it seems Radhiya is feeling empowered.

Golu then gets a call from Chhote/Fake Badde (Vijay Varma) in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3. She says that whatever went down was an internal family matter. Ouch. Fake Badde notes that Chhote wouldn’t even raise his voice before he met her. Golu says that it’s not her fault that Chhote fell in love with her. Fake Badde says that he will punish her one day. Golu doesn’t take the threat lightly and invites him to Mirzapur.

Later in episode 3, Golu sits down with two brokers to negotiate the price of opium. She feels the price is too high. They are playing hardball but the tune changes when Guddu (Ali Fazal) walks in. He has no interest in dealing with brokers—he wants to speak to the seller himself. As Guddu walks away, Golu renegotiates at the price she had originally asked for. Well, Guddu is clearly good for something.

Golu then gets another call in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, this time from Satya (Ashish Shukla), the political connection she met in Bhadohi in episode 2. Satya says he’d be happy to arrange a meeting with the former Chief Minister’s brother J.P. Yadav but it’s going to take a lot of money.

At the home of Home Minister Karnal Harish Solanki (Gyan Prakash) in episode 3, IG Vishudhanand Dubey (Manu Rishi Chadha) arrives sans his uniform. An inelegant exposition via a tablet reveals Dubey has been suspended for his role in the Suttan assassination affair from episode 2. Solanki has been picked to lead a high-level investigation committee, which means Dubey is essentially under his thumb.

Over in Lucknow in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, the Chief Minister’s assistant Anand (Rohit Tiwari) tells CM Madhuri that Dubey is in control. Wait, is he? Anand feels they need to control the media, too. His advice is to restart the Aam Bagh project, but Madhuri thinks it’s a waste of taxpayer money. Anand points out how the Aam Bagh project can generate sympathy for Madhuri from the public and media. Okay, but where is the money coming from? J.P. Yadav used to manage contracts for Madhuri’s father, the previous CM. She has no interest in going to him, which means she’s going to need new alliances.

Enter Sharad who was getting the cold shoulder from the administration in episode 2. Episode 3 might be overlong, but I’ll reserve praise for this scene. It takes its time, for one. When Madhuri asks what his proposal is, Sharad pulls out a joint. He knows she likes to smoke because he knew Munna. Madhuri gives in to his gift, which introduces a less formal tone as they discuss what to do with Guddu. Sharad’s plan involves Rauf Lala—i.e. controlling the flow of opium. Madhuri says she can’t bail out Lala, but she has another way. She then passes the joint to Sharad. Wait, are they flirting? It certainly seems so. Sharad coughs as he inhales, before noting he’ll need to learn the right way, delivering a response to two of Madhuri’s statements in one go.

Speaking of Lala (Anil George), he walks up to Ramakant in jail who’s struggling to recall the date. Prison will do that to you. Lala says he can come to him for anything, but Ramakant knows how this goes—he’s not here to make deals. Lala sees Guddu in Ramakant: same attitude, same rage, same pride. Ramakant corrects him: it’s principles, not pride. But what has that gotten you in your life? Lala notes they are behind bars while Guddu is free. “Today, you’ve forgotten the date, soon you’ll forget your principles too,” Lala adds in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3.

In Siwan in episode 3, Fake Badde is playing with the real Badde’s daughter, Ginni (Nitara Bhambhani), while his mother Geeta (Alka Amin) watches a scene from the Shah Rukh Khan Don movie that has thematic parallels to Fake Badde’s situation. Good Easter egg, though I fear it’s not obvious enough. As his not-wife Saloni (Neha Sargam) watches on from the sidelines, Fake Badde says he needs to go to work, only for his mother to remind him that family is important too.

Guddu Mirzapur season 3

Mirzapur season 3 cast — the full list

The Pandits, the Tripathis, and all the other major clans return for the third season of Mirzapur. It’s time for a refresher.

In bed, Chhote tries to stay away from Saloni and puts Ginni in the middle. But before Saloni gets in bed in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, she pushes Ginni to the side so she can lie with the man she thinks of as her husband. Saloni asks if she should move Ginni to her room so they can have sex. As Fake Badde gets a call from the brothel madame, Saloni can tell what’s going on. She tells him to go wherever he feels like if he’s not happy at home. But then she comes around after Fake Badde recognises how hard Saloni works all day and that he’ll drop Ginni off at school like Chhote used to. All is well again at the Tyagis.

Back at the Tripathi manor in episode 3, Beena Tripathi (Rasika Dugal) is making a rangoli of a black goat when she accidentally spoils it and “beheads” the goat figure with her wrist. Just then, a black cat—considered an ill omen—runs across, scaring Beena who shrieks. As Radhiya comes running, Beena wonders where the cat came from. But there doesn’t seem to be any cat around, with Mirzapur season 3 episode 3 suggesting that Beena was possibly imagining it.

Back in Siwan in episode 3, Kaleen Bhaiya is refusing painkillers and medications. Dadda (Liliput Faruqui) wonders why he’s giving up on life. They have both lost a son so he can share his pain. Kaleen Bhaiya says he was finally getting around to understanding Munna. Dadda says his life is filled with sorrow—Chhote was a pain all his life and won’t give him an ounce of peace even after he’s dead. The camera slowly moves beyond the two and trains itself on Fake Badde in the background. Dadda justifies Chhote’s death by saying he wasn’t worthy. If you’re worthy, you’ll have your retribution. Well, going by his dad’s words, the real Badde wasn’t worthy.

At the UP–Bihar border in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, Golu meets with an informant (Anubhav Dixit) who tells her that Sharad’s car frequently crosses into Bihar. She tells him to figure out exactly where in Bihar, as that could lead them straight to Kaleen Bhaiya.

Over in Lucknow in episode 3, Madhuri is meeting with her people for the Aam Bagh project. What about the money? Cut to Sharad Shukla observing poppy fields, the ones Madhuri got as an inheritance thanks to Munna’s death. The same land that Guddu, Golu, and Golu’s father were discussing in episode 2. Anand tells Sharad they expect a ₹5 crore (about $600,000) donation—what he means is a kickback. Sharad protests that he needs time to turn these crops into cash, but Anand isn’t having any of it. They must have the money before all that.

If he’s going to move all this opium as quickly as he can, Sharad’s going to need a partner. He calls up Lala who thought Sharad forgot about him. Sharad notes that he can’t bail him out as Lala has very big enemies. He modifies his initial offer—he will supply the opium and they will use Lala’s network. Lala will remain in prison but at least he’s getting a bit of business. The only condition is that Lala won’t sell it to someone else. For a man who loves money, the offer is too good to pass up. Lala agrees.

In jail in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, the prison warden is assigning jobs to the inmates. Ramakant is paired with Gerua Kumar (Mukesh Agrohari) which elicits murmurs from the crowd. Everyone thinks Gerua—who doesn’t like lawyers—is going to kill Ramakant. Later that day, as Ramakant works in the kitchen, Gerua instead comes to his rescue as a man is about to attack Ramakant from behind.

Later in episode 3, in the prison bathroom, Gerua asks Ramakant for a favour. When Ramakant notes he doesn’t help murderers, he launches into a tale. Gerua’s nine-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by the son of the man he used to work for. In response, Gerua beat up the son. The next day, his boss’ men burnt his daughter alive. Gerua did the right thing and lodged a police complaint. But his lawyer turned out to be on his boss’ payroll. The man in the kitchen wasn’t trying to kill Ramakant, but Gerua. He wants Ramakant to file a mercy appeal on his behalf.

At the Pandit household in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, Dimpy (Harshita Shekhar Gaur) tells the others about the half dozen mercy petitions Ramakant wants her to file. Vasudha (Sheeba Chaddha) wonders why he won’t fight for himself if he’s missing the lawyer life so much. As the pressure cooker goes off in the kitchen, Robin says he’ll handle it. Vasudha is taken aback. She feels that Dimpy is very lucky, for she’s found a man willing to help in domestic matters. Ramakant, for all his virtues, never entered the kitchen in his life.

Vasudha then goes to see her husband in jail in episode 3 and wonders why he’s doing this to himself. Ramakant says he always sought punishment for wrongdoers. It wouldn’t be right for him to try and escape the punishment he deserves. That would be a betrayal of what he believes in. Vasudha reminds him that he’s more than a lawyer. He’s a husband and a father, too—isn’t he betraying them? She tells him to stop with the self-pity and that he can’t make this decision on his own.

It seems that worked because at the next court hearing in Mirzapur season 3 episode 3, Ramakant finally speaks up. He says he killed the cop to save his son’s life, so the death punishment shouldn’t apply to him. The prosecution lawyer (Rati Shankar Tripathi) argues that Ramakant has no evidence to back this up. But the judge (B Shantanu) tells him to pipe down and gives the defendant two weeks to present their witnesses.

Episode 3 wraps up in Lucknow, as the suspended IG Dubey meets with CM Madhuri. He protests and notes that he was only following her orders. It’s all part of damage control, she says. Soon, he will be back in uniform. Dubey says he’ll do whatever she asks. “How about lying under oath in court?” Madhuri hits back, leaving Dubey speechless. She rubs it in, terming it “your uniform, your decision.” Like the poor guy has a choice.

Mirzapur season 3 episode 3 is out now on Prime Video.

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