Mirzapur 3 recap: love is like a moulting crab

In episode 4, Ali Fazal shows how badly he’s being underused by Mirzapur season 3.

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.

Robin Mirzapur season 3 episode 4
Priyanshu Painyuli as Robin in Mirzapur season 3 episode 4 // Photo: Prime Video

If you get rid of the gratuitous violence at the start of episode 4, what you are left with are two full episodes of Mirzapur season 3—episode 3 and episode 4—that have no real violence in them. It shows that the ultra-violent Prime Video series can survive, and possibly even thrive, outside of its central attraction. There are scenes in both episodes where Mirzapur slows down and lets the characters simply interact with one another. The concluding minutes of episode 4, where Ali Fazal shines, are the best showcase of that. And at the very end, it feels like Mirzapur season 3 has finally got going. But why did it take so long? Why are we still going through the drudgery of so many listless scenes?

The fourth episode of Mirzapur season 3—directed by Gurmmeet Singh and written by Avinash Singh Tomar—gets off to the worst possible start at a brothel. This scene is meant to signify Chhote’s (Vijay Varma) descent into darkness but, honestly, we can do without it. There’s already enough onscreen violence against women, especially in Bollywood. I’m not going to recount the events but here’s the gist of it: one cruel man, two helpless women, and a leather belt.

Over in Ballia in Mirzapur season 3 episode 4, Shabnam Lala (Shernavaz Jijina) is dealing with cops who are ransacking the place. A senior officer, Pyarelal Joshi (Vijay Kumar), arrives and waves them off. Shabnam is annoyed—after all, she’s paying Mr. Joshi protection money. It’s not about the money, Pyarelal says, the authorities aren’t satisfied that Lala has gone straight. And if he truly has, they—he means corrupt cops like him—will hand the entire network to someone else. Pyarelal tells Shabnam to tell her father that he’ll take care of her. Of course, what he’s really implying is more sinister. With the man not around, Pyarelal is eyeing the daughter. He makes it even creepier by adding that he’s seen her grow up.

In court in episode 4, Ramakant (Rajesh Tailang) is questioning Jamuna (Priyasha Bhardwaj), the wife of the cop he killed, SSP Maurya, in season 2. He tries to get her to reveal how often he visited the Mauryas. The prosecution lawyer (Rati Shankar Tripathi) tries to coach her, but Jamuna is no expert—she admits he visited on a dozen occasions or so. Ramakant uses that to put forth that he couldn’t have been threatening SSP Maurya. Why would you have someone at your house so often if they were blackmailing you? Unfortunately for Ramakant, the prosecution has a new ace up its sleeve: IG Vishudhanand Dubey (Manu Rishi Chadha). I find it amazing that the word of a suspended cop—one recently involved in a potential hit on an actor—is going to be taken into record.

Cut to the jail in Mirzapur season 3 episode 4 as Shabnam goes to see her father, Rauf Lala (Anil George). She’s not happy that he’s working with Sharad Shukla but couldn’t trust his own daughter. She notes that Sharad is only helping him because he wants to weaken Guddu Pandit. If trouble were to land at their doorstep, who would Shabnam be safer with: Guddu or Sharad? That seems to convince Lala who pens a note and hands it to Shabnam.

Back at court in episode 4, Dubey enters the witness box and does what CM Madhuri told him to: lie. He toes the line of the prosecution and claims that Ramakant killed the cop because he wouldn’t be blackmailed. Also, how could SSP Maurya arrest Guddu? After all, no evidence exists against him. As Dubey says this, Robin (Priyanshu Painyuli) glances over at Ramakant. They have exactly the thing that Dubey is denying. But since they won’t present it, Dubey’s words are like a nail in the coffin. Ramakant knows he’s defeated. He tells the judge that his only crime is that he’s Guddu Pandit’s father. In a rare reversal, it’s the sins of the son being borne by the father. Ramakant has always tried to stay true, but he also couldn’t let his son be killed by a cop.

Episode 4 then gives us the first solo scene for Robin and Dimpy (Harshita Shekhar Gaur) in Mirzapur season 3. Dimpy is fed up—she wants to live her own life, what with every other Pandit only thinking about themselves. She feels there’s no love left in the family. Robin notes the reason she feels let down is because she loves her father. Without pain, there’s only loneliness. It’s all about living for others. Before he met Dimpy, Robin had nothing, he adds. “Wait, what about your mother?” Dimpy wonders. Hah—caught him!

Robin then goes to see Fake Badde in Mirzapur season 3 episode 4, who’s mulling whether to delete Golu’s photo from his phone. After he hands him a bag of money, Robin sits down for a drink. Chhote wonders why he’s leaving his business. He wants to “settle down”—that’s code for marriage. Chhote notes that people build businesses to settle down, not destroy them. Moreover, Robin is addicted to money. The only addiction bigger than money is love, Robin adds with a smile. Chhote’s interest is piqued given all the love troubles he has had. Robin says it’s akin to a moulting crab. If you can suffer the pain, you are reborn. Chhote, who had been thinking of moving on from Golu, decides to retain interest. Given the threat he delivered over a phone call not so long ago, this feels weird to me. When did he start having thoughts of moving on?

Speaking of Golu (Shweta Tripathi Sharma), at the Pandit household in episode 4, she is going through Guddu and Sweety’s photo album. Dimpy says that Guddu has got what he wanted: the Mirzapur throne. But surely this can’t be the purpose of Golu’s life. Even at that moment, she can’t think of herself. Guddu can’t handle everything on his own, Golu says, he needs her. (How much of that is a lie, do you think? Golu seems attached to Guddu in a way that feels quite toxic for her own good.) Dimpy notes that Guddu doesn’t need anyone. Golu changes the topic before taking off.

When Golu gets back to the Tripathi manor in Mirzapur season 3 episode 4, she finds Guddu (Fazal) giving a piggyback ride to Shabnam’s daughter, Lippi (Kiara Sadh). Shabnam is there to present her new opium deal, and everyone has an opinion. Golu, who would like to have Guddu to herself, naturally doesn’t want Shabnam around. Beena Tripathi (Rasika Dugal) sides with Shabnam. Guddu is wavering because of what he’s put Shabnam through in the past. Shabnam calls out his double standards: “You were happy to get involved when you needed me. But when I need you, you’ve suddenly developed a conscience.”

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.

Everyone’s ears perk up when Shabnam adds that she has an offer from Jaunpur, too. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to make things easy for Sharad Shukla. Shabnam says the client wants to meet face-to-face. Golu offers to go with her, but Beena interjects. The client will want to meet the individual who’s on the throne, not the one standing next to it. Eesh, burn! Shabnam agrees, saying that Guddu’s presence is necessary. Beena then adds salt to Golu’s wound in episode 4, saying that two women won’t make a strong case. Guddu, who’s been carefully manipulated by Beena and Shabnam, concedes. An exasperated Golu storms off.

Cut to Guddu leaving, picking Shabnam along the way, and crossing the border into Nepal. Aesthetically, this Kathmandu casino scene in season 3 episode 4 breaks with the flavour of Mirzapur. That said, once Guddu starts talking, it’s very much in keeping with the tone. It’s easily the best part of episode 4—Ali Fazal gets to flex his acting muscles, for once. He’s brilliant in how he engages you and pulls you in. The way he shifts his body and jumps up into the chair when he knows he has a captive audience. It’s a shame that he doesn’t get to do this often enough. On top of that, we have the client Baig (Farhad Khairy) using a decoy to suss Guddu out.

Guddu feels out of place initially in this episode 4 scene. For once, he’s the one being interrupted. But as the onus shifts to Guddu and he gets to pick the card game, it turns into his playground. He then launches into a hilarious tale about a high-out-of-his-mind mouse taking the jungle’s beasts for a ride. By the third go, “Baig” has caught on. But it’s more than an extended joke. Not only does Guddu pick up the win, but he’s also figured out that the Baig he was addressing isn’t Baig. It’s the other guy who was posing as his aide. Guddu says he isn’t here to get a tour of the jungle. He’s got the money in the car, and he wants to seal the deal right now.

The real Baig smiles to himself in Mirzapur season 3 episode 4. He eases back into his chair and returns to Guddu’s icebreaker—if he keeps one finger always on the trigger, what does he do with the other one? Guddu hits back: “I’m a gangster, not God. The other finger is to wipe my ass.” This is the kind of humour you come to Mirzapur for but sadly it’s been missing for nearly four hours.

Back at the Tripathi manor in episode 4, Golu gets a call from Guddu who tells her the deal is done. But he’ll return the following day. You can tell from the way Golu reacts that she’s still annoyed with him. Right after, Shabnam knocks on the door and asks Guddu if he wants food to be served in his room. It’s a subtle way of getting physically close to him.

Meanwhile in Mirzapur season 3 episode 4, Golu gets a call from the informant (Anubhav Dixit) she met at the UP–Bihar border in episode 3. He says that Kaleen Bhaiya has been found in Siwan. Golu immediately rings Guddu but he doesn’t pick up as he’s with Shabnam. Couldn’t she have communicated this in advance? “Hey, bro, I’m tracking Sharad’s whereabouts in Bihar and that might lead us to Kaleen Bhaiya. If this goes down while you’re gone, should I jump on it?” Golu’s impatience works wonders for Chhote who’s laid a trap for her. While Shabnam leans in for a kiss with Guddu, Golu takes her former lover’s bait.

Mirzapur season 3 episode 4 is out now on Prime Video.

Akhil Arora