Bigger and more complex than its predecessor without losing what made it great, this is what a second season should be.
This review of Sacred Games Season 2 is spoiler-free. You can check out our thoughts on the first season by clicking these words.
The first season of Sacred Games — the first Indian Original on Netflix — was a resounding success. And that success was well-deserved. The show was very good, managing to find just the right balance between genre trappings and India’s social and political history. Sacred Games Season 2 also finds that balance, as well as being more complex and ambitious. There’s a fine line for a second season to walk; midway between depth and accessibility, upping the stakes without becoming too lurid. Sacred Games Season 2 marches along that line with measured aggression, confident of its own quality.
That confidence defines the show, as it’s so evident not just in its craft but in the enthusiasm of its cast, who are as sure of the show’s deserved success as anyone. Saif Ali Khan is again the anchor if not the stand-out; his reactionary protagonist allows more colorful characters — chief among them Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s gangster Ganesh Gaitonde, here free from prison and displaced to Kenya — to make a larger, louder impression. There’s that balance again; here between more realistically and outlandishly-drawn personalities, as well as showrunner Vikramaditya Motwane remaining faithful to but also veering away from Vikram Chandra’s source novel.
Sacred Games Season 2 is admirably constructed across the board, written with a populist ear and folding cultural and religious division into a genre story that manages to sprawl without losing track of itself. The editing and direction are stylish without being showy and are able to elegantly juggle complex plotlines and visual sequences while still maintaining a unique look and feel. Charismatic and enthusiastic performances propel a story that has things on its mind and the confidence to share them. This is high-quality television that does everything a second season should do — another resounding international success for the streaming giant.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.