Until the eighth episode, the current season of Four More Shots Please was going well. On a sad night, the girls returned to the beach and realized how foolish they had all been to shout about "vaginas" into thin air only a few seasons earlier. This time, life has gone so wrong, obstacles and worries are more genuine (for a few of them), and they now realize how little they know. The scene could be the perfect conclusion to a terrific third season, substantially more mature and significantly less cringe-inducing, but the show's central gang of four, who frequently destroy good things, won out over everything else.
What followed were three egregiously bad episodes with questionable writing choices, characters acting so out of character they might as well be in another dimension altogether, cliched declarations of love to people who hadn't even been mentioned until two episodes earlier, abrupt comebacks of ex-lovers and irate dads, platonic relationships turning steamy, and anything else that could bring back memories of how awful the first two seasons were.
But until Four More Shots Please season 3 went dangerously off the rails, there was a lot about it to respect and appreciate.
For instance, the first episode was by far the finest. Anjana (Kirti Kulhari), Damini (Sayani Gupta), and Siddhi (Maanvi Gagroo) go with Umang (Bani) to her Punjabi pind notwithstanding how improbable the plan was. Crisp writing, convincing dialogue, and yet another strong performance by Bani followed the awkward pauses and outbursts of wrath between queer Umang and her disapproving father at the dinner table. Whenever she chooses to let the Punjabi out, she remains the highlight of the production.
As she fights for her father's approval, the hurt, the fury, and the frustration all seem genuine. The remainder of the program also takes place on a winter afternoon in the khets of Punjab amid eerie former schools. Even when the girls get ready for yet another round of escapades, everything still looks lovely.
While Umang must deal with her estranged family, her struggling new life, and homophobia from uninvited guests, the others also have problems.
Naturally, some elicit more empathy than others. Her father's death has left Siddhi in the worst conceivable state of shock. Her mother (Simone Singh), whose convenient, abrupt transformation from Evil Queen to maiyya Yashoda still amazes me, is striking out at everyone and making life miserable. Anjana is the most egotistical of them all, notwithstanding Siddhi's incredibly juvenile outbursts. She gets connected with another married man, as she did before, but this time she is aware that he is not part of an open marriage. The writing is so bad that nothing Kriti Kulhari does makes sense, even though she gives a flawless performance.
Even Damini's story has a promising beginning. She finally has Jeh but cannot have a sexual relationship with him.
Thankfully, Sayani has stopped crying uncontrollably, and up until the awful final third of the season, she also benefited from some of the better scenes. She joins a young politician's election campaign, and it appears this relationship might be platonic and beneficial. However, the clothes quickly come off, the thirst traps are set up, and sex begins. Even yet, what they did to Jim Sarbh is more disappointing. He is included, yes.
Jim Sarbh, one of the top actors in the OTT sector, gets hired for the most unimportant role.
He enters Umang's life as a friend, and everything seems nice and wholesome for a time. He is every bit the Manic Pixie Dream Boy. Naturally, Jim's attractiveness would not have been appropriate for a beneficial role, so he is sacrificed to the thirst gods. Here, nobody is secure.
I recall not enjoying Four More Shots Please's previous two seasons, but I don't remember being this let down by any of it.
I was duped into thinking that things had changed this time. For an extended period, it even appeared to be the case. Umang portrays the frustration of a poor friend being bulldozed by a richer one, Siddhi bombs on stage with some truly terrible performances, and Anjana, well... I can't remember much good stuff about her. Damini and Jeh fought over the most real, albeit minor, things, such as an ugly bean bag he brought to her house. However, in the end, horniness takes over, gaslighting is taken as a compelling defense, sex represents closure, and genuine closure appears out of nowhere. Rarely have I seen a television show discard something worthwhile with such carelessness. Once you've seen the "beach at night" scene, save yourself and log out.