Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Indian Summers – Season 1, Episode 3 – Recap

Aafrin is back at work after being shot, despite appearing to be at death’s door at the hospital in last week’s episode. Ralph’s previous condescending attitude has changed now that Aafrin saved his life, and he asks if Aafrin is interested in a high level position in the Indian Civil Service (ICS), perhaps one day as magistrate. The ICS, which ran India, was called the 'heaven born service' during the Raj days.   Although by the late 19th century a few Indians were admitted, it was expensive to travel to London to study for and take the necessary exams, which kept the numbers low.
Sarah scolds her husband's girlfriend
Aafrin says the ICS is exactly what he wanted but he couldn’t take the exams due to financial constraints.  “It’s all a matter of timing,” smiles Ralph, his new best friend, and offers him a position as Head Clerk which pays enough to subsidize his studies (amusingly, the people in my office who are clerks do not take it as a compliment but Aafrin is delighted).  Aafrin should be suspicious of this dramatic change in his fortune.  “I’ll be joining the ranks of the heaven-born!” he says to his delighted parents, while his sister is participating in nationalist rallies. Aafrin’s girlfriend is very happy too

Ian McLeod, the somewhat uncouth nephew of the drunken landowner, is discovering that his uncle is in debt to an Indian neighbor, Mr. Sood.  Not wanting to be caught in the middle, he suggests the man go discuss the matter with his uncle at the club, not realizing the Indian is banned from the club.  Mr. Sood comes to a fair organized by Cynthia to talk to the uncle, but when their argument becomes physical the uncle has a stroke or heart attack.  He is totally incapacitated.

Alice and Percy are playing with some other mothers and babies when Cynthia pops over to tell her there is going to be an inquest into the shooting and she will need to testify.  Alice doesn’t see why this is a problem and Cynthia tells her pointedly that she can’t possibly remember anything that happened.  Alice resents her interference and it is likely that Cynthia’s attempt to protect Ralph is likely to make Alice even more curious about what inspired the assassination attempt.

Dougie Raworth, the Old Testament-looking missionary and Leena his beautiful helper are in the middle of a passionate embrace when Alice stops by to volunteer at the orphanage.  Alice remembers Leena from the train (she was able to pronounce Persephone when Sarah could not) and is much friendlier than other English ladies would have been.  Leena is wary but eventually responds to Alice’s sincere desire to help.

In the meantime, Aafrin’s sister was arrested at the Nationalist protest.  Aafrin has been invited to the Whelans’ for drinks and, reluctantly, asks for Ralph’s help getting Sooni out of prison.  Ralph promises to do what he can.

It’s clear that Ralph wants to be sure Alice’s and Aafrin’s descriptions of the assassination attempt are the same as his.  “All I recall is his shouting, ‘You British devil!’” Ralph says pleasantly.   Aafrin says he remembers very little.  But when Ralph brings Aafrin to sketch Madeleine (who reveals her American background by shaking hands with him; I suspect an Englishwoman would not do so until he has risen much higher in the social strata), Alice leaves the room.   She confronts Ralph, and tells him she will not perjure herself.

I thought Dougie was going to tell Sarah he was in love with Leena, but Sarah, guessing what is wrong, starts sobbing, and Dougie merely says he will behave more like a Christian in the future.  I guess that included giving his son Matthew’s shoes to Adam, the boy who was hit by the train!  When Ralph sees Adam at the fair, he recognizes something about him, and the mysterious music that starts playing shows that Adam is linked to Ralph’s secret past.  Sarah takes the opportunity to tell Leena that her claim on Dougie is over and to stay away.

Madeleine’s brother is angry that Ralph is sleeping with Madeleine but has not proposed.  He suggests she play a little harder to get (I expected him to trot out that old adage about Ralph not buying the cow if he can get the milk for free).

When Alice and Aafrin are deposed, separately, they are asked if the assassin said anything.  Both hesitate, then respond as Ralph suggested, “You British devil.”  This way it will seem that the attack was part of the Nationalist movement, not anything personal towards Ralph, which might uncover whatever is in his past.  However, the Englishmen conducting the deposition leave for some fresh air and Aafrin takes a look at the assassin’s file.  As his sister had warned him, the English falsified identity papers to show the assassin was a political protestor.  When Aafrin sees this proof, he realizes he is being used.  Sooni is equally upset when she is released from prison due to Ralph’s influence.  Her prison-mate advises her to fight from the outside.

A somewhat disappointing episode!  I hope the plot begins to pick up.

Image copyright to PBS

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