Believe it or not, we've reached the halfway point of our globetrotting adventure, Around the World in 80 Days! Last week's trek across the desert focused on the strength of women and how living an authentic life often comes at a price. Also Passepartout has tired of risking his life for a pampered gentleman and his silly bet. More details are available right here.
As this fourth leg of the journey begins (Day 28th if you’re keeping track), Phileas Fogg and company have left Bombay and are on foot searching for a village called Narupani. Apparently, reports of the completion of certain Indian railway lines was a tad premature. Fogg is sure they’ll be shown a sign to find their way, and low and behold, a young girl appears and leads them right to the village they’ve been seeking.
Our trio enter the friendly and bustling village and are brought before Aouda (Shivaani Ghai) who appears to be a leader in the community. Her daughter Samanaz (Rizelle Januk) is set to marry that evening. Phileas quickly explains they won’t be crashing their party and merely need a guide to take them to Allahabad ASAP. Aouda insists they stay for the celebration and since everyone in town will be attending the wedding, no guides will be available. End of discussion.
The special guests are taken to their well-appointed quarters – though the valet’s accommodations are a bit more austere. Fogg asks for tea and Passepartout pulls out a pouch of something resembling peppercorns given to him by Bellamy’s henchman. He was told the substance would make Fogg sleep for a week, but reconsiders drugging his boss when the man he killed in the desert pops into his consciousness.
As the men wait for festivities to commence, Fogg and Passepartout converse with Arjan (Kiroshan Naidoo). The groom admits he isn’t a catch, but evidently his bride believes his heart is true. Passepartout laughs a little to loudly when Arjan asks Phileas if he is married. Trying to be a gracious guest, Fogg samples a local dish that we can only assume is too spicy for his bland English palate.
The women arrive, including the radiant bride and Abigail in her lovely, corset-less emerald sari combo. There is dancing, food and conversation. After debating British-Indian relations, Aouda blesses Fogg on his journey using the tripundra- three lines across the forehead that represent will, knowledge, and action.
But amidst the merrymaking, trouble is brewing in the village. On the orders of Lieutenant Bathurst (Charlie Hamblett), Indian soldiers are searching for a deserter. Arjan gets a tipoff and runs off while his fiancée’s mother tells Bathurst there is no one by that name here. It turns out Arjan, who is now hiding in a barn, was not given leave for the wedding, as he had told Samanaz. Moments later, Arjan is located and arrested. Fogg speaks up, suggesting a mistake has been made, but his objection is dismissed.
Fogg accepts the officer’s explanation and immediately wants to move forward with the trip. With no wedding, the guide can take them to Allahabad. He tells Passepartout to stop being sentimental. Their involvement can’t repair Samanaz’s broken heart. Aouda has other opinions on the matter. Phileas must pay for use of her guide by convincing Lieutenant Bathurst to release Arjan.
In the meantime, Passepartout has decided to spike Fogg’s tea with the sleeping herb. As he downs the drugged beverage, Fogg acquiesces to meeting with the lieutenant.
It goes without saying that the meeting only makes things worse. Fogg tries to appeal to Lt. Bathurst’s sentimental side. The young officer’s been away from his fiancée back in England for six months. He shows Phileas a picture of Penelope, but seeing as he’s under the influence, Fogg rudely laughs at the photo. When asked to drop the charges against Arjan, Bathurst refuses to look the other way. His rejection produces another fit of giggles from Fogg. Passepartout tries to bring the meeting to a close, but his boss is on a roll.
Meanwhile, Abigail accompanies Samanaz as she sneaks to the the tent where her betrothed is being held. The bride needs to know why Arjan lied to her. When he was refused time off for his wedding, he decided to take leave despite the consequences. Now Arjan is worried he’ll be found guilty of desertion and sent away to work in the tin mines indefinitley. Sumanaz slices the tent open so she can see Arjan's face and they declare their love for one another. Samanaz puts her faith in Phileas that he will be able to change Bathurst’s heart.
Back at the negotiations, Fogg questions the Lieutenant’s experience with the court martial process. Bathurst assures Arjan will get a fair trial. Phileas changes tack asking what his mother would want him to behave in the situation, only to learn Mrs. Bathurst died twenty years ago. Fogg inexplicably begins laughing again and the officer storms off. Passepartout tries to convince his employer to sleep, but Fogg punches him and scampers off like a mischievous child.
When finally located, Fogg is singing to a cow. Aouda is sent for since she’s wise about all this kind of stuff. Phileas’s condition worsens to convulsions. Passepartout quietly admits to Aouda that he was bribed to delay their trip so he put datura seeds in Fogg’s tea to make him sleep. Aouda instructs the valet to keep Phileas cool and awake. Falling asleep could prove fatal. Mother and daughter leave to make a cure for Fogg.
Phileas complains of the heat, so Passepartout goes out for water, leaving Miss Fix to keep their patient alert. In his hallucinatory state, Fogg begins calling Abigail Estella. Whoever Estella is, she was obviously the great love of his life and with whom he had plans to travel the world. He wanted make her proud and says she was right to leave him because he wasn’t good enough. As Fogg starts to nod off, Passepartout rushes in and throws water in his face to revive him.
Aouda delivers the medicine to counteract the effect of the seeds and will allow Fogg to finally sleep. As their friend rests, Abigail and Passepartout discuss who Estella might be. Passepartout is skeptical, but Miss Fix is convinced Estella is real and Fogg’s broken heart is his true motivation for going around the world in 80 days.
When Phileas wakes, everyone is pleased to see is alive. Though his condition is much improved, he doesn’t remember meeting with the lieutenant or how badly it went. As the group hurries off to Arjan’s hearing, Fogg does remember drinking tea and some vivid dreams.
At the court martial, Arjan immediately pleads guilty to the charge and reads a statement. He defends his actions by saying he disobeyed orders to avoid living a life of unhappiness. He believes he is of good character and has several distinctions including one for bravery during some catastrophic floods.
When Fogg arrives at the proceedings, he apologizes for his behavior the previous night. Knowing that his “dreams” of Estella are fresh in his mind, Abigail prompts Phileas to argue for the case that no one should be punished for falling in love.
When Bathurst tells Arjan his actions weren’t heroic but cowardly, Fogg is provoked to object. He delivers an impassioned speech about love being what pushes us forward and is worth taking every risk. Love gives life purpose and you are only a coward if you don’t do everything possible to hold on to it. Phileas then challenges Bathurst personally asking if he would have deserted for his fiancée. Penelope. We also see that Abigail has finally been inspired to take up her pen and write about something that matters to her.
Fogg’s oration convinces Bathurst to be more lenient in his verdict. Arjan receives a dishonorable discharge and must forfeit all privileges and pay. Soldiers and villagers alike rejoice! Soon after, our trio leaves their new friends in Narupani for the next stage of their journey. Aouda wishes Phileas will find the purpose in his journey.
Our travelers seem more united and optimistic about the road ahead, but Kneedling has plans to halt the expedition in Hong Kong. Will Abigail's dispirited father get wind of Bellamy's nefarious plan? What are your thoughts on the mysterious Estella? And how about David Tennant's "intoxiating" performance? Let the discussion commence!