'Around the World in 80 Days' Recap: Episode 6

David Tennant as Phileas Fogg, Ibrahim Koma as Jean Passepartout, and Leonie Benesch as Abigail Fix Fortescue

MASTERPIECE AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS Sundays, January 2 - February 20, 2022 at 8/7c on PBS Episode Six Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 8/7c Facing starvation on a desert island, Fogg and Passepartout have a falling out. The valet’s superior survival skills are desperately needed to save their lives, much less the round-theworld wager. Shown from left to right: Leonie Benesch (ABIGAIL “FIX” FORTESCUE), David Tennant (PHILEAS FOGG) and Ibrahim Koma (PASSEPARTOUT) For editorial use only. Photographer: Graham Bartholomew - © Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-Films / RTBF (télévision belge) – 2021

© Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-Films / RTBF (télévision belge) – 2021

As we dive into (pun sort of intended) this week’s installment of Around the World in 80 Days, we surmise that Passepartout and Abigail, as well as Phileas, must have been herded by the gun-toting Mr. Kneedling. We catch up to our trio adrift in a small wooden vessel, left to fend for themselves in a vast and stormy sea.

Poor Mr. Fogg has had quite a run of bad luck lately. It was only last week that the bank wrongfully withheld his funds. Then, Miss Fix’s internationally syndicated newspaper article humiliated him, and he was dragged off to jail, having been falsely accused of stealing a priceless Chinese heirloom from the governor of Hong Kong’s wife. 

As Day 47 dawns on our adventurers, all three have somehow survived the destruction of their lifeboat and washed up on a deserted beach which Phileas extrapolates may be in Japan. They decide to walk the shoreline until they reach an outpost of some sort. Alas, they soon come upon their own footprints in the sand and work out that they have circumnavigated an uninhabited and relatively diminutive island. Their strategy changes, and they fan out for essential supplies. Passepartout locates a freshwater source while Abigail forages for what turns out to be the most disgusting fruit ever ingested by humankind. Phineas is in charge of building a shelter which he assembles half-heartedly.

Leonie Benesch as Abigail Fix Fortescue
(Graham Bartholomew - © Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-Films / RTBF (télévision belge) – 2021)

As the trio rides out yet another storm in their rudimentary lean-to, a remorseful Fogg begs his companions’ forgiveness for involving them in his folly and offers them gratitude for their loyalty. They know he is not solely to blame but accept his apology to ease his anguish. Abigail notices Phileas’s despondent mood and shares the story of her own mother’s melancholy with Passepartout.

Both know that Mr. Fogg cannot survive long in his current state, so Passepartout bites the bullet and owns up that he too is to blame for their problematic situation. When Fogg learns that his valet took money from Kneedling to delay their trip and drugged him in India, he is deeply wounded and furious. Abigail unwittingly adds to Fogg’s ire by revealing that Passepartout was the one who stole the White Dragon, though he did it to help them get money to leave Hong Kong.

Fogg banishes Passepartout from his presence. Phileas then turns his energy and anger to building a sturdy raft to get Abigail and himself back to civilization. (So Passepartout accomplished his mission in a way.) The Frenchman, it appears, will not be invited to join them. Passepartout fully accepts his employer’s wrath but persists in fighting to repair their friendship. Even his offer of a lobster dinner can’t tempt Phileas, but Abigail has had enough of the rancid, spiny island fruit and joins him for a delicious seafood feast.

 Ibrahim Koma as Jean Passepartout, and Leonie Benesch as Abigail Fix Fortescue
(Graham Bartholomew - © Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-Films / RTBF (télévision belge) – 2021)

Meanwhile, word has made its way to the Foreign Office in London Fogg and a Miss Abigail Fix have been reported missing from the SS Carnatic; it's assumed they fell overboard. An official is sent to the Reform Club to notify Fortescue. (Once again, Passepartout doesn't get a mention!) Bellamy, who happens to be present, looks on in disbelief. (The telegram from Kneedling only said the wager was won.) Back on the island, Abigail tries to get Phileas to empathize with Passepartout. His brother was killed in Paris, and he had to shoot a stranger in Yemen; neither of these traumas has been addressed. Despite Fogg's defense of Bellamy, Miss Fix thinks Passepartout is also right Phileas's childhood friend is behind Kneedling's sabotage efforts.

To atone for his mistakes, Passepartout works all through the night in the pouring rain to make Fogg's raft seaworthy. Phileas and Abigail discover the finished craft in the morning, but no Passepartout. As they gather supplies to leave the island, Abigail finds the valet shivering uncontrollably by the waterfall. Fogg and Miss Fix realize the danger and immediately work to bring up his body temperature and keep him hydrated. They burn the shelter and the raft to keep the fire going to save their friend's life. As we wait to see if Passepartout will survive this scrape with death, back at the club, there's a ceremony commemorating "Foggy" at the Reform Club. Solemn singing accompanies the map marking Phileas's journey being reverently removed. Bellamy eulogizes Fogg with fond generosity. (How ironic…)

Passepartout makes a full recovery, though he's sorry they had to destroy the raft. Phileas says it wasn't a hard choice. He confesses that Passepartout was right about Bellamy, and finally tells them about Estella. When he was about their age, Fogg and his beloved Estella planned to marry in Paris, followed by a trip around the world. Bellamy convinced him that he wasn't up for such an adventure, nor was he worthy of Estella. Instead of standing up to Bellamy, Fogg internalized his putdowns. He left Estella on the boat bound for France with some lame excuse about a case he had to retrieve. She didn't follow him off the ship, and Fogg never saw her again. Phileas admits he hasn't felt a close bond like that again until this journey. Aww!

David Tennant as Phileas Fogg
(Graham Bartholomew - © Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-Films / RTBF (télévision belge) – 2021)

Abigail and Passepartout finally have the whole story of Fogg's tragic love, and everyone's mistakes are out in the open and forgiven. Bu just before our young couple lean in for a kiss, Phileas starts shouting and stoking the remains of their bonfire: A ship (bound for America, of all places) turns to rescue them. All of a sudden, our trio's journey (and the wager) is still very much alive!

Once a wire is sent to London informing Bernard that his daughter and his friend are alive, it'll be interesting to see how Bellamy reacts.

I enjoyed this episode very much. It gave Fogg, Fix, and Passepartout a breather to finally come clean with one another. (If you've ever traveled with a group of friends, you know how everyone inevitably gets on one another's nerves.) They now have the trust and clarity necessary to finish the last big push of their trip. I'm eager to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Carmen Croghan

Carmen Croghan often looks at the state of her British addiction and wonders how it got so out of hand.  Was it the re-runs of Monty Python on PBS, that second British Invasion in the 80’s or the royal pomp and pageantry of Charles and Diana’s wedding? Whatever the culprit, it led her to a college semester abroad in London and over 25 years of wishing she could get back to the UK again.  Until she is able, she fills the void with British telly, some of her favorites being comedies such as The Office, The IT Crowd, Gavin and Stacey, Alan Partridge, Miranda and Green Wing. Her all-time favorite series, however, is Life On Mars. A part-time reference library staffer, she spends an inordinate amount of time watching just about any British series she can track down which she then writes about for her own blog Everything I Know about the UK, I Learned from the BBC.  She is excited to be contributing to Telly Visions and endeavors to share her Anglo-zeal with its readers.

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