It’s finally here! Our eventful journey around the globe is drawing to a close in the season finale of Around the World in 80 Days, and it’s a nail-biter for sure. You may recall last week our intrepid adventurers were speeding across the American West in the company of a fugitive Confederate soldier and his captor, Bass Reeves. Now’s it’s Day 70 and the finish line is within sight. We join the action right where we left off last week– Fogg in NYC faced with the actual clock depicted in that postcard that’s been mocking him since he left London.
Our trio is swarmed like the Victorian celebrities they are, and Abigail confidently steps forward as the group’s spokesperson. Phileas is informed that practically the whole city knows he’s coming through this train station today. He scans the crowd as the heroes are encouraged to make haste to board the Henrietta, a grand ship that will transport them back home.
Despite being close enough to taste their victory, Phileas is clearly distracted. With little more than an hour until departure, Fogg tells Abigail and Passepartout that he is going ashore. He earnestly requests they leave without him if he doesn’t return in time.
As Phileas runs off to face his past, Abigail and Passepartout discuss the motivations and character of their head honcho. Miss Fix speculates that the reunion of Fogg and Estella may have been destined all along. Passepartout takes the view that Phileas is sabotaging his chance at victory because he fears facing his lifelong bully, Bellamy.
Fogg arrives at the now nearly empty train station lobby. Though it may only be wishful thinking, he has to see if his true love will materialize after all these years. As is required in stories where time is of the essence, Estella (Dolly Wells) shows her face with very little time to spare. After repeatedly slapping her ex for his abandonment, the couple sit down to talk through all that has transpired in the past twenty years.
Estella tells Phileas about finding herself penniless in New York, meeting her husband Fabio in the Italian restaurant where she worked and starting a family with this funny, passionate, unpredictable man. Sadly, Fabio died a few months earlier, but they shared a life full of highs and lows, like most people.
Despite time running very short to catch his boat, Fogg and Estella continue their heart-to-heart. He admits that he has wasted his life hiding out at the Reform Club with each day being identical to the next. This doesn’t surprise Estella, but she acknowledges the pressures Phileas faced, particularly from his “friend” Bellamy. Apparently, Bellamy visited her the on the eve of their departure for France to disparage Phileas’s integrity. Despite Estella’s defense of Fogg, he did flee from the adventurous life they had planned.
Estella tries to focus Phileas’s attention, not on the idyllic life they may have shared, but on what lies ahead for him. She cautions that Bellamy is bent on humiliating him. She stresses that Phileas must get on that boat and win the wager to stop Bellamy from ruining his life. Before Phileas rushes off, the couple share a heartfelt hug acknowledging forgiveness and finality.
As Phileas bolts towards the docks, he is intercepted by the exceedingly persistent Thomas Kneedling. The henchman reveals that Bellamy is bankrupt and losing the wager isn’t an option. Just as Kneedling is about to finish Fogg off with his knife, a couple of rough lads approach warning this is their territory. Thomas drags Fogg into a warehouse, but they are pursued. Kneedling turns his attention to fighting off the gang. Phileas joins in the brawl by swinging a heavy bag at their assailants.
In the end, Thomas falls upon his knife and the gang quickly disperses. Phileas offers to get a doctor for Kneedling, but the wounded man knows he’s a goner. He hands Fogg a piece of paper and dies on the spot.
Phileas catches up with his friends in the nick of time. The trio embarks and Phileas takes a private moment to read the telegram Thomas handed over. He learns that Bellamy ordered him to “use any means necessary” to stop Fogg from boarding the Henrietta.
In a grand dining room, Passepartout is mistaken for a waiter by another passenger. Abigail informs him that her companion has a first-class ticket but ignorant comments from the diners follow. Miss Fix advises him to ignore them, but Passepartout has another idea in mind. He requests a song from the band then proceeds to ask Abigail to join him on the floor. Much to the chagrin (and fascination) of the wealthy white passengers, the couple dance together, daring onlookers to comment. Abigail wonders if everything is going to change, but Passepartout replies, not tonight.
It's Day 80---Christmas Eve---and our travelers arrive in Liverpool, just a train ride away from their destination. So close and yet so far, it turns out, since Fogg still has the arrest warrant from Hong Kong on his record and the customs agent won’t let him through. Desperate to win the wager, Phileas makes a run for it, but is immediately apprehended and put in a cell.
Attempts are made by the customs staff to contact the Governor’s office in Hong Kong, but the telegraph line is down. The matter can’t be cleared up until the next morning, and by the time Phileas is released, the wager has been lost. Fogg is resigned to the outcome and says he was foolish to think otherwise. He shakes the custom agent’s hand and wishes him merry Christmas.
After the trio arrives in London, they go straight to Fogg’s house for a stiff drink. Phileas’s butler Grayson points out that if they want to win the wager, they only have fifteen minutes to reach the Reform Club. Fogg realizes that by continually traveling east, they have gained a day so it’s actually Christmas Eve!
Phileas and company hotfoot it to the club where a crowd is gathered outside. For a moment, Fogg stops, perhaps anxious about confronting the man who wanted him dead to win a bet. With encouragement from the crowd, he runs into the building and reaches the club’s main chamber at the last second of the deadline.
The club members, except Bellamy obviously, are jubilant. Abigail is reunited with her proud and apologetic father. Passepartout, not feeling he quite fits in, makes himself scarce just as Abigail looks to introduce him to her dad.
In a last-ditch effort, Bellamy pretends their wager was just a ruse to rile people up whilst whispering a threat in Phileas’s ear. Fogg calls his bluff by explaining he had a check brought to the club to be held in case he was unable to return on time (or ever). Roberts, the secretary, pulls the check from his pocket and corroborates Fogg’s instructions. As a double-barreled gesture of generosity and humiliation, Fogg offers Bellamy the check to cover his bankruptcy. Despite Fortescue’s assurance that he would lose all honor, Bellamy accepts the payment. He shamelessly exits the club with his fellow members jeering him all the way.
As the chamber empties, Fogg bolts the door with a cane so only the three companions are inside. (Passepartout apparently plucked up his courage returned to the club.) Phileas pours out drinks and they toast to friendship as a clamor starts to build outside the door.
Ever the journalist, Abigail finds an article in the newspaper about mysterious attacks on shipping. Speculated culprits include a narwhal, squid, and a submarine. The trio look at one another with a knowing twinkle and before the club members are able to burst through the doors, Fogg, Passepartout, and Miss Fix are strolling through a snowy lane on the way to a new adventure!
So now that the gang is back home again, how would you rate the series? Did you have a favorite episode, character, or location? Are you an Abigail/Passepartout shipper? Seeing as a second season has been greenlit, what sort of expedition would you like to see them attempt? Go to the comments to share your thoughts!