Every season, the Drama After Dark team gathers ‘round the conference room table to watch the latest and greatest in British dramas. This summer, we’re incredibly excited to bring you coverage of MASTERPIECE’s new show Beecham House. Beecham is a delight: sensual and sumptuous, it features an attractive and diverse cast, a historical setting that encourages reflection, and absolutely to-die-for costumes. I’m here to recap the season as it happens just in case you, dear reader, miss an episode and haven’t yet been able to catch up on WGBH Passport.

If you weren’t sure if Beecham House was ready to deliver some action, this opening scene really settles the question. A white dude with long hair wanders down a trail wearing a cool wrap. I have a feeling this might be the eponymous John Beecham but we shall see. Him:

A man gestures to the blanket wrapped around his shoulders and says "it's my disguise."

His wandering is interrupted when he shows up just in time to save a fancypants family from some robbers. He's barely introduced himself and confirms that he is, in fact, our protagonist when the last lingering baddie shoots him RIGHT in the chest. Obviously he’ll be fine, since the show is named after him, but dang: MASTERPIECE sure does love to start a show with a hero’s near death experience, huh?

Ross Poldark raises a toast

Strap in folks, we’re getting a three-year time jump with ZERO explanation. Once again we are on the road, and this time, our pal JB isn’t flying solo: he’s got armed guards, one of whom shoulders a rifle. JB shuts it down: no violence today! (Other than the violence done to our protagonist’s flowing locks, which have been brutally shorn, probably to diminish his resemblance to White Jesus.)

Nearby, a bunch of servants are getting a truly awesome house ready by sweeping, shooing doves, and gossiping about their mysterious new employer. Based on their conversation it sounds like they are not expecting a random white dude, and the general vibe is happy to be back to business. Looks like we’ve got three main characters here. In the parlance of another beloved MASTERPIECE drama, the “downstairs staff” includes the Chef, who’s thrilled to be back in his kitchen, the Butler/Valet, who so far appears to be the perfect mix of hyper competent and sweetheart, and the Housekeeper, who interrupts our gossiping dudes to let them know that a) the house is blessed, and b) she had a vision and the new master is tall and fair, like a Kashmiri. They don’t believe her and I can’t wait for her to do this later:

A man asks "why are you booing me? I'm right."

Beecham’s carriage pulls into Delhi and we get a popup to tell us it’s 1795. Beecham and company pass what looks like an army encampment full of dudes speaking French. History time: the show is set about 10 years before the British East India Company violently took over Delhi as part of Britain’s colonial expansion. But back to our buddy Beecham, who arrives at his house in the dead of night like he knows he’s the main character and it's his job to be dramatic. Everyone on the staff is very excited to meet him, especially the gal from earlier, who is thrilled to be proven right. Her doubting Thomas friends try to call her on the technicality that Beecham is from England, not Kashmir. She ignores them, as she should.

The Butler/staff union representative steps up: welcome to the house, I’m Baadal, and we’re all jazzed you’re here. JB immediately impresses everyone by busting out some Hindi in response. IMHO, if you’re going to own a huge house outside Delhi you should at minimum learn Hindi, so this really shouldn't be impressive at all, but I'm not a wealthy British aristocrat in 1795.

Kermit the Frog sips tea with a caption that reads "But that's none of my business"

JB intros Ram Lal, his gun-toting sidekick, but everyone stops paying attention because a pretty Indian lady holding a baby gets out of the carriage. Wife? Friend? Ex Lover? I want to know, and so do all the servants.

Baadal: Uhhhh, no one said anything about a baby, my guy.
JB: Yeah, and no one’s going to; I’m very private. Show me the house!

Everyone gets to steppin, except our favorite housekeeper/soothsayer, whose name is Bindu.

Bindu: Where the heck am I gonna put these broads? I only set up the master bedroom!
Baadal, around the corner and coming to the same conclusion: Soooo, JB: I have the nice room ready for you, where should I put the gals?
JB: No, put the kid and the ladies in the nice room, and make sure they have everything they need.

He wanders off so Bindu and her pal Mool Chand, the Chef, and one-half of my new favorite double act, can gossip. Their observations? That kid sure as hell isn’t all white, which means that JB is “enjoying india.” You know who else will soon be enjoying India? JB’s mom, a real persistent battleaxe who’s apparently seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel one too many times and is on her way… imminently. Baadal, who is really too nice for his own good, promises to take care of her when she arrives.

Finally, we get some background on some of these people, starting with the most important member of the staff, Mool Chand, the Chef. He comes from a long line of chefs and tells JB that he used to work for a colonel in Madras, so he knows how to make the bland garbage the English call food — weird flex, but ok! JB thanks him, but he’s not really paying that much attention. He gets even more distracted when one of the gals from earlier, Chanchal, wanders in with the baby looking for some water. JB checks on the kid in a way that definitely makes me feel like it’s HIS kid, and then says Baadal will take care of it all. Is he gonna have the dinner Mool Chand has been working on all day? No, because he’s weird and rude; but the ladies will. He just wants some daal chawal, which is a very tasty but very basic request: definitely not the way to get an excited chef on your side. I guess JB isn’t as fired up at the idea of getting delicious meals at all times as I am, which is confusing, and frankly upsetting. I was right, btw: Mool Chand’s reaction to JB?

A man asks "what nonsense is this?"

Out in the courtyard, Ram Lal and the rest of the guards chow down and compliment Mool Chand on the grub. This is a great opportunity for some fact finding, but Mool Chand and Baadal are too chicken to ask, so they get Bindu to do it.

Bindu: Sooooo. How long have you been serving this guy?
Guy One, deflecting: He’s chill, don’t worry.
Bindu: Yeah, look: this is a fancy house, and we only want to work for nice, well-behaved people, so if there’s anything about his past that we need to know, pipe up!
Ram Lal: We told you, he’s a good guy!
Mool Chand, needs to toughen up: Ok, that’s enough!
Bindu, spine of steel, not messing around: Look, the baby is really cute, and we’re into that…
Baadal: Bro, let them eat!
Bindu, ignoring him: Which one of those ladies is the baby’s mom?
Ram Lal, done with this line of questioning: Where we come from, staff don’t ask this kind of question. Mind your own business.

The guys leave, and everyone glares at Bindu, even though she’s only asking what we all want to know.

The next morning, the show gets spicy.

A man excitedly says "it's showtime."

Call the Midwife is fun, but I missed the thirstiness of Sanditon and Poldark. Let’s just say JB and one of the gals are in bed, and they are not sleeping. Alas, it’s just a flashback, and not even a detailed one at that: we don’t even get a good look at the woman’s face! Like anyone who just had *that* kind of dream and wakes up alone, JB gets up and sets out to terrorize someone. Baadal distracts him with their incredibly beautiful garden (which really is quite stunning) and a tour of the grounds. JB decides that one of the buildings will get turned into a chapel for his mom, which finally opens the floodgates for this uptight weirdo to spill the tea.

JB: Dude, I haven’t seen my mom in 12 years and she has INVITED HERSELF for this visit.
Baadal, bonding: Moms can’t live without their sons, or at least that’s what MY mom says every time she sees me!

Bro sharing time is interrupted by a letter from a certain General Castillon. Whomst? Thankfully, Baadal knows: he’s a jerk! Castillon is a French mercenary who works for the emperor and has spies everywhere. Fun! There's no time like the present to accept that invite, so the boys head out on a field trip to the Red Fort (an actual historical landmark). Here’s my takeaway so far: everyone on Team Beecham is making great fashion choices, and the French soldier’s outfits are horrible. Their clothes may not be great, but they’re pretty organized: there are some guys drilling in the courtyard, while others gather around a ring to watch two dudes fight. One of these guys is huge and very intense. He hoists his opponent onto his shoulders and dumps him in the sand while making direct eye contact with JB, and then spits. Frankly, this is an amazing power move, and how I intend to greet guests in my home once guests in my home are again a possibility.

JB and Baadal hand over their weapons to an extra with a terrible French accent, and head in to meet with Castillon. Folks, Castillon looks eerily similar to JB, to the extent that I’m now postulating that this is his long-lost evil twin. Castillon greets our squad in a way that makes it clear that he knows way too much about JB already and offers some cognac. Another impressive power move?

A man says "mission accomplished."

JB: Oh, wow, surprising that you know I’m here!
Castillon: Well it’s literally my job to know when Brits show up so I can report you to the Emperor.
JB: I’m not what you think.
Castillon: Your time with the British East India Company was clearly fruitful; you just moved into a fancy noble’s house.
JB: I'm not affiliated with the East India Company, and I’m not a lieutenant anymore! I’m just a boy, standing in front of a General, asking him to ignore me. I left years ago, and now I'm just a trader.
Castillon: Yeah, well that’s exactly what your East India Company says, but really, you steal. So the Company wants Delhi now, huh? Bengal isn’t enough?
JB: Bro, India doesn’t belong to the Brits or the French.
Castillon: If the French left, no one would stop the British from taking the whole country. You guys never turn your back on an opportunity you can exploit.
JB: Well not me! RIP to those other Brits but I’m different! And I hope you are too! Separately, sexy ruby on your brooch there. Very high quality, though they cut it wrong.
Castillon, not easily swayed by compliments: Interesting knowledge for a soldier….
JB: I stopped being a soldier to trade fairly, not pillage.
Castillon: Well that’s cool and all, but only the emperor can give you a license to trade; it’s a Mughal thing. And I’m happy to introduce you! BTW, Shah Alam will take you more seriously if you work for him; he values loyalty.
JB: Thanks for the tip! I’ll do my best to try and persuade him that I'm on the up and up. Anway, thanks for the cognac; toodles!

Our pal JB may indeed be one of the good ones, but given the big historical spoiler alert that the East India Company did indeed take over Delhi less than ten years after Beecham House is set, eventually subjugating the country on behalf of the British crown in an occupation that didn’t end until 1947, the Shah is right to be worried.

As JB leaves, Huge Fighting Guy from earlier walks by and gives him the old up and down. From the bottom of my heart, I can’t wait for this guy to wreck JB at fisticuffs. Our squad shoo’d off, team France chats.

Huge Fighting Guy: So, JB: friend or foe?
Castillon: He 10000% works for the East India Company; the advance team is here to take over Delhi. Brits are at their most dangerous than when they say they care about virtue.

A man emphatically says "accurate!"

But enough of the heavy and important conversations: JB is on the move and eager for a shopping spree. He’s ogling a vase in the market when some big scary baddies show up and start sacking the marketplace. Baadal fills us in: they’re bandits who’ve been paid off by some unknown person, a pretty common occurrence in this neck of the woods. The bandits run around doing property damage but ignore our guys.

Speaking of ignoring people, later that night at the house, JB does some solo drinking and pretends he doesn’t know the whole house is still gossiping about him. They’re just as excited to find out that he was a lieutenant with the East India Company in Bengal as I am, i.e. horrified about it. Those guys suck! Baadal sticks up for him: he’s not with The Company anymore, and they are never ever ever getting back together. JB’s only here to trade. This discussion of whether their boss is guilty of war crimes gets interrupted though, because someone’s been sneaking around the grounds. JB runs out to search the property with the guards because he’s a swashbucklin’ man of action, and they discover that the interlopers are bandits like the guys from earlier. Baadal is worried: they’ve never had a break-in before.

The next day, the bros inspect the break-in site. JB tells them to cut down all the greenery so no one can sneak in and hide. TBH this is not a very green solution, and he’s gonna regret that in the heat, but it’s his house so whatever.

Baadal: We should also build a bigger wall.
JB: I didn’t come here to build walls; only the foolish do that!

Michelle Obama shrugs

JB: We need to get more guards though.

JB heads back inside to check on the baby and Chanchal. We find out three important things: the baby is either called August or Agastya depending on who’s talking to him, he’s very cute, and Chanchal is very invested in forgetting the past and seizing this opportunity at a new beginning for everyone present.

Later at dinner, Team Downstairs gossips some more.

Mool Chand: He shouldn’t be eating alone, where’s his wife?
Baadal: He’s got letters in the office from London.
Mool Chand: So maybe she’s in England… regardless, this house needs a lady’s touch!
Me, has seen a lot of MASTERPIECE dramas: LOL if you guys think a woman will help our brooding hero be fun, I have a bridge to sell you.
Mool Chand: But what about that hottie who watches the baby, that’s gonna be awkward.
Baadal: Indeed, she’s super pretty. She could sweeten the pudding with just a look.
Mool Chand: Yeah and if she looks at it wrong it'll curdle.
Chanchal: Hey FYI I’m right behind you and I heard everything you just said. And since we’re being PETTY, the baby is farty, and this food sucks: make me something with flavor.
Baadal: Oh so you’re mean AND hot? I’m very into it. Mool Chand will get his sh*t together.
Mool Chand: Well you already don’t like me and that was mean, so let’s do this thing: are you here to serve JB and his wife, too? You must know the baby’s mom; is she coming soon? Or is she already here???
Chanchal, done with this conversation: Watch your back, man.
Mool Chand: You can’t keep secrets in a house like this!

Oh, thank god: the shirtless yardwork standards we’ve come to expect thanks to Poldark are indeed being maintained. JB is sick of waiting around for the gardeners to take down the greenery by the wall, so he’s out here doing it himself, and being tetchy to Baadal while he’s at it.

Baadal: Yeah ok I’ll tell them again, but also you have to be careful in the heat, you’re white as hell.
JB: I never miss being a soldier. But I do miss getting sweaty.
Baadal: I’m not gonna touch that. Wow, narsty scar — does it hurt?
JB: Yeah.
Baadal, not just talking about the scar: Well it’ll fade in time. The pain too.

He gets the guys to work helping with the brush, when a fancy man approaches.

Fancy Man: Hey I heard y’all had a break in? I’m your neighbor, Murad Beg. Hope it’s ok that I dropped in like this.
JB: Of course, nice to meet you!
Murad Beg: I’m happy to have some of my guards keep an eye on your place too. Also, I’m throwing a shindig tomorrow, and you’re invited.
JB, faking it 'til he makes it: Wow, that’s so nice, and I love to make friends so the party sounds great!
Murad Beg: Neat, see ya then!

Invite delivered, he heads out, and JB immediately drops the pretense and asks Baadal what’s the deal with Murad Beg. He’s chill, and he’s also related to the emperor’s wife, so that’s neat! Exposition delivered, it’s time for all of us to head to the party, and what a party it is! Everyone is dressed to impress, including an English Hottie in the corner who JB keeps staring at like a weirdo. Our new friend Murad Beg comes over and calls him out on it: there’s a lot of attractive ladies here and you seem to have made a beeline for the only white one!

JB: Noooo I’m just surprised!
Murad Beg: I guess it is true that there aren’t a lot of you around. Let me introduce you. Meet my daughter Roshanara and her teacher Miss Osborne.
Rosh: Hey new guy! Do you like dancing girls? Delhi has the prettiest ones!
JB: Can’t argue with that!
Murad Beg: Fun fact: I bet you’re the first English guy Ozzy over here has seen in months.
JB: Well she’s the first English gal I’ve seen in literally years. Where are you from? Want to bond over our shared heritage of boring food?
Ozzy: I’m from Devon, and definitely!
Murad Beg: Ozzy here is a good governess. My kid basically only cares about dance, but Ozzy’s teaching her to be a very accomplished insurrectionist.
JB: Oh dang, not what I expected in Delhi!
Rosh: This is boring, I'm going to go back to watching the dancing. You coming, Teach?
JB: Uhhhh before you go, my chef says he’s an expert on English cooking. I’m sure he’d make you some cakes!

The hosts of the Great British Baking Show say "On your marks, get set, bake!"

Ozzy is very excited and about to flirt back when Castillon shows up like a wet French blanket to hit on her and blow up JB’s spot, which he does handily by reminding everyone that JB still has to get that pesky trading license.

Murad Beg: LOL well the Emperor hates the East India Company and he’s going to assume you’re in league with them. Why do you think he’ll give you a license?
JB: Because I care about India, not just myself.
Ozzy: That's hot, good answer.
Castillon: The Emperor doesn’t like the English, that’s why he likes the French better.

Before they can really get into it, a servant comes up and scoops Ozzy away: the extremely glamorous Begum Samru wants to talk to her, so Ozzy skedaddles to go do that. Castillon continues his role of big jerk who does exposition, explaining that Begum Samru is a very powerful woman who the emperor thinks of as almost a daughter. Side note: she’s a real person, and she’s fascinating, and I hope we see a lot more of her soon!

JB, deciding to be shady: Speaking of the Emperor, did I mention that Castillon here offered to introduce me?
Murad Beg: You know what, let me do that instead. This guy is NOT here to help you out.

My wish from the last paragraph is granted: while the guys sort out this needless power struggle, across the room, Ozzy talks to Begum Samru.

Begum Samru: Wow, so you have a classic two dudes situation here.
Ozzy: Nooo, definitely not.

We pan wide and the fact that these two are nearly identical (and yes, Begum Samru is right, identically into Ozzy) comes into sharp relief.

Begum Samru, clinching the role of my favorite character: You know, you don’t have to pick one…

Animated characters agree that "both is good."

Murad Beg is as good as his word, and with this party ending on a throuply note, we’re off to the Emperor’s palace. Murad Beg is a truly excellent neighbor; he gives JB a really fancy introduction. JB is polite, but the Emperor is old enough that he doesn’t have time to mess around.

Emperor Badass: It’s weird to have an English guest — usually you guys just show up uninvited!
JB, mad, but doesn’t really have a leg to stand on: I’m humbled by you and your land.
Emperor Badass: Yeah, well we’ve been in charge here for a long time and have had to fight to keep our land. I’m not going to be the one to let the East India Company take over now that I’m in charge.
JB: Let’s be real, the East India Company policy is hot garbage; I don’t work with them any more; they just want to get rich.
Emperor Badass: Bengal was richer than England, and then those crap-baskets showed up and plundered it.
JB: Yeah, agree, and I’m agreeing in the most baller party trick ever: quoting your own poetry back to you.
Emperor Badass: Ok, that was smooth, I’ll give you that one.
JB: Please don’t think of me as an enemy.
Emperor Badass: Well our friend Castillon does. And speak of the devil, look who just happens to be walking by!
JB: I mean you know the English and the French… don't get along.
Emperor Badass: Well I hope the next argument between the two isn’t over this city (ed: uh oh) because whoever gets Delhi will rule the whole country (ed 2: UH OH).
JB: Seriously sir; judge me by my own behavior, not by my country! I love India, and you guys should rule yourselves. I just want to trade for your awesome art and stuff. Pls can I have a license?
Castillon, interrupting: Oh hey, Emperor, I see you met the new Englishman in our backyard.
Emperor Badass: Yeah, he loves art and he wants a trading license.
Castillon: Surely you won’t give him one though, since we all think he’s still working for the East India Company!
JB, ignoring that: I'm your servant, sir.
Emperor Badass: LOL a British servant in my palace? I’ve never been so sad to be blind.

A man laughs uproariously

Emperor Badass: You want to serve? Here’s a quest: my wife’s birthday is coming up. Get her the perfect gift and you can have a license… maybe.

JB knows that’s as good as he’s gonna get, so he hustles out of there. With him gone, Castillon doubles down on his opinion that JB shouldn’t get a license.

Emperor Badass: Well duh, I don’t trust him either. He thinks he’s winning, but he’s playing checkers, and we friggin’ invented CHESS. If I said no, the East India Company would work in secret. This way I can spy on them via JB, and when he screws up, I’ll be ready.

Back at the house, Chanchal is trying to renegotiate her curfew, because she wants to go to the bazaar. Ram Lal isn’t into it: she’s got to stay hidden to protect everyone’s identity.

A man says "so much plot and intrigue."

Baadal, who overhears this exchange, is also intrigued but mostly because of his massive crush on Chanchal. When Ram Lal leaves, he uses the opportunity to shoot his shot - can he bring Chanchal something cool to eat? She’s not picking up what he’s putting down, and declines. He takes it in stride and tells her he’ll do anything he can to help her settle in. MISTAKE. She’s going to make him sneak her out, I know it! And I’m quickly proven right. Baadal isn’t a total pushover, and says they’ll need permission from the big guy, but Chanchal isn’t worried.

Chanchal: Oh don’t worry about that. But Ram Lal won’t be my chaperone, and I'll just lose it if I can’t sightsee. Will you take me?

Before he can answer, Ram Lal tells her the baby needs her and she heads off. Baadal is too pleased. This poor guy is gonna get his heart broken and I DON’T LIKE IT.

Chris Evans says "I don't like it."

Speaking of sweet, Mool Chand is at it again in the kitchen, whipping up a bunch of tasty treats, which everyone gathers to admire.

Mool Chand: See, none of you clowns can appreciate my greatness!
Everyone Else: *ignores him.*
Bindu: Wow so JB has been here like a week and he’s already bringing some random British gal over?
Chanchal: WOW, really? Here?

In the courtyard, Baadal brings in Ozzy, and tells her that Mool Chand spent all day prepping the food she’s about to eat. They make some more small talk while JB makes a broody staircase entrance and uses the opportunity to lurkily spy on Ozzy. He finally comes out so she can compliment him on his nice house, including a cute swing he picked up in the bazaar. But enough about shopping, let’s eat! Ozzy is very excited because they’re eating British desserts. JB is excited because he gets flirt with this random gal he just met. Mool Chand is excited because finally someone is going to appreciate his range. Win Win Win.

Baadal and Mool Chand obviously use this opportunity to gossip some more and come to the conclusion that JB is NOT acting like a guy who has a wife stashed somewhere, or at least not a wife that he likes.

Ozzy: Thanks for letting me be homesick and eat all your desserts!
JB: Hey, no problem, I get what it means to hanker for home comforts!
Ozzy: Murad Beg says you’re making a chapel, I'd love to see it! But not until after I slam more of these desserts.

She finishes up the treats and then they walk over to the new chapel while Chanchal spies on them from the greenery.

Ozzy: Sooo what brings you to town?
JB: Well, I was with the East India Company, left because they’re the WORST. Why are you here? You never hear about a white lady travelling solo in Delhi.
Ozzy: My brother came here to get rich. I thought I’d come have an adventure, but then he ended up deeply in debt and ran off.
JB: He abandoned you? That’s… really bad.
Ozzy: You know siblings! Anyway thankfully Murad Beg needed a governess. Real talk, this chapel is great.
JB: Sure, come over any time. In exchange can you help me? I know we just met but I need a white lady buffer to help my mom settle in when she shows up. Can you be that buffer? It’d be a comfort to her… and to me.

An animated guy does a smolder face

Ozzy: Yeah I’m into that.

The next day, JB and Baadal go to pick up JB’s mom and strategize on the way. Baadal has it all figured out: Bindu will be mom’s maid, Ozzy will be her friend, and all moms love babies. It’s a rule. JB isn’t so sure, but there’s no time like the present to find out. He and his mom have a nice hug.

Mom Beecham: I thought I wouldn’t see you again since you MOVED TO INDIA. You look good, nice beard.
JB: And you’re just as spicy as ever. Hope the trip was ok?
Mom Beecham: It was not! The crossing was a little more intense than a carriage ride across our tiny island nation FOR SOME REASON. Come over here, Plot Twist Friend, and bring me smelling salts!
Plot Twist Friend, appearing from out of nowhere: Hi I’m exactly what my name suggests, and I agree with your mom: the trip was a wild ride. But I liked it.
Mom Beecham, coy: Oh, do you not remember this rando? She’s one of my friend’s daughters, her name is Violet, and she came to keep me company. I would die without her!
JB: Well thank you for that, Violet. I actually do remember you now, you were a little kid who laughs a lot.
Mom Beecham: Yeah she’s super fun, and I’m definitely not trying to set the two of you up!
JB: ....

They’re about to leave when, lo and behold, another surprise character makes his appearance.

Random Guy: Hey, I could use a hand, Lieutenant.
JB: HOLY CRAP, Captain Parker! Here’s a friendly handshake! Ma, did you know we were friends?
Mom Beecham: Sure did, I met him and his bonkers sideburns in London, he was looking for you. And then he also happened to be in Calcutta and insisted on accompanying us! He’s the best!
JB, who can’t hear the ominous music: Oh YAY! That worked out so great! And I really trust you despite your horrible sideburns and mustache!

They all head back to Beecham House (hey, that’s the name of the show!), where everyone is appropriately awed by the setup.

Mom Beecham: This house is amazing; very fashionable. Back in England, all the rich guys who made money in India are buying houses just like this!
Plot Twist Friend/Violet: Yes, and some are buying parliament seats.
Mom Beecham: Why don’t you just build a house like this in Surrey?!
JB: Ma, I’m not a fancy pants rich boy who comes to India to prosper and flee! I like it here!
Mom Beecham: Who cares about what YOU like, I’ve been abandoned!
JB: Enough of that! I can also bring surprise friends to this gathering, FYI. Ozzy, come meet my mom!
Ozzy: So great to meet you, your son has been so excited for you to get here!
Mom Beecham: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm sure he has. How do you know my son?
Ozzy: Oh I’m the neighbor. I’m gonna try and ignore how rude that was.

PTF Violet gives Ozzy a massive stinkeye, while JB brings all the ladies through to lunch and then immediately abandons Ozzy to his mom’s tender mercies. Extraordinarily rude. But he doesn’t care, because he gets to bro out with his buddy Captain Sideburns.

JB: Wow, thanks for taking care of my mom all this way.
Captain Sideburns: Yeah, well the Company was never as fun after you left. I missed you.
JB: Samesies. Anyway, how’s England?
Captain Sideburns: Rainy! The prince is getting married. And Hastings was acquitted and the company got away with everything.

Fun(?) Fact: Hastings was the Governor-General of the Company when they were based in Bengal. He was tried for extortion, embezzlement, and executing people. And of the jerks who ruled India through the East India Company, he was one of the BETTER ONES. Interlude over, back to the reunion.

JB: Not shocking, that was always a sham trial. Hypocrisy is gross.
Captain Sideburns: I was called to give evidence, and you were too, but you were hiding so you blew it. I got dishonorably discharged and smeared. So thanks for that!
JB: Oh noo I’m so sorry!

An awkward revelation, to be sure, and yet somehow better than the lady’s lunch. The new arrivals are struggling with the heat, but not so much that they can’t consistently fire withering stares at Ozzy. She leaves to go say hi to Mool Chand, and Mom Beecham reveals what we already deduced: she’s planning to set up PTF Violet with JB. Mom Beecham isn’t worried about competition from Ozzy, and PTF Violet is pretty down with the plan because in her experience so far, JB is hot and nice.

A woman says "Fair enough."

JB: So why are you back in India, friendo?
Captain Sideburns: Well, all my money was lost when a cargo ship ran aground, and I can’t get jobs at home, so I’m hoping some Maharaja will hire me? Or I’ll break off and do my own thing, you seem to be nailing it.
JB: Yeah well when I left the Company I got woke and learned about the local trading practices.
Captain Sideburns: You always were different. Do you… uh… need any employees? Maybe someone who knows the tastes of rich British jerks with money to burn?
JB: No. But I need a partner!
Captain Sideburns: Wait, seriously?
JB: Dude you just told me I'm part of the reason your life is in shambles. Of course you can work with me!

Mom Beecham and PTF Violet are gloating about their plot when they hear baby August crying. Uh oh. Mom Beecham, with a dangerous glint in her eye, asks JB to kindly explain who’s kid that is. Instead of saying anything, he tells her to hang tight, and runs up to grab August.

Mom Beecham: Why are you holding that kid? He looks… uh… not white.
JB: Because our audience demographic loves a hot guy with a baby?
Mom Beecham: Is that your kid?!
JB: *Looooooong silence*
Mom Beecham: Who’s the mother? Are you married?!
JB: This is August Beecham. Your grandson.

A man says "Bam!" and then drops the microphone

Later, Mom Beecham and PTF Violet deal with that revelation. They’re both pretty confused. Why didn’t JB say anything before now? IS he married? What’s going on!?! PTF Violet isn’t one to back off, and reaffirms her commitment to nabbing JB, who is, after all, both pretty attractive and apparently unattached. Mom Beecham reaffirms HER commitment to being a pain in the butt and investigating the situation, which she starts working on the next morning at breakfast.

JB: Well mom, I told you this might not be the best time for a visit.
Mom Beecham: Yeah, the best time would have been before you knocked someone up.
JB: I’m gonna go ahead and ignore that. Also, you have to eat something!
Mom Beecham: Ugh NO; how can you eat in this terrible heat?
Captain Sideburns: India will grow on you, just relax.
JB: Yeah, PTF Violet’s already settling in! It’s nice to have someone around who’s in a good mood. Speaking of which, Ma, surely there’s something I can do to make you comfy.
Mom Beecham: Yeah, find your brother!
Me: Whomst?
JB: I’m working on it. He’s either left Calcutta OR he’s just avoiding me.
Mom Beecham: Why would he do that?
JB: Ma, this country is huge, it’s not that weird that we haven’t seen each other. Daniel is perfectly happy to hang with the Company, and I’m not. But now that you’re here I guess I’ll suck it up and write him a letter.

He storms off to anger-write his mysterious sibling. Baadal tries to tempt mom with food, but she again declines. In the other room, JB has just gotten down to business when Captain Sideburns interrupts.

Captain Sideburns: Hey, I didn’t want to get your mom’s hopes up, but I heard a rumor that Daniel is on an expedition in Kannauj.
JB: Woah that’s… really close to here.
Captain Sideburns: Yep: it’s just close enough to be the perfect place for the Company to attack Delhi. You’re gonna need to watch your back: if Castillon finds out your brother is stationed that close he won’t be happy.
JB: Ooof. Yup. He’ll tell the emperor and we won’t get that license. Guess we’re going on a roadtrip to find my brother.

They head out on horseback. Cut to a super fun bar/party. Beautiful ladies dance. A white guy we haven’t seen before takes a drag off a hookah while a bunch of women hit on him. Could this be the aforementioned Brother Beecham? Only one way to find out: tune in next week for episode 2!