Every season, I sit down to watch the latest and greatest in all things drama, and this month we have been blessed wtih two super exciting shows, starting wtih MASTERPIECE’s newest offering: Around The World in 80 Days. Adventure! Travel! Hijinks! What more could you want? Miss an episode? Check in each week for a recap following the show on Sunday evenings.

It’s episode four, and so if you for some reason thought the course of rail travel would suddenly run smooth, I don’t know what show YOU’VE been watching the last 3 weeks. Anyway, the squad is in India, and despite what Ginge Nellie Bly’s published works claim, the railway across that country is still not complete. Purple Haze is very put out.

Ginge Nellie Bly: I just wrote the article, man.
M. Master Key: Well get a fact checker next time, hack.
Ginge Nellie Bly:

A woman says "okay that's very rude"

Purple Haze: Seriously, what’s up with you? You’ve been so grumpy since the end of last episode! Anyway, can we focus on me for a second? I’m getting attacked by flies.
M. Master Key: What if instead we got back on the train and went back to Mumbai where there’s a super fancy hotel and cold beer?
Purple Haze, unusually uninterested in beer: No way. Onward! We just need a sign.

And lucky for them, one appears, in the form of a small child who points the way to their next stop, and then (possibly sensing some ineptitude at following directions) just escorts them. When the group arrives they’re greeted by the kiddo’s mom, Aouda, who informs them that they’ve arrived in town just in time for a wedding. The wedding of their new semi-host’s daughter, in point of fact.

Purple Haze, incorrect: Oh, then you’ll probably be happy to hear we aren’t planning to stay and get in the way; we need to get our butts to the next stop on our tour asap!
Aouda Auntie: No, of course you’ll be our special guests.
Purple Haze: We’d love to but we’re actually on a bit of a time crunch: gotta get around the world in 80 days!
Aouda Auntie:

A man, deeply confused, asks "but why?"

Purple Haze, weirdly still doesn’t have this talking point down: Uh, it’s not important, but we do have to get to stepping!
Aouda Auntie: No :) We can give you a guide tomorrow; everyone here is attending the wedding. No exceptions!

That settled, she escorts our friends into her absolutely stunning home. Her daughter, bride-to-be Samanaz, gets to deal with Ginge Nellie Bly.

Samanaz: Wait, so you’re just travelling around unmarried with two dudes?
Ginge Nellie Bly: Yup, and I hope to continue doing so!
Samanaz: And you’re a journalist? Cool! You can do some writing over there if you want.

Ginge Nellie Bly, eager to get started and not, after all, here to make friends, gets to work. Meanwhile, in the guys’ room, Purple Haze lounges around looking at the train timetables while M. Master Key, again, does the useful work (this time making tea). As you might expect, this gives our “valet” friend time to think about the bribe he was offered last week; Purple Haze sure isn’t making it any easier to resist with his patented combination of languid and neurotic.

M. Master Key: What if we just chilled out here for a couple of days? Made up the time later?
Purple Haze: No way! You’ll upset Ginge Nellie Bly talking like that.
M. Master Key: I think she’s upset enough knowing that her sainted papa is a fraud, but sure.
Purple Haze: Where’s that tea, anyway? I’m thirsty!

And here’s the moment of truth: M. Master Key, as it happens, has a small pouch of something that Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy gave him with the promise that it would knock Purple Haze out for a week, thereby ending the trip. But will he put it in the tea?

Kermit the frog quakes in terror

No, as it happens (knew it!). But even if he had, M. Master Key trips on his way over, spilling the caffeinated goodness all over the floor.

Purple Haze: Dude, be careful!
M. Master Key, furious, and in French: Be careful? ME? Why should I do that when you haven’t been careful even once this whole time! All you care about is this stupid bet.
Purple Haze: Ugh, stop going on in French and just do your job.
M. Master Key, still in French: Oh, and was it my job to almost die multiple times already? I’ll probably die here! UGH. All I want is to be able to look after myself, since no one else is gonna do it! Make your own damn tea, and I hope it has those floaty bits in it you hate. I’m storming out!

Even without speaking French, Purple Haze knows things are not going great with M. Master Key. Ginge Nellie Bly also hears the whole thing from across the courtyard, and while she DOES speak French, she’s trying to defeat writer's block and declines to check on her companion.

Samanaz, pretty intrigued by our journalist friend: What are you writing anyway?
Ginge Nellie Bly, despondent: Nothing. See, I used to want to impress my dad, but now I don’t want to.
Samanaz: Bummer. Anyway, get naked.
Ginge Nellie Bly:

A man says "I'm sorry, what?"

Samanaz: I can’t dress you up for this wedding if you’re wearing that.
Ginge Nellie Bly: What, my corset?
Samanaz: Yeah, that thing; looks uncomfortable.

She’s not wrong! Sure, Ginge Nellie Bly’s costumes do look cool, but I can’t imagine doing all this running around in a corset. To be fair, it would also be hard to do all this running around in the sari Samanaz is about to dress Ginge Nellie Bly in, but at least she’ll be more comfortable in the heat (and add some blessed color to her otherwise very greyscale wardrobe). Unfortunately, the guys don’t change out of their western clothes (they would both look amazing in kurtas, just saying), so they’re chilling out with the groom, Arjan, when the festivities begin.

Purple Haze: So, how long do these ceremonies last?
Arjan: TBH I don’t know; I didn’t think I’d get married like this. I’m not a great catch, but Samanaz and I just fell in love.
Purple Haze: Well she seems lovely, and I’m sure you’ll be very happy!
M. Master Key: LOL, as if you know anything about women or love!

Rude, but hilarious. Also hilarious is Purple Haze getting his first bite of food, which we can tell right away from his suddenly red and pained face is much spicier than he’s used to. The ladies arrive (looking fantastic, of course), and the party kicks into higher gear. Arjan teaches M. Master Key some dance moves, while Purple Haze chats with Aouda Auntie.

Purple Haze: Your future son-in-law seems like a good kid!
Aouda Auntie: Yeah, he’s fine. Anyway, why are you doing this trip?
Purple Haze: Well, to see if it’s possible, I guess?
Aouda Auntie: Sure, ok, so if it is you’ll have learned that you can go on an amazing adventure and just go back to where you started?
Purple Haze: But relatively quickly!
Aouda Auntie: What’s the point though? So you’ve done this whole thing and you don’t even know why?
Purple Haze: Well… there’s the whole British exploration spirit?
Aouda Auntie: Ah. Yes. That. Always looking for new places to exploit.
Purple Haze: Hey, we’re perfectly fair to the places we colonize!

And as if on cue, just as he drops that outlandishly incorrect assertion, a battalion of armed men (led by a presumably British white guy) loudly infiltrate the town and start searching for someone.

Purple Haze, a real doofus: Well, we brought universities here?
Aouda Auntie: We’ve had those for 2000 years.
Purple Haze: Railways?
Aouda Auntie: Yes, and those are so famously well built that you’re here in my village asking for a guide.
Purple Haze: Well you got me there.

Despite his complete ignorance of the damage his country has done, Aouda Auntie is willing to put up with Purple Haze, and even offers him a blessing for the journey, marking his forehead. But because we need an object lesson in the problems with colonialism instead of just a verbal reminder that the Brits haven’t done anything good for India, the armed battalion finishes searching the village and makes their way over to bust up the wedding. Thankfully, the kiddo who found our friends at the top of the episode gets there first, and warns Arjan, who makes his apologies and legs it. The presence of our adventuring trio distracts the battalion’s leader for a bit, but once he’s decided to move past it, Aouda Auntie covers for Arjan, saying there’s no one in town with that name. Meanwhile, our bridegroom hides in a haystack and explains what’s happening to his fiancee: if these guys find him, they’ll court-martial him, and the two won’t be able to see each other again. Before he can really get into it, some of the men find him and drag him into the square.

Samanaz: Wait, what is happening? He had permission from his commanding officer! We’re getting married tomorrow!
Commander Jerkface: I’m his commanding officer, and I didn’t give permission. He’s coming with us: wedding’s off.
Samanaz: Seriously, Arjan, you lied to me?
Aouda Auntie: Ugh, I warned you!
Purple Haze, sticking his nose in the situation: Uh, Lieutenant, I’m also a fancy British guy. This must be a mistake.
Commander Jerkface: No mistake, he’s a deserter. He’s going to be tried tomorrow and if he’s guilty we’re transporting him overseas. Let’s go!

And, ignoring everyone’s protests and Samanaz’s screams, the battalion drags Arjan off to his uncertain fate. Purple Haze, not missing a beat, heads back to his room, followed by M. Master Key.

M. Master Key: What are you doing?
Purple Haze: Packing! You heard the man, wedding’s off: we can get out of here!
M. Master Key, and me: WTF, did you not see what just happened?
Purple Haze: Oh, don’t be so French!
M. Master Key: Wow, so this really is just about a bet to you? You don’t care about the human cost of any of this at all? This whole plot device was supposed to teach you something, man!
Purple Haze: Look, I just want to prove a friend wrong! The guy lied to her and broke her heart: if we get the train or miss it, she’s still going to be sad and single, you know?
M. Master Key, coming to a decision to poison his boss, and good for him: It’s gonna be a long night. Some tea?

But before he can get started, Aouda Auntie shows up, and she’s rightfully annoyed.

Aouda Auntie: You told my guide I said he could take you away? That’s a little rude. Anyway, I expect payment, and I don’t want your money. I want you to talk to Commander Jerkface and get him to release Arjan.
Purple Haze: Oh, I can’t do that.
Aouda Auntie: Well, those are my terms. Do it or lose your bet!

A woman emphatically says "good for her."

Of course, the second she leaves Purple Haze tries to explain to M. Master Key that it isn’t callous and horrible to not care what happens to Arjan, because it’s none of their business! M. Master Key, fully done with Purple Haze’s BS, nods along and lets Purple Haze drink the knock-out tea. Meanwhile, across the courtyard, Ginge Nellie Bly does her best to comfort Samanaz, who’s understandably hurt AND angry.

Ginge Nellie Bly: Maybe he was refused permission but he just wanted to be with you too much.
Samanaz: I need to see him.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Well, they’re going to have him under armed guard so that’s going to be impossible, probably.

Somehow I don’t think they’re going to actually let that stop them, but time will tell. Over at the military encampment, one of the soldiers brings Arjan a beer and apologizes: it appears that Arjan’s comrades weren’t a fan of hunting their buddy down at his wedding after all. The soldier also promises to keep an eye on Samanaz if the worst happens, which is nice, but not as nice as it would have been to just… pretend not to find him in the haystack earlier? Anyway, back in the village, Purple Haze has invited Commander Jerkface over for a manful chat about the situation.

Purple Haze: Here, have some of this special relish I brought from home and tell me about yourself: how long have you been here? And in the army?
Commander Jerkface: Six months. For both.
Purple Haze: Have you ever been in love?
Commander Jerkface: Well, that’s pretty personal but I guess I don’t mind telling you about my fiancee back home! Look, a picture!

Unfortunately for Purple Haze, he’s finally starting to live up to his name due to the dodgy tea he chugged earlier. After hallucinating Commander Jerkface’s face onto the picture, he’s unable to contain his laughter, and perhaps sensing that he’s a bit out of it, attempts to over-enunciate his way through the rest of the conversation. Couldn’t Commander Jerkface drop the charges against Arjan? Just this once? Obviously, the answer is no, which Purple Haze finds hilarious. M. Master Key tries to get him to go to bed to sleep it off, but Purple Haze refuses. I shudder to think what weird thing he’s going to say next, but we have to wait to find out because first Ginge Nellie Bly and Samanaz need to sneak into the army encampment for a late night chat with Arjan.

Arjan: You have to leave: they’ll arrest you and I can’t handle it if you get hurt!
Samanaz: First tell me why you lied!
Arjan: I did ask permission, but Commander Jerkface said no. I had to see you; I just wanted to get married.
Samanaz: What’s going to happen?
Arjan: They’re going to send me to Malaysia to work in the tin mines.

Samanaz, apparently deciding that enough is enough, cuts a hole in the tent so they can hold hands and declare their love. Samanaz also seems to think that Purple Haze will succeed in convincing Commander Jerkface, for some reason. Let’s see if she’s right!

Purple Haze, starting to get overheated: Why do you keep telling me to go to sleep, M. Master Key?
Commander Jerkface: Maybe because it’s getting late. I have to go back myself: busy day tomorrow!
Purple Haze: Right, starting with the court-martial. How many of those have you overseen anyway? None, right?
Commander Jerkface: Doesn’t matter. He’ll get a fair hearing.
Purple Haze: If your mother was here now how would SHE want you to handle this?
Commander Jerkface: Well, my mother is dead, so I don’t know.

Purple Haze, for some reason, finds that hilarious, which understandably leads Commander Jerkface to leave immediately, incensed. Left alone, Purple Haze socks M. Master Key in the face and runs away, giggling. And speaking of intoxicated men, back at The Reform Club, NewPapa is getting well and truly sloshed and ruminating on how he ruined his relationship with his daughter by being a horrible lying jackass. Apparently he’s decided to close out the club, and the butler on night duty tries to talk him down, or get him a cab, but to no avail: NewsPapa is determined to be miserable. Back in India, M. Master Key finally tracks Purple Haze to where the gentleman in question is having a rather serious conversation with a cow, which he has mistaken for a violinist named Boris. Whilst M. Master Key tries to process… that… Ginge Nellie Bly and Samanaz return. As Purple Haze starts singing to “Boris” and is pulled back inside by his companions, Samanaz runs to get her mom, hoping that Aouda Auntie might somehow know something about trip sitting. But of course, to take care of him, she’ll need to know what he took. M. Master Key, worried, pulls her aside and shows her the bag.

M. Master Key: I think he took this.
Aouda Auntie: Why would he do that?
M. Master Key: Ugh, fine: I gave it to him, ok? Took a bribe to ruin his precious bet; the guy said it would slow him down for a couple of days.
Aouda Auntie: Yeah, I’ll say, with the amount you gave him you’ll be lucky if he doesn’t go to sleep PERMANENTLY, if you know what I mean. Keep him cold and keep him awake.

With that sorted, she heads off with Samanaz to make medicine, leaving Ginge Nellie Bly and M. Master Key to keep their friend alive in the meantime. While they work, Aouda Auntie gently berates her daughter: she shouldn’t have fallen in love with a man from the British army!

Samanaz: I didn’t; I fell in love with Arjan.

Can’t argue with that, but also, if we’ve learned anything from other period dramas (Austen, anyone?) when the military comes to town it really is best to just stash any eligible young women as far away as possible. Anyway, while they attempt to make a life-saving medication, Ginge Nellie Bly tries to keep Purple Haze awake. In his drug induced confusion, he keeps calling her Estella, which as we all know isn’t her name at all, and because he’s so out of it, it kinda sounds like this:

A man yells "Hey Stella!!!"

Purple Haze: You came back! I always knew you would… well, hoped. Feel my heart; it’s always been yours. Now that you’re here I can tell you everything — I’m travelling the world! Just like we planned. I just want you to be proud of me… but you were right to leave me. I couldn’t have been good enough for you anyway.

Who’s Estella? And how heartrending was THAT confession? Before we have time to process any of it, Aouda Auntie arrives with the medication, which M. Master Key feeds to Purple Haze. While they wait to see if he’ll recover, Ginge Nellie Bly interrogates her friend: has Purple Haze ever mentioned someone named Estella?

M. Master Key: No, but it was probably just a puppy or something.
Ginge Nellie Bly: I think they were meant to travel the world together but she dumped him. I just can’t imagine him having a girlfriend, can you?
M. Master Key: I’d rather not imagine it, thanks.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Well either way, I don’t think we’re here because of some bet. He’s trying to prove himself to the woman he loved.
M. Master Key, has skin in the game given that he just poisoned Purple Haze: No way! It’s a dumb bet!
Ginge Nellie Bly: I think you’re wrong. We’re here because someone broke his heart.

And speaking of hearts, over in the army camp, a certain Commander Jerkface is staring at the picture of his fiance and having a moonlit moment (which feels like something that should be trademarked by TV’s The Bachelor, but what do I know?). Unfortunately we’ll have to wait for morning to find out what he decides, and as the sun rises we also get to enjoy Purple Haze abruptly waking up and finding his travelling companions hunched over, asleep, in the corners of his room.

Purple Haze, if this happened today:

A hungover man says "I feel great, I ran 5k this morning." Off camera, a friend asks "really?" to which he replies "no, I threw up in the shower."

As he stumbles outside, pretty much everyone excitedly gives him a hug, overjoyed that he’s alive (even if, and I’m quoting here, he does feel like an elderly badger has died in his mouth).

Aouda Auntie: Well, glad you’re not dead; I’ll get a guide.
Purple Haze, more sincere than he was yesterday: Wait, but I have to go talk to Commander Jerkface First!
M. Master Key: You already did — don’t you remember?
Purple Haze: Oh, awesome! How did it go?
M. Master Key: Well… he showed you a picture of his fiance, and you laughed.
Purple Haze: WHAT? When’s the court-martial?

Well, it’s right flippin now, so they all haul ass over to the army camp, where young Arjan is preparing to face the music. On the way, M. Master Key tries to pawn the poisoning off on spicy food (rude but I can’t really blame him given what almost happened), and Purple Haze asks if he said anything weird while he was out, since he can’t remember anything.

Ginge Nellie Bly, lying through her teeth: Uh… nope!

Meanwhile, the trial has already started, and while Commander Jerkface doesn’t seem to have gone all the way into A Few Good Men territory (yet), I’m still worried.

Commander Jerkface: Introductory trial stuff, yada yada yada. How do you plead?
Arjan: Guilty.
All his work friends, who are rooting for him:

A group of children gasp

Commander Jerkface: Before we do sentencing, do you have anything you want to add to explain what happened?
Arjan: If it’s ok, I’d like to read a prepared statement: when I went to that village, I meant to follow orders and just do the census and come home.
Commander Jerkface: But you didn’t!

An animated lion angrily says "you deliberately disobeyed me."

Arjan: I didn’t do it lightly, but I knew if I left I would be unhappy for the rest of my life, because I would never see the woman that I love again! I believe I’m a good person, and I have distinctions for bravery on my record. Please consider that, and be merciful in sentencing.
Commander Jerkface: Noted. But unfortunately the crime you’ve pleaded guilty to is very serious.
Purple Haze, running in, and comfortable using legal jargon in everyday life:

A woman yells "I object!" and then smiles

Commander Jerkface: To what! And you’re not even in the army, you’re not allowed to speak!
Purple Haze: So where’s the officer defending Arjan?
Commander Jerkface: There isn’t one for 100 miles; I’ll do that myself.
Purple Haze: Well that seems unethical, don’t you think?
Arjan: Sir, I’d like this guy to speak on my behalf.
Commander Jerkface: Ugh, fine. Go ahead.
Purple Haze: Ok. Well. First of all, I have to apologize, because apparently I laughed when you showed me a picture of your fiancee, which was obviously a mistake because she’s very pretty.
Commander Jerkface, noticing his guys trying not to laugh: Dude, this is a military hearing, keep it relevant!
Purple Haze: When I talked to you I wasn’t well, and I don’t want your bad opinion of me to influence how you feel about Arjan.
Commander Jerkface: Whatever, man, just get on with it!

But Purple Haze is at a loss for words. What can he say? Thankfully, Ginge Nellie Bly heard those flowery declarations last night, and reminds him, in the immortal words of Roxette, to listen to his heart. While Purple Haze pumps himself up, Commander Jerkface loses patience. He’s annoyed at being disobeyed, and lectures Arjan that breaking the rules doesn’t make him some kind of romantic hero, it makes him a coward.

Purple Haze: Don’t you call him a coward! He risked everything: reputation, career, freedom. All to be with the woman he loved. Have you seen action yet, Lieutenant? When you do, when you hear the screams of the wounded and dying, and lead these men into danger, what’s pushing you? Duty? Orders? Country? Or seeing your loved ones one more time? That’s what Arjan was thinking.
Commander Jerkface: You think love is a reason to desert?
Purple Haze: I think it’s the best possible reason. Life without love has no purpose; people will rightly do anything for true love. If you don’t, then you’re a coward.
Commander Jerkface: I took a commission from the queen!
Purple Haze: Well the queen would agree with me! She very famously knows what it’s like to lose the love of your life. If it were you, can you honestly say you’d behave any differently?
Commander Jerkface, thinking it over: Arjan, you’re dishonorably discharged. Get out of here.

Everyone starts cheering, because this was definitely the right call, especially after that compelling speech. And it didn’t just impress Commander Jerkface. In the background, Ginge Nellie Bly, inspired, gets out her notebook and starts writing again, and M. Master Key seems to realize that Ginge Nellie Bly’s argument about Purple Haze’s motives is almost certainly correct. Later, as they prepare to leave, Samanaz gifts Ginge Nellie Bly the sari she’s been wearing, joking that she can wear it to her own wedding. Personally I’m just hoping we see our friends in some more interesting clothes in future episodes now that Samanaz has started the ball rolling. M. Master Key arrives as she finishes packing to collect her so they can leave.

On the road again, they head onward, but Rich Meanie’s plan to foil the adventurers isn’t ruined just because Purple Haze has recovered from his poisoning and M. Master Key is firmly back on the team. In London, our antagonist receives a telegram update: Purple Haze has left India, it says, but he won’t leave Hong Kong. Will the telegram prove correct? We’ll just have to wait for next week to find out!

Episode 1 recap: up, up and away
Episode 2 recap: crazy train
Episode 3 recap: truth hurts