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.

Having made it through India, our semi-fearless trio find themselves, finally, in Hong Kong, mostly not the worse for wear. Arriving at the bank, Purple Haze sets off to get enough cash to cover their hotel for the night, tickets to their next stop (Japan) and anything else they might need. And while M. Master Key and Ginge Nellie Bly are amused by how happy their buddy is to be back in a bank, where there are, after all, rules, regulations, and paperwork, they’re all in for a rude awakening. See, even though Purple Haze sent a telegram to his bank at home, asking them to forward along the needed funds, the teller claims no such note has come through.

One man tells another "no notes" to which the second replies, incredulous "no notes?!"

Purple Haze is baffled, but M. Master Key knows what’s happening as soon as he spots our enemy Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy leaving the back office of the bank with a pleased smirk on his villainous face.

M. Master Key, pissed: WTF are you doing here, guy? And BTW, you told me those seeds would slow him down, not kill him, so you can take your bribe back; I trust you can figure out for yourself where to shove it.
Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy: Well you know what they say; if you want something done, do it yourself. So I made a little appointment with the bank manager over there and told him I was with the Metropolitan Police, and your buddy Purple Haze was a lifelong con man. He won’t give your friend any money because I’m going to “arrest” Purple Haze and “pass along the tales of the bank manager’s valour” back home. Check and mate, pal!
Purple Haze, missing this whole conversation: Ugh, can’t you just advance me some cash?
Bank Teller: Unfortunately, no. Not until I hear from your bank in London.

Bad news all around, especially as they don’t even have enough money to get a hotel for the evening, and as usual, Ginge Nellie Bly is keen for a wash. No matter: our friend M. Master Key has a plan! Not only has he been to Hong Kong before, but he also knows a place they can stay for free. But before they can get there, the party is interrupted by a wealthy white lady who seems to recognize Purple Haze.

Purple Haze Superfan: Oh wow, it’s you! I’m a huge fan! Of you, and of course, Ginge Nellie Bly over here. You were already making waves but then I read your most recent article and…
Our Trio:

A woman stares in confusion as math diagrams float in front of her face

Purple Haze Superfan: Oh, I should introduce myself: I’m kind of a big deal, and my husband is the governor of Hong Kong. Come meet him!
Purple Haze: Uh… ok?

Well THAT’S worked itself out fairly tidily, I must say. But I’m not sure Purple Haze will be thrilled when he finds out why everyone in Hong Kong is talking about him. Anyway, Purple Haze Superfan introduces her husband, talking up Purple Haze and Ginge Nellie Bly and annoyingly forgetting M. Master Key’s name.

Governor Husband: Well, nice to meet you all. Babe, are you shopping or playing cards this afternoon?
Purple Haze Superfan: Don’t be silly, I’m putting together a party! You’ll be the talk of England when they find out you threw an event for this big ol’ hero!
Governor Husband, at least knows he should listen to his much more politically savvy wife: Oh, excellent. Sounds great!

Sure does! But before they can party, our friends head into the bustling city to call on M. Master Key’s friend, who runs a hotel. Ginge Nellie Bly is persistent about asking questions like “why didn’t he tell them he’d been to Hong Kong?” And “what was he doing there?” But of course, M. Master Key deflects: it’s not time for him to reveal the rest of his backstory just yet! Now sure, the room doesn’t hold a candle to places they’ve stayed before, but it is free — hard to argue with that, especially since everyone’s gotten somewhat used to normal people’s standards of living, and not whatever fancypants stuff they were accustomed to before the trip. Purple Haze, rather at a loss for what someone is meant to do whilst bumming around in their hotel for a few hours, decides to go bother the bank teller some more (good luck, pal). Left behind, M. Master Key isn’t about to sit around and acknowledge his will they/won’t they vibe with Ginge Nellie Bly. Instead, he heads out to meet a friend, and tells her to stay at the hotel where she’ll be safe. Do any of us think she’s actually going to do that?

A man, feigning confusion, asks "what's the expression? No."

Obviously, she follows him, and obviously, he figures it out pretty quickly. Without a good alternative, M. Master Key reluctantly agrees to let her tag along, despite not wanting her to meet his friend. Before they get too far, she spots her article, which she’s excited to see because apparently NewsPapa has never printed anything like it before. Huh? Well this isn’t our typical travelogue: it’s an ode to Purple Haze’s quest to mend his broken heart. M. Master Key, of course, sits down to read it right away.

Ginge Nellie Bly, speaking for every writer ever: What do you think? Be super honest, unless you hate it, in which case lie aggressively.
M. Master Key, giving excellent critique: It’s good: paints our friend in a complex light, and I can hear your voice. But you also better hide this before he sees it or he’s going to lose it. You know how private he is!
Ginge Nellie Bly, for some reason only thinking about that problem now: Oh no. He’s going to hate me!

Maybe! But first he’s turning his ire on the poor bank teller, which is exactly as uncomfortable to watch as it sounds. Mansplaining banking to a guy who works in a bank? Not cute.

Purple Haze, doubling down on his tantrum: Well if you absolutely won’t give me money, I’ll just have to get a loan from my new friend, the governor! At the party he’s throwing for me later! And since Yelp hasn’t been invented yet and I need somewhere to torch you, you better believe I’ll be telling him about this experience.

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

Yikes! Across town, M. Master Key and Ginge Nellie Bly finally arrive at a restaurant where he leaves her at a table to stew over the whole “publishing a surprise tell-all about Purple Haze” situation and heads to the back room to catch up with his friend. In private. Not to jump to any conclusions, but this friend seems pretty fancy and powerful, a leap that feels like more of a hop when M. Master Key opens the conversation by apologizing for not coming to pay his respects sooner.

The Big Cheese: Well, I hear you’ve been busy gallivanting around the world with that famous Purple Haze fellow.
M. Master Key: I sure have been, and we’ve run into some money trouble. Can you give me a loan? I’d repay you very quickly.
The Big Cheese: Your friend is going to dinner at Governor Husband’s house tonight, and his wife just happens to have a very lovely piece of jade jewelry that was carved when the British were still living in the dark ages. They stole it from my ancestor’s literal grave.
M. Master Key: Interesting, but what does it have to do with me?
The Big Cheese: Well I’d like you to repatriate it. Obviously.
M. Master Key: I’m not a thief!
The Big Cheese: You’re not A thief. You’re a GREAT thief.
M. Master Key: I don’t do that anymore. Why don’t you just take it yourself?
The Big Cheese: Well there’s this thing called racism/classism that prevents me from getting an invite to Governor Husband’s house. And they have solid security so I can’t get in otherwise.
M. Master Key: Look, I need money, but I won’t steal anymore.
The Big Cheese: Then you’re useless to me.

The threat there is heavily implied, but before he can spell it out, Ginge Nellie Bly gets sick of struggling to eat using chopsticks and badgers the guard outside the door until they let her in.

M. Master Key: I told you to wait outside!
The Big Cheese: Oh, it’s your journalist friend. Well, if I don’t see you, just keep in mind that Hong Kong can be dangerous! Look out for yourself…. and your buddy there.

Theft? Bad. The fact that colonial institutions currently still hold stolen artefacts like this jade pendant? Also bad. Poor M. Master Key is picking these ethical dilemmas up so fast we could release a series of albums entitled Now That’s What I Call A Moral Quandary for the guy.

A series of album covers from the compilation series "Now That's What I Call Music!"

Anyway, throwback jokes aside, we return to The Reform Club, where that map tracking the trio’s progress is starting to look mighty impressive. But Rich Meanie doesn’t care about that; he’d much rather talk about Ginge Nellie Bly’s most recent article, and why it’s tawdry garbage.

NewsPapa: I think it might actually be a new genre of writing: subjective, you know?
Rich Meanie: A new kind of tawdry garbage, you mean.
Random Old Rich Guy: Well I like it!
Rich Meanie: Who cares! And you do realize Purple Haze is going to be enormously embarrassed when he reads this, right?

Hate to have to agree with Rich Meanie, ever, but he does have a point. Thankfully we don’t have to cross that bridge yet, and back in Hong Kong, M. Master Key is rather ingeniously ironing Purple Haze’s party shirt with a steaming stove and chopsticks. Impressive, but Purple Haze is still nervous about his lewk: if they look like they need cash, there’s no chance any of these rich English folks will give them a penny. What a fun system that certainly doesn’t unfairly disadvantage anyone!

A woman sips red wine and rolls her eyes

Ginge Nellie Bly is also dressed for the occasion, having donned her sari from last episode (a great idea, IMHO, since it will remind everyone of their exciting travels AND it’s the most interesting item in her wardrobe). Suitably gussied up, the trio make their way to the party, where everyone is delighted to coo over their admittedly adorable personages. Purple Haze Superfan introduces her friends, and sends Purple Haze off to talk to the gentlemen, as etiquette dictates, even though she’d clearly rather keep him and his broken heart all to herself. While Purple Haze is off hobnobbing with the blokes, Ginge Nellie Bly grabs M. Master Key for a panicked chat: it’s clear that their hostess, at least, has read that article already. If she says anything about it to Purple Haze, he’s gonna be pissed!

M. Master Key: Yeah man, why do you think I’m drinking champagne like my life depends on it? If you’re so worried, get him to secure that loan so we can get the heck out of here!

Apparently deciding to practice what he’s preaching, M. Master Key heads over to where Purple Haze is telling his new friends about the trip, grabs a pitcher from Governor Husband’s butler, and starts pouring drinks for everyone, presumably to either get them sloshed enough to be free with the petty cash or to put in a good word at the opportune moment. Unfortunately, this backfires somewhat spectacularly, because the sight of M. Master Key pouring drinks finally jogs Purple Haze’s memory.

Purple Haze: OMG! You were a waiter at The Reform Club!
M. Master Key, out loud: Are you sure?
M. Master Key, implied: Come on dude, not now!
Governor Husband: Oh, The Reform Club? Inside joke about the more stodgy club my family belongs to! Anyway, where are you staying?
Purple Haze: Oh, well, great story! I went to the bank this morning, and would you believe there’s been some sort of mixup with London? We’re in a tight spot! Thankfully my guy here found a place for us to stay… downtown.
Governor Husband: Oh goodness me, you can’t stay THERE. I’ll loan you some money!
Purple Haze, inside:

A man crooks his finger and says "step into my web" menacingly.

Purple Haze, out loud: I couldn’t possibly take your money!
Governor Husband: I insist! Butler, go get my checkbook.
M. Master Key: I’ll help him.

Before we can blink, M. Master Key returns, out of breath, with the money order and a pen. But you didn’t think it would be this easy, did you? Before Governor Husband can put his John Hancock on the thing, his wife (who’s been telling Ginge Nellie Bly that while Governor Husband is nice, he’s not romantic at ALL) makes her entrance, with all her lady friends in tow, and assertively pulls Purple Haze away to chat. Fun fact: she’s not just here to make friends, she’s also here to show Purple Haze a familiar piece of jade jewelry that “was found” when they built the governor’s house.

A woman raises her eyebrows, unimpressed.

Anyway, she goes on to tell Purple Haze that the skeletons in the grave they desecrated were holding hands, which really puts some perspective on even HIS fidelity.

Purple Haze:

A man in a white pinstripe suit and round horn-rimmed glasses shakes his hands and head and says "wait, wait what?"

Purple Haze Superfan: You know, everyone here would love to be me: walking around with a man who knows the power of love. But every woman here also knows none of us stand a chance because you’re still so in faithful… to Estella.

While he gets increasingly confused, across the party, the gentlemen get their hands on Ginge Nellie Bly’s article and, being the regressive bros that they are, start joking about Purple Haze being a romantic sad sack instead of the virile explorer they’d assumed he was.

Purple Haze: Wait, how do you know about Estella?
Purple Haze Superfan: Well, I read Ginge Nellie Bly’s article, just like everyone else.
Ginge Nellie Bly, trying and failing to smooth this over: Uh, should we head out?
Governor Husband, brandishing the paper: Oh, you haven’t read this yet? Want to hear it?
M. Master Key, quelling: It’s just words, don’t make it a thing.
Ginge Nellie Bly: I’m so sorry. I was going to tell you.
Purple Haze, mortified: Well, this sure is… an article. We really must be going; lots to do before we leave tomorrow!

And then, not even waiting for M. Master Key, he all but runs for the exit, where he jumps in a rickshaw and flees, pursued by Ginge Nellie Bly.

Ginge Nellie Bly: Please let me explain!
Purple Haze: No! You’ve done enough and this is the worst betrayal of my life so far!
Ginge Nellie Bly: I only wrote the truth!
Purple Haze: You only wrote my private feelings! And you didn’t even ask first! I thought we were friends — you know NewsPapa and Rich Meanie are probably laughing at me RIGHT NOW!
Ginge Nellie Bly: I’m sure they’re not — and it only made Purple Haze Superfan like you more!
Purple Haze: I don’t care! You know what, don’t even talk to me, I need to be alone!

And so it is that Ginge Nellie Bly finds herself alone on the street, chastened. But where the heck is M. Master Key? Hiding under Governor Husband and Purple Haze Superfan’s bed so he can steal the jade pendant back for The Big Cheese, of course! Not only is he an excellent (and aptly named, as it happens) safecracker, when he realizes the pendant isn’t in there, he successfully pulls it off of a sleeping Purple Haze Superfan without waking anyone, escapes out the window, evades the guards, and parkours over the balcony undetected. Is there anything he can’t do?

Aretha Franklin says "I don't think so!"

The next morning, the banker who got conned by Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy appears at Governor Husband’s breakfast table. See, while he wasn’t supposed to tell anyone that Purple Haze is a dangerous confidence man, he just can’t help but warn the governor that an unsavory character has been at his house. I get why the banker is compelled to do this, but since he’s wrong, messing with our squad, a snitch AND a busybody, I’ve decided to dislike him. Governor Husband, however, isn’t too worried: Purple Haze never ended up getting that check after all, so no biggie!

Purple Haze Superfan, running outside: Some biggie, Governor Husband! That fancy jewel we unethically owned has disappeared!
Me, unsympathetic:

A man grasps his face as if to say "oh no" sarcastically

Anyway, back at the hotel and unaware that they might soon be in trouble with the law, Purple Haze is still sniping at Ginge Nellie Bly.

Purple Haze: I’m just gonna head to the bank, and then the boat. Hopefully they only have TWO beds, and you can be stuck here!
M. Master Key, helpful/knows the bank won’t work and needs a way to sneak that loan from The Big Cheese into circulation: If you want, I can go.
Purple Haze: Oh, and don’t think I forgot my revelation about you — I don’t know if I should trust someone who lied about his resume!

But the question of whether or not Purple Haze will trust M. Master Key never gets answered, because just then the cops arrive with a warrant for Purple Haze’s arrest and start rifling through everyone’s stuff. Unfortunately, that means they find the money M. Master Key has hidden under his mattress and conclude that Purple Haze must have already sold the pendant. Obviously, Purple Haze is completely flummoxed by this whole situation, but it doesn’t matter: he gets dragged off to jail anyway. Ginge Nellie Bly yells to his rapidly retreating back that they’ll figure out how to free him, but yikes: this is not a classically good situation! Hilariously, it gets even worse when M. Master Key tries to get help from The Big Cheese and is rebuffed by a bunch of chefs with kitchen knives. Annoyed and sensing a story, Ginge Nellie Bly puts her foot down: M. Master Key better explain. Now.

Meanwhile, Purple Haze languishes awkwardly in a cell until the police chief, a friend of Governor Husband who we met at the party, arrives to question him. Refusing to believe Purple Haze’s assertion that he doesn’t know anything about the necklace, this wannabe Javert threatens our friend with a flogging, and ignores his request for a lawyer. And speaking of challenging conversations, M. Master Key tries to explain what’s happened to Ginge Nellie Bly, who for some reason doesn’t want to believe him when he tells her he’s a master thief. Scrambling for ideas, M. Master Key suggests he turns himself in, but as annoyed as she is, Ginge Nellie Bly is unwilling to let that happen (there’s no chance that M. Master Key will get off with just a few lashes, given that he lacks Purple Haze’s wealth, status, and white privilege). While Purple Haze waits for his whipping and finally reads Ginge Nellie Bly’s article, they finally come up with a plan: throw themselves at the feet of Governor Husband.

Governor Husband: Ugh, I don’t care what you have to say, just leave!
Purple Haze Superfan: No, it’s ok. Make your case.
Ginge Nellie Bly: He’s a romantic and an adventurer: he just wants to do this trip, not steal.
Governor Husband: But he did steal!
M. Master Key: No he didn’t. I did. I wasn’t ready to let his dream end here, so I took the pendant and sold it to the family it used to belong to. I’m sorry.
Governor Husband, summoning up that romantic spirit his wife thought he didn’t have: Then you can go to jail instead! I gave my wife that necklace to show her how much I love her and respect her, and you came into my house and took it!
Purple Haze Superfan: Aw, babe!
Governor Husband: I know you’ve given up a lot for my career, and I’m not great at romantic declarations. But I could give you that necklace.
Purple Haze Superfan: Let them go. Look, I didn’t want to hurt your feelings, but I always felt kind of weird wearing that. It wasn’t my love story.

Kind of wish Purple Haze Superfan got that it was wrong for her to own the jewelry for more reasons than her personal romantic feelings, but at least the pendant is back with The Big Cheese, who returns it to the grave from which it was stolen. Meanwhile, while M. Master Key and Ginge Nellie Bly run across the city clutching a pardon from Governor Husband, Purple Haze is tied to a post and, despite being angry and scared, manages to be appropriately bold with the horrible chief of police and his lackeys. The duo arrive just as the flogging is set to begin, and despite their yell of protest and brandishing the pardon, the man with the whip still gets a lash in, drawing blood, before they can stop him. Ginge Nellie Bly and M. Master Key run in and gently escort their friend away, but some damage (to both his body and spirit) is undeniably already done.

Later, on the boat, as Purple Haze gingerly makes his way to his cabin, he waves off his two companions, furious and wanting to be alone. But unfortunately for him, the drama isn’t yet done for the day: Purple Haze’s solitary evening is interrupted by none other than Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy, who invites our battered friend to go for a walk… at gunpoint. Will Purple Haze live long enough to forgive his travelling companions? Will they save the day and finally get rid of Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy for good? What useful skill will M. Master Key reveal himself to have next time? We’ll just have to wait to find out!

Episode 1 recap: up, up and away
Episode 2 recap: crazy train
Episode 3 recap: truth hurts
Episode 4 recap: listen to your heart