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.
Last week we left our man Purple Haze in the distinctly dangerous position of being led away at gunpoint by Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy, and I’m sorry to tell you that his circumstances have only gotten worse since. To wit: this episode kicks off with Purple Haze, M. Master Key, and Ginge Nellie Bly stuck in a lifeboat in the middle of a stormy ocean as their ship steadily chugs away from them.
Purple Haze tries to shout after the boat, but obviously that’s not going to work, so our friends are left in a dangerous situation without much to do but compare notes about who the mean weirdo that marooned them in the boat was anyway.
M. Master Key: Let’s talk about something else!
Purple Haze: Literally what else do we have to talk about? We’re lost at sea!
M. Master Key: Hey, it could be worse!
Purple Haze, for some reason still hasn’t gotten the memo about tempting fate: How? Could this POSSIBLY? Be WORSE?
And right on schedule, the lightning starts. So that’s fun! Naturally, after the credits, we find ourselves on an island with beautiful sandy beaches and a sunny sky. Purple Haze? Sodden and in possession of their one water bottle. Ginge Nellie Bly? Also present and somewhat bedraggled. M. Master Key? MIA, to his friends’ great distress. While they look for him in a panic and start to fear the worst, a voice floats over the water. Yes, it’s M. Master Key, who’s currently doing his best impression of Kate Winslet in Titanic, i.e. clinging to a scrap of wood for dear life. Apparently swimming is not one of his many many skills. Anyway, they pull him out of the waves, and then make a plan to start following the beach until hopefully they find a sign of life.
Given where they were when Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy chucked them into the water, Purple Haze assumes they're either on the coast of Japan, or maybe further south and somewhere in the Philippines (which is a pretty huge range, he concedes). While Purple Haze and M. Master Key discuss their possible location and the folks they might encounter, Ginge Nellie Bly takes a second to reflect on how pleased she is that M. Master Key did not in fact drown, a sentiment that she’s weirdly surprised about given the thoughts she expressed all the way back in Paris. Anyway, they walk and talk until they come upon footprints in the sand. Great news, right?
You guessed it, the footprints are theirs, which means they’re on an island (and a pretty small one at that). Purple Haze does what any sensible person would in this situation and throws a tiny tantrum. Can’t argue with him; I’d do the same in his shoes. Back in London, at The Reform Club, Rich Meanie gets a telegram that basically says “you won the bet.” I guess this means he maybe didn’t authorize Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy to murder the adventure squad, but I’m still not letting him off the hook. Anyway, he’s super excited and tells NewsPapa that a “business venture” has succeeded as code for the whole “interfering violently with our friend and your daughter’s trip” thing.
Back on the island, Ginge Nellie Bly is all business: they’ve dealt with crappy situations before, and they’ll just have to deal with this one too! She makes a pretty solid survival plan, and volunteers to forage for food while M. Master Key handles the water problem. Leaving Purple Haze behind to make a shelter, the two head off, and M. Master Key quickly finds a pretty stunning waterfall with a pool underneath it. When he returns with his bounty, Ginge Nellie Bly has also succeeded in procuring fruit, and Purple Haze has done a hilariously bad job of making a shelter, so everyone is at least true to form. Now we just need a secret stash of rum and this will be a real party.
Unfortunately, when they crack open the fruit it smells… real bad. Nobody wants to try it, but since they all agree that they should eat to keep their strength up AND it’s probably not poisonous, they give it a taste… and promptly spit it out. Not a win after all, but before anyone can get too upset about it, another storm appears on the horizon, and they abandon Purple Haze’s crappy shelter for a cave. Ginge Nellie Bly attempts to keep everyone’s spirits up, but Purple Haze is gutted. He apologizes to his friends: this is his fault for embarking on the trip and taking them along. Why didn’t he listen to Rich Meanie? Now, obviously I like that he’s finally owning his foolishness, but let’s not talk up Rich Meanie — not right now, not ever.
Purple Haze: Anyway, I got you both into this mess and I want to thank you for your loyalty. I hope you can forgive me for letting you down.
M. Master Key: The past is over: forget it.
Purple Haze: I can’t. And seriously, I really would appreciate it if you’d forgive me.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Of course; nothing to forgive.
M. Master Key: Fine, ok.
Purple Haze: Thanks, that means a lot.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Don't worry: things will seem better in the morning.
And yes, the next day it isn’t pouring rain, but things don’t really seem to be looking up. Purple Haze is deep in a sulk, blaming himself for everything and refusing to eat.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Look, I’m worried about him, and we need to do something since we’re both sort of at fault here. I wrote that article, and you got him arrested!
M. Master Key, internally: You don’t know the half of it, sister.
M. Master Key, out loud: What can we do other than give him time to get over it?
Ginge Nellie Bly: It’s not always that simple. When I was a kid my mom was depressed; and when she was at her lowest it was very hard to get her out of it. We can’t let Purple Haze do that here; he needs his strength.
M. Master Key: Ok, I’ll go talk to him.
Ginge Nellie Bly, unaware of M. Master Key’s whole deal, is skeptical, but he goes anyway.
M. Master Key: Look, I know you think this is your fault. It’s not. The guy who put us in the boat is who we need to blame: he’s been trying to sabotage you since Yemen.
Purple Haze: Wait, you know him?
M. Master Key: I’ve talked to him. In Aden and in Hong Kong. He offered me money to delay you.
Purple Haze: Why didn’t you tell me?
M. Master Key: I should have. I’m sorry I didn’t.
Purple Haze: But we could have done something! I could have gone to the cops!
M. Master Key: I know. I’m sorry.
Purple Haze: Wait, did you take the money?
Naturally, once he gets the answer, Purple Haze is incensed, and storms off to get Ginge Nellie Bly involved.
Ginge Nellie Bly: I already know what he did, but it’s ok — he only stole the jewel to get us money, he couldn’t have known you’d go to prison!
Purple Haze: WHAT?
Ginge Nellie Bly: Wait, you don’t know about that? Then what did you do, M. Master Key?
M. Master Key: Please, let me explain! I know I messed up!
Purple Haze: He took a bribe from Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy to sabotage us!
Ginge Nellie Bly: WHY?
Purple Haze: For money! And sure, you gave the money back, but only after you POISONED ME!
Ginge Nellie Bly: Wait, THAT’S why you were sick in India?
Purple Haze: YUP. And I’ve been blaming myself this whole time? NONSENSE. You’ve betrayed me, and I won’t be around you. Go away!
Ginge Nellie Bly: Ok, well, that’s a little harsh.
Purple Haze: Don’t care! Go, M. Master Key!
Yikes. As M. Master Key dejectedly walks away, Ginge Nellie Bly tries to talk Purple Haze around, but he’s still too mad. Fueled by rage, he decides he’ll build a raft they can use to escape. Sure, they could be VERY far away from civilization, and they don’t have a ton of building materials, but he’s determined. Possibly realizing that a fired up Purple Haze is better than a morose one, Ginge Nellie Bly lets him give it a shot. Gotta say, I’m not too keen about this plan; we all know how raft escapes end.
While M. Master Key dejectedly but successfully rustles up some lobster to eat (and as a New Englander you KNOW that puts me even more firmly on his team), Purple Haze drags Ginge Nellie Bly around to look for wood and listen to him complain about their friend.
Ginge Nellie Bly: He’s tried to help this whole time. And he’s coming this way.
Purple Haze: I don’t care! Go away, M. Master Key!
M. Master Key: What, you own the beach now?
Purple Haze: Whatever, man, just don’t cross this line I’m drawing like we’re young children sharing a bedroom!
M. Master Key: I’m sorry, ok!
Purple Haze: Me too… for hiring you in the first place!
M. Master Key: Look, if I could undo what I did, I would! I didn’t know you then, and I thought you were ridiculous: you bet more money than most people will have in a lifetime on an outlandish trip. I thought it was a gentleman’s folly.
Purple Haze: Well you were wrong.
M. Master Key: I know that now, and I can see how much this means to you. Please, if it’s important to you, it’s important to me. I know I screwed up, but I’m going to make amends. I’m not leaving: my friendship with you is more important than that.
Purple Haze: Oh, I see what’s happening: you’ve gotten too much sun and you’re delirious. Have a nice life.
And Purple Haze stays weirdly committed to being a jerk about this, even later that night when M. Master Key has lit a fire and started cooking his catch.
Ginge Nellie Bly, always looking for a silver lining: Well, at least the raft looks good.
Purple Haze: About that… without tools I’m not sure I can put it together securely enough to make the trip.
M. Master Key, across the beach: I can help with that!
Purple Haze: I don't need your help!
M. Master Key: And if you’re hungry, I have lobster.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Look, I’m starving. Even if he’d done something FAR worse, I’d forgive him for that lobster.
Purple Haze: We have our own food!
Ginge Nellie Bly: I’m sorry. I’m not eating even one more bite of that fruit.
And despite his ally defecting to the Nephropidae side, Purple Haze refuses to join them. Speaking of fancy food, back in London, Rich Meanie and NewsPapa share a meal at the Reform Club. Naturally, the talk has turned to their mutual friend’s trip, and Rich Meanie’s belief that he will win the bet, when they’re interrupted by a particularly somber butler.
Bad News Butler: NewsPapa, there’s someone here to see you. From the Foreign Office.
NewsPapa: Ok, send him over.
Foreign Office Guy: Hey, so we got a message from our office in Yokohama about a friend of yours, Purple Haze? Apparently he’s been reported missing at sea, feared dead. The captain thinks he fell overboard.
NewsPapa: Wait, what about my kid? She’s travelling with him! Is there any chance that Kurt Russell saved them?
Foreign Office Guy: One of the two other people missing from the ship’s manifest is a lady… she goes by Ginge Nellie Bly?
Obviously NewsPapa is horrified, and Rich Meanie also looks pretty upset, despite having put the wheels for this whole thing in motion himself. Speaking of which, back on the island, M. Master Key tells Ginge Nellie Bly (loud enough that Purple Haze can hear too, even though he pretends to be enjoying his horrible fruit too much to eavesdrop) that he’s been trying to figure out who paid Disreputable Bowler Hat Guy to stop them. There’s only one person who would profit if they fail: Rich Meanie.
Purple Haze: Hey, don’t say that! Your betrayal is bad, but blaming this on one of my oldest friends is MUCH worse! So French!
M. Master Key: Well maybe because I’m French I know how actual friends behave, and that guy isn’t your friend. Every time I saw him he was making you look bad or saying mean things about you! Are you a character in a teen movie or something?
And I don’t want to talk about this with you. Goodnight!
And with that, he tries to escape the conversation by crawling into the hut he’s made. But he can’t escape Ginge Nellie Bly, who points out that everything M. Master Key has said makes a suspicious amount of sense.
Purple Haze: Rich Meanie would never conspire against me. He just wouldn’t do it.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Then who did? And by the way, I know you’re mad at M. Master Key, but it must be said that we haven’t always treated him fairly.
Purple Haze: What? I employ him, what more could I possibly do?
Ginge Nellie Bly: Ok, well he watched his brother die in Paris and didn’t even get to go to the funeral. And then he had to kill a guy in the desert to save us and we pretended like it didn’t happen! We’ve taken him for granted. Look, we've all made mistakes: I shouldn't have written that article about you. It was a betrayal, and I’m sorry.
Later that night, M. Master Key heads over to check on the raft, which is, in fact, a disaster. M. Master Key wasn’t kidding about having a plan though: he treks to the waterfall where he filled up their canteen, and harvests strong vines that he uses to lash together the raft, and does all of it during a rainstorm. It’s very cinematic. But there’s one problem: in the middle of the night, in the cold, he staggers and falls. The next morning, the other two find the almost finished raft, and gleefully plan everyone’s escape from the island: M. Master Key has saved the day!
But where is our pal? Before the other two can find out, we briefly return to London, where the papers shout about the trio’s disappearance from the front page (well, duo: as usual they neglect to mention trip MVP M. Master Key).
Rich Meanie, looking guilty (but not nearly as guilty as he should feel, IMHO): Read your article, dude. Really well done.
NewsPapa, gutted: Oh. Thanks man.
One of their Reform Club Friends: Hi guys. Look, we want to do a little memorial for Purple Haze. Rich Meanie, will you say a few words?
NewsPapa: You knew him as well as any of us; you know what a good person he was.
And reader, he agrees, even though he basically killed Purple Haze himself. Even though Rich Meanie is a jerk, he does a credible eulogy, emphasizing Purple Haze’s optimism and willingness to help others. I’d like to think this means that once Rich Meanie realizes Purple Haze isn’t actually dead he’ll be a lot less horrible, but who can say?
Back on the island, Ginge Nellie Bly finally starts to wonder where the heck M. Master Key has gone off to. After a quick search, she finds him collapsed on the ground and extremely ill after a night out in the rain, and carries him back. Feud forgotten, Purple Haze snaps into action to warm up his friend, even starting to rub M. Master Key’s feet to help them regain circulation while Ginge Nellie Bly runs off to get more water. When she returns, Purple Haze tells her to snuggle M. Master Key to help get his body temperature up (which is indeed the proper procedure both for helping someone with hypothermia AND if for increasing the sexual tension between two characters, so well done Purple Haze). Anyway, despite their efforts M. Master Key is still dangerously cold as night begins to fall. Having burned their shelter, they’re out of options, and ultimately dismantle the raft for fuel.
Yes, they burn up their only chance of escape, but it does the trick. The next morning, M. Master Key wakes up, revived, and as they eat lobster for breakfast, Purple Haze tells M. Master Key he’s got to be right about Rich Meanie, but (classic Purple Haze) he still defends his friend, saying he’s not a bad guy and probably just hired someone who was overzealous. Understatement of the century, but hey, what can you do?
Purple Haze: You were also right about how Rich Meanie treats me. Here’s the deal: when I was about your age I planned to do a trip a lot like this one. With the woman I loved. We were going to get married in Paris and travel together. But Rich Meanie was against it; he kept saying I wasn’t up to it, and I wasn’t good enough for Estella.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Wow, he’s a grade A jerk.
Purple Haze: No, it’s my fault, I should have been strong enough to ignore him. And by the time we got on the ship I was so freaked out that I lied; told Estella I’d left something behind and needed to go back. I think I was hoping she’d go along with it and head back, but she didn’t: she sailed away. And I never saw her again. I’ve done nothing with my life.
Ginge Nellie Bly: Well that’s certainly not true: you’re a famous adventurer.
Purple Haze: Abandoning Estella is the thing I’m most ashamed of; the thing I most regret. And I’ve never felt like that about anyone since, at least until this trip with you two.
Later, Ginge Nellie Bly and M. Master Key talk about Purple Haze’s confession. It’s not quite what either of them expected, but it does explain why he was so mad about her article.
Ginge Nellie Bly: I got it all so wrong.
M. Master Key: Well, it’s easy to misjudge people you don’t know. I thought Purple Haze was a pompous jackass. And I thought you were a bossy, opinionated, pain in the ass. But also smart and independent and pretty. I was right too… you ARE bossy and opinionated.
Reader. They’re a SECOND away from kissing, and then Purple Haze has to go and RUIN IT with wild screaming. But we can’t even be that mad, because he’s yelling at a ship he’s spotted on the horizon! They quickly fan their fire (the literal one, not the figurative one between M. Master Key and Ginge Nellie Bly) into a smoking pillar that can be spotted from sea. Soon thereafter, they’re rescued, though M. Master Key speaks for us all, I think, when he muses that he wishes the ship had arrived just a half hour later. Anyway, the good news is that they’re safe AND they're going to arrive in America only one day after the ship they were on originally, so all is not lost, bet-wise. Will they be able to catch up? And will there be time for some hanky panky while they’re at it? Only time (and Episode 7) will tell!