Episode 3 of Around the World in 80 Days begins with Fogg, Abigail and Passepartout on their way to India. As we reach day 16 of this big trip around the world, the trio hit a roadblock in the form of the captain. He’s decided to take a break in Yemen. The next boat leaving is in 3 days, which would considerably set them behind schedule.
Fogg, hopped up on a a good dose of self-confidence, decides they should cross the desert. A stretch of land called the Empty Quarter is their destination. Only, everyone who travels there dies.
Given how dangerous this route is, Fogg makes a bold decision to leave Abigail behind. As he says himself “it’s way too dangerous for a woman.” They don’t properly say goodbye though, instead slipping a boarding pass under her door for the trip back to England. When Abigail finally awakens, she’s too late. Fogg and Passepartout are already en-route to Aden.
Unfortunately, they’re double-crossed by their guide, who leaves Passepartout and Fogg alone in the middle of the desert. With little supplies, the pair make a fire (thanks to Fogg’s matches) and discuss how much they miss Abigail.
Well, Abigail’s search for help leads her to Jane Digby, who eventually agrees to travel across the Empty Quarter. On their way, they stumble upon Fogg and Passepartout, who aren’t doing too well.
It’s here Abigail learns the true nature of UK journalism. The newspaper articles and stories spun about Jane Digby are all fake. She’s not the bed-hopping mistress Abigail thought she was. In fact, her father tried to bed Jane originally, becoming obsessed with her. When Jane refused him, Bernard shamed her in the newspapers, turning her whole family and country against her.
And the “camel rider” Jane left with? Well, he’s actually Sheik Medjuel el Mezrab, from the great tribe of Anizzah. He’s never driven camels but he is in love with Jane, and that’s all that matters. It’s a nice little reveal, albeit one that’s perhaps obvious, especially for anyone wise to the lies spun in the UK media.
That night, bandits arrive on horses and surround the group.It’s difficult to see much, but after using Most of their ammunition, Fogg comes up with a good plan to burn the petroleum on the floor (something foreshadowed earlier in the episode). Although they manage to slip away without incident, Passepartout is haunted, especially after killing one of the bandits during the skirmish.
When thee group finally make it into town, Abigail does right by Digby, writing up a scathing report against her own father, calling him a liar. With this tale done, the trio prepare to travel up to India. Only, there’s a problem.
It turns out Passepartout has been propositioned by a shadowy man named Kneedling who’s working against Fogg. Passepartout is offered a lucrative trade of freedom in exchange for Fogg making sure he misses the connecting trip to Hong Kong. Will he do it?
The Episode Review
The third episode of Around the World in 80 Days shifts the attention across to the desert. Fogg is still pretty unlikable in this but the show is saved somewhat by the teasing wisps of romance between Abigail and Passepartout. This is actually a nice inclusion to the tale, but the tone is still a big problem overall.
There are light bites of comedy here that are largely blanketed by grim, dark drama that feels at odds with this original tale. What should perhaps be a fun, vibrant adventure feels more forced and reluctant; Fogg feels compelled to do this and just wants to get it done quickly.
Either way though, the desert is a nice way to switch up the visuals and geography but still suffers from the same roadblocks the previous two chapters have. This isn’t a bad series, and there are definitely some stand out elements, but right now this feels stuck in the realm of mediocrity.