Episode 4 of Around the World in 80 Days begins in India. Our trio arrive in a small village called Narupani, as we reach 28 days into this trip. Fogg, Abigail and Passepartout soon learn there’s a compulsory wedding, and all guests must attend.
Passepartout decides to use this to his advantage, although he’s conflicted over whether to spike Fogg’s drink and betray his friends or not. The seeds he holds are a sleeping agent, given to him by Kneedling last episode. For now, Passepartout decides not to but Fogg’s arrogance and demands are enough that even this reviewer may consider spiking him!
The bride and groom, Samanaz and Aouda, soon stumble upon their first marital bump in the road. It’s quite the obstacle too, as the army show up and arrest Arjan for deserting the Indian army. He’s due to be court-martialled and if he’s found guilty, will be sent overseas to Malacca.
With the wedding off, Fogg decides this is the perfect opportunity to leave. He’s only interested in the bet and doesn’t care about the well-being of those around him. What great traits for a protagonist to have! This selfishness is enough for Passepartout to spike Fogg’s coffee after all… just as Fogg decides to talk to the General – after gulping down the spiked drink of course!
Instead of sleeping though, Fogg simply starts giggling and acting drunk, unable to focus. He even starts singing in the street too.
While all this is going on, Samanaz sneaks into camp to find her husband-to-be. After a touching promise between the pair, she heads back into town. Just in time too, as Fogg takes a turn for the worst and starts convulsing, acting deliriously and continuing to ramble on.
In confidence, Passepartout admits that he spiked Fogg’s drink with seeds but the dose he gave is way over what he should have given. The only way to save him now is to make sure Fogg stays awake. In his delirious state, Fogg sees a woman named Estella in Abigail’s place. It’s clear that the pair used to be together, but something caused her to leave. I’m guessing Fogg’s selfishness, but his love is enough to stir Abigail and make her question what they know about this man.
Abigail believes there’s more to this trip than a simple wager. She deduces that Fogg is still in love with Estella and using this trip as a way of honoring her memory.
Fogg awakens the next day, very much alive. Samanaz is there to greet him, agreeing to allow their guide to see them on to their train at Allahabad. However, it’s time for Arjan’s court martial hearing first.
Arjan gives an impassioned plea but just before his fate is sealed, Fogg bursts in to say his piece. He too gives a speech about the symbiotic relationship between love and motivating oneself to return home from war. This is enough for Arjan to be dishonorably discharged from the army without being court martialled.
With this all resolved and the wedding still able to go ahead, the trio leave to catch their train. As they do, Bellamy receives word from Kneedling that Fogg has left India. However, he promises that Fogg won’t make it past Hong Kong.
The Episode Review
This is a slightly better episode than what we’ve seen before, with more detail about Fogg’s life during the latter parts of this chapter. This does help to warm up to the explorer a little, but it still doesn’t change the fact that Phileas is incredibly unlikable. At times, it’s difficult to see where his charismatic spark is going to emanate from.
The threat of Bellamy and Kneedling continues to dance on the periphery of this show but it also feels half-baked and not very well developed, if I’m honest. It would have been nice to see more of a cat and mouse chase develop here, allowing our trio to solve different issues while at the same time thwart the threat posed by these men. Instead, this remains separate to the episodic plots, which doesn’t benefit this adaptation of 80 Days at all.
Quite where the series is likely to go from here is anyone’s guess, but it appears we’re heading to Hong Kong next!