Episode 7 of Around the World in 80 Days starts us off in the great expanse of the American West. It’s Day 65 of this big trip and Fogg and co. are in a bumpy carriage driven by four horses. The trio are rocking around all over the place.
They’re on a tight schedule, so much so in fact that they’ve got barely any food and resources to go on. However, they’re soon stopped by a deputy marshal called Bass Reeves. He intends to take his prisoner, Ambrose, to Louisiana, where he’s due to stand trial for violation of civil rights.
After a tense stand-off, Fogg decides to cut out through any unpleasantness and allows Bass and Colonel Ambrose to hop aboard. Ambrose has actually heard about Fogg, but specifically read about the trio drowning a week back.
Passsepartout soon points out though that it’s actually safer for them to be dead, given it stops Bellamy from chasing after them. Abigail is understandably uncomfortable with this, given her father’s obvious grief, while Fogg agrees to sort things out when they get back.
It turns out Bellamy’s interest in thwarting Fogg’s journey stem from a debt he owes in London. This explains why he’s so adamant to make Fogg lose. The debt collector in the street reminds Bellamy he’s in deep trouble and if he doesn’t pay up, it could end up very ugly for him.
So naturally Bellamy heads back in to see Bernard, urging him to pay up his side of the bet, given Fogg and the others are dead. Bellamy coldly tells his colleague to pull himself together, angsty over receiving the money so he can pay his debts.
Meanwhile, Fogg and the gang stop for a break en-route to their destination, Battle Mountain. The thing is, Ambrose’s cronies are in hot pursuit, intent on tracking their brethren down. As we soon find out, Ambrose is actually part of the Ku Klux Klan, and with Passepartout and Bass both black, that doesn’t pose well for their prospects if Ambrose’s men catch up.
When they finally travel on their way again, Bass hands over his pistol to Abigail, allowing her to hold onto it for the time being. When they make it in town, they arrive just in time, as the Transcontinental train they’re due to board is due in 30 minutes.
Racial tensions are high in town, with Passepartout antagonized when he shows up in the bar. Fogg stands by his side though, which is certainly noble. The only trouble is, things take an awful turn when Ambrose’s cronies show up in town. Even worse, the lines are cut on communications in town too. Things are about to get ugly.
When they arrive at the bar, Ambrose organizes his goons to hold Bass, Passepartout and Fogg captive. With a knife in hand and guns pointed at his head, Ambrose forces Fogg to make a choice. Specifically a choice that involves picking up a knife and cutting Passepartout’s finger off.
Abigail shows up with her pistol, shooting wildly around the bar and doing enough to turn the tide of fortune for our protagonists. Bass uses his shotgun to kill two of the men, while Passepartout saves Abigail by quite literally punching another thug out the window.
Eventually the gang catch up to Ambrose but Bass steps in and decides against allowing Passepartout to shoot him in cold blood. The Frenchman relinquishes his blood-thirsty revenge, handing Ambrose back over to Bass to deal with.
With the whine of a train whistle, the trio hurry up to catch their train and continue on this journey. As they set out on their way, Bernard receives a letter confirming that Fogg and Abigail are still alive and en-route to New York. When Bellamy finds out, he immediately leaves the room and remains intent on finding Fogg.
Fogg makes it to New York station and as he looks up at the grand clock, realizes this matches the same card he was given when the journey began all those episodes ago. Is this a sign?
The Episode Review
The penultimate episode of Around the World in 80 Days turns the attention to the American west, and specifically honing in on racial tensions of the time. It works pretty well here, with a self-contained story involving the crooked Ambrose and his warped way of thinking.
With Bass helping to save the day, alongside Abigail of course, the trio are finally out of the Wild West and onto their last leg of the journey. However, it seems Bellamy is being pressured to stop Fogg now no matter what, so we’ll have to wait and see what he has planned.
The decision to add a last-minute reveal that Bellamy actually owes money to others, hence his intent on stopping Fogg, seems to be a way of giving him some motivations but honestly, it comes completely out of left-field. After so many episodes of him working alone, suddenly revealing that there’s another interested party feels like a misstep.
Either way though, the ending hints that we’ve got an exciting finale to come. Thankfully, the second half of this show has been better than the first, so there’s still time for one final hurrah. Let’s hope this one can round out the show on a high.