1 Second Left
Episode 8 of Around the World in 80 Days begins this finale in New York with Fogg, Passepartout and Abigail all surrounded by reporters, wanting to talk to them. Everyone is well aware of their antics, and as we roll round to Day 70, the trio prepare for their final leg of the journey. Fogg though is clearly distracted.
Why does Fogg head back to the station?
Their destination is the Henrietta, a grand vessel bound for England. Only, Fogg soon leaves the ship before it departs, hurrying back to the clock at the station. Minutes tick by and still he waits, hoping for Estella to show. This explains why he’s been so distracted all this time. And thankfully, Estella does show up.
As fate would have it, Estella appears and immediately berates Fogg, slapping him for breaking her heart and leaving the woman in limbo. With Estella by his side, she talks about her ordeal.
What happened to Estella? Did she send the postcard?
Since leaving her in France, Estella admits that she’s had a mixed life. Although she’s settled down and had kids and a husband, it doesn’t compare to the grand adventure she promised herself with Fogg. As she says herself, it’s not remarkable but it’s at least something.
When she learns Fogg has done nothing with his life, she exclaims “I knew it!” before admitting that she’s the one who sent the postcard back in episode 1.
The night before they were bound to leave for France, Bellamy actually approached Estella, telling her how useless Fogg was and dissuading her from leaving. Estella stood up for him but unfortunately she was proven right when Fogg got cold feet and left.
Estella promises that Bellamy will always try and hit out and knock him down. The only way to prove him wrong is to win the bet.
How does Kneedling die?
This burst of courage and confidence is enough for Fogg to reconcile his differences with Estella and rush back to the Henrietta before it departs. Passepartout and Abigail stick together, twiddling their thumbs and worrying whether Fogg will show up in time or not.
En-route, Fogg is stopped by Kneedling who holds him up at knifepoint. The thing is, several other thieves watch from afar as Fogg is taken into an abandoned warehouse.
A whole gang of men show and surround Kneedling and Fogg. Together they work to thwart the threat, with Fogg’s unconventional fighting methods working well to force the gang to scarper. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) Kneedling ends up stabbed in the skirmish and bleeds out right there.
This crucial bit of deus ex machina allows Fogg to make it back to the Henrietta just in time, as the trio hop aboard and prepare to head back to England. Interestingly, he also holds a telegram from Bellamy, clearly stating his intent to stop Fogg no matter what.
What happens in England? Why can’t Fogg progress?
Well, the boat makes it back to England but there’s another problem. Fogg is denied entry given there’s an outstanding arrest warrant for him from Hong Kong. Fogg encourages him to send a telegram to explain this mix-up but the worker in question doesn’t arrive until 8am.
That would consequently mean Fogg fails… but he fails anyway when he tries to charge past the security onto the station. Unfortunately, he’s arrested for his efforts.
In his absence, Abigail and Passepartout make a promise to stay by each other’s side. Things seem bleak but as we reach Day 81 of the journey, Fogg is free to go. Although he initially thinks he’s out of time, it turns out they’re actually still on Day 80, a day behind given they’ve been traveling eastward this whole time.
Does Fogg win his wager?
The trio are certainly cutting it fine but as they charge up the street, with the obligatory snowfall that comes once in a blue moon in England, Fogg makes it back with 1 second left to go on the clock.
While Fogg is admired for his efforts, Bellamy calls out that the bet was never about money. Fogg stands up to the gentleman this time. With a cheque for £20,000 already written, Fogg hands it over to Bellamy, proclaiming loudly that he can pay off his debts and prevent being bankrupt.
Bellamy silently takes the cheque and leaves, ridiculed and berated by everyone else in the Gentleman’s Club. This last act of selflessness helps to push Bellamy out of the club, while Abigail and Passepartout drink to their friendship.
How does Around the World in 80 Days end?
As the trio read about a strange contraption out at sea, they eventually head out into the streets together, away from the club. They’ve finished their wager but clearly bolder adventures await them in season 2.
The Episode Review
Around the World in 80 Days bows out its first season with a pretty good final chapter, one that rounds out this adventure on a high but also leaves plenty in the tank for the already-greenlit second season.
Some of the drama here has been a little underdeveloped and rushed – like Bellamy’s debts and the romance between Abigail and Passepartout – but largely Fogg’s journey comes to a decisive ending
Given a second season has been greenlit, I actually wish we’d seen more of this singular journey, with the first season split into the first 40 days and the second depicting the latter half of this journey. This could have allowed a lot more characterization and for interesting locales away from the obvious hotspots in the book to be explored.
Regardless, this finale rounds out what’s otherwise a solid but unremarkable adaptation. This is obviously a far cry in tone from the book, and while there’s nothing that memorable to be seen in this, there’s equally nothing offensively bad or terrible.
David Tennant does well to command the screen and despite how unlikable Fogg starts off this journey, he at least comes into his own later on down the line, showcasing a decent character journey.
It’s not perfect, but Around the World in 80 Days has been good value for its run-time, although I doubt this one will be remembered for long when 2022’s TV schedule starts to pick up.