Bombay Begums – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review

The Golden Notebook

Episode 5 of Bombay Begums begins with Fatima sitting on the edge of the bed after cheating on Arijay. Her lover, Jeff, asks whether she wants to go for drinks or dinner but Fatima turns him down, telling him she can’t do this again.

Incredibly, we then receive some narration justifying this cheating, using the Adam and Eve analogy. According to the writers of this show, “wasn’t Eve free to eat the fruit she found most juicy?”

Fatima and Arijay receive good news from the doctor; they’re given the greenlight to go ahead with this surrogate plan. While this is going on, Shai receives a message from fellow student Imran, inviting her along to a party that weekend,

Meanwhile, Ayesha receives an email from Ron asking for the EYG presentation. There’s clearly still some tension between them but Ayesha remains fixed on resolving her work issues. In fact, she receives a reply to her comment on the anonymous blog. Someone else claims to know about Deepak and promises her that she’s not alone. It’s just what Ayesha needs to find some courage, eventually rejecting the job offer and speaking up against Deepak.

With everything recorded, she goes into detail over exactly what happened that night, including how she gave Deepak oral. Fatima questions her, especially when Ayesha lies and claims she wasn’t drunk. Fatima exhibits concerns, questioning Ayesha’s story. As we know, there’s no love lost between the two so this is hardly surprising.

Fatima is hardly one to talk about indiscretions and secrets though. In fact, she even tells Ayesha afterwards that people cheat all the time, waving this blanket statement away like it’s nothing.

Fatima next visits Deepak and tells him he needs to take a period of leave at the company while the investigation is going on. However, Deepak immediately goes straight to Rani and threatens her, promising to play dirty from now on.

Back in her office, Arijay surprises Fatima with a number of baby gifts dotted across the room. He promises this is just step one and tells her he’s booked a table for that evening. Fatima exasperates though and tells him she can’t do this as she has too much work to do. Eventually Arijay leaves, prompting Fatima to receive a message from Jeff, casually claiming he’s chilling with champagne.

Fatima eventually decides to continue cheating on her partner, heading up and sharing a jacuzzi with Jeff. Speaking of cheating, Rani continues her lies to Naushad, kissing Mahesh again.

At work, Rani is encouraged to try and fix this issue with Ayesha and Deepak as soon as possible. In fact, straight off the back of this meeting,  Rani speaks to Ayesha and tries to convince her to keep quiet and sweep this under the rug.

Things take a turn for the worst when Deepak’s wife gets in touch. She spins this whole issue into Ayesha having a crush on Deepak. She believes that Ayesha tried it on with her husband and shakily forgives her for what happened. It’s pretty shocking and something that sees Ayesha head back home for some comfort.,

Unfortunately she isn’t going to get any as Chitra is holding a party. She’s also busy wooing another girl and cozying up to her. This eventually sees her shift back across to Ron, staying with him again for the night. As they sit on the sofa together, Ayesha starts kissing Ron but he pulls away, telling her they can take their time if she wants. Instead, she decides to sleep with him.

Lily’s problems with the factor extend to school too, as Vaibhav is teased so badly that he’s forced to withdraw completely for the time being. He is obviously distraught by this while Lily is left reeling and wondering what to do next.

Meanwhile, Arijay continues to be a loving husband but Fatima pushes away from him and turns toward Jeff. While lying together on the bed, she admits that she’s going to have a surrogate baby soon but doesn’t really know what she wants. While they kiss, Fatima admits that she’s going to miss this. That doesn’t stop her from sleeping with Jeff again though.

Shai shows up at the party, drinking and showing Imran her sketches. Unfortunately he immediately throws this kind gesture back in her face and rejects her. Shai is unhappy and starts doing cocaine and alcohol, getting high and eventually passing out in the bathroom. When she’s found in the morning, Shai is not moving.


The Episode Review

I’ve re-watched the opening monologue of this episode four times now and still can’t wrap my head around the meaning of this. So apparently, according to the writers and creators of Bombay Begums, it’s absolutely fine to cheat and lie on your partner because “Eve was free to eat the fruit she found most juicy.” Really?

I mean if we’re going bible analogies this is a good one, because God allowed Adam and Eve to eat any fruit BUT the forbidden fruit. In this example, the forbidden fruit is cheating on your partner – something that these women have willingly done to their partner.

Not only has this idea completely negated Fatima’s story arc, it’s also made her an incredibly unlikable and narcissistic character. At the end of the day, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Yes people do cheat but it is NEVER a good thing. The way Bombay Begums outright shrugs this off and claims it’s a good and empowering thing (at least based on the narration and my interpretation of what’s shown here) is not a great message to send.

It’s a shame too because this bungled story, alongside Rani’s flip-flop allegiance toward her husband and lover, make both of these characters more unlikable as the episodes tick by. Shai has only just come into the foreground after 4 episodes as well, and her hiccup of drama at the end feels like an intentional ploy to keep people watching through to the finale.

Ayesha easily has the best story here though. The whole abuse subplot is really well-handled and to be honest I wish they just made the entire show about her. Still, we’ve got an hour finale up next, will there be any comeuppance for our cheating and lying spouses? Will Deepak be put behind bars and repent for his actions? Let’s hope so.

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