We begin the first season finale of Channel 4’s Indian Summers with Aafrin and Alison sneaking out of that shed at night time. Spending a lot of intimate time together they start pondering a potential future. There is an immaculate frame after Alison has left of Aafrin waking up on white pillows and seeing the golden sun-lit strand of Alison’s hair in front of him. Alison is keen for Aafrin to tell her brother Ralph about them, but he stumbles on this whole going public thing. We all want to see that rascal Ralph’s face drop with that news almost as much as we want Aafrin and Alison to be together.
Elsewhere those mighty fine British folk ar debating the dilemma of the Royal Simla Club, and the tensions resulting in them having to consider raising the colour bar – A.K.A. taking down that blasted ‘No Dogs or Indians’ sign. New rules allow one member (wow, super generous Cynthia) of the Indian community to be a member off the club, where Aafrin is chosen (the main character, that was lucky). He invites his father, who suits up with war medals (he fought in Gallipoli), but there is still trouble getting served scotch. In fact the whole room seems to freeze, and the pianist even stops playing. What do Indian people have to do to get a drink around here?
Having squeezed out whatever power she had, Cynthia has now locked her bitter hatred on Alison. Rapidly losing her marbles, her drinking problem now resorts to not knowing when to stop pouring the wine and not letting it spill all over the table. Oh dear Cynthia, how we loathe you. A large social event at the club later has Cynthia absent, and drinking from afar.
Ian visits Mr. Sood in his cell, the Scotsman is not keen on the Indian’s rather joyful death talk. When they pretend wrestle (not sure what to make of that) the guards enter, and obviously get the wrong idea – Mr. Sood is forced to take yet another beating. When Ralph is given the choice to send one of two letters, that would either have Mr. Sood hanged for murder or be pardoned and serve a life sentence, he chooses the former – even after seeking out the advice of Aafrin. The loyal clerk clearly said he would not want to take a life. Ralph continues to show his true colours amidst some more self-aware and modest moments. Aafrin is certainly onto him now – “he can not be trusted” he tells Alison in a later scene.
The moments building up to Mr. Sood’s hanging is more painful than imagined as they do actually go through with it, and he cannot be saved. It is hard to take because somewhere inside, you felt he would be rightly found innocent. It’s a real kick in the guts. Ian later believes he has stolen Sood’s ashes in a box, and flees, with the authorities in pursuit. He is heralded as a local hero by the Indian community, gathering with fire torches. He succeeds in giving Sood a noble send off.
Sooni, who fittingly was at the front of that mass, confronts her brother Aafrin – she actually spits at him. Aafrin is in a moderately good position with the British, but we completely understand Sooni lashing out at him once again – he represents them not being able to defend their culture’s well-being. They both sob and embrace.
One minor subplot has Rupinda try to hang himself. Now, let me explain, as until the televised recap prior to this episode we perhaps didn’t realise how much screen time he has had. It is not a lot to be honest, but Rupinda is one of Ralph’s assistants and was seen wearing Jaya’s bracelet in the last episode. It turns out Ralph and Rupinda are old friends from childhood until their fathers prised them apart. Looks like it is Rupinda who killed Jaya then, and Ralph knows this, though says he did not ask him to do that.
Elsewhere, Dougie says goodbye to his son as he heads off to school. He is less inclined to give his very wife Sarah an affectionate send off. The rather humble and timid Ralph visits Dougie, who greets him with the kind of hostility that has clearly been building up all this time. He is certainly not impressed to be giving Ralph advice about his son Adam, having not long since said goodbye to his own son. With his wife gone now, though, Dougie must surely feel the shackles are off (as awful as that sounds) to pursue Leena. Although any kind of romance outside of a marriage ought to be frowned upon, the way Dougie and Leena look at each other as they have a cosy dinner with the school kids is hard to resist.
There are love stories in Indian Summers that we just want to relish, especially with all the heavy politics and public opinion from the British. We cheer for the Indian people, and will follow them to a brighter future. The show closes on a somewhat flat note, after promising so much, with Ralph gathering a drunk Cynthia, and heading up the steps to the club. No matter, though, the lives of these people (and the luscious way it has been photographed) are captured me enough to look forward to the already confirmed second season. I’ll be there.
Episode 10 of Indian Summers aired in the UK on Sunday 19th April at 9pm on Channel 4. Episodes are available on Channel 4 On Demand – details are on the website. The series will premiere in the United States on PBS in Fall 2015.