Review: Indian Summers “Episode Three”

So things are really heating up (excuse the pun) in Simla. As we are becoming more familiar with the state of affairs of that part of history (given that this is a dramatization), our empathy has to sway towards those under the control of the ruling class. It is pretty shameful to see the Indian authorities upholding the law that does not allow them to a mall or the club at certain times. The British are free to look down their noses. More shocking later, a demonstration is broken up with some unnecessary and heavy violence. Indian people, though, are allowed on the grounds of the club at this very special time of year when they have the Sipi Fair. So, every cloud has a silver lining (rolling eyes). Although if they trample the flowers they are out.

Cynthia tries to worm her way towards Alice’s intentions when she informs her she may need to give a witness statement about the assignation attempt. When Ralph subtly tries to begin a cover up (the Indian man that tried to shoot him called him “devil”) with the help of Aafrin and his own sister Alice – it is she that flatly tells him no. Unequivocally. Having blossomed under the Indian sun from the outset, Alice is clearly smart, coming out of her initial shell, and not afraid to stand up to her brother – even if she knows he is hiding something.

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Ralph later apologizes to Alice, granting her the freedom of speech (of course), and attempts to join in with the games but is troubled when he sees the Indian boy Adam wearing a bracelet. More drama when landowner Mr. Armitage attacks the Indian man who dares to serve him notice at the fair. The Scotsman suffers a heart attack mid-brawl. The way Cynthia eyes him you would think he stabbed him in clod blood. She later claims that Indian damn near killed him. Er, no he didn’t, he was having his face pushed into the dirt at the time.

Alice has volunteered at the school, just missing Dougie kissing Leena. She is a little offish with Alison at first, who just wants to suggest the books the children read be closer to home. Sarah is losing her mind a little, being so far from everything, and Dougie tries to reassure her. She soon confronts Leena though, stating she knows what is going on with her husband and that it will stop.

The central scam then, is Ralph offering Aafrin a promotion as Head Clerk, stating it would be a great privilege to have him there. A privilege for who? Aafrin’s parents are, of course, proud of him. He later sees Sita, the girl out of his faith he should not be romancing, and he expresses his ambition.

When questioned about the shooting later, he is able to see documents that echo his sister Sooni’s views that his appointment and smoke blowing up his bottom (not her words) is in fact British propaganda. When Aafrin visited his sister when she was first locked up after the independence protest, she is pleased and relieved to see him, but is outraged that he is still working for the civil service. On her release, the siblings, all the wiser, are reunited, and embrace.

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It’s nice to see the drama of the series growing so effortlessly from the interactions between characters. Sure, most of the focus comes from the conflict between the British ruling class and the Indians native to the land, but there are broader conflicts growing – those of husband and wives and the power struggles of the ambitious. The conflicts gracefully propel the series forward amid the luscious backdrop of Northern India.

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2 comments

  1. Avatar
    Christophe 7 years ago

    I’ve watched the first 3 episodes over the last 3 days. Feels more like a guilty pleasure than a real treat to me! I couldn’t understand everything that was being said and done, I guess they were trying to be suspenseful, yet neither the dialogs nor the acting seemed particularly subtle either, kinda soapy and sensationnal, and I’m not sure I can stand Alice Whelan’s empty stare much longer. But it sure looked absolutely gorgeous and leaves me wanting more! Some viewers called it boring but I actually love how the camera takes time to embrace the surroundings.
    Btw, I’ve read on IMDB the show was actually filmed in Malaysia which is why the landscape looks so lush and tropical, and so unlike the actual Indian Himalaya foothills, not that the average viewer would care about that anyway.

    1. Avatar
      Robin Write 7 years ago

      I agree about that guilty pleasure feeling. It is very reminiscent of some of the classic melodramas of the early nineties and late eighties. There is certainly a soap opera feel to it, and had it been a cheese-fest I would have not been as compelled to watch it. I wouldn’t trust IMDB with some of the facts by the way until they stop informing us most of the cast are only in three episodes ;-). As for Alice’s staring (is it me or is she lit the way Monroe was?), I don’t mind it too much, thankfully her character has backbone and some depth – especially recently. That said, I just love some off her close-ups, though I have to confess I am saving my heart for Leena (Amber Rose Revah) – I mean, she fills the frame with beauty. 😀

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