So we have been soaking up the arid drama, the vivid scenery, and wonder when it might erupt. Hello Indian Summers Episode Six, thank you for quenching our thirst with a whole array of plot developments. We needed that. Though not particularly thin on plot or pace, the show really ought to have upped the ante as it heads into the season’s second half. And it is so.
The Dalals (Darius and Roshana) take it upon themselves to invite Sita to dinner to see for themselves this so-called forbidden match. But it also gives Sooni the perfect platform to scorn and be political. She is a royal pain in the ass, but, honestly, we like her. She is later sent in to say sorry to Aafrin, but we don’t believe she means it – especially when she hits him around the head and tells him he always gets what he wants. He does however see things differently. This sibling relationship is one of the best parts of the show, illuminating both the conflicts and conforming of Britain’s rule of India at that time.
Meanwhile, while on a cultural excursion Alice acquires the attention of Captain Farquhar (who shoots as snake, my hero), and she appears to lap up his subtle charms initially. Yet when things seem a little awkward between Aafrin and Alice, she passes him a note like kids in school. Kind of sweet, kind of repressing. She turns into a fidgety teenager when Aafrin arrives later to sketch her – this following Farquhar’s comments on his portrait of Madeleine and that he must have one of Alice. Aafrin is clearly jealous. They share a rare personal moment, naturally unravelling a part of themselves to each other. When Alice asks if he would like to meet her baby son, he agrees, but she sees him leaving in a hurry when she returns. Tut-tut Aafrin.
It seems Farquhar is a friend of Alice’s husband, and wants his cake and to eat it. Ralph beckons him to the tug of war contest going on, only to throw the captain down the stairs. Ralph’s apparent protection of his sister, knowing what we know and are learning about this rascal, hits you as uncharacteristic, but there is a certain noble applause you give him subconsciously.
Ralph sees Adam and his mother again lingering, and he seeks out Cynthia’s help. Surely that confirms what we thought. He later offers Dougie a proposition, once again covering up his awkward past with false favors. Ralph seeks this woman out, who we learn is called Jaya, and she refers to the troubled Adam as “our son”. There it is. As they huddle closely, Jaya tells Ralph vaguely of the bad things that have happened to her in their time apart, yet it still feels like it is her comforting him.
We’re not allowed to feel we are reaching towards a happy place for too long. When Jaya wants Adam to meet her dad, Leena tries to protect him by intervening, but she is struck by Jaya. It is Adam who comes to Leena’s defense. Thinking at first that Ralph has come to meet her, Jaya is attacked, and held under the water until she drowns. We don’t know who did it, but you instantly start guessing. Leena? Ralph? I hope it is neither.
Thrown in for good measure there is a bit of family banter and humor when Sarah gets stuck partially on a roof. There is also an attempted sexual struggle that thankfully goes nowhere. And Mr Sood is dismayed to find the “beggar woman” Ian allowed to work in the fields has entered his house – the opening scene is her snooping around, admiring garments. It really is a action-packed episode in the context of this type of drama. And once again some of the cinematography is ridiculously breath-taking. And not distractingly so. It only fuels the emphasis of tough times in a beautiful place. An effective paradox in this drama, that has just cranked up the heat significantly.
Episode 6 of Indian Summers aired in the UK on Sunday 22nd March at 9pm on Channel 4. Episodes are available on Channel 4 On Demand – details are on the website.