The magnificent Indian Summers has returned and this season begins three years, after the previous. It is March of 1935 and tension is rising throughout the subcontinent, while the British government works on a new deal for India. Indians are shown celebrating in the streets. Aafrin (Nikesh Patel) is shown typing something on a typewriter. We see that Aafrin has a new lady friend, Kaira (Sugandha Garg). She tells him to remain quiet and that one would to anyone would likely result in the couple being hung. The pair admit they’re willing to give up anything for their current cause. While Aafrin continues pounding away, a group of children rush through the streets and cross some police barriers. They’re chased by the authorities, as one of the boys grabs a grenade from his bag and tosses it into the vehicle of the Viceroy, Lord Willingdon (Patrick Malahide).
Aafrin finishes his paper, which is headlined with “A Strike For Freedom”. The grenade does not explode. Next, Ralph enters the Viceroy’s room and discovers him laid out on the bed. It seems the man has suffered from a heart attack. Ralph immediately discusses the situation with Ronnie Keane (Rick Warden) and attempts to contemplate a motive for the attack. Ronnie admits the grenade had nothing in it and considers it nothing more than a prank, yet Ralph admits the timing is far too coincidental. He insists the move is a way for the Indians to declare their rejection for the new British bill. During this time, Aafrin takes the document to the printing press, hands it over and pays a small sum of money. On the way out, he runs into the business’ owner.
Next, Aafrin returns to the office, where he gets a visit from his sister, Sooni (Aysha Kala). They speak about Aafrin’s recent trip to Bengal and Sooni pesters her brother. During their conversation, Aafrin contemplates telling Sooni his secret, but he stops himself and doesn’t. Afterwards, Cynthia (Julie Walters) chats with Ralph (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) about the Lord’s heart attack. Cynthia insists the event could give Ralph his chance to become the Viceroy. Ralph agrees he’ll think about it. The pair head to a private room, where Cynthia gives Ralph a key and tells him to hide it with his life. She admits it’ll give him access to a very discreet room. Next, Aafrin visits the Whelan home. While there, he meets with Alice’s husband, Charlie Havistock (Blake Ritson).
Alice emerges and Charlie confirms Alice’s new surname as Havistock. Charlie reveals he got a job at the Imperial Bank, which is his reason for visiting the area. Ralph emerges moments later with his new wife, Madeleine Mathers (Olivia Grant). The duo catch up, before Ralph receives a note from Naseem Ali Khan (Tanmay Dhanania). Ralph hands the note to Aafrin and admits someone is trying to hurt them. The note is the one Aafrin was writing earlier in the episode. Ralph enlists Aafrin’s help tracking down the one responsible. Before Aafrin can leave, he chats with Alice in private, before she is called away by her husband. Next, Ralph pays a visit to Khan and shows him the grenade. He also asks for Khan’s help finding the responsible party. Aafrin returns to his Independence Party allies and releases the boy, who was responsible for the grenade.
Despite the pleas from Naresh (Arjun Mathur) and the others, Aafrin lets the boy go and run free. Aafrin tells Kaira that Ralph and the others are going to interview the people at the printing press. He also tells her about running into the man on his way outside. Aafrin is clearly scared and asks for help. Next, Khan and Ralph speak with the people at the printing press. The owner tells them that it was an Indian man, who was neither Muslim or Hindu. Meanwhile, Aafrin and Naresh bury some dynamite. Naresh reveals his desire to blowup the Ogre House and insists Aafrin is the key to the plan. Aafrin refuses to help and angrily attacks his new friend, after he threatens Aafrin’s father, Darius (Roshan Seth). Naresh insists they’re at war and are going to kill the Viceroy. He again threatens Aafrin’s family and insists they’ll be safe, as long as he plays his part. At home, Darius and Roshana (Lillete Dubey) chat about Aafrin and his 2-year stay in Bengal.
Darius goes through Aafrin’s belongings and discovers his drawings of Alice. Next, Ralph and Aafrin chat. Ralph notices Aafrin’s dirty shoes and asks him about them, before accusing Aafrin of distributing the pamphlet. He also reveals Charlie took Aafrin for a thief. Ralph depart quickly, without saying anything else. We jump to the school and see Sarah (Fiona Glascott) mentoring the children. She does so, until Douglas (Craig Parkinson) arrives and sends the kids away. He tells Sarah that they said goodbye to Adam this morning. Sarah insists they’ll find good homes for all of the kids. Douglas admits he is connected to the school and that it will not be easy to let it go. Aafrin returns to his office and finds Keane and the printing press boss watching him from afar. Ralph tells Madeleine about Cynthia’s recommendation to send the Viceroy home and claim the spot. Ralph contemplates whether or not he is truly ready and if the people are ready for him.
Bhupinder (Ash Nair) interrupts moments later and gives Ralph a note from Keane. Ralph rushes off seconds later and pays a visit to Aafrin. Ralph tells Aafrin that he has the criminal and will arrest him tonight. Meanwhile, Kaiser (Indi Nadarajah) and Cynthia chat about the Viceroy’s condition. Cynthia admits she wouldn’t have left it to chance and would’ve taken him in his bathtub. Ralph pays a visit to Cynthia’s discreet room and makes contact with Kaira. He asks her about the man in the printers and gives her Aafrin’s name. We do not hear her answer. Next, we jump to the club, where Cynthia official opens the new member’s library. Aafrin rushes back to Kaira. At this point, he is freaking out badly. He takes a cyanide pill from her and sticks it in his pocket. Afterwards, Ralph speaks with the Viceroy about the incident.
The Viceroy admits he questioned whether or not it was his time to go. Ralph reveals that a defining season is ahead, with the passage of the bill. He tells Viceroy that he needs to stay firm, since it is his time to shine. Aafrin arrives at the club, before Ralph and the Viceroy do the same. Cynthia is not happy with the Viceroy’s arrival and the fact that he seems to be in good health. Aafrin heads to the balcony and watches Charlie and Alice from afar. Charlie forces Alice to drink alcohol, until she drops and breaks the glass. Then, Charlie picks up Perky and tells him to ignore his mother, since she is drunk again. Charlie insists they need to pretend not to know her. Darius interrupts Aafrin and tells him his mother is looking for him. Aafrin prepares to tell his father about the danger ahead, but doesn’t. Darius catches a glimpse of Alice.
A few hours pass and Aafrin prepares to leave. He runs into Alice on his way out and they argue about Aafrin departure and Alice’s marriage. Alice admits he has been lying about her husband to everyone and actually married him, when she was just 17. After a brief argument, the pair kiss. Kaiser watches the couple from a distance. After the kiss ends, Alice tells Aafrin he must now go to hell. Aafrin returns inside and Ralph tells him that the printing press man attempted to place the blame on him earlier. Ralph admits they were able to discover the truth and are currently working to flush out the perpetrator. We jump back to Naresh and watch him run from a group of armed men. He is shot, as he attempts to run away. Kaiser takes his newfound information to Cynthia and the episode comes to an end.
Indian Summers S2 E1 Review
Well, it is definitely nice to see Indian Summers return. The first season was brilliant and left me wanting more. The first episode of the second season might’ve jumped ahead a few years, but it wasted no time getting into the action. We also see that Aafrin has embraced his position with the Independence Party and wastes no time getting in over his head.
Although he managed to escape this time, he likely has more trouble ahead. Cynthia now has her sights set on Aafrin and Alice. She may prove to be a much more formidable nemesis. All in all, the episode was a good setup for the season and already has me hooked back into the Indian drama. An 8 out of 10 is deserved. Be sure to catch up with previous recaps of Indian Summers right now!