Indian Summers: Season Two

Tensions continue to build in India between the occupying British and their Indian “royal subjects” in this soapy drama.

Genre(s): Drama, Television

Director: John Alexander, Jonathan Teplitzky, Paul Wilmhurst

Actors: Jemima West, Henry Lloyd Hughes, Nikesh Patel, Julie Walters, Roshan Seth, Aysha Kala

Year: 2016

MPAA Rating: NR

Country: UK

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Rather than picking up right where Season One left off, Season Two of Indian Summers jumps ahead a few years to 1935. This allows for some shakes ups to happen with old and new characters, and for political tensions to be explored, as things have been brewing since we last saw the Whelans, the Patels, and all the other characters.

Civil service clerk Aafrin (Nikesh Patel) returns to Simla, after a self-imposed exile, only to find that his fire for Alice Whelan (Jemima West) has not dimmed despite keeping a distance. The problem is that her husband Charlie (Blake Ritson) has found her, and possessively, and abusively lords over her at all times, acting as though he is just the doting husband and father. But while he was gone, Aafrin wasn’t just pining, he was going deep into the independence movement, and getting involved with some rather dangerous revolutionaries.

Ralph Whelan (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), the oily, charming, suspicious, and loyal servant to the crown is now quite sure he is first in line to be the new Viceroy. He just has to charm certain powerful political players, including the equally oily Maharajah (Art Malik), his Australian lover Sirene (Rachel Griffiths) at his side. And yes, this whole time, Cynthia Coffin (Julie Walters), continues to be the eyes of the whole operation as she lords over the British summer country club.

Indian Summers often tries to do too much in too little time. The first few episodes are jam packed with action, terrorists, passion, and the sort. Often at the center of it all is Nikesh Patel as Aafrin, who perhaps has the worst poker face of any liar ever, making his scheming come off as a little cartoonish (can’t Ralph see through his friend in a second?). But with the political development of Aafrin’s sister Sooni (Aysha Kala) as well as the addition of a strange and ultimately horrifying subplot with James Fleet as a visiting British Lord, it always stays interesting.

Be forewarned: Indian Summers was cancelled, so this is the second and last season. Luckily they must have has some warning, as I think people will be satisfied with the conclusion of this melodrama. There is so much leading up to the finale, but it paces itself and ultimately comes together as you hope it should.

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