"I never hurt anyone. We all try and do what we think is best. Don't we?"
Episode 10 is the culmination of ten drama-filled weeks of Indian Summers.
With overwhelming tensions and heightened passions, the main characters must now come to terms with the choices they have made.
DESIblitz has all the action and drama from the epic season finale.
‘Natives’ at the Royal Simla Club
Episode 10 opens on a nervous note. Indian terrorists have set fire to the European Club and the British are now in fear of a similar assault on the Royal Simla Club.
Led by Mr Keane, the members opt to vote on whether to lift the colour ban. Much to Cynthia’s displeasure, it is a ‘unanimous’ vote for ‘Yes’.
Despite the overturning of ‘No Dogs or Indians’, we doubt any Indians will feel welcome at the Club: “But it’s not fair. It’s where we come for a drink and to get away from it all,” piques Stella.
Julie Walters takes her character of Cynthia to a superb new level. Still pining over Ralph’s abandonment, we watch as she plots revenge against sweet Alice, and drinks herself into oblivion while Kaiser hand-feeds her like an invalid child.
In the midst of her self-pitying, she wallows: “I never hurt anyone. We all try and do what we think is best. Don’t we?”
But it is the loss of control of her Club that hits the racist Cynthia the hardest. Finding that it was Ralph who egged the Viceroy to lift the ban, she finally agrees to allow only one new ‘native’ member; Aafrin.
The Hanging of Ramu Sood
With the final days of summer upon them, Aafrin and Ralph are busy tying up loose ends before the return to Delhi and the ‘grand wedding’.
Aafrin finds that the sentencing of Ramu Sood has been left in Ralph’s hands following the Viceroy’s absence. Now it is up to Ralph to decide between hanging and life imprisonment.
In an unexpected plot twist, Ralph’s manservant, Bhupinder attempts to hang himself. Aafrin and Ralph catch him in time and cut him down before it is too late, and later we find that it was the loyal Bhupi who killed Jaya to ‘protect’ his master.
Ralph finally reveals the whole Jaya saga to a shocked Aafrin. Ralph turns to his childhood friend: “Let me take care of you.” To which Bhupi responds: “Let me die.”
With the real murderer now revealed, Aafrin raises Sood’s innocence, and whether they can grant him early release.
Ralph promises Aafrin that he will send a revised letter to the District Court. Relieved, Aafrin beds Alice again just doors away from Ralph.
But Aafrin’s naivety comes clear the following morning when he wakes to find that Ralph has ordered Sood’s hanging. Aafrin runs to save Ramu, but sadly, it is a little too late.
In one of the many emotional scenes of the final episode, the run-up to the actual hanging is superbly written and hauntingly shot.
Matriarch Cynthia watches from above, and even mockingly salutes the innocent man in his final moments. The supremacy of the Raj is clear from here; it is the iron fist of British to rule and never be ruled.
After, Ian distraught over his friend’s death, demands the Superintendent to hand over Sood’s ashes. Noticing a wooden box on the table, he mistakes it for Sood’s cremations and makes a bold escape with it.
Led by Sooni to the river, he is shocked to find that many local residents have also turned out to pay their respects and they thank Ian for standing up to the British. He quickly becomes a symbol of resistance for them, one that the Superintendent and his cannot control.
Following Ralph’s betrayal, Aafrin decides to join Sergeant Singh and Miss Ayer and fight for the resistance.
He later finds that Ramu’s hanging had nothing to do with Jaya’s murder. Ralph admits that it was instead a message for those who stood in defiance of the Raj.
Having agreed to become an inside-man for the resistance, Aafrin puts on his best face for the final shindig at the Club. He takes father Darius along with him, and the war-veteran is keen to impress with his medals and anglicised manners.
But as expected, they are given the cold shoulder until Mr Keane kindly offers to introduce Darius to a retired Colonel and they chat reminiscing over a game of snooker.
Ralph’s Inner Torment
Throughout the series of Indian Summers, we have watched Ralph battle with his own conscience between doing the right thing and what is expected of him. His relationship with Cynthia is one such crux which he finally gets rid of.
But her venom sits deep, and Ralph’s good intentions are laced with malice and savagery, causing him to flit in between good and bad deeds.
To begin with, he yearns for a connection with his estranged son, Adam, and turns to Dougie for news on him. But Dougie is struggling with the absence of Sarah and Matthew who have left for England never to return.
In the end, rejected by both of them, Ralph falls back into his old habits and orders Sood’s death while himself enjoying a game of cricket on the lawn.
Finally with only his own conscience and inner torment to keep him company, he returns to Cynthia who he has looked up to as a mother figure. Finding her drunk on the foothills of her own Club, he tells her: “You’re all I’ve got.”
Cynthia exclaims: “I am, yes. Good point.” And the pair walk back to the Club arm in arm for a final encore.
A fitting end to the dramatic first series, Indian Summers will return to Channel 4 in 2016 for Series 2.