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Indian Summers

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Editor's Note:

Discuss Indian Summers Here!

 

Maybe it was the cough medicine, but I had one heck of a time trying to follow who was who and what was happening and why. But it's the first episode and I guess that by episode 10 I'll figure it out.

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Maybe it was the cough medicine, but I had one heck of a time trying to follow who was who and what was happening and why.

I was cough medicine free and I was confused also.  All the women looked alike!   All I know is that Ralph had a lot of sex that night. 

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I was surprised that was supposed to be the Himalayas because I saw lots of tropical plants (like banana plants and such).

 

Was woman on the train with the  older child supposed to be a missionary's wife? Gosh was she anachronistically forward and nosey. If missionaries/families were truly like that, no wonder JiC's Mildred Layton and her crowd hated Barbie!  "Hello. How do you do? Are you joining your husband or are will he join you? Either way, once the men around here find out you're currently on your own, they'll gang bang you ASAP!" (well, okay, that's not the exact dialogue but it was the gist of things)

 

And no wonder the Indians hated the Brits? Getting some in a locked room is one thing, but doing it in a ricksaw???

 

 

Anyhow, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was confused.

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Was the passed out guy the VIceroy?

 

No, he was the kid's (who discovered him) uncle, the Tea Magnate Armitage. (The servant called him Army, which I guess is an endearment.)  I'm gonna predict that we don't ever meet the Viceroy, who was this guy.

 

I remember the actress playing Madeline (the Ralph-bonking lady) from Lark Rise; she was Ben Miles's neurasthenic wife.

 

I want to walk through that bazaar set and wrap myself in all that gorgeous hanging fabric.

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A few people whose names I have:

Ralph Whelan: Big shot Brit who hopes to be Viceroy. Seems like he loves Indian and is a good guy, so long as you don't draw funny pictures of him.

Aafrin Dalal: Handsome Farsi who works for Ralph Whelan, has a Hindu girlfriend and a radical sister.  Got shot.

Madeline Mathers ; Beautiful red head having an affair with Ralph (Lady Adelaide in Lark Rise.)

Cynthia Coffin:  Widowed club owner whose accent I could barely understand.

Sarah Raworth: The pushy woman who is a bigot and can't pronounce Persephone.  Her husband is in love with the mixed race Leena who helped him care for Adam.

Adam:  Little boy who was stoned. (Wasn't that horrible?)

Alice Whelan:  Ralph's sister who has come to stay with her baby, leaving her abusive husband behind in England.

 

I really don't like the way British writers show us our character is smart and classy by having her snub someone who is decidedly neither -- like Sarah.  As bad as Sarah was I thought Alice was very rude to her.  This is why I couldn't warm to the Chaplin character in "Crimson Fields."

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Sarah Raworth: The pushy woman who is a bigot and can't pronounce Persephone.  Her husband is in love with the mixed race Leena who helped him care for Adam.

The actress also plays Matt LeBlanc's exwife on Episodes. 

 

 

Cynthia Coffin:  Widowed club owner whose accent I could barely understand.

And is Molly Weasley!

Edited by M. Darcy
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I'm getting a bit of a Targaryen vibe from Ralph in regards to his sister.  And I'm surprised that their parents sent Alice back to England to be educated but not Ralph.  It was common practice, at least among a certain level of society, to send one's children 'Home' for an English education, but usually parents would send all their children or none.  It seems like the Whelan parents wanted to separate Ralph and Alice for some reason.

 

Right now there are a lot of characters and story lines, which makes it a little difficult to follow.  I did find some of them intriguing, so I'll stick with it for the time being.  It's no Jewel in the Crown so far, though.

Edited by proserpina65
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I'm getting a bit of a Targaryen vibe from Ralph in regards to his sister.

 

Yeah, this, plus he's pinging my gaydar pretty hard. And yet he seemed enthusiastic with Maddy, so maybe he's DTF with anyone anytime? (Lovely cheekbones, any way you slice it.)

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Right now there are a lot of characters and story lines, which makes it a little difficult to follow.

Which is why they really really need to start doing introductions again. 

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I'm getting a bit of a Targaryen vibe from Ralph in regards to his sister. 

 

Wow, no kidding.  The way he was looking at her was not brotherly - at all.  I wondered if the actors were involved off screen because that was seriously romantic looks going on between them.

 

Overall, I wasn't really interested and was pretty bored.  I ended up turning it off early. 

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The other thing is why was Leena allowed to ride in the same carriage as the other Brits? In JiC, Mrs. Peabody nearly had a fit when Kasim and the ayah were in the first class carriage with them.

 


Cynthia Coffin:  Widowed club owner whose accent I could barely understand.

 

Dang! I thought they said she was the widow of an officer.   So far her character reminds me of Anna Madrigal in Tales of the City (It was on PBS, but I don't think it was on Masterpiece Theater).

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I think Cynthia is the widow of an officer, but still owns the club. 

 

I thought Alice left a mean husband back in England, but snippets I've read about the characters call her "husband-less,"  so maybe he's back in England in a grave.  This goes on for 5 seasons so I guess I'll have to try and learn to like her,  but I'm afraid she's going to be a little too much like Lady Mary Crawley for me to want to be friends with her. 

 

I hate to be spoiled, but I wanted to know more about the characters so it's risky reading.  I did learn that Madeline Mathers and her sickly brother are Americans.  I hope we won't have scenes of them bragging about their money and eating with their mouths' open.

 

Dougie Raworth runs a mission school for mixed race children but whether he's a civil servant or missionary, I'm not sure.

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Right now there are a lot of characters and story lines, which makes it a little difficult to follow.  I did find some of them intriguing, so I'll stick with it for the time being.  It's no Jewel in the Crown so far, though.

 

I didn't get a chance to watch last night.

 

Is it at least Jewel in the Downton Abbot's Crown?

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I can't say I am compelled yet. It's trying  too hard with themes The Jewel In The Crown did more subtly and with less effort.  I too have trouble telling the three younger British women apart. It's like there was only a certain type of generically pretty female actor available when they were casting these roles.  And yes, there is a total incest vibe between the siblings.

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It's like there was only a certain type of generically pretty female actor available when they were casting these roles.

Yes and it doesn't help that the make-up person is being a stickler about the 1932 styles for upper-class women and not letting anyone wear mascara or eye liner, so these pale lashed English roses look a bit anemic. Then they over-compensated by putting too much lipstick on Alice.

I just watched it again and Alice definitely has a live husband, who she wrote asking him not to follow her, so she's just pretending to be a widow.

I liked it better this second time. I'm in for the duration.

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http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1296102/?ref_=tt_cl_t17 .  Too bad that  Eugene Mathers is such a milqetoast in this show.  

 

Julie Walters plays Cynthia Coffin.  Loved her in  Billie Elliot.  One of my favorite Brit actresses.  Usually when I watch those Masterpiece  things, I play a lot of its that guy, there are so  many familiar actors. Of course Rupert Graves could appear I guess.  One Sunday evening he was in 2 or 3 PBS shows I watched.

 

Recognized the hot Indian guy's parents from Monsoon Wedding.  Another one of my favorites.

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I also could not tell the blonde young actresses apart, but marked that up to making dinner, washing my hair, and watching the lunar eclipse all in that same 75 minutes.  I feel better that others had the same problem.  And I was drawn in enough to plan to sit down and actually watch it from the PBS site, which will be in HD and make the scenery even more striking.  Appreciate hearing all the subtleties to watch for on the second viewing!

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I can't say I am compelled yet. It's trying  too hard with themes The Jewel In The Crown did more subtly and with less effort.  I too have trouble telling the three younger British women apart.

Lady Mary is Madeleine Mathers, the (half) American heiress who's a little fast

Lady Edith is Sarah Raworth, the redhead in a snit, the one whose husband took off to take care of the kid who passed out on the train tracks

Lady Sybill is Alice Whelan, the modern woman who isn't fixated on things like race or class.

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I remember reading somewhere (perhaps it was on the old TWoP forums) that casting directors are having a hard time finding younger British actresses with the "posh" accent.

 

Anyhow, I put on my thinking cap reviewing plots from previous BBC dramas and actual books(!). I mentioned Anna Madrigal upthread. Based on episode 1, Alice's storyline is like Tenant of Wildfell Hall novel by Anne Bronte, 1990s dramatization starred Toby Stephens and Rupert Graves: woman claiming to be a widow is on the run from an abusive husband.
 

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Oh, look, a thread.  Happy, happy.

 

Well, I'm in a slower boat than all of you because I couldn't tell the men apart either.  Bunch of guys, both Indian and English, in suits with their hair parted on the side.  Too bad the one with a cane has to be the only one with spectacles.  I had a particularly difficult time distinguishing Aafrin from Dalal--and now I see they're the same person.  Thank you, JudynotsoObscure.

 

I got the impression Ralph is supposed to be a villain.  Besides that whole devil angle, he assigned the impossible paperwork task and didn't bat any eyelashes when the man who performed it--Aafrin Dalal!--was shot in his stead.  Cold.

 

The status conscious woman from the train is both a Lady Somebody AND a missionary wife?

 

Ralph's sister [Orange Linen] definitely left her husband behind in England, but I understood from her veiled comments that she was the one who flummoxed the marriage.

 

I like it!

Edited by candall
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Wow, no kidding.  The way he was looking at her was not brotherly - at all.  I wondered if the actors were involved off screen because that was seriously romantic looks going on between them.

 

When he came done the stairs to greet her, I kept saying, "Wife?  Sister?  Wife?  Sister?"  I couldn't tell!

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difficult time distinguishing Aafrin from Dalal--

 

Hilarious!! His name is Aafrin Dalal. I thought he was ugly (although I love his Indian accent. Very authentic) Why does he wear a suit ALL THE TIME? even at nights? Obviously he and Alice will be paired up...... Truth be told I didn't understand this series when it first aired. Maybe a second viewing will help matters. But can someone explain to why the so-called missionary was travelling with the Indian lady and his wife and son? I didn't get why they were all on the same train with his wife sitting apart with their son.

 

Interesting to note: The guy who plays Ralph says it was Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith on Downton) who told him to send in a tape of his 'reading' for the role and convinced him to audition.

Edited by skyways
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The status conscious woman from the train is both a Lady Somebody AND a missionary wife?

 

I don't think so.  I believe Constantinople was using the sisters from Downton Abbey to illustrate the personalities of the various English women on this show, not to indicate that any of them were necessarily 'Lady Something or Other".

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Why does he wear a suit ALL THE TIME? even at nights?

 

 

An Indian character in A Passage to India was asked this same question.  He said it was because he never got stopped by the British authorities when he was in a suit.

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Just a comment on the commentary at the end of the episode. It was mentioned that it's been 30 years since there was an Indian themed BBC drama, but in the 90s, I remember a dramatization of Rumer Godden's Peacock Spring which was shown on Masterpiece Theater http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/archive/programs/peacock/

Was it good? I read the book as a child and remember it as a cautionary coming of age tale and probably more sad than I could handle at the time.

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I'm really liking this.  There are a lot of characters but none of them feel like I've seen them a gazillion times before.  So many rich details and sets, and scenes shot from unusual angles.  None of the locations looked like a studio set.  Kinda reminded me of Deadwood. 

 

skyways, I didn't understand that either -- why the missionary and his wife appeared to be traveling separately.  Maybe the missionary had to sit with the Indian lady, or she would have had to sit back with the second-class passengers. ?? 

 

The drunk guy that Army couldn't raise -- I thought if Orson Welles was still alive, he'd have that part.

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If you're recording, go long.  My PBS station is notoriously loose about timing and the payoff for allotting an extra half-hour was the "making of" feature after the episode. 

 

It was very interesting--how Malaysia still has a lot of architecture resembling 1930's India, turning out 500 costumes all at once using local fabrics exclusively, etc.

 

I hope every episode has some treats from behind the scenes.

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Was it good? I read the book as a child and remember it as a cautionary coming of age tale and probably more sad than I could handle at the time.

From what I recall of it, it was good. :-)

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I'm not sure what "steady" means either, but if you have to be reminded to wash your hands after an assignation, particularly by the woman who serves as the mother figure in your life, then you're probably not "steady".

In any case, it seems a little odd that Ralph would be on the short list to be the next Viceroy. Looking through the list of the Viceroys, most them were in their mid 40s or older and most of them were members of the House of Lords who had a political career back in the UK. A few others were more like career diplomats in that they'd serve as Governor General or Viceroy of one British colony or dominion after another. Some of the younger Viceroys such as Curzon and Irwin were made Lords upon their appointment as Viceroy, but they had both served as Members of Parliament for 10 or 15 years beforehand, something which Ralph couldn't have done since he never went back to England. I couldn't find any instance of a Viceroy's secretary, which I gather is more like chief of staff, becoming the next Viceroy.
 

The status conscious woman from the train is both a Lady Somebody AND a missionary wife?

 
 

I don't think so.  I believe Constantinople was using the sisters from Downton Abbey to illustrate the personalities of the various English women on this show, not to indicate that any of them were necessarily 'Lady Something or Other".


Sorry for any confusion. As Proserpina65 indicated, I was just comparing three of the characters in Indian Summers to those in Downton Abbey.  Since Sarah Raworth, the missionary's wife, has red hair, is in a permanent snit and apparently feels that everyone else gets more attention than her, she's the Lady Edith character from Downton Abbey (or at least Downton Abbey's Season 1 version of Lady Edith).  Or, to put it in Brady Bunch terms, Sarah is the Jan Brady.

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I'm not sure what "steady" means either, but if you have to be reminded to wash your hands after an assignation, particularly by the woman who serves as the mother figure in your life, then you're probably not "steady".

In any case, it seems a little odd that Ralph would be on the short list to be the next Viceroy. Looking through the list of the Viceroys, most them were in their mid 40s or older and most of them were members of the House of Lords who had a political career back in the UK. A few others were more like career diplomats in that they'd serve as Governor General or Viceroy of one British colony or dominion after another. Some of the younger Viceroys such as Curzon and Irwin were made Lords upon their appointment as Viceroy, but they had both served as Members of Parliament for 10 or 15 years beforehand, something which Ralph couldn't have done since he never went back to England. I couldn't find any instance of a Viceroy's secretary, which I gather is more like chief of staff, becoming the next Viceroy.

 

 

 

Not only that, but the Viceroys were Peers. I don't think Ralph is one.

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Sorry for any confusion. As Proserpina65 indicated, I was just comparing three of the characters in Indian Summers to those in Downton Abbey.  

I borrowed Season One of Downton Abbey from the library yesterday.  Twenty-four hours later and I would have known better.  : )

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why the missionary and his wife appeared to be traveling separately

 

The missionary, Douglas Raworth, and the young woman were at a small table doing some sort of business.  I believe she was traveling with them, in first class, as his assistant and they were catching up on the accounts or some such.  Sarah Raworth was sitting with their son, who seems a curious lad to me.  My guess is he's either not very spunky or over-protected by his mother.

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JudyObscure (love the nick), the missionary's son looked so forlorn, watching his dad go by, not stopping or even yelling out "Hello Matthew, see you later, okay?"  Not fun, sharing a parent with other children, I suppose.  Since the writers included that scene, we'll probably see the kid acting out at some point.  Running away, taking his frustration out on one of the children, taking up smoking, whatever 30's kids did to rebel. 

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The missionary, Douglas Raworth, and the young woman were at a small table doing some sort of business.  I believe she was traveling with them, in first class, as his assistant and they were catching up on the accounts or some such.  Sarah Raworth was sitting with their son, who seems a curious lad to me.  My guess is he's either not very spunky or over-protected by his mother.

 

British India was so racially divided that this would never had happened.  Even if she was biracial.

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Yes I didn't understand that. Why was she so familiar with the family??? It made no sense to me, unless she was a relative? I think I've seen the actress in some Bollywood productions. Same for the actress who plays Aafrin's mum.

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Yes I didn't understand that. Why was she so familiar with the family??? It made no sense to me, unless she was a relative? I think I've seen the actress in some Bollywood productions. Same for the actress who plays Aafrin's mum.

 

Even if she was familiar with the family (governess/nanny or a "family retainer") or an employee, they never would have allowed her to ride with white people. There would have been too many complaints. She may have been able to ride in a private compartment with a family, but not the public one.

 

My knowledge of the Raj's India is confined to Paul Scott's novels :-). The upper class Indians (Lady Chatterjee, the Nawab, etc.) weren't allowed to be in "whites only" places like certain hospital wards, clubs, etc. As I wrote earlier, in the Raj Quartet/ JiC, the Peabodys weren't thrilled to be sharing the private compartment with Ahmed and Edward's nanny.

Edited by Milz

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I just cannot get into this.  I find myself hunting for the story, some hook, and keep coming up with nothing.  I'm old: I'm not quite a child of the era but I'm very familiar with the era and the anachronisms are just awful, the characters wrong, the portrayal of the classes just beyond wrong.  

 

I love Julie Walters but she was unrecognizable physically and talent-wise in this.  What a disappointment.   It's in my Sunday night PBS view list so I'll keep watching but I do feel it's the hour I can go stack the dishwasher and put on another load of laundry.

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The guy who plays Ralph has this quality that reminds me of the young Ralph Fiennes.  I liked this second episode much better than the first. I am intrigued enough to stick with it for the remaining 8 episodes of the season. I also learned that the series was popular in the UK and they are filming a second season and adding more cast, Art Malik and Rachel Griffith will be in it.

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Art Malik appeared in the pilot in religious garb.   I LOVE Art Malik but so far he can't save this IMO

 

Edited as I realized I saw him appear thusly in Arthur and George -- see, these things start to merge after a while....

Edited by DHDancer

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Well, those of you who called Sarah Raworth as another Lady Edith Crawley sure were right, she's  writing a letter back to England to get some dirt on Alice's marriage.  Just as with Edith I can't help but feel sorry for Sarah.  Her husband is so cold to her.

 

Alice may be  the only nice person.  I think she seriously connected with Aafrin during his life and death struggle.

 

Just how evil is the demon Ralph?  Not caring about the man who took a bullet for him until the reporter and photographer came around?  Did he think he could charm the fanatical assassin out of his views with a cup of tea?

 

What did that drawing he looked at in the end mean? Little girl and boy with bloody feet?  Alice said, "You and I have different memories."  Did something awful happen to them when they were young that Alice has suppressed and has made Ralph ruthless?

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I'm having a hard time following this series, which is heightened by the fact that  I don't like ANY of the characters. In fact, I don't blame the "terrorist" for trying to kill Ralphie, because I find him extraordinarily odious.

 

Quite frankly, I'm hoping for a Cawnpore Seige-type occurrence.

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So is the idea that Chandru Mohan tried to shoot Ralph Whelan for personal, not political, reasons?  That is, he didn't try to shoot Ralph for being a symbol of the Raj but for something Ralph had done in his past?

 

It's odd that Mohan beat Ralph to the point of drawing blood and Ralph didn't respond.

 

Are we supposed to believe that Mohan actually killed himself, or is that as much of a set-up as his forged Congress party membership papers?

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I think slithery Ralphie is the main character, along with Julie Walters. I don't like them but I do find them interesting. I also want to know what happened with his sisters husband.

 

 

ru Mohan tried to shoot Ralph Whelan for personal, not political, reasons?  That is, he didn't try to shoot Ralph for being a symbol of the Raj but for something Ralph had done in his past?

That's what I gathered, this was not political.

Edited by magdalene
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I'm having a hard time following this series, which is heightened by the fact that  I don't like ANY of the characters. In fact, I don't blame the "terrorist" for trying to kill Ralphie, because I find him extraordinarily odious.

 

I'm having some trouble following it as well, and it seems as though they are keeping a few of the storylines wrapped in a little too much deliberate obfuscation. It seems clear-ish that the assassin wasn't a terrorist or politically motivated, but in fact had some personal motivation based on prior dealings with Ralph. Given Ralph's lukewarm reactions to Meredith's throwing herself at him, maybe he's gay? Or maybe the weirdness with their childhood, their differing memories, the pictures of the girl and boy...pedophile? Something happened at his prior posting that caused the shooter to come after him?

 

I don't know. I'm not super-invested and I feel the show is being too mysterious, such that it's hard to know what's going on. And I think there's a fundamental problem with determining where the viewer's sympathies are meant to lie. Ralph is pretty horrible regardless, but I cannot have any sympathy for any of the English characters because they shouldn't be there anyway. I guess the young Scottish guy with the drunkle is supposed to slightly comedic or at least sympathetic? Nope. Shouldn't be there. I guess we're supposed to align ourselves with Alice, and of the English characters she's the most sympathetic, but I just can't get on board with political machinations or personal interests of people forcibly colonizing another country.

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 I feel the show is being too mysterious, such that it's hard to know what's going on.

 

Exactly.

 

I'm not sympathetic with Alice----she seems like an idiot and incredibly rude. She has company over and leaves them to barge into Dalil's home to see how his family is doing.  WTF?  Hey Alice, they don't know if the assassin is a lone wolf or part of a big gang that's just waiting to kill the British where ever they can. And remember you have an infant son. What's gonna happen to him if you get killed?

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I just want to understand why they are still doing 'the Grizzly bear'?? 10 or so years after Thomas first showed us how it's done in 1912 or so?

Edited by skyways
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