Indian Summers Costume Recap: Finale


I’m excited enough about Indian Summers (now airing in the US on PBS) that I decided to write a costume recap for each episode, so we can dish about what we liked and didn’t like. Check out our recap of the previous episodes: onetwo3&45&6seven, and eight!

This recap is going to be hit & miss, because there was a LOT of rewearing in this episode. So I’m just going to touch on things that stood out to me. Note for British viewers: the US airing combined your episodes 9 and 10 into one finale episode.

Important warnings: I’m going to talk about PUPPIES and also the mechanics of on-screen shagging. If either offends you, look away!

We start with the return (to screen) of Madeleine. She’s having a dream in which she and brother Eugene are back in Chicago, and Eugene is happy and healthy. Okay, am I the only one who got another STRONG ROMANTIC VIBE HERE? I kept waiting for the bombshell that the two aren’t really siblings but on some kind of long con, but it never happened. Maybe they’re saving that for season 2.

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Madeleine is still in gold, but adds some darker brown (plus an ugly hat):2015 Indian Summers

Madeleine wakes up from her dream (wearing her lavender satin and lace nightie — what, no gold??!!)…2015 Indian Summers

…puts on a gold (whew!) hammered silk dressing gown, to find Eugene has died. No doubt hastened along by having to sleep in Cynthia’s barn.2015 Indian Summers

Sarah spies on Dougie and Leena’s happy mission family. She’s wearing a buttoned-up-to-here white blouse…

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And cream skirt. Maybe she’s grumpy because her maid gets to wear such better colors than she.2015 Indian Summers

Sita and Aafrin return each others’ love letters. Sita continues to rock it in a purple and gold sari.2015 Indian Summers

Ralph doesn’t go full mourning for Eugene, but he does put on a black armband.2015 Indian Summers

Sarah and Alice have a face off, both in red on white print dresses and blue umbrellas. Of course, Alice’s umbrella is much fancier, with the pagoda top and ruffle around the edge. Again, the source of Sarah’s bitterness?2015 Indian Summers

Adam shows up at Ralph’s place with a note that basically says “Yo, pops.”2015 Indian Summers

Ralph is flustered. Again, I notice that all of the children (here, look at Alice’s baby) wear the same colors as the mission school children. Dougie and Sarah’s boy is always in these colors too.2015 Indian Summers

Ralph and the Viceroy, two peas in a black and red pod.2015 Indian Summers

My new favorite character: the Nawab of Jaffran, more poncy and British than anyone else in the Indian Summers universe.

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Best line of the entire show? When the Ralph and Alice get into the Nawab’s carriage which is FILLED with PUPPIES and the Nawab says, literally, “Don’t you just love puppies?” WHY YES I DO, YOUR NAWABINESS!

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Especially ones that wear little outfits and have smooshy faces and pluft and make everyone run around chasing them while they leave deposits everywhere!

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Look at the guy in front-left: “THIS IS FUN.”

Finally, Alice and Aafrin find a garden shed and Get It On. It’s pretty hot, except … look, I know this isn’t a porn, and they’re not going for strict realism. But I like how they go from fully-clothed kissing to one .05 second gesture Down There by Aafrin to full coital insertion. How does that work, exactly? Did Alice turn up sans undies? I assume Aafrin is working with a button fly, so that’s good, chafing-wise.
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Now, back to costumes … Madeleine breaks out the Navy Blue (gettin’ crazy!) as mourning wear for Eugene. Ralph has built one of Eugene’s folly designs in the backyard as a memorial. This will be awkward if I’m right, and it turns out that Eugene and Madeleine were something other than siblings.2015 Indian Summers

And Ralph finds his main servant, Bhupinder, giving Jaya’s gold bracelet to his wife (I called it that that would be an important clue). Bhupinder, who other than serving tea in the background and once trying to get rapey (with his wife? another servant?), has been total background. Bhupinder, who doesn’t even make the PBS “Meet the Characters” lineup. He’s the murderer? Okay, I don’t want a show to make it Uber Obvious who did it, but I hate it when they do this — take a character who’s total background and to whom they’ve given NO clues (and a stupid motivation — he was just trying to tidy up Ralph’s life) and make them the One Who Did It. Bah.2015 Indian Summers

Apparently trench coats work great as dawn post-secret-garden-shed-shagging cover-ups:2015 Indian Summers

At the instigation of the Viceroy (and the hidden instigation of Ralph, as revenge on Cynthia for Jaya), the club members vote to remove the color bar. Cynthia is Not Happy. She wears a very pretty, very 1950s wide-lapel, olive green jacket with big gold brooch:

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Sarah, I hate you (even though I can sympathize with you a bit). I do, however, apologize for assuming that ALL your day dresses were gingham. This yellow dress is actually a nice dotted print.2015 Indian Summers

Madeleine turns up while Ralph and Aafrin are working in her “honeymoon dress,” which is Very Slinky and silvery. Note Aafrin’s outfit in the background…2015 Indian Summers 2015 Indian Summers

At some point, while watching Ralph and Madeleine in get-a-room mode, Aafrin takes his jacket off. This is the first time he and Ralph are shown in shirtsleeves, getting down to business. It’s a visual cue that Aafrin has finally decided that Ralph is a Good Egg, and that they’re on equal footing.2015 Indian Summers

Aafrin sleeps over. Alice gets to rest on his manly chest while I admire his pillowy lips. Alice’s nightie is much more innocent than Madeleine’s slinky numbers.2015 Indian Summers

They did it. They killed My Boyfriend. I’m with you, Ian. This place (not India — British-ruled India) is screwed up.2015 Indian Summers

Cynthia is apparently so overcome by the experience of triumphing over Ramu Sood and watching him be executed that she needs to be spoon-fed her lunch, complete with bib.

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Madeleine lightens up her mourning, wearing a navy and gold print blouse with a cream skirt.2015 Indian Summers

Attention hair designers: please vary the women’s hairstyles in season 2. This is all WAY too same-y.2015 Indian Summers

Now that Ralph failed to save Ramu, Aafrin knows how things really lie. He’s back in his suit jacket while dealing with Ralph. You just fucked with the wrong clerk, Ralphie boy.

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At the club, A Native (gasp!) has been admitted to the club. Cynthia may die of racism (note: it was actually interesting to watch her and Ralph’s fight about Jaya. It really brought home how much someone of Cynthia’s ilk just wouldn’t consider non-whites to be human). Ian’s ex-girlfriend is in Sarah’s yellow dotted dress colors, but in a much more sophisticated fabric/cut. This sequinned blouse (dress?) on Cynthia was SO gorgeous when she moved, especially as it got darker.2015 Indian Summers

Aafrin is the Official Token Native to join the club, which he does because he has now been radicalized. He brings his father, Darius, who is just about the nicest person on the planet. Can he be my surrogate dad? Darius wears an English-style suit and all of his medals — he’s proud of being part of the British empire.

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After lots of racists get their jollies, Ralph’s assistant Ronnie intercedes and helps facilitate Aafrin and Darius’s entry into club society. Aafrin even dances with Blondie.

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We’ll have one more post soon, looking at the costumes for the series overall! In the meantime, what did you think of the finale?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

6 Responses

  1. Susan Pola

    Decided that I am buying the DVD. Just want to see Madeleine’s clothes and wonder about why the Nawab was really there. Is he a forerunner of the maharajah’s visit in season 2 that I read about. If so oh boy Indian court dress. Magnificent saris, jewellery and maybe a mistress or two. Hope Madeleine is back for season 2.

  2. Fran

    I thought it was rather well-thought-out that the murderer turned out to be Bhupinder. HE was the wearer of the white Indian clothes & footwear. They had shown him always lurking and taking note of things, so much so that I was expecting him to discover Aafrin & Alice in the shed!

    The Nawab was there, I think, to negotiate concessions. That’s why the Viceroy was pissed at Ralph walking off and leaving him to deal with.

  3. Nonny

    Thanks for the great caps…loved loved loved the costumes in this series and am happily scouring Ebay for similar pieces… :)

    • Nonny

      …I came back to add that my fashion highlights were Alice’s orange dress/grey-and-white striped dress (I NEED that dress!!) and Madeleine’s checked trousers/Bakelite earrings :)