I know I was a bit harsh on Hodgson in the discussion of 2019 in review, so I thought I'd comment on this story, which I did enjoy more than the others that have been covered so far. I think apart from a few clunky sections and odd story-telling decisions (plus the major plot hole discussed in the other thread), this was a good example of an adventure story. I really liked the point raised in the episode that the protagonist and his friend are apparently wandering the British countryside laden with pistols looking for problems to solve! More than a whiff of the RPG about that situation!
I also enjoyed the discussion of imperialism/colonialism and class consciousness. I think Hodgson here is definitely more critical of British imperialism than "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (despite writing eighty years earlier!), although I'm not convinced he was being intentionally critical. I think that comes back to the point made in the episode about how he went out of his way to make the Thug cultist the obvious villain of the piece. I also feel that, while the story itself raises some interesting class issues, this again was not necessarily Hodgson's intent. Whether or not Whigman was from an aristocratic background or a gentry background (and I did like Glenn's ideas about this issue), he wasn't very good at what he supposed to be doing. But because the Thug cultist is the villain, we don't get a convincing critique of Whigman. The villagers (Hodgson refers to the setting as a "little town", but I think it's more likely a village) are described as superstitious and ignorant, even though what they're afraid is more or less real (if not quite in the form they thought), and these descriptions implicitly apply to the Thug cultist as well. The only characters we're supposed to sympathise with are the protagonist and his friend, and even though the heroes are middle class, there's a kind of conservative "everyone in their right place" undercurrent to the story (which to be fair, was not only typical in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but is still depressingly widespread today).
I suppose I should say that of all the problematic tropes in weird/speculative fiction, I find imperialism/colonialism one of the biggest hurdles to my enjoyment of a story. I grew up endlessly re-watching the Beatles' film "Help!", so I have a soft spot for Kali and stories involving her - it would just be nice to find something written from a more post-colonial perspective. This Thug cultist may or may not be justified in killing Whigman (depending on how you feel about the whole justice/revenge thing), but once he's done that his duty is done. But because he has to be the villain of the story (because he's a foreigner worshipping a bloodthirsty alien deity of death), rather than trying to find a way home, he just carries on killing people (and note that they're white people, and that one of them is the belle of the village to elicit maximum sympathy) for reasons that aren't explained (unless I missed something).
I don't know how to conclude here. There were things to enjoy about this story, but ultimately I think the obstacles were too many for me to actually say I enjoyed it. I know I've said it before, but I feel like I take some of these stories a bit too seriously. Oh well.