If you like a crackling mystery in a beautiful, ancient city, then this one was right up your alley!
On Hooten and The Lady Season 1 Episode 2, the adventure shifts to Rome, with our intrepid heroes crossing paths again, battling a formidable enemy while they search for another ancient artifact.
Hooten meets with his old friend Sister Maria, and is charged with finding the Sibylline book, a legendary tome that supposedly has prophetic properties.
Of course, it's never that easy, is it? There wouldn't be an adventure without a bad guy, right? The baddie here is the OG Italian mafia, who want the book solely for its monetary value, demanding millions from the Vatican in exchange for the relic.
Hooten has a definite connection to the Catholic church, from his huge donation to an orphanage in Rio at the end of Hooten and The Lady Season 1 Episode 1, to his close bond with Sister Maria.
Just what that connection is we don't know yet, but the mystery is a good thing. Hooten needs depth to his character, because at this point he is a one dimensional rogue.
I'm on a mission from God.Hooten [to Alex]
I assume we will learn more about him going forward, and that can only help the storytelling. At this point the beautiful locales seem to push the story along, and that's cool.
I enjoyed this one better than the Amazon story. While that one reminded me of Romancing the Stone and the Indiana Jones films, this one was was completely an homage to The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure films.
I love mysteries like this: one clue leads to another, then another, then another. Solving the puzzle is usually more fun than actually getting possession of the artifact.
It becomes predictable once the good guys have the McGuffin: the obligatory chase scene, heroes in jeopardy, followed by the big escape and the bad guys getting their comeuppance.
Sadly, that happened here. I wish they would flip the script, and give us a surprise or two in the last act for once.
But this show trades on the nostalgia of past adventure movies and shows, so the comfort of the format is soothing to the audience. I get it: this isn't high brow entertainment, but a fluffy summer fling.
The mystery of the book was a great choice: it gives more gravity to the stakes, involving a priceless artifact, the Vatican, and the mafia as a suitable substitute for the usual Nazi storyline.
Hooten: How would you like to know the future?
Alex: I already know it-you're crossing the street right into the path of a truck.
Hooten: I'm talking about the big things: plagues, floods, wars. I'm talking about the book that guided the kings and emperors of Rome.
Alex: The Sibylline book?
Just think about that. If you could access a book that could give you advice on which decisions to make in your life, would you want that resource? Is it, in a weird way, tempting fate?
I don't know if I would want to know the future. Life is the ultimate mystery, so who wants a cheat sheet?
Hooten: Maybe we should consult this book. How does it work?
Alex: You ask yourself your fundamental question, the question you need the clearest guidance on. You open the book, place your finger on a passage, and that is the way forward.
Hooten is a pragmatic guy, so I wasn't surprised at all that he thought the book was a crock.
Lady Alex still has that child like sense of wonder though, so she's basically a surrogate for the audience, as we see ourselves in her eyes during the search for the book.
The bad guys are definitely more dangerous than last week, and shooting Hooten was surprising, but I knew he must have had a bullet proof vest under his jacket, because you don't kill your lead this early in the show's run, am I right?
As is the formula in these things, the good guys win, which is expected but satisfying in shows like this.
The introduction of Lady Lindo was a pleasant surprise, as was seeing the amazing Jane Seymour in the role.
It seems we haven't seen her on the small screen in forever, so it was nice to see she's a part of the cast. Maybe this means we will get more famous cameos. Those nuggets are always fun.
Speaking of nuggets, we got two reveals: one, Lady Alex is adopted, something I expect they will delve into more as we go along. I like that they are slowly peeling back the onion on the two leads.
The more we learn about their pasts, the more we will care about the characters.
The second is we finally know Hooten's first name: Ulysses! I never thought that would be his name, but it's cute and more than a little relevant: his namesake was clever and resourceful in The Odyssey, so the name fits.
It seems the plots going forward will be closely tied to the locale for each episode, and that's a great jumping off point for the storytelling.
Each episode will presumably be an homage to past films and shows that share the location, and that's a pretty clever way to structure a series.
It keeps it fresh, and as long as they have the budget to go to these exotic locations, the show will continue to be an interesting summer diversion.
Hey, it is what it is: a fun, comforting adventure show with likeable leads. Not everything on the dial has to be challenging and serious. There is plenty of room for fun, escapist entertainment.
That's my take: tell me what you think so far. Do you like the chemistry between the lead characters? What's your favorite part of the show: the exotic locales, the mystery of the week, or something else?
Sound off in the comments section.
And, of course, you can watch Hooten and The Lady online anytime, right here on TV Fanatic!