Hooten & The Lady s1 ep 3

Something of a pincer movement from Hooten and The Lady at the start of this week’s episode: Alex is, painstakingly, making a presentation to some very important people in Egypt, requesting permission to excavate a sensitive archaeological site which she is convinced holds an object that will help to locate the site of the lost tomb of Alexander the Great. Permission is duly refused; but the point is moot anyway, because Hooten – who between the end of the last episode and the start of this one seems to have been hired on a freelance, no-questions-asked, don’t-look-at-me-if-it-all-goes-wrong basis by the British Museum – is already on site and blowing shit up. This proves to be successful in obtaining the relevant artefact; unfortunately, he then goes and spoils everything by falling into the clutches of femme fatale Melina – who isn’t what she seems, in more ways than one – and giving her a head start on finding the tomb. Which, of course, contains unimaginably valuable treasure.

And we’re off again. To start with I thought the plot was going to go long on villainous foreigners and virtuous Anglo-Americans, but in fact it was neater and more nuanced than that. Add that to lots of fights, guns, explosions, and double-crossing, none of it filmed in a quarry in Dorset, and once again it’s great fun, even if Jessica Hynes and Shaun Parkes continue to be underused as the back-home support team.

The relationship between Hooten and Alex continues to be difficult to parse, mind you. This week, once again straight from Shipping 101, Alex interrupts Hooten and Melina in flagrante and pretends to be Hooten’s wife, allowing Hooten to speculate about a “definite subtext”. He will double down on this later: Alex is told that Hooten is dead, so when she next sees him – very much alive, natch – she tenderly embraces him. “I knew”, murmurs Hooten, “there was a bit of subtext”, which, in Alex’s opinion, ruins the moment. Except there is a subtext, of course; he knows it, she knows it, we know it, and the show knows it. Which makes it odd that everyone connected with the show should deny it.


2 thoughts on “Hooten & The Lady s1 ep 3

  1. CJ Cregg October 5, 2016 / 9:41 pm

    I think that interview was trolling us. It’s not even subtext now, since he’s mentioned it, it’s text, but whatever it is, it’s blatant. I fully expect the season to end with Hooten crashing Lady Alex’s wedding, her deciding she’d rather go adventuring with him than get married, and them dashing off together in a motorbike and sidecar in the general direction of some historical site on another continent.

    Which brings me to something that’s beginning to really annoy me. I may be about to open a can of worms but, particularly this week, the slightly colonialist aspect of it all is getting on every nerve I have. Here we go again, plundering historical artefacts in some less wealthy, less powerful country many miles away – why should the British Museum of all places think it should still get special privileges to excavate, remove and display items from Egypt? Or the Amazon? I do understand that archaeology and historical excavation is more complicated than that, and there are international agreements with governments, expertise and funding etc to consider, and that Lady Alex was negotiating with the Egyptian government, but I still feel like there’s a real imperialist subtext to the whole thing. And Lady Alex being an aristocrat just adds to that whole flavour.

    *waits for someone to tell me I’m taking Hooten and the Lady, of all things, WAY too seriously*

  2. Jed Bartlet October 5, 2016 / 11:20 pm

    You’re taking Hooten & The Lady, of all things, WAY too seriously.

    But that aside you might, uh, have a point. I suppose that, from the show’s perspective, it isn’t about whether or not the British Museum should be taking an interest in acquiring foreign artefacts; the fact is that it does, and the whole thing is such a fantasy anyway that expecting realism, or a carefully-judged analysis of the multiplicity of complex issues involved, isn’t going to happen. Although as hinted at in the review I did start, this week, to get slightly twitchy about African baddies and First World goodies.

    I may be taking Hooten & The Lady too seriously.

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