The season – series? – finale finds Hooten on a Caribbean island, in possession of half a map which might lead him to the location of a cask, containing a pistol and an emerald ring, buried by Captain Henry Morgan. Alex is also there, of course, because the British Museum also wants the cask; because, with only two days to go until her wedding, it suits her to be several thousand miles away from home; and because, apparently, she has no other interests besides following Hooten.
Anyway, Alex manages to get hold of the other half of the map, and the two of them compete to find the cask, before realising – duh – that they need to co-operate. The cask is found and its contents confirmed, but it’s then snatched by some of the non-white people on the island – see episodes passim – who cast Alex and Hooten adrift on a dinghy. From which they are rescued by Edward; even he has been able to detect Alex’s reluctance to go through with their wedding, so – perhaps somewhat needily? – he’s made his way to the Caribbean with a terrific idea: let’s just do the wedding right here!
Alex, however, is still wondering about the wisdom of marrying Edward, although more for his sake than her own. Which is when Hooten steps up and reassures Alex about her qualities: he’s met lots of women, but not one who’s “as smart as you, as funny as you (?), or as loyal as you”. And there’s more along the same lines: she’s pretty, has a smile that lights up a room, Edward is a lucky guy, and so on. Now, call me a traditionalist, but I would have thought you only say things like that to someone you want to sleep with. (Or, according to disposition – specifically willingness to make the additional effort – someone you’re already sleeping with.) He even skips over how she is, perhaps, the most annoying woman on the face of the planet.
But that’s where he leaves it, just about; with a chaste kiss on the cheek Hooten is out of there, leaving Alex to marry Edward Nice-but-Dim. Except, of course, Hooten then sits on the beach drinking rum straight from the bottle and brooding, which suggests that he perhaps has unacknowledged feelings for Alex, in which case he should have grown a pair a few episodes ago and told her. Anyway, there’s a smart little coda which confirms that, married or not, the two of them are going to continue to be a team; and, in the event that the show isn’t renewed, allows us to imagine them treasure hunting around the world into the future.
So will it be renewed? Dunno, although Michael Landes has hinted that it will. I’d be delighted if it were: it could reasonably be argued that Hooten & The Lady was a little bit of a throwback, but it was good, if undemanding, Friday night entertainment. (Not that I always watched it on a Friday night, but still.) Much of this is down to the two stars: both Landes and Ophelia Lovibond are proper stars with genuine screen presence: whatever “it” is, they both have it. In the event of renewal, I’d have three tiny suggestions: make Alex less annoying (not Lovibond’s fault at all, it should be said); give Jessica Hynes more to do; and, yes, ramp up the will-they-won’t-they between the two leads. Otherwise carry on, and Unpopcult will be here.