Frankincense? Seriously? More like, makes NO freakin' sense.
On Hooten and The Lady Season 1 Episode 5, they finally break free from the rigid show structure they have held tightly to for the entire season. Did it help? Eh, not so much.
This was by far the worst episode of the run. Where do I begin?
I do give them credit for not doing the now familiar pattern: the setup, Hooten's dilemma, meet with the locals, journey with witty banter, puzzle solving, find, then lose, then regain the McGuffin, then journey home with personal revelations.
The problem is, there was nothing to care about from the very beginning.
Lady Alex getting married is a side plot that really holds zero interest for me. Ed looks like a total wimp and pales in comparison to the rogue Hooten.
We have a kidnapping, but Ella, the coworker and friend of Lady Alex, is a bit player so far in the series. We know NOTHING about her.
There is no reason to care about what happens to her, other than her being a friend of Lady Alex.
Lady Alex: To be honest, I'm quite glad you're here.
Hooten: Is that a thank you?
Lady Alex: You need to know there's no money involved.
Hooten: I'm not a philistine. It doesn't have to be money. It could be jewels, diamonds, rubies never hurt anybody.
Lady Alex: It's something far more valuable than any of those.
Hooten: I knew it.
Lady Alex: It's Ella.
Lady Alex: She's been taken hostage.
The heist of the spoon was also a wasted opportunity.
How much fun would it have been to watch Hooten on the phone, talking Lady Alex through the Indiana Jones type theft from her own museum? It could have been a really funny scene, but it was totally botched.
Hooten: Well, that's hardcore. What do they want?
Lady Alex: I was meant to come alone. They want this.
Hooten: It's a spoon. She's being held ransom for a spoon?
The whole episode was just off. The pacing, the dialog, the supposed action scenes, all seemed half baked or unfinished.
The woman trusted with bringing Alex to the kidnappers was supposed to be a badass, but she came across as a total buffoon.
The scene where she brandished a machete and attempted a huge karate kick, only to have our heroes step aside, sending her plunging to her death, was played for laughs, but it was a total fail.
The writing was abysmal. The plot is usually thin, but this one was like tissue paper.
The Queen of Sheba background was fairly well explained, but since her whole legend involving King Solomon is all about the riddles she threw at him, I was hoping we would have a more intricate puzzle for Alex to solve.
What we got was another lame Indiana Jones cliche: this is at least the second "map room" scenario so far in the series, and it's getting old fast.
I get that this show is an homage to action/adventure/romance movies from back in the day, but they need to be more clever in the execution. Lazy writing.
There was no clear reason for the kidnapper's actions either. The leader wanted the treasure, but everyone with him appeared to be a bunch of whining mercenaries who just wanted to get some food and water and get the hell out of the desert.
I never got the feeling that Ella or Lady Alex was ever in any real danger.
Ella: What are you doing here?
Lady Alex: It's me. It's Alex.
Ella: For Christ's sake I know you name! I haven't been lobotomized. Where are they?
Lady Alex: Who?
Ella: The Marines, MI-6, Interpol, where are they?
Lady Alex: You told me to come alone.
Ella: You didn't actually come alone?
The best thing in the whole episode were the two camels, Pat and Tracy.
Camels chewing is always funny, but it doesn't make up for crappy writing.
It seemed like the writers had no real story to build on, so they just kept going back to the silly camel sight gags.
Lady Alex: Where's Tracy?
Lady Alex: The camel.
Hooten: Oh shit!
Hooten surprised and overpowered all these supposedly badass mercenaries so easily it was laughable. And you go to a place in the middle of the desert to rescue a friend from bloodthirsty kidnappers with NO weapons? Wow.
My biggest pet peeve, however, was the reveal of the "treasure." After all the drama, the threats, the puzzle solving, and the treasure is the oil frankincense? Really?
Talk about a letdown.
But not as much of a letdown as the ending.
Tell me what the hell THAT was about? When the baddies find out that the treasure is an oil that goes for a whopping four bucks a bottle, do the kidnappers kill anyone? Nope.
Do they even react when Hooten storms in with a camel? Nope.
They just stand there, pointing their guns at each other, Reservoir Dogs style. But did we get a payoff like in Reservoir Dogs? Nope again.
While Lady Alex, Hooten, and Ella have a long, drawn out banter fest, the bad guys just stand and stare at each other.
Then, as our gang mounts the camels, leaving the bad guys to die in the desert with no way back to camp, what do they do?
Um, they stand and point their guns at each other while our heroes escape. WTF?
And for good measure, the episode ends as our heroes snipe at each other while, you guessed it, the kidnappers stand like statues in the desert heat, pointing guns at each other.
Maybe they were posing for an oil painting.
This was easily one of the sloppiest, most poorly written shows I've seen from ANY show in a long time. VERY disappointing.
If this is how they break free from their formulaic stories, then my advice is to go back as soon as possible. This was an epic fail.
Tell me your take: other than the location and the cute camels, was there ANYTHING you liked? Fire away in the comments section.
As always, you can watch Hooten and The Lady online, right here on TV Fanatic!