Ghosts from the past surface, and that means only one thing: business just picked up in Hootenville.
On Hooten and The Lady Season 1 Episode 6, Hooten summons Lady Alex to Moscow, with the promise of acquiring a legendary artifact, but their respective pasts come back to bite them in the ass.
In a welcomed change, the usually wacky romp is more like a Le Carre novel or Bond movie this week.
The setting definitely helps in that regard: anytime you can film at Red Square in Moscow, the atmosphere lends gravity to pretty much everything.
The serious tone was quite refreshing. Learning more about Hooten's tragic past sets up the rest of the season, which means we're probably in for much less breezy, silly storylines in the remaining episodes.
Hooten: Why have you got me tailing you all over Moscow?
Hercules: I found it.
Hooten: No you didn't.
Hercules: My life's work. I told you I'd find it, and I have.
So what's up with the names? Ulysses? Hercules? They have to be made up spy names, right?
Anyway, Hercules, the man who taught Hooten everything he knows about being a treasure hunter, was a very cool character.
It's a damn shame he didn't make it out alive, but his death seems to be the catalyst for the actions of Hooten and Lady Alex going forward.
Whispers of Hooten's past have been sprinkled in here and there, but the conversation with Hercules shed much light on what Hooten is so haunted.
Hercules: I was very sorry when I heard. I liked her: beautiful woman, gentle, kind soul. And your little boy too. My God. It was him, wasn't it? He killed them both.
Hooten: He found us, and I wasn't careful enough.
Hercules: He's dead now, my friend. Time to stop torturing yourself.
This is where we go to full on James Bond movie mode: a sexy redhead in a leather catsuit, who works for a mysterious, evil mastermind. He's shown as a Blofeld type villain, but his penchant is for scorpions, not cats.
Is there any doubt Mr. Scorpion is the one behind the death of Hooten's wife and son? Nope.
We will doubtless see more and more of Mr. Scorpion in the future. The question is, how will Hooten and Lady Alex deal with him?
Lady Alex is showing a very different, darker side to her personality.
Her tension with Hooten is usually played for laughs, but Hooten apparently went over the line when he told her the real reason, in his mind, for her willingness to meet him at the drop of a hat for their adventures.
Hooten is convinced she does not want to marry Ed, but her mousy, people pleasing personality flaw is the reason she won't break off the engagement.
Hooten's adventures are the perfect escape for her, since deep down she doesn't want that boring royal life.
Alex reacted very harshly, perhaps a little too much. That leads us to believe there is more than a grain for truth in Hooten's theory.
Add to that her confrontation with a former college rival, the catsuit wearing Valeria, and we see Alex in danger of going off the deep end.
Lady Alex: Valeria. You look very well.
Valeria: You look like something the cat coughed up.
Lady Alex: Well, you're just rude.
Lady Alex: You actually have a handbag sized crossbow? Of course you do. You're not actually going to try to shoot me? OK, fine. [Valeria shoots the crossbow at Alex]
There was a bit of the trademark banter and silliness we've come to expect, and the hotel chase scene was fairly amusing, as was Hooten parading around in Lady Alex' Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer pajamas.
What I want to know is, what kind of kink is Ed into, since he's the one who gave Alex the pajamas? Hmm.
While it doesn't seem like that huge a deal to me, the whole legendary missing Faberge egg (known as "The Broken Heart") is a good McGuffin to have.
Having the egg being hidden by a cleaning lady for over 100 years was pretty clever, and the fact that Hooten and Lady Alex had talked to her numerous times, not knowing how important she was, did give me a chuckle.
Once Hooten figured out it was Mr. Scorpion who killed Hercules, he soured on the whole deal, because he knew it was the same man who killed his wife and son.
Even though he's a thief and a rogue, human life matters much more to him than he lets on.
He clearly cares for Alex, and demonstrated that in spades when he threw the priceless artifact into the river.
Lady Alex: Why did you just do that?
Hooten: A man was murdered for that. If you take it, then the person that wants it will come after you too, and he won't stop. You and everyone you love will be in danger.
Lady Alex: I have never heard so much crap in my life! Have you lost your mind?
Hooten: He will not stop until everything and everyone you love is destroyed. I know this. And now no one can have it. I just saved your life. Get in your car and go home. Just go home Alex.
Why he didn't tell Alex about Mr. Scorpion is beyond me. Maybe since he felt he went over the line earlier about her marriage, he didn't want to open up about his personal life to her anymore.
If he thinks Alex doesn't care about him he's mistaken. They are in a bad place right now regarding their attitude towards each other, but deep down they have a bond that is strong.
Alex' mother is turning out to be a royal bitch (pun intended). She has no right to dictate what Alex can or can't do at the museum, so it was good to see Alex stand up for herself.
Hooten's comments about her marriage and life seem to have struck a chord with her, and she is letting her bad girl streak out as a result.
Her obsession with the egg is a bit disturbing. Diving into the river to retrieve it was very out of character, and what she expects to do with it is anyone's guess.
Will she bring it back to the museum, using it as leverage to keep herself from being desk bound? Or will she simple hide it, like the cleaning lady's family did for over a century?
I don't see her selling it, but you never know.
This episode was a vast improvement over the last few. The Mr. Scorpion arc will likely take us to the end of the season, with the b -- side wedding story mixed in.
I don't see Hooten and Lady Alex being on the outs for very long, so the adventures will continue. It wouldn't surprise me to see Mr. Scorpion capture Hooten, with Lady Alex having to use the egg to save his life.
Will she actually marry Ed, or will she go all runaway bride? My gut tells me she won't marry him, but time will tell.
That's my take: tell me yours. Do you like the new "bad girl" Alex? What do you think she will do with the egg? Will she end up marrying Ed? Will Hooten emerge victorious against Mr. Scorpion?
And, as always, you can watch Hooten and The Lady online anytime, right here on TV Fanatic!