Nine weeks after their rather fractious adventure in Moscow, which resulted in a bust up between the pair, we pick up with Hooten on the trail of another fabled item; this time the wish-fulfilling Chintamani jewel.
Searching in the Cambodian jungle, Tomb Raider style, he is on the trail of artefacts which hold clues to the jewel’s location and studiously ignoring calls from Lady Alex – instead partnering up with a young, local lad named Jian (Jay Heyman).
However, having leaned on the British Library’s Ella for information, Alex is promptly on his trail, defying her ‘grounding’, and they are in danger soon enough; captured by a gang of ecstasy making thugs who have inconveniently set up in the temple which houses one of the vital clues.
Pulling on the thread of last time’s revelation that Hooten had a family, sadly murdered by a shadowy black market villain, we soon discover that the man in question is hot on Hooten’s trail. Kane, played by Vincent Regan (Undercover), is backed by armed thugs and a thoroughly nasty piece of work, if a little one-dimensional.
Of course, the truculent Hooten (Michael Landes) is not much for explanations, and so we only get at the details of his plan for revenge when he and Alex are stranded amid a former Khmer Rouge minefield. She does not approve of his avenging motive and, in fact, we found Alex (Ophelia Lovibond) somewhat unfeeling considering Hooten’s loss.
Despite fulfilling all it needed to do, for us, the resolution of this tale felt a little thin. The fact that Hooten had stolen Kane’s wife in no way made us feel anything for the villain and Jian’s betrayal, albeit under duress, was obvious from the moment they were followed.
However, Alex’s undermining of Kane during the struggle to aid Hooten was excellently done, and we loved her subtle covering of the jewel with her foot!
In truth, we are rather disappointed that Kane was dispatched so easily, his character felt underdeveloped and it seems like an opportunity missed; the idea of a well-equipped, motivated rival on their trail added a nice level of tension and we assumed that was destined to continue, at least to the series finale.
Director Daniel O’Hara (Doctor Who, The Game) made the most of the varied locations at his disposal, from jungle to minefield and bustling streets. Above all though, it is the stunning hot-air balloon scenes that will stick in the memory.
With fiancé Ed nice-but-dull hanging in the background, we are reminded that Alex’s wedding is on the cards for the finale.
Place your bets on whether it happens or not – personally, we are hoping that Hooten will sweep in by helicopter and disrupt the whole thing in outrageous style!
Airs at 9pm on Friday 28 October 2016 on Sky1.
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