Main cast: Michael Landes (Hooten), Ophelia Lovibond (Lady Alexandra Lindo-Parker), Jessica Hynes (Ella Bond), Enzo Cilenti (Tramacca), Valerie Lilley (Sister Maria Riva), and Jane Seymour (Lady Lindo-Parker)
Director: Colin Teague
The last time around, it’s Romancing the Stone with a touch of Indiana Jones. This time around, Rome sees Hooten and Alexandra taking to, well, Rome in search of the fabled Sibylline book, which contained pages said to be able to foretold the future.
We get to know a bit more of Hooten this time around. He has a history with the nuns – as the last few scenes of the previous episode will suggest – and in this one, Sister Maria Riva summons him to show him what is said to a page from those books. She wants him to locate a book and pass it to a mysterious “friend” in Rome who would sell the book on her church’s behalf. He feels indebted to her, so he doesn’t question much about this odd arrangement. He’d do it. As you can probably guess, there is something sinister about this whole thing.
Meanwhile, Alex is in Rome to explore what could have been the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, which was supposed to have been pillaged completely sometime around the Renaissance. Incidentally, I love how this show incorporates all these fun history tidbits that I have nearly forgotten after all these years. Hooten seeks her out for her expertise, but their reunion turns awkward when she catches him flirting with her mother, of all people. She still wants to strangle him, and him telling her mother he’s an all-night man only cements her confidence that he is just a dog… but oh my, the page he has is authentic after she’s done some tests on it. There’s no way she’s not going along with him!
Similar to the previous episode, this one confuses me. The entire plot has a child-like simplicity to it – these two practically waltz onto the relic with a simplicity that is unbelievable for anything aimed at an audience over ten years old, and the bad guys are straight out of the Scooby-Doo School of Villainy – but there is nothing kiddie-like about the tone, the banter, and the angst. If the folks behind this show is relying on banters and comedy to drag it to the finish line, there isn’t much here, as most of the punchlines fall flat or ring hollow.
At the end of the day, this episode is just some wandering around the underground tunnels, some lame showdowns with cartoon villains, and plenty of jokes that don’t make me smile even a bit. And Michael Landes’s clothes stay on, so there is no excuse this time around for me to give it an extra pity oogie. He’s still hot, though.