By Will Barber Taylor
The action-packed original drama continues in Italy, where Hooten enlists Lady Alex to help him search for the Sibylline Books – a collection of lost mystical prophecies from ancient Rome. Lady Alex accepts but quickly finds herself scaling the Sistine Chapel, battling a sewer alligator and clashing with a deranged Mafioso. Can the pair save the book before fate catches up with them?
In the second episode, written by Hooten and the Lady co-creator James Payne brings the series to Rome, the heart of an empire that has fascinated historians for centuries. Like the previous episode, Episode Two is very much based in its surroundings. We see involvement from the Church, the Mafia and the founders of Rome’s rich historical prosperity. Payne imbues the episode with the sense of Italy – we go from the chichi hotel in which Alex and her mother (Jane Seymour) are staying to the grotty sewers beneath Rome, encompassing all that makes Italy unique. Payne writes some great dialogue for his characters, particularly Enzio Cilenti’s Mafia boss. Like Tony Jordan he truly gets why the series works – the dichotic dynamic between Hooten and Alex provides not only dramatic tension but also comedic conflict.
Enzio Cilenti’s set piece villain Tramacca is probably the highlight of the episode. His facial expressions can instantly snap from one of benign despotism to intense rage and Cilenti’s face is a master class to watch during these transitions. He whispers out the dialogue in such a way as to make it both entertaining and threatening. Cilenti perfectly balances the medium between comic absurdity and menace in a way only true action adventure villains can. The episode is worth a watch for Cilenti’s performance alone.
Jane Seymour is also great as Alex’s mother, Lady Lindo Parker. The brief scenes that feature both of them help to illustrate Alex’s background more and also help explain why she wants to throw herself into such dangerous situations -to prove to herself that she isn’t like her mother and that she won’t simply sit back and let life go by around her.
Episode Two of Hooten and the Lady is an enjoyable continuation of the series and has, like the first episode, the right balance between comedy and drama to ensure that the series is enjoyable for all.
Brand new action adventure series, Hooten & The Lady continues every Friday at 9pm on Sky 1