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Hooten & The Lady – Bhutan

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By: Stacy Miller

Hacienda, Pablo in La Paz, Bolivia.  Hooten (Michael Landes) finds himself in a little bit of a jam. It seems that he was supposed to pay a man named Alfonso (Fernan Audi) fifty thousand dollars a week ago, but instead Alfonso found Hooten in a bar with empty pockets. Alfonso and his nearest and dearest are pointing their guns at Hooten when his phone rings.  It is Alex (Ophelia Lovibond) calling to ask Hooten how long it will take him to get to Bhutan. Hooten puts her on speaker so Alfonso can hear their conversation as he wants the man to know that he can get his hands on the money owed.  Alex explains that she has a lead on the long-lost ancient scroll that is rumored to have been written by Buddha himself and is priceless.  Hooten convinces Alfonso that he can go find this valuable scroll and line up a buyer and have enough money to pay Alfonso twice of what he owes him.

Alex has to hang up on Hooten when Edward (Jonathan Bailey), the man to who Alex is to be married, arrives.  He is understanding when she tells him about her latest expedition to Bhutan. The next day at the Celephu Airport in Bhutan, Himalayas, Alex picks up Hooten along with a mute guy named Hidalgo (Antonio de la Cruz), who Hooten says is with him because Hidalgo always wanted to see Bhutan (There’s more to it then Hooten is letting on, but Hidalgo’s purpose in joining the Bhutan expedition will be revealed).  But Hidalgo has to get out of the jeep briefly when nature calls. “I was brought up to wash my hands after going to the lavatory,” ever the lady Alex says. “I was brought up not to pee on my hands,” ever the gentleman Hooten responses.  They arrive at a village where Alex is greeted by Penny (Joann Scanlan), her contact in Bhutan.  Hooten reminds Hidalgo, who actually works for Alfonso, that once they find the scroll he’s to get a buyer and pay off Alfonso so there’s “no shootee Hootee.” Penny takes Alex and Hooten inside a house to talk with an elderly woman named Kapila (Vanessa Cooke), who was engaged to be married when she was fifteen years old to a boy named Ajay who found a parchment that was to lead him to the scroll. Sadly, Kapila’s love never returned home.  But the old woman believes that once the scroll is found, it will help get her to nirvana to be reunited with Ajay.  She realizes that Hooten lost someone too, but tells him that once you have felt love it never dies. “You want to see the parchment? Drink the tea and I will show you,” Kamila tells Hooten. I think Hooten has to learn not to drink tea that he’s offered even if it comes from seemingly kind old ladies for Penny tells Alex and Hooten that Kapila has made sure that Hooten will be coming back, “She’s poisoned his tea.”  Penny explains to Alex and Hooten that Kapila poisoned him as a way to get him to do her bidding so he’ll have to come back with the scroll in order to get the antidote. Since Kapila’s love felt that he could go get the scroll the eve before their wedding and get back in time, the mountain where the scroll is must be less than a day away. But a storm is approaching.

Since she contacted her and let her know what is going on, Ella (Jessica Haynes) calls Alex and tells her to keep them updated on Mr. Hooten’s symptoms. But after she hangs up the phone with Alex, Ella tells Clive (Shaun Parkes) that once the poison kicks in Mr. Hooten is likely to die before they can discover the poison used, much less make an antidote.

Meanwhile, before they can get to the mountain where the scroll is located, Alex, Hooten and Hidalgo must cross a rickety bridge. Alex goes first and has a hairy moment when she almost falls but makes it across.  Hooten reminds Hidalgo if he (Hooten) doesn’t return with the scroll, they both will be in trouble as Alfonso has a fondness for firing squads. But when Hooten attempts to go across the bridge, he faces the difficulty of double vision, another symptom of the poison.  Luckily, he and Hidalgo make it across. In a cave, Hooten has developed a high fever and is shivering. Ella calls Alex back and tells her that most poisons were used by monks from plants and put on arrowheads. Ella assures Alex that they won’t let Mr. Hooten die. Thankfully, they find the scroll and Alex is able to translate it. The temple is less than a mile from the mountain.  Hooten has a close call when he almost falls off the mountain. Oh, and also he’s gone temporary blind.  They’ve found the temple, but also face another problem as the door to the temple has no handle.  Hooten asks Alex to point him to a monkey figure because you know all temple doors have some sort of monkey figure. Then, Hooten head butts the monkey and the temple door opens! “That was centuries old. How did you know to do that,” asks Alex. “You don’t even know the old head butt the monkey temple trick? And you call yourself an expert,” says Hooten.

Even though they are inside the temple, it could be booby-trapped.  And the booby-trapped temple isn’t Alex and Hooten’s only problem, Hidalgo double crosses them and locks them inside the temple!  Alex finds Hooten’s I.O.U to Alfonso and realizes that he was planning to steal the scroll to pay his debt. Although she is furious, they have no time for that as Alex and Hooten must figure out a way to get out of the temple before they suffer the same fate as Ajay.  Hooten falls unconscious and starts calling out the name “Ben.”  Who is Ben and what significance does he hold for Hooten?  The usually snarky Hooten is showing weakness in the face of poison which giving viewers (and Alex) and chance to see another side of him.  Alex is able to figure out what type of poison was used.  Suddenly, Hooten falls unconscious and it looks like his heart has stopped.  Alex must perform CPR to save his life.

Hooten is revived. Now that it appears that Hooten is out of the woods, Alex reads the scroll “Love and eternity is nothing if we are alone. Together we shall live through death where each of us can reach nirvana only be showing love.”  Hooten tells Alex that Buddha’s message is to work together; that was why Ajay couldn’t escape the temple because he was alone. In unison, Alex and Hooten move the stones and the temple door opens.  They are freed! When they get to the bridge, Alex and Hooten look below and see that Hidalgo has fallen to his death.  Hooten calls it karma.  Alex questions Hooten about Ben and Hooten tells her that Ben was his son that he lost.

Back in the village, Alex tells Penny that she cured Hooten with Belladonna. Alex shows Penny the scroll and then they go to see Kapila.  Hooten tells Kapila that Ajay, her love, died holding the scroll in his hand. Kapila asks what the scroll means.  Hooten tells her that it means that she and Ajay will be together.  With that, Kapila dies. Penny tells Alex that the scroll will be displayed in their city after they loan it out to the British Museum.

As the episode closes, Alex returns home to Edward and they celebrate her find with beer. And in Boliva, Hooten has paid his debt and is playing cards with Alfonso.  He raises fifty grand and says to Alfonso, “You know I’m good for it.”

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