Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hunted: Ambassadors (1.5)

It's a strange complaint to suggest that there's almost too much story here, particularly when new series usually take a while to figure out the right ways to pace an arc. But Hunted is the kind of show desperately crying out for a moment of peace. Granted, you can understand why Frank Spotnitz would feel the need to burn through so much of his plot considering the season only consists of eight episodes, but there comes a point where things really ought to slow down a little. If we've learned anything from the past four episodes, it's that this show is at its best when things are a little quieter -- like the silent moments of relentless training in Mort, or that scene in Hourglass with Sam resting her head against the wall that I (appropriately?) went gaga over. While Hunted has slipped into a direction that is never exactly dull, it's so locked on full-speed drama right now that it's easy to get lost in the wilderness.

While Ambassadors at least pulls together the various plot threads at work, now all of them a lot more cohesive and related to one another than they first seemed, the show keeps intact its tendency to have characters bounce around through various adventures all at the same time. It's likely due to the cast being pretty small in number, so somebody like Sam has to be actively involved with chasing down leads with Aidan as well as staying undercover as Alex Kent and continue to be plagued with blurry flashbacks to her childhood. It's just a whole lot of story for one character to be saddled with, let alone an entire ensemble cast with their own separate subplots: Aidan being a mole, Aidan not actually being Aidan, Mr. Eko and his moral anguish, Other Guy undercover with Briefcase Guy, the Turner father/son tension, the various hitmen and side players on the periphery of things. God, just skimming the surface of all the plot strands there makes you realize how dense this show is. Blah.

We actually got some answers here, though, which made the bombardment easier to swallow. Hourglass is revealed to be an elaborate Illuminati-ish conspiracy project, involving various power players across the globe seeking to run the world like dastardly industrialists with unending amounts of money and political and economic supremacy. Sam is still in the dark as to why they want her dead, but at least she now knows that she's in deep poop. Speaking of poop, it also turned out that Eyeball Dude is a good guy determined to help Sam, only with the most gratuitously horrifying method of "helping people" seen in modern television. Seriously, guy? You can inject people in the arm, you know. Yeesh!

So this show continues to be unnecessarily complex while simultaneously dumb as all hell. It's goofy spy histrionics with this embarrassingly self-serious quality to it... but still strangely fun. I don't think I've seen anything in recent years that feels just as tossed together as it does methodically planned and structured. Frank Spotnitz clearly has a raft of ideas at his disposal, but has awkwardly thrown each of them into a blender and decided to play them all out at the exact same time, regardless of whether anybody can even follow it all. It's tricky, annoying and unintentionally comedic, yet continues to be more pleasurable than you'd imagine. B

Frank Spotnitz Director Alrick Riley

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