Hunted finale review: Snow Maiden

Review Louisa Mellor 23 Nov 2012 - 11:54

Hunted's final episode has aired on the BBC, before its return as a Cinemax spin-off...

This review contains spoilers

1.8 Snow Maiden

“How does it end?” young Eddie asked last week, and now we know - well, the little that Hunted’s writers were willing to tell us, anyway.

The series finale provided few of the answers we were waiting for (what it is that Sam experienced at that Oast House; the identity of the Polyhedrus MILF and the short-fingered man; Aidan’s real name; whose side the fake Dr Goebel is really on…) and plenty we weren’t (Rafi-the-Rabbit-killer Tyrone is Turner’s illegitimate son; Stephen’s wife was poisoned and drowned; Polyhedrus was behind the mutilation and murder of Turner’s eldest; Sam and Aidan’s baby daughter is alive and well and continuing the family tradition of wearing knitted headgear…).

There, in a nutshell, is the reason so many UK viewers became quickly frustrated with Hunted. Leaving aside gripes about caricature, dialogue, or Hunter’s almost superhuman fisticuff abilities, it’s now clear that Hunted’s first series was designed as an eight-hour set-up for an even longer story, and frankly, who has the time? Or to rephrase: who has the time when there’s more rewarding, slightly less bonkers viewing to be had elsewhere?

Not that I wasn’t a fan of Hunted’s bonkers-ness. The rabbit, the blow-dart, the 600 dead villagers and the worldwide water conspiracy, the priest, the brain tumour, Frank Turner wearing a hat this week for the express reason that it be blown off in an explosion, blank-faced men, scar-faced men, men with bits missing from their finger… It was a cornucopia of expensive-looking battiness, and as such, deserves a tip of the (woolly) cap.

Episode seven had left us with Hunter being served the most suspiciously prepared cup of tea since Lucrezia Borgia asked ‘Shall I be mother?’. Our super-paranoid spook was uncharacteristically accepting of Turner’s beverages, and a few drops of unspecified poison later, she was about to go the way of Stephen’s wife.

(At this point it behoves us to do a quick recce of exactly who does and doesn’t want Sam dead. On the ‘Wants to kill her’ list are: Frank Turner, Hector Stokes and Polyhedrus; on the ‘Wants to save her’ list are: Aidan, Stephen, and - for the time-being anyway – the fake Dr Goebel. On the ‘We’re supposed to think they want to kill her but seeing as the most likely scenario is that they’re Sam’s not-dead mother they probably don’t’ list is the Polyhedrus MILF, and somewhere in between is Keele, to whom Sam’s life is worth less than a tube of dirt, even if she is His Best Operative™.)

Exposition came from all quarters this week, some from a self-harming teen, some from Mr Turner himself, and plenty from the Byzantium lot; “The moment she saved that boy’s life, she sentenced herself to death” said Deacon, grimly. “I thought Sam had ice in her veins, like in that kids' book they keep drawing tedious parallels with” said Fowkes, metaphorically. Unwittingly, Zoe came up with a great notion for the planned Cinemax spin-off, with the line to Fowkes, “Next time, why don’t you strap on a bra and try being Sam”. A cross-dressing ex-special services cockney spy with Daddy issues taking on the shadowy corporations trying to control Asia’s water supply? The BBC may not want any more Hunted, but if HBO’s reading, I think that's something people might watch...

Essentially, Snow Maiden brought us full circle, resetting Sam Hunter for the next level in her investigations into Polyhedrus, one of the five corporations that run Hunted’s paranoid, cynical world. Armed with her finally-recovered childhood memory, whatever that is (any takers for her having overheard Polyhedrus planning the Chernobyl disaster?), Hunter’s back climbing Scottish mountains in her hat, this time with Aidan’s baby in tow.

Hunter’s third and fourth fake deaths (in the bath and on the bridge) made for a suitably dramatic and exhilarating climax, but still felt oddly empty. Her bath trick and Deacon’s fake sniper attack were both call-backs to episode one, and superficially satisfying as they were, the question marks start flying on closer inspection. Picking apart the contrivances in the heightened, unrealistic world of a spy show is a fool’s errand, but ultimately, Sam’s earlier bathtub training being so conveniently used up felt more of a gimmick than narrative neatness.

And so it's over, on the BBC at least. That closing shot - Hunter's fourth-wall breaking look to camera - was like so much of the show that had gone before it: handsome and audacious yes, but also impenetrable, inexplicable, and more than a bit nutty.  

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Loved the kick ass action and the way they lost the plot with the plot but the real mystery for me is where on earth Sam's normal accent is supposed to come from... Scottish? Irish? English? all three?

Nice review. Never has 8 hours of drama left so many loose ends untied. With so many contrivances in the plot line you would think they could contrive a satisfactory ending and still offer an incentive to watch the next batch. At least The Killing had the decency to close off the first 20 hours before rolling out the next 10...

Loved all of it, including the loose ends and the roving plot. To me, it was never about the enduring strength of the human spirit or any labyrinthine conspiracy. No, it was just good escapism: simply entertainment at 'the adventure story' level

Thank god that is over! I wasted 8 hours of my life wishing and hoping it would become good. But it didn't. Watching the last episode - I spent the last five minutes frantically looking at my watch thinking how are they going to wrap this is up in five minutes..easy...they didn't bother. What an absolutely bonkers ending.

Its such a shame - the topic was interesting, the cast were good, the effects and technical stuff were good but the story was absolute arse gravy.

I have to ask when in the movie did we see Aidan's real name???
Can please someone tell me when??Or at least the name??

Felt totally cheated by the end! What the hell was it all about then?????

They are doing a spin-off like a season two or something but not on BBC

I think id rather roll in a freshly shat steaming dog poo than watch anymore of this crap.

I was enjoying it quite a bit. It provided a puzzle and while it was totally unrealistic, I didn't start watch watching the show hoping for realism. But then that ending, it just ruined every redeeming quality the show had. It was like I'd spent 8 weeks piecing together a jigsaw with like a 1000 pieces and then just as I'd put together more than half of them I find out at least a 100 pieces were missing. It made the whole process of watching and slowly getting into the show, pointless. The whole point of such an unrealistic show is that you can tie the ends together in anyway you choose because the kind of audience who've given a show like it a chance, people like me, will accept the ending no matter how ridiculous the ending was.

8 weeks after the first episode, I will like the only thing I've learnt about many of the characters were their names and with some I don't even know that. I'm starting to think that even the people who wrote the show don't know more than we do. It's like they were asking us the questions because they don't know the answer. I mean as the show began they put forward a number of questions and now the show has ended, especially as far as the BBC is concerned, but we have answers to none of them.

What's really annoying is that this show had so much potential to be a brilliant show and they completely made a mess of it, especially near the end. I mean there's keeping the audience guessing and then there's irritating everyone with a ton of questions they didn't intend to answer. I wonder how many seasons they planned on dragging this on for. Well now the show's over possibly for good and I'm left pretty much twitching in annoyance. Rant over.

This series was easily the best in this genre in which the BBC have had any involvement for years. It was utterly brilliant, original, world class. I deeply resent and despise the BBC for having dropped the series, and every contemptible swine on whom this pearl was wasted.

The thing that bothered me was that they kept referring to Sam as "our best agent" yet she has, on multiple occasions, been shot, stabbed, knocked out and poisoned - and her cover was discovered by Turner rather easily. I'd hate to hire one of their worst agents.

Also - the final showdown with Turner was, after 6 weeks of building tension, over a little too quick.

Other than that I enjoyed it.

Thank god it's over, I hoped and prayed it would pick up. I hoped that I would start to care about Sam and the others, but I just didn't. Pretty pointless story and a glacialy slow.
Could have been done a lot better and wrapped up in 4 episodes.

I feel soo very much let down by the ending... I have been hooked by this show from the beginning, and it seem to promise an excellent plot, but the last episode delivered confusion and left me bewildered and frustrated by it's lack of tying up all the 'now', non-caring, inconsequential pieces!

I enjoyed the show, but the ending on the bridge was exact copy of the series "XIII" (really great and nutty conspiracy series), the only difference being that "Hunted" made it clear that main character survived. Considering how bothered people are now with the ending, I can only imagine how pissed everybody would have been if it just ended on the bridge.

I actually didn't mind the questions not being answered, probably because I didn't really expect all of them to be answered in the first place.

Thank God it's over? 8 hours of your life wasted? You have to laugh. Who exactly was forcing you to watch the whole series if you thought it was so crap?

Ahhh, what to say? I guess nothing....A very strange show.

The acting was solid, had some good scenes and shot well, bad guys were bad and the good guys were sometimes bad, so why do I feel so let down? I guess it was the absurd story and the complete lack of any credibility. If the real world worked like this I would go into hiding and yell, Game Over!(ala Aliens).

Curious to see how the spin off works and what Cinemax can do with it....dammit, I guess that means Ive been suckered to watch some more? Oh Well

I don't understand is Sam alive ? It was confusing

the ending really got me. it didnt answer any of my questions, but the wild hilly beauty where her cottage was just took my breath away. I wonder if thats where sam will stay with the baby. or was she dead and did she see this vision when she died. if the series is returning will melissa george (resurrected somehow) and the others be in it....? Listen I loved watching it and will watch it again..

Had me enthralled ! gripping ! fast moving ! great action and tension !.................................................and then the last episode !!!!!!! How lazy was the writing utter crap and a total let down !.....It may as well have finished "and then I woke up !"

I disagree with your interpretation. Sam's dead. She met her baby in "heaven". What's the point of faking a sniper attack from a concealed vantage point so far away? If they're trying to convince someone she's been shot, and no one sees the shooter, why is he there? I think that was their way of ending the show. Trying to convince us that the baby lived through Sam's first shooting would be just stupid. If there are spinoffs, they would have to be prequels to have any credibility at all. They could certainly answer the questions you raise in prequels. I agree with your disappointment, though. The series sparkled at times, and was completely non-credible at others. I would have preferred a different ending, but at least it was an ending.

Louisa - totally agree with you & a most disappointing finale. Who'd waste any more of their time on this, i want a refund already!

Hear hear! arse gravy... delightful description (accurate too)

I loved the show!
True, some of the things this show featured were a bit unrealistic, but just realistic enough to make you believe it is possible. The main characters were well-built, the casting was great, and I kept waiting for the next episode.

Also, the last episode was'nt meant to provide answers to all of the questions asked in the show. They planned more seasons, and the fact that BBC dropped the show didn't stop cinemax from giving us the answers we want in a spinoff.

One thing I don't get though, is Sam's final near-death experience. How is that NEAR-death? She was shot to the chest and fell quite a long way, people don't survive such things. I hate it when shows do that! Explenation please?

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