The opening murder in the new Showtime thriller We Hunt Together is a no-brainer. The victim, who is killed instantly by a knife thrust into the base of his skull, is a would-be rapist who had he survived the night, would have gotten Baba (Dipo Ola), a former child soldier waiting for British immigration officials to grant him asylum, deported back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It becomes more difficult to justify each consecutive murder.
This is one of the few ways in which We Hunt Together maintains its narrative momentum, which is regularly undermined by Gaby Hull’s habit of repeatedly pulling the rug out from under the audience until there is little reason to care about his characters or their destinies.
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The pulpy, overly-complicated six-part thriller (which aired earlier this summer in the UK on the Alibi channel) follows Baba’s star-crossed romance with Freddy (Hermione Corfield, a young woman who takes pleasure in her ability to make her new boyfriend do terrible things to men who have wronged her. Among them is their initial intended victim, whose attempted sexual assault on Freddy was foiled by Baba.
Lola’s reclusiveness is immediately triggered by her sunny disposition and legendary history in internal affairs and with good reason.
She has many secrets to conceal, especially from a cop prepared to inform other cops, even if Jackson’s unflappable ebullience makes him resemble a pair of brand-new, blindingly white sneakers that are secretly screaming to be soiled.
Their gradually thawing partnership, with each member first being a tad too condescending, is a natural, if uninspiring, counterpoint to the tumultuous collaboration of Baba and Freddy.
Unfortunately, most of We Hunt Together is devoted to the obstinately underwritten Baba and the lone potentially engaging Freddy. The latter is intended to be a haughty mastermind, but in practically every episode she commits errors that even a casual viewer of crime procedurals would know to avoid, such as letting the detectives interrogating her know that she believes herself to be brighter than they are.
Frequent flashbacks to Freddy’s teenage years (with Freya Durkan playing her younger self), when she was sent away by her parents after an unspecified tragedy, suggest there may be a righteous but morally compromised logic to her targets — a promise of thematic complexity undermined by another ostensibly shocking revelation. At least, unlike her co-stars, Corfield’s role is sufficiently layered for a memorable performance with multiple facets.
In comparison, Baba’s portrayal is a lurid letdown, with his suffering serving primarily as a justification for hallucinatory jump scares and a convenient efficiency in his and Freddy’s murders.
We Hunt Together does not attempt a nuanced portrayal of the rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers. But for a character seeking forgiveness for his previous misdeeds, he’s oddly eager to violate his morals or endanger his immigration status for a woman he’s just met, especially one as plainly unstable as Freddy.
Despite the best efforts of Corfield and Ola, as well as series director Carl Tibbetts’ gorgeously haunted London, Baba and Freddy’s neon-lit affair never quite gels, which makes the later episodes, in which their feelings for one another are ruthlessly revealed, especially agonizing.
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Tibbetts reliably extracts suspense from individual situations, but after only a few episodes, the tension between wanting these incompetent Bonnie and Clyde to be apprehended and set free had totally faded. The remaining shroud of apathy cannot be concealed by all the vivid pinks and purples in England.
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Is the show We Hunt Together worth watching?
“We Hunt Together” has nothing to say about love, death, or the over-reliance on both by these characters. Tibbetts consistently creates suspenseful sequences, but after only a few episodes, the tension between wanting this bumbling Bonnie and Clyde to be apprehended and set free had vanished entirely.
How many episodes are there in Season 2 of We Hunt Together?