Welcome to my review of the third episode of Hunted. Three episodes in and we're familiar with the formula of Hunted: 14 normal men and women given £450, told not to leave the UK and to obey the law are expected to hide from a crack team of government hunters for 28 days. We've seen teams already crash and burn cue Sandra Cooley and Elizabeth Varsy, teams that have lasted a little longer: the Singh brothers and fugitives that are still on the run e.g the brilliant Ricky Allen and the irritating Emily Dredge and Lauren English. Whether any of them will make it the whole 28 days still remains to be seen.
The episode begins by focusing on the star of the show and my favourite to win Ricky Allen who has been on the run for 12 days. In the last episode we saw Ricky's audacity when he lures the Hunters out to a remote bothy in the Scottish highlands and then spies on them from a distance. The Hunters are understandably ticked off by this and decided to ramp up the pressure by launching a social media campaign to find Ricky complete with wanted posters and a £250 reward. The idea of this is to make Ricky so paranoid that he panics and makes a silly mistake and this is what happens. Ricky decides to leave Scotland as he is no longer sure who he can trusts and he decides to head back down south by getting a train to London Euston. This is the first mistake we see him make and a very uncharacteristic one. We also see for the first time Ricky Allen looking completely defeated. He doesn't know who to trust or what to do next. Again though, I must question, why did he get on a train? Surely he must have known that the Hunters would see him on CCTV and be able to predict where he was getting a train to and this is exactly what happens. The Hunters see Ricky on station CCTV, predict what train he's going to get on and then they catch him at the other end. After 20 days, the best contestant, the people's favourite was caught by the Hunters. Throughout the episode, Ricky's friends were worried that he would be caught making a stupid mistakes as he was becoming too cocky, which is exactly what happens. Former undercover police officer Peter Bletchley who leads the Hunters speculates that Ricky Allen is too smart to make a decision like this. He let the paranoia get to him and it seemed almost like Ricky had surrendered himself to the Hunters. I agree with this. It was really like Ricky had given up. Even when the Hunters catch him at the end, Ricky makes little effort to escape, compared to one of the Singh brothers who runs a mile before the Hunters catch him. I guess this just shows that in this situation, nobody is infallible; everyone can make stupid mistakes under pressure just like Ricky Allen does.
Time on the Run: 20 days
Emily Dredge and Lauren English
The focus then return to these two best friends, who we find out at the episode's beginning, have been on the run for 12 days. However, cracks in their friendship are beginning to show. From the show's beginning, the pair have been suffering badly under the pressure and are constantly fighting with each other. This climaxes when Lauren who has been suffering from cabin fever spontaneously decides to leave Emily to attend a nearby fairground. When Emily offers to come with her, Lauren quickly shoots her down saying that she wants to spend some time alone. This irritates Emily, as she has been left behind in a caravan park worrying about the Hunters, whilst Lauren has made the stupid and irresponsible decision to visit a fairground. This is stupid, as within a fun, relaxed setting of a fairground, it is easy to let your guard down and become overconfident. Furthermore, Lauren also gets her face painted, which would make her conspicuous to any Hunters watching her. Luckily for her though the Hunters have had no leads on the pair for days. However, Emily doesn't know this and spooked that the Hunters are nearby decides to leave and completely abandon Lauren. Now, in Lauren's defence, I completely understand her frustration. If cooped up in one place too long, then I get insanely bored and need to get out, yet I still think Lauren was very reckless and selfish and it was in Emily's best interest to separate from her.
Whilst Emily returns to hitch-hiking, Lauren decides to blow some money on a taxi ride south to the Peak District and gets to articulate why she thinks things have been so tense between her and Emily. She argues that she felt very trapped with Emily. Lauren always felt that the two were on the verge of a fight, but she always back down, as she didn't think it was worth it. Yet as she says "there are only so many times you can give in. If you give in too often, it just makes yourself depressed."
Status: At large
Time on the Run: 12 days
Steven Hardiker and Martin Cole
This episode also introduced a new pair of fugitives, the very likeable Steven Hardiker, a plumber, and Martin Cole, an IT professional. Even though, the episode doesn't heavily focus on them, you see an immediate camaraderie between the pair which makes it obvious that they are best friends. When the two are leaving their homes Steven asks whether Martin has brought the whisky as well as his "gay hairband." This kind of ball-busting and banter makes the pair very likeable and entertaining to watch. And also unlike Lauren and Emily, they're not constantly arguing which increases their likeability. The pair are also smart. Martin is the first fugitive to think of taking his laptop with him, as he knows the Hunters are likely to use it to access his emails and social media. This shows good initiative. Their plan is to use Martin's father's car as a getaway car and then to disappear into the countryside. Beyond this we see little of the pair, but I like what I've seen so far.
Status: At large
Time on the run: 2 days
So this episode was a sad one for me due to how Ricky Allen was caught. However, it wasn't even the fact that he was caught that got me, it's how he was caught making such a silly mistake. This notwithstanding, the show does very well in showing how severely the pressures and paranoia of being in the run can mess with a person's mind. Whilst, we saw little of Steven Hardiker and Martin Cole, I like what I've seen so far and I hope to see more of them in the future. My one criticism of this episode once again focuses on Emily Dredge and Lauren English. Assuming the pair only had one camera operator documenting their progress to begin with, when Lauren left Emily to go to the fairground and when Emily abandoned Lauren, this means that Channel 4 would have had to track down Lauren to find out where to send ANOTHER camera operator. If Channel 4 can find Lauren that easily then surely the Hunters can too. Once again this questions how authentic and genuine this show really is. If Lauren and Emily really were so well hidden then how was Channel 4 able to find them and the Hunters were not?
Top 3 tips for going on the run
1. Take all electronic devices with you. This includes phones and laptops. The Hunters have been able to locate Ricky Allen and the Singh brothers through acquiring their electronics. They've also been able to use social media to research into Lauren and Emily's past.
2. Have a bag already packed with all your essentials, so that you can leave a moment's notice. The fugitives are told an hour in advance that the Hunters are on their tails, but they squander this hour by frantically looking around for anything they've forgotten. You have to be ready to leave from the word "go."
3. Do not submit to the pressure. What catches Ricky Allen out and what spooks Emily is they panic under the paranoia and make silly mistakes. Keep a level head, cover your tracks and watch your back. DON'T PANIC.
Sadly, Ricky Allen was caught in this episode but Emily Dredge, Lauren English, Steven Hardiker, Martin Cole and five other fugitives are still on the run. With the Hunters slowly catching the fugitives, will any of them make it to 28 days?