We Hunt Together pits cops and killers against each other in a cat-and-mouse game defined by its unusual pairings, and there’s plenty of potential in that premise.
This recap of We Hunt Together season 1, episode 1, contains spoilers.
After originally airing on Alibi, a pretty low-key channel in the UK where it was presumably underseen by the masses, We Hunt Together makes for a compelling fit on Showtime. The six-episode series has an intriguing premise: The title is taken from the central relationship between Freddy (Hermione Corfield), an obviously disturbed young woman who works at the headset end of one of those sex lines and harbors some dark, traumatic secrets, and Baba (Dipo Ola), a former child soldier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who’s working in a nightclub and living with a pleasant white family while waiting to be officially granted asylum. They meet when Baba intervenes in an attempted assault on Freddy by the man who becomes their first victim, ending up stark naked, face-down, bound and ball-gagged with a knife in the base of his skull.
So, that’s the hook. We Hunt Together episode 1 takes its time in bringing these characters together but has them neatly off someone in the very first episode, so it’s clear that the manipulative Freddy has latched onto the idea that she can make her new fella do heinous things to men who annoy her. Their first victim, though, is very deserving of his fate, so it’ll be interesting to see if that kind of vigilantism angle is pursued throughout.
Either way, Baba proves to be an interesting presence in how his traumatic experiences put a darker spin on what would usually be a meet-cute – him shooting fairground targets to win a teddy bear brings back memories of a chattering head impaled on a spike. And his facility for killing gives his exploits with Freddy an eerie efficiency that should make them both prolific and difficult to catch – which is where the show’s other, parallel narrative comes into play.
Here, newly-paired detectives Lola (Eve Myles) and Jackson (Babou Ceesay) set about solving the mystery and provide a compelling dynamic of their own. Their initially frosty relationship is done to death, but the enigmatic Lola makes for a stark contrast with the obviously intelligent but also oddly dopey and chirpy Jackson, whose background isn’t in homicide but in anti-corruption internal affairs. Seeing Ceesay embody this role after his badass martial arts preacher turn in Into the Badlands is quite a shift, and it took a while for me to stop envisioning him in the Baba role, where it seems his preferred mode would make him a better fit.
Since We Hunt Together season 1, episode 1 has some functional business to attend to in introducing these rivalrous partnerships, it doesn’t have much time to delve into the characters beyond a surface-level summary, which doesn’t grab an audience as strongly as it might have. Baba and Freddy’s relationship plays out as a little fast-moving for the same reason; the show is obviously keen to get them into murderous position, and it skips some potentially important reasoning to get there, including why Baba is so willing to risk his immigration status so quickly – then again, when he initially thwarts Freddy’s sexual assault, he’s clearly about to kill her attacker then and there, so perhaps murder is baked into his DNA at this point.
With that kind of depiction, it seems pretty obvious that We Hunt Together isn’t intending to really try and psychoanalyze a child soldier, which is perhaps just as well since it seems like the show would be biting off more than it could chew in the attempt. Baba’s trauma is, though, treated with a kind of lazy hallucinatory shorthand that I hope the show quickly moves away from. I could also do without so much of the gaudy neon-drenched aesthetic, though I suppose that’s a personal quibble.
Either way, the compelling setup, and game performances should attract some fresh eyeballs to We Hunt Together, and it’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from this intriguing opener.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.