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Hunters - Season One - Review: A Tale Of Light And Darkness

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Disclaimer: Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpoilerTV.

Warning: As this is a review of the entire season, there are spoilers ahead.

"Only the dead know the end of war."

Amazon's Hunters has a very particular style which is why it's probably not for everyone, but if you are a lover of the hilariously satirical, mixed with brilliant writing, and perhaps a little of an Ocean's Eleven feel, then this might just be for you. At first, the Tarantino comparison is inevitable, not just because of the tone, style, and some of the dialogue, but because it's hard not to think about Inglorious Basterds when you see this kind of revenge fantasy. But Hunters is so much more than that, not better, there's a place for everything, but definitely something worth watching, and perhaps even re-watching.

Through the course of this season, they managed to seamlessly incorporate so much that it can be hard to pick a favorite aspect. The Hunt itself, the characters, and the small fourth-wall-breaking moments are definitely fun, the moral dilemmas and the dialogue mesmerizing. But two things stood up the most, the battle between light and dark, which is not a novelty but something that is very profoundly inserted; and the idea of how many small life stories can be hidden in this horrific part of history.

"If [] we compromise our morals, what makes us us, then we choose to eradicate ourselves. We will cease to be Jewish."

Yes, this is fiction, but the most important foundation is true: the torture, the pain, the generational trauma, the opportunism, the secrecy. Maybe there's a reason there are not many more stories even though it's such fertile ground. The same way the hidden treasure the hunters found represented so many stories, and lives lost, so much pain, there's a story in every refugee, and those are a lot of stories, many of them perhaps untold because relieving it can be too much for most, even when they were strong enough to survive it.

Perhaps it's easier to explore the various possibilities in dystopian futures, but it's harder when the damage is real and is never truly over. Perhaps there's some guilt in it. There's a reason why it's been an eternal source of controversies in the scientific world, and whether you believe ignoring the pain these men caused is worth the moon landing or not, you can't ignore there's nothing straight forward about that debate. That's probably another reason why most shy away from telling these stories, sometimes it's just too much to process. But, somehow, Hunters makes it bearable, and not just that but something that shouldn't be glossed over.

"The Talmud is wrong. Living well is not the best revenge. You know what the best revenge is? Revenge."

The debate over the morality of it all is shown many times, but barely any as enthralling as the conversation between Pacino and John Noble (Swiss banker Frederic Hauser) when they talk about fortunes and how much their provenance matters. Houser ends up killing himself before getting caught up in this war, which, in all honesty, seems like the epitome of "being Switzerland". But the scene between these two was definitely an epic tete-a-tete between two powerhouses, and that's undeniable, even if Noble doesn't have the same recognition Pacino does. There's such a tension behind every single word even though they couldn't be calmer, just mesmerizing.

"There’s not a dollar on this earth that doesn’t have a little dirt on it."
"There’s a difference between dirt and blood."
"Not if you clean it well enough."
"Blood always leaves a stain, my friend, whether you can see it or not."

But this is also tied to one of the biggest disappointments given that everything changes color after the final reveal about Pacino's character. What Meyer had to offer as a character felt so much more valuable than the twist they chose to go with, the shock might not be worth that loss. And no matter how great Pacino is, there was not enough guilt in his tale for it to make sense. And that's the only thing that could've saved it. Only true gut-felt guilt could believably lead to this penance and that's not what was shown, not properly at least.

The whole story of Meyer and Ruth meant so much, and it was such a great example fo the cruelty in the camps. Aside from the torture itself, there were so many small humiliations, the very fact that it was Meyer himself the one who tattoed her, giving her a number to be marked for life is just so subtle and so debilitating at the same time. And the idea that choosing her life over eleven innocent men was what ultimately meant losing each other was strong enough without The Wolf literally stealing Meyer and his identity from her.

"I became the night so that the day could live."

Two of the highlights of the season were definitely the wedding of Murray and Mindy's daughter, and Murray's funeral with its aftermath. There was so much light there, so much resilience, form the loss of their son to the wedding of their daughter, and the final act of heroism by Murray. Not to mention the last conversations Mindy had with her husband after his death. Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane were just amazing, often heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

"Even as we remember the darkness, we celebrate the light."

Though there are so many great characters, Jonah is definitely the one who sets the tone, he's a comic book fan struggling with his previously formed ideas of right and wrong trying to grapple with this whole new world his grandmother had managed to hide him from. Over the course of the season, he struggles with doing things through the proper channels as Pacino's character constantly steers him into vigilantism, making sure he knows justice has never been on par with the evils of this world, which is why comic book heroes can't be a guiding light for him here since they don't live in the real world.

"Heroes made of ink, not blood."

Time and time again real justice has been pushed aside for some other purpose, sometimes for scientific advancement, sometimes to protect democratic stability, but when this amount of hate takes over, the world has often looked the other way feeling it was necessary to stop entire countries from falling into chaos because, whether we like it or not, the people who engage in that hate are also a part of society and would never go down without a bloodbath taking place.

Even Agent Millie Morris struggles with this since she ends up compromising her initially black and white notions to fight the corruption that's a part of the system. That's when she ends up joining the hunters on their investigation to save the world, at least before she's officially offered to actually go through the channels the government has in place, even if they're secret as well.

"It isn’t that the good guys always have to choose to do the right thing, it’s that choosing to do the right thing makes them the good guys."

Someone who definitely doesn't struggle with any of this is Travis, and this is where Hunters shines as entertainment, no matter what he represents, Travis is just such a great villain. His convictions, his small sometimes hilarious rants, his absolute disgust for anything that's different from him. That scene on the plane where he talks to the kid next to him who's allergic to peanuts about the survival of the fittest and tells him maybe he's the disease, one of the weak spots of humanity, and the peanuts are the cure, simply hilarious.

Another very entertaining member of the club is Biff Simpson, the perfect depiction of a Nazi Frank Underwood. Dylan Baker is just so great, the fact that he's treated like a nuisance makes him a little less relevant, but it does add some levity. Even on the opening scene where he kills his entire family, it's inevitable to be anything but enthralled by the whole thing. The funny Villain is something Baker is an expert at creating, and if there was a second season, he would most hopefully get a little bit more of a spotlight.

"You didn't survive. You marinated."

The big bad here is Colonel Eva Brown, Hitler's wife herself, who's trying to carry his plans in America to bring about the Fourth Reich by mixing a bioweapon in corn syrup that would be marketed to minorities to eliminate anyone who doesn't fit with their purity model. By the end of the season, she moves to Argentina (of course) to meet with her husband and regroup after the hunters manage to stop her for the time being.

But the real monster here is the movement, the idea of a secret society of psychopaths coordinating, planning genocide and hiding in plain sight should send chills down anyone's spine. And though there are many moments that were clearly hinting at current events, not many were as eerie and Travis chanting "Jews will not replace us" in jail where he's recruiting his new army, in a clear reference to Charlottesville.

"When you don't separate the whites from the colors, the colors always bleed."

A couple more things have been set up to be continued on a second season, how Jonah will manage to lead the Hunters, or Jewvengers, as Lonny would say, how that enterprise will either clash or join Agent Morris' new task force, and the question of where Sister Harriet's (Or Rebekah) loyalty lies, her story is very interesting but at the moment very vague, the whole thing with the orphanage trying (maybe succeeding) to strip her from her heritage is something that's very much up in the air and has a lot to explore.

Another thing left quite unexplored is Roxy, Tiffany Boone is definitely wonderful, but most of her story seems like it's on the background here, there was some interest in showing the juxtaposition with racism in America, but it was left as a small commentary. Even Joe got a little bit more on his PTSD and Lonny, got to shine in many, many, scenes, amazing work by Josh Radnor, by the way. Most of the puns were pretty well executed and created some laugh out loud moments, not only, Lonny referring to the Hunters as Jewperheroes and Travis referring to Jewish security as Kosher Nostra.

"A vessel to guard from extinction today's endangered species: Memory, truth."

What did you think about Hunters? Hoping for a Season Two? I look forward to your comments.

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