The second and final season of Hunters premieres January 13 on Prime Video.
By Elazar Abrahams
A shot of an old, grizzled Hitler soundtracked to Måneskin’s rock-heavy Beggin’, an expletive-laden and blood-soaked take on the Sound of Music, and a Yiddish cover of Kelis’ Milkshake is just some of the insanity showcased in the first two episodes of Hunters’ second season. The final hours of the Nazi hunting action-drama, which aired back in February 2020, only get crazier from there.
I was a big fan of Hunters’ first go around, which was misunderstood by the general public, but was worthy of appreciation as a Jewish fever dream. A fantasy of Holocaust survivors and their children taking justice into their own hands and showing no mercy to the heinous criminals that massacred their people was right up my alley. Star Logan Lerman held his own among a strong ensemble that included Al Pacino, Carol Kane, and Josh Radnor. The show also exposed the partially-true idea of Nazis laying dormant across the United States, infiltrating our government at the highest level (Google “Operation Paperclip”). The finale ended with a startling reveal; Adolf Hitler was still alive, biding his time in a hideaway in South America.
While I’m certainly glad the show has gotten a chance to conclude on its own terms, this eight episode wrap up is kind of a dud. Several key changes hinder Hunters from hitting its pre-pandemic highs. Firstly, because of a major twist last season where Pacino’s Meyer Offerman’s true identity was revealed, he is completely separated from the rest of the cast and it’s baffling that he appears in this season at all. Without spoiling that storyline, it all feels unnecessary and just an excuse to keep a huge star on the poster.
The premiere opens with the heroes disbanded, which also means that the show has moved away from the ensemble format that made for such great TV. Lerman was also the main character, but he benefited from the rest of the ragtag group that gave him a sense of purpose. Lower billed cast members, like the aforementioned Kane and Radnor, have absolutely nothing to do here, and that’s quite disappointing. Additionally, what made the first season so fun was its episodic format, which focused on different Nazis each episode while still propelling the story forward. Now, the series is about one singular big bad, and while Hitler is definitely one of the biggest bads in history, the hunt for him doesn’t imbue the show with the sense of urgency that it attempts. Also, swapping the USA focused setting for remote and sparsely populated European and South American locales does the filmmaking no favors.
The first half of the season is a slog, as the group reunites and tracks down Adolf. The last couple of episodes are more gripping but still disappoint. The show really loses its way and it all culminates in one of the most bizarre alternative history series finales ever committed to screen. I’ve sat with the final episode for over a week and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. All I can say is, “what the hell?”
I give Hunters Season 2 a C.