Hunters Premiere Recap: Springtime for You-Know-Who — Grade It!


“You look as if you’ve seen a ghost!” Meyer Offerman says directly to the camera at one point in Hunters’ Season 2 premiere. And at first, it feels like we have. After all, Meyer, played by Al Pacino, was killed in the Season 1 finale after we learned that the avuncular Nazi-hunter was actually an SS surgeon known as The Wolf.

So what’s with the very alive-and-well Meyer? Prime Video drama’s sophomore — and final — run unfolds in two timelines: the late 1970s, in which Logan Lerman’s Jonah is living in Paris, having offed Meyer and trying to finish off Hitler’s contemporaries while attempting a normal life; and roughly two years before Meyer’s death, in which the duplicitous, elderly avenger becomes aware that his secret is no longer safe.

In Episode 1, Logan’s half of the action is more exciting. He becomes privy to information the audience had by the end of the Season 1 finale: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun did not die by suicide in 1945, but instead are hiding out in warmer climes — with Joe!

Read on for the highlights of “Van Glooten’s Day 1972 Butter Sculptor of the Year.”

SMOOTH LIKE BUTTER | We open in Austria, in 1972, on a holiday called Van Glooten’s Day. As a butter sculptor works in the town square, a woman (played by Atypical’s Jennifer Jason Leigh) enters a candy shop and starts questioning the man who works there. Their chat begins politely but pretty soon she’s inquiring about all of the Jews who used to live in the town in the early 1940s but then disappeared. When she pulls out a knife and threatens him, he admits that the town’s Jewish citizens were rounded up and put on railcars headed to concentration camps, and that the shop he runs used to belong to a Jewish family.

Just when he thinks he’s out of danger, the shopkeeper shakes the woman’s hand and notices a tattoo of a number on her forearm. “I’m here because of a ghost that passed through this town at war’s end… Hitler’s trail leads here, friend,” she says, locking the door as the man’s terror rises. She demands to know where the despot was headed, and the shopkeeper gives her some information.

Having gotten what she came for, the woman cuts out his eyes and stuffs them into one of the prize-winning butter sculptures as she walks through the town, a German cover of Kelis’ “Milkshake” bumping on the soundtrack.

THE WOLF, CORNERED | Let’s handle Meyer next. In 1975, he holds court in a restaurant, chatting with six or so other men, but looks up when another man enters the establishment. The new man’s arrival disconcerts Meyer. After he sees the stranger again another time, Meyer summons his rabbi for some spiritual counseling; the holy man says that Meyer just has survivor’s guilt, and that he should view survival as a blessing. While they visit, however, someone leaves an envelope addressed to Meyer on his secretary’s desk: “Hello Wilhelm,” it reads.

Wilhelm Zuchs, of course, was The Wolf’s given name, aka Meyer’s real name, and he’s freaked out. He skedaddles home, reviewing a list all of the people who are, or could be, aware of his secret. Jonah’s grandmother, Ruth, is on there, as is Wilhelm’s sister, Gertrude. He calls the latter when he arrives at home, pretending to be from the government census board. But she says Wilhelm died 35 years ago, and that’s that.

The next night, Meyer realizes the man from the restaurant is following him. But he’s doing so sloppily, and it’s not long before Meyer turns around and genially invites the surprised stalker to get a drink with him. Turns out, the mysterious follower is a destitute fellow former SS officer who’s involved in a blackmail plan orchestrated by someone else. Meyer pretends to understand and promises to help him get back on his feet… then stabs him in the neck in an alley and leaves his body behind.

MILLIE’S BREAKING POINT | Also in 1975, FBI agent Millie has been hunting down Nazis for two years, “and it has consumed me,” she tells a priest in confession. When she adds that her work obsession led to a break-up with her girlfriend, the priest starts to go in on the sin of her homosexuality. But she stops him, saying she’s there for his sins, not hers: He collaborated with Nazis in Lithuania during World War II, and she’s there to arrest him.

It seems like a victory, until the priest’s pre-trial hearing takes place. Despite witnesses who testify to his killing a baby and helping Nazis round up Jews, the judge says Millie can’t prove that the priest — who has since changed his name — is the man accused of the decades-old crimes. He is set free.

The perversion of justice hits Millie hard. She calls Jonah’s grandmother’s house and rambles into the answering machine, asking Jonah if he’s still doing what he does. Later, she breaks into the rectory and tries to get him to confess his crimes while she records the conversation. But he won’t, so she pulls her gun and winds up shooting him in the chest. She immediately starts to cry, then rushes home and is in the process of destroying evidence when there’s a knock at her door: It’s Jonah. “You called?” he asks.

ONE LAST JOB | Prior to that, though, we get an update on Ruth’s grandson and what he’s been up to since last we saw him. In 1979, a long-haired Jonah is a grad student in Paris. He’s engaged to a British woman who’s also a student, and they appear to truly be in love. But she’s unaware that he is still deeply involved in hunting escaped members of the Third Reich. To that end, he spends many nights at a Parisian brothel, waiting for someone. That someone eventually shows up, and it’s Biff Simpson.

Jonah sneaks into the room while Biff is having loud, angry sex with one of the brothel’s workers. As the scared woman scurries from the room, Jonah has Biff handcuff himself with zip ties. Biff taunts Jonah about the hunters, who are no longer working together. “Was it because of what happened in Spain? I heard about what you did,” he goads. Jonah ignores him, saying that he’s been waiting for Biff for a year, and he’s going to give up Nazi-hunting for good after he’s done with him. But Biff offers a different scenario: If Jonah lets him live, he’ll lead him to “the greatest prize you could imagine: Adolf Hitler.”

Jonah scoffs, citing Hitler’s well-publicized death near the end of World War II. Biff mocks him for believing everything he hears. Then he points out that Jonah saw The Colonel, aka Eva Braun, but didn’t realize it was Hitler’s also-presumed-dead wife. “What, you didn’t think they’d have an escape plan?” Biff says. He mentions a place — Valle de los Sueños — and says he’ll take him there. But then a woman enters the room and Biff uses the distraction to try to get a jump on Jonah; Jonah shoots him, killing him, in the process. On the way out the door, Jonah slips the house’s madam and bodyguard some money, muttering, “I was never here.”

Back at the apartment, Jonah has a nightmare but doesn’t tell his fianceé what’s bothering him. He says he has a research trip to Israel for a few weeks, to finish his thesis. When she presses him, asking why he screamed “Meyer!” in his sleep, he says he doesn’t know a meyer. And that’s not technically a lie…

OH NO, JOE! | Meanwhile, somewhere else, we watch a man shave: It’s Hitler. Later, Eva is waiting for him at the dinner table. Joe enters the room with a knife… but then uses it to cut Adolf’s meat for him. He calls Hitler “my Fuhrer,” then accepts Hitler’s invitation to sit at the table and dine with them.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the Season 2 premiere? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

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