Now that you’ve (hopefully) finished Hunters, and absorbed the diabolically absurd (yet also hugely telegraphed) twist involving Al Pacino’s Meyer Offerman, it’s time to dig into what exactly happened and how the story sets things up for a possible second season.
In our review of Hunters, it’s noted that the show bounces back and forth, rather freely, between awesome and outlandish – between grounded and goofy. The hard left turn in the Season 1 finale, titled “Eilu v’ Eilu,” is sort of a glorious representation of that tonal clash in that it makes sense (and is easy to predict, especially after Episode 5, “At Night, All Birds are Black,” when Meyer kills the Leni Riefenstahl-syle Nazi who starts to give him away) and yet also feels utterly ridiculous and unnecessary.
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Let’s examine the twist a tiny bit and see where it leaves us, and the story, in general…
The Wolf Revealed
Okay, so “The Wolf” was Meyer Offerman’s white whale. He was the cruel concentration camp Nazi who was in love with Ruth and took out all his anger over her rejection on Meyer, whom he sadistically tortured (and forced to commit heinous murders in order to spare Ruth’s life). For half of the season, we were all aware Meyer wasn’t who he said he was. That much was clear after he quickly killed Barbara Sukowa’s Tilda because she called him the “biggest charlatan of them all,” as well as a “great pretender” (in German).
But the finale still made an earnest effort to try and force us forget all that by casting William Sadler in the role of Dr. Friedrich Mann – the plastic surgeon Jonah thinks is “The Wolf.” Sadler here is a red herring, though he works to throw us off the trail because the series, over the course of Season 1, has already used notable guest stars for bad guy pop-ins – like Sukowa, Fringe’s John Noble, and even freakin’ Keir Dullea (in a bedridden role reminiscent of the end of 2001). So Sadler could be The Wolf, right? He even looks like an older version of the actor playing the young part.
However, when Jonah presents Mann to Meyer, Meyer does that suspicious thing again of killing a person quickly before they can give him up. Mann is stabbed dead and Meyer thinks he’s in the clear. But Jonah realizes, in that moment, that Meyer went against his own protocols for killing The Wolf – which included the reciting of a prayer. Meyer confesses to Jonah that – yup – he is The Wolf. Whaaaaaat?
Yes, Meyer Offerman is/was Jonah’s real grandfather, but Pacino’s character is not Meyer Offerman (and maybe a reason for the casting of a non-Jewish person in the role). The real Wolf, soon after the camps were liberated by Allied Forces in 1945, escaped his captors and killed Meyer out in the woods. He then wrote Ruth a “Dear John” letter, as Meyer, and took Meyer’s full identity. Eventually, to blend in even more, he paid Mann to give him facial surgery in order to look more like Meyer.
Then, after 30 years of living as a Jewish person, fully indoctrinated in the culture and faith, the fake Meyer saw the error of his evil ways and decided to hunt down his fellow Nazis. Was he a double agent? No. He really did want to stop the Nazis and their new plot for a Fourth Reich. But he was also a monster through and through. He’d robbed many of their lives and unleashed unparalleled cruelty.
It’s also highly likely he had Ruth killed after she came to him, 30 years later, and told him she’d found a few Nazis. She’d made an appointment to see Mann and that would have gotten her close to the truth about fake Meyer. After all, she was the “verifier” for the group. She would have known Mann wasn’t The Wolf eventually. So fake Mayer may have put Kenneth Tigar’s “chess Nazi” onto Ruth to silence her, so he could bring in Jonah as his possible successor.
Anyhow, Jonah kills fake Meyer (with bullets, and the golden dagger) after reciting the Kaddish prayer Meyer always said he’d say aloud before he killed The Wolf.
Season 2 Set Up
The team learning that Meyer wasn’t Meyer basically disintegrates their bond. It’s such a shock to the system that the members reel from the news in various ways. Mindy straight up leaves, to go live with her family. Joe also takes off (though he’s quickly kidnapped – more on that later!). The rest just stick around to ty and do some good in the wake of Meyer’s crazy betrayal. With Jonah seemingly at the helm, and Harriet presenting them with a new mission in Europe, Roxy and Lonny say they’re in.
Normally, for a story, a twist like the one involving Meyer could be a game-ender. It would work as a nice bookend to wrap up the adventure. But Hunters used quite a bit of its finale setting up a Season 2. Not only is there a partial team still around, but we also checked in with Jerrika Hinton’s Agent Morris, who will now have secret funding to go after Nazis from the right side of the law (Jonah even says that Millie will try to stop them while they try to stop Nazis), as well as Greg Austin’s Travis, who kills his Jewish lawyer in order to gain more respect behind bars as a Nazi gang leader.
Even Dylan Baker’s “Biff Simpson” made it out alive, escaping to the Soviet Union with false papers (and very little knowledge of the Russian language).
So as you can see, most every character from Season 1, save for Meyer and Murray, are still around for the show’s sophomore season.
Eva and Adolf, Argentina Style
Okay, so if the twist of Meyer not being the real Meyer wasn’t outrageous enough for you, Joe’s abduction down to Argentina revealed that – well – a certain Führer was still alive and kicking!
And not only that, but Lena Olin’s character, who’d only been referred to as “The Colonel,” was Hitler’s wife Eva Braun…
Yes, this “gotcha” moment, right at the end of the finale, plays off the history of Nazis successfully fleeing to South America (hell, Erik Lehnsherr even kills a few in Argentina in X-Men: First Class) – presuming that Hitler himself even made it out alive and went there.
All we needed here, with Pacino now officially off the series, was for the camera to pan up and reveal it was De Niro as Hitler.
What did you all think of the ending to Hunters: Season 1? Are you excited for more or were the twists and reveals too ludicrous to believe? Let us know below…