blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Hunters (2020) s01e02 – The Mourner’s Kaddish

The important series story development this episode is it turns out Logan Lerman isn’t okay with torturing and killing Nazis hiding in the United States. He’s still the same softie as in the first episode when he thought Darth Vader probably wasn’t all evil and didn’t, you know, kill a bunch of little kids in his youth or something. This episode’s Nazi—and that part is the possibly important practical series question, is there going to be a “Nazi target of the week”—but this episode’s Nazi is John Hans Tester. He’s fine, but nothing special. He tries to kill Lerman, just like the last Nazi, only Lerman still isn’t grokking it.

Meanwhile, however, Jerrika Hinton—who’s somehow simultaneously become the show’s most “real” character and the one most seemingly a knock-off of the “Mindhunter” female lead role (Hinton’s got a girlfriend, so she’s a Black lesbian FBI agent in 1977, which is a lot)—anyway, Hinton’s realized the Nazis are still around and they’re still really bad. She has a nice monologue about how Hansel and Gretel is really just a story about how some little German kids robbed and murdered a Jewish woman.

Now, where Hansel and Gretel as great of villains as the Nazis on “Hunters,” which doubles down on giving Dylan Baker some amazing material. Baker’s an unappreciated acting treasure and seeing him (an American) do a German pretending to be an American lying about his not murdering his own family is awe-inspiring.

Now, despite him being so amazing, the show doesn’t give him a peppy theme like it gives evil Nazi boss lady Lena Olin. She’s got theme music. It’s a little weird.

Also this episode has young Nazi Greg Austin threatening children and pregnant women. It makes you feel guilty for enjoying Austin’s performance. You feel seen, admiring what a great psychotic Nazi he can create.

There’s also a very cheap “Tarantino-esque” introduction to the rest of Al Pacino’s “Hunters.” We later find out its how Lerman is processing the things around him. Basically Kate Mulvany, who’s the killer MI-6 nun lady, doesn’t like him but team goof Josh Radnor owes him because of Lerman’s grandma so they’re bros. Pacino doesn’t really take a mentor position but more a concerned family friend one. It’s very interesting to see Pacino in television, even streaming. He’s got lots of energy but very little ambition. He also falls back on his accent for his character when he starts getting too Pacino-y.

It works. Good cast. Especially Carol Kane and Saul Rubinek as the married Qs who do all the tech work.

Mulvany’s an exception, though it’s the script. The balance between the supporting cast is off.

Good music from Cristobal Tapia de Veer. I also noticed the photography is William Rexer (it’s excellent, but it’s also just nice to see him lighting projects people will see).

I had been thinking it’d take the season for Hinton to team up with Pacino and Lerman but it’s seeming like it’s going to happen sooner than later, which is good too. Because, so far, “Hunters” works.

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