A bank heist, a love story and a figure from the past all factor into “The Pious Thieves”, in which the team track down plundered Jewish fortunes.
This recap of Hunters Season 1, Episode 4, “The Pious Thieves”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Hunters Episode 4 opens in Berlin, 1938, with Jakob Schneider (A.J. Shively) receiving a family heirloom from his dying mother – a ring, which, when he’s sent to Auschwitz in 1942, he hides from the Nazis by swallowing it. Love blossoms in this unlikeliest of places between Jakob and seamstress Helen (Anna Ewelina) and that ring could possibly become a wedding ring until their escape plans are thwarted and Jakob is forced to sacrifice himself for his love. The ring is stolen by the guard who murders him.
We return in “The Pious Thieves” to the Swiss bank that is “keeping Nazi eggs warm,” according to Meyer (Al Pacino), and managed by Frederic Hauser (John Noble) – a conversation between the two frames Hunters Episode 4. A heist is in order: The plan is to break in and use their keys to turn out the contents of box 630. Jonah (Logan Lerman), following the death of Arthur, wants back in after stonewalling NYPD detective Kennedy Groton (Victor Williams), but Meyer cautions him not to conflate his desire for personal revenge with the broader objective of justice for historical cruelties and further planned atrocities. Millie (Jerrika Hinton), meanwhile, goes to Jonah’s home, but he isn’t there – Travis (Greg Austin) is, though, being creepy as usual.
As I mentioned during the previous episode’s recap, stories of Ruth’s exploits throughout the war and after form a kind of throughline, with various characters discussing her in hushed, reverential tones. In Hunters Episode 4, it’s the turn of Sister Harriet (Kate Mulvany), who explains to Jonah how Ruth, having impressed a Nazi doctor known as “The Wolf” (Christian Oliver) by saving Levi’s wife, turned down an advantageous offer of his, thus putting Meyer in jeopardy as a way for the Wolf to avenge the slight. There is a deliberate lack of clarity around how exactly this revenge manifested, but it was serious enough that the Wolf was Ruth’s primary target for revenge.
Two of the show’s favorite things – obvious metaphors and comic book references – come up in the conversation between Millie and Jonah at Meyer’s home, which is redolent with chess imagery and postulations about good guys, bad guys, and doing the right thing despite trying circumstances and personal sacrifices. Jonah doesn’t confess anything to Millie though it’s clear they’re on the same side, at least on some level. Millie also later demands intel from journalist Danny Rohr (Miles G. Jackson) on Meyer. Her relationship with Maria (Julissa Bermudez) continues to be tested, though; in the previous episode they fought over Millie’s fears of their homosexuality being exposed, and here Maria cares for Millie’s mother Viola (Myra Lucretia Taylor) at the hospital while not making many moves towards reconciliation.
The Nazi side of the conflict also sees some developments in “The Pious Thieves”. Remember that German bomb-making facility we saw in the previous episode? Well, that’s connected in some way to Katarina Löw (Megan Channell), a secret Nazi who is frustrated by a delay in the trade bill which has been brought about by Biff (Dylan Baker) and the Secretary of Commerce Juanita Kreps (Becky Ann Baker). It also proves a point of consternation for the Colonel (Lena Olin) and Tobias (Jonno Davies).
But it’s the bank heist which takes up most of Hunters Episode 4. There are several stages: In the first, Mindy (Carol Kane) gets inside but can’t find box 630, leading to Harriet purchasing blueprints of the building, the discovery of a secret room, and the manipulation by Lonny (Josh Radnor) of the sole employee with access to it. A very obvious robbery is used as a distraction from the real mission of accessing the box, which leads to a great gag in which Lonny won’t stop pretending to be dead until Harriet ends the scene, at which point he springs back to his feet and thanks the audience of perplexed security guards. Jonah, told to wait outside, gets himself involved just in time to save Joe’s (Louis Ozawa) life, winning him a bit of trust back, even if he can’t help but make a pointed remark about his usefulness.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the stolen Jewish fortunes hidden beneath a hatch behind a fake wall in the secret room contains Jakob’s ring – which Jonah takes – and countless other priceless pieces of art and items of jewelry. The treasure is a vast and uncountable fortune, but it’s also in large part a metaphor; the ill-gotten gains of a fascist regime which stole the lives, possessions, and identities of an entire race of people. This is what Meyer is fighting for, and what Jonah is now accepted as a part of. Hauser also gets his comeuppance in “The Pious Thieves”, first with a knife through the hand and then a bullet through the brain, but only after revealing the owner of box 630: Oskar Hauftman, “the Ghost”, whom Meyer believed to be long dead. A fitting nickname, then.
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