“(Ruth 1:16)” delves deep into Jewish culture and identity in an episode that takes stock of previous events while introducing new developments and possibilities.
This recap of Hunters Season 1, Episode 6, “Ruth 1:16”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The previous episode was a lot to take in, and Hunters Episode 6 smartly takes stock of what happened and what it means to the various members of the team. Roxy (Tiffany Boone) quits. Harriet (Kate Mulvany) is, presumably, a traitor, which staunchly loyal ‘Nam vet Joe (Louis Ozawa) is particularly annoyed about. Lonny (Josh Radnor), despite informing Meyer (Al Pacino) of Tilda’s journal, still believes that he killed the Nazi in cold blood, which Meyer loosely justifies as fair game in the war that is still taking place. This kind of moral flexibility is, it seems, perfectly acceptable if you’re on the side of moral righteousness, but even the eternally oppressed have to draw a line somewhere, lest they become the very thing they’re fighting against.
As a form of resistance against that idea, Meyer assures Mindy (Carol Kane) and Murray (Saul Rubinek) that their daughter Amy (Hannah Reid Rubinek, Saul’s real-life daughter) will still marry Ben (Steven Kaplan) as planned and that Jonah (Logan Lerman) will say a prayer at the ceremony. Hunters has, thus far, been steeped in Jewish culture, iconography, language, and tradition, and here in “(Ruth 1:16)”, Meyer specifies why: For Jews to reject the rituals and customs which make them Jewish is to reject their identity, to kowtow to their oppressors. Staunchly embracing the very same traditions for which they were persecuted in the first place is refusing to be beaten. The war goes on, as must the show.
But wars have casualties, and among them are the personal relationships of those who, willingly or not, end up fighting on the front lines. Millie’s (Jerrika Hinton) pursuit of truth and justice has thus far caused her nothing but misery, and in Hunters Episode 6 her sacrifices extend to ending her relationship with Maria (Julissa Bermudez) in order to protect her from potential repercussions. And repercussions are likely given the political ramifications of what she uncovers from Danny’s (Miles G. Jackson) contact Tommy (Garth Kravits) regarding the real-life Operation Paperclip – a secret program to recruit German scientists, engineers, and technicians before the Soviets could do the same. We’re reminded again of how being in opposition to flagrant evildoing seemingly gives one carte blanche to behave immorally for the greater good; compared to something like Operation Paperclip and the lengths which would presumably be gone to in order to keep it a secret, offing Millie’s girlfriend seems a small affair.
“(Ruth 1:16)” is in large part about the past and not just the parts of it we’ve already seen. Harriet recalls a childhood in an English Catholic school, having been sent there by her Jewish father and ultimately forced to adopt a Christian name. Murray, too, is given the flashback treatment, in a nice change of pace given how neglected he and his wife have been thus far. Their daughter’s wedding prompts introspection and, ultimately, healing; Murray mourns and, after 30 years, finally accepts the death of his son, Aaron (Aaron Markowitz), executed by an Auschwitz kommandant after Murray refused to be separated from him. It was a Nazi victory that Murray had allowed them to hold over him for three decades, and letting go is a minor moral victory.
But the Nazis are still claiming victories, with Biff (Dylan Baker) securing a win over President Carter (Ben Livingston) and then threatening to kill and bury Juanita (Becky Ann Baker) after she confronts him about publicly endorsing the Latin America trade deal. Hungry for more success, especially in light of Travis’s (Greg Austin) recent failures, the Colonel (Lena Olin) despatches him and Tobias (Jonno Davies) to eliminate Meyer.
Hunters Season 1, Episode 6 is smart to embrace the depth of Jewish culture at the wedding, and also to tie it directly into Jonah’s character development, not just in terms of his closeness to Ruth and his heritage but also to the team, at least one member of which might be more closely tied to his actual biological heritage than he thought. But any confirmation of whether Meyer is Jonah’s grandfather will have to wait since we have new leads to tee up the next episode. Joe provides a new name from an old army buddy: Timothy Randall, apparently the American alias of the Ghost. And more history is given on Tilda’s journal, which turns out to be the novel Vril, or The Coming Race – essentially a blueprint for a fascistic takeover.
In a final reveal, we learn in “(Ruth 1:16)” that Moritz (Ronald Guttman), Harriet’s kidnapped Nazi, is the kommandant who killed Murray’s son Aaron at Auschwitz. He’s a wedding present. The flames of a fire set by Tobias and Travis close out the episode.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.