‘Hunters’ Aliens Get an Origin Story and Reveal the Mole in Standout Episode

"Kissing the Machine” is probably the best episode of the show yet.


Ask and ye shall receive. Over and over again we’ve asked for Hunters to start revealing more of the mysteries at the show’s core – or risk becoming far too opaque to keep viewers interested. It’s no mistake that episode 7, “Kissing the Machine,” dropped a whole lot of truth bombs on the audience and made for the most intriguing episode yet.

All season, the members of the ETU have assumed that there was a mole among their ranks, feeding information to the hunter enemy and always keeping the humans one step behind. The obvious choice was Briggs (Mark Coles Smith), the no-nonsense commando who never seemed to be happy ever, and was constantly reminding everybody how much he hated hunters. That big, overt red flag would have a been a huge letdown if it was him all along. It would have also been a bit short-sighted to make Finnerman, the mysterious hard-assed head of the ETU, the mole, because we know virtually nothing about her other than the fact that she doesn’t take any bullshit from anybody.

It would have been far too big of an upheaval if it was Regan (Britne Oldford), the alien-hunter ETU ally who was last seen ostensibly double-crossing Flynn (Nathan Phillips) and Briggs during their operation to extract Brother Number Four (aka Musa) from his Turkish prison stronghold by making a getaway in his helicopter. She’s been wrestling with her human/hunter identity all season, with Oldford offering the best performance out of the entire cast by far. But where last episode ended in basically confirming that she was a traitor, “Kissing the Machine” opens with her in chains being cleansed and “clarified” of her human self by Musas alien comrades, including — gasp! — Abby, who we thought Flynn had mercy-killed two episodes ago in “Her Body In My Soul.” But as for the imprisoned Regan, friends don’t do that to other friends, or, better yet, hunters don’t do that to other hunters. She ain’t the mole.

The evidence was there if you looked for it, but Hunters pulled a fast one on the audience by revealing the mole was actually Jules, the bespectacled computer dude that popped in every time some techno-babble needed to be explained. As Flynn and Briggs come to realize after the latter is falsely accused of being the mole, Jules had access to everyone’s personal files and all of the data compile by the ETU. The hunters got them and the audience where they least expected it, and now it’s up to Hunters to reveal why Jules’s double-cross was so devastating in the long run.

Unfortunately for Jules, the hunters don’t even take too kindly to traitors, as they and Regan brutally murder him in some weird hunter forest ritual. It’s there in some other hunter stronghold that Musa and Abby try to show Regan why she should embrace her “hunter urges” instead of choosing to be a weak human. They baptize her in a vat of silvery hunter blood, which they explain will “save her����� from her humanity. This, basically, is a hunter brainwashing process, and its obvious Abby was forced to go through the same thing. The Abby that latched on to being a regular human with Flynn was forced to shed her humanity and be a hunter fighting for the cause. Expect some of that tension to come back now that Abby and Regan are alien BFFs.

Out of all this, the biggest reveal is the origin of the hunters themselves, which is still fairly boilerplate for alien invasion stories. But it makes even more sense in the aliens-as-terrorists narrative of the show with vague Taliban parallels in there. A massive group of hunters escaped their war torn planet to colonize somewhere else, but were interrupted by a fanatical group called the Exalted who tried to sabotage their getaway. The group ditched their ship to the nearest habitable planet called Earth, and over the next few decades they assimilated into society and banded together to try and colonize the place.

Why they couldn’t just go on living as clandestine hunters hanging out with each other instead of deciding to murder innocent people remains to be seen, but it definitely has something to do with Musa’s inferiority complex.

Hunters has been a frustrating show with a lot of interesting spots dotted in between. When it embraces its action movie roots and gives the audience some drama to stew on it resonates much more than insubstantial missions or constant ETU bickering. Whether it’ll live on into season 2 remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look good. The best viewers still invested in the story can hope for now is a brief sense of closure in the remaining episodes. But knowing Hunters, that probably won’t pan out.

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