If you tuned into watch Syfy’s Hunters at its normally scheduled time last night you might have gotten a big surprise. Instead of seeing episode 8, “The More I See You,” at its regularly scheduled post-12 Monkeys 10 p.m. EST time-slot, an episode that was promised to wrap up some big questions and introduce even more drama into the ETU, viewers were instead welcomed by the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Seemingly out of nowhere, new episodes of Hunters have been pushed to 12 a.m. EST, including the remaining two episodes of the season, “Promise” on June 6 and “Our System” on June 13. Dropping an original series back from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. into the wee hours of the morning does not bode well for a new show, and barring some crazy scheduling maneuvers it might be too late to think about a second season for Hunters even if last night’s episode showed promise.
(UPDATE: A spokesperson for Syfy said they have no comment at this time.)
Still, the cracks in the series are obvious on a critical and thematic level. Hunters currently stands at a 0 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while it has a paltry Metacritic score of 34. Hunters has by no means been a perfect show, but it’s not some outright affront to the sci-fi genre as those scores suggest. There is sloppy storytelling, some weirdly hollow characters, a woefully uneven plot, ineffective villains, and way too on-the-nose alien-terrorist metaphors, but the action-oriented narrative and lead performance by actress Britne Oldford at least evened out the show’s faults, to some extent.
New shows need time to stretch their legs, and heading into “The More I See You,” Hunters was just beginning to break free of the growing pains to hit its stride. Oldford’s Regan was beginning to find more solid clues about her identity, the audience became privy to the larger hunter nuclear invasion plot known as “The Purge,” and the Flynn versus Abby dynamic was beginning to get particularly juicy. There was a lot of nonsense along the way, but the show seemed to become more focused than it ever has been. It’s unfortunate that the 12am timeslot all but means the audience should probably give up on Hunters. Why else would Syfy air a six-year-old horror remake than the final episodes of their original show? Granted, Hunters is probably a very expensive experiment, so it makes sense to off-load the last few episodes to the inevitable DVR dungeon. So why keep watching?
“The More I See You” begins to answer the biggest problems of the entire show, namely that it doesn’t have answers to the questions it poses. Musa, aka the alien bin Laden, has finally made moves to assemble all his fellow hunters to eradicate humankind in their operation called The Purge, but they can only do so in their native alien form. Unfortunately once they chose to resemble humans their bodies reject the change back into grotesque alien creatures, but the pharmaceutical research of a scientist named Sterling Martinez might hold the key to the reverse transformation. The ETU figures this out as well, causing Flynn and Briggs to try to intercept Martinez, who is also being hunted by Abby.
Meanwhile, Regan is brought to a Gitmo-esque secret ETU facility and learns her father was a former commando who fought alongside Musa, but he rejected the increasingly radicalized leader. He was ostracized, and later Regan’s mother left he and Regan to — surprise! — become Musa’s second in command. During their meeting, Jackson snoops around the secret facility only to find McCarthy chained up Abu Ghraib-style with music blasting as a kind of sonic torture. Of course McCarthy escapes, Jackson is left to clean up the mess, and the ETU has to face a fully armed and operational hunter force.
This is admittedly a lot to take in, and the show could have introduced all this much earlier to give the audience a little taste of the larger hunter context and Regan’s personal connection to it. The events of early episodes, like the record store bombing in “Messages” or the jungle mission in “Maid of Orleans” could have been scrapped altogether, and the tidbits of information found by the ETU in those episodes could have been spread out to make for a stronger and more balanced season. Instead, Hunters seems backloaded to the point of being too little too late. It might still be worth watching the remaining episodes of Hunters at midnight just to see everything pan out, but you could also get some sleep. One is more beneficial than the other.