Created by Carlton Cuse, Graham Roland
Starring John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, Jordi Mollà
Network: Amazon Prime Video
When an unregistered satellite is launched from a ship in the South China Sea, CIA agent James Greer (Wendell Pierce) follows a set of clues that leads him from Russia to South America, only to meet up with analyst Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) following the same trail. Jack is working with a US senator concerned with the possibility that arms are being smuggled into the mineral rich country of Venezuela, which (mimicking current affairs) is entering a period of political turmoil. As they track a number of missing containers to the Venezuelan jungle, the two soon become entangled in the underhanded attempts of that country’s president (Jordi Mollà) to maintain his grip on power.
Ryan has certainly become a full action hero this season, but given the events of the first, it makes some sense. Not only is he driven by revenge (after the murder of a close friend in the first episode), but his confidence has seemingly increased to the point of gung-ho recklessness.
However it is in his deeds that he truly approaches the level of Bond or Bourne. Now the titular character seems able to shrug off assassination attempts with nary a scratch, and engage in rooftop chases with fleeing hired guns. Season two has upped the action, while still attempting to keep some grounding in realistic espionage thriller territory. It’s precarious footing and slips in the final couple of episodes, as the scope of the action gets more ridiculous.
John Krasinski (A Quiet Place, The Office) makes the most of the grizzled action guy persona, but gives it enough intelligence and sardonic commentary to make it bearable. Ryan is a character that can be so easily mismanaged, an analytical mind blended with the old fashioned upright two-fisted American hero. Here the script does tilt the character more towards the latter direction but Krasinski manages to mostly make it work on sheer force of personality.
Despite issues with the over the top ending and a rather simplified view of global politics, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan season two is a slick production, making the best of its upped ante to create a competent espionage thriller that delivers exactly what you would expect from the Tom Clancy brand.