I just powered through Jack Ryan Season 2 on Amazon. I realize I’m really late to the party here, but I still need to talk about what I just watched. You can’t sit through a finale this wild and keep your opinions to yourself. It’s impossible. Speaking of which, SPOILER WARNING. If you haven’t watched Jack Ryan Season 2 yet, you should consider emailing this article to yourself, spending the rest of the day powering through 8 episodes and then returning to read before you go to bed. Got it? Good.
So, I’m going to offer a really quick recap since chances are, most of you presumably didn’t watch the Jack Ryan Season 2 finale this morning like I did. In short, the arc ended with Jack Ryan, some soldiers and a gang of mercenaries liberating a Venezuelan prison camp. Ryan took pictures and sent them to news outlets to try and disrupt the Venezuelan election.
Then he met up with CIA Station Chief Mike November, and they took helicopters to the Presidential Palace and stormed inside to save Jim Greer, killing tons of Venezuelan military personnel and scaring the hell out of random people there to celebrate President Reyes’ assumed reelection. Oh, Jack Ryan also took President Reyes hostage and pointed a gun at his head for awhile before Mike ordered him to stand down because they didn’t have the authority. Finally, there was a plotline about financing and drilling that got cleaned up and led back to a US Senator.
So, let’s state the obvious first: Jack Ryan is a loose cannon. I’m not saying he’s a Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas level loose cannon, but he’s completely unmanageable when he’s on the scent. It’s a miracle he didn’t get shot in the face by High Priest Imhotep from The Mummy when he was going through those shipping containers, and after that, it’s just one decision after another in which he ignores orders/ protocols/ directions from more experienced people.
I get it. Sometimes you need a cowboy that ignores orders and does what, deep down, we all know needs to be done. I’m not saying I want my characters to file paperwork and wait for clearance every time they have a lead, but there’s a difference between breaking the rules in big moments and refusing to ever even consider punting.
Let’s give a specific example: after liberating the prison camp, Mike tells Jack it’s now a State Department matter. They’ll take the hostages to a safe location and then use the Ambassador to negotiate for Jim’s freedom. That is an extremely reasonable perspective. Jack Ryan acts like it’s cowardly and shouldn’t even be considered. I get it. He wants to save his co-worker/ friend, but flying helicopters onto the Presidential Palace, storming inside and shooting a bunch of people is a diplomatic disaster to end all diplomatic disasters. How could that possibly seem like a good idea?
Obviously, the plan works. Greer is rescued and we get a scene with everyone talking about how they’ll be in big trouble. Ryan gets results. You can’t argue with that, but he also creates a heap of problems everywhere he goes. There’s nothing subtle about how he does his job, which seems like a bad thing. In fact, given he was even more reckless in Season 2, I can't even imagine how many lines he'll cross in Season 3. Maybe I’m just off-base here. Maybe Jack Ryan is amazing at his job, and this is the attitude you need to get results amdist a bureaucracy that’s always trying to hold you down. It's not like James Bond is always operating in the shadows.
So, I ask you. Is Jack Ryan good at his job? Vote in the poll below and let me know your thoughts, and also, thank you for reading this time-sensitive article.