Jack Ryan Season 2 was released last night and unfortunately it was disappointing.
2 out of 10 stars. The first season was great. But it looks like the entire cast was scrapped and only three characters came back for Season 2. The writers are different, the storyline is different, and there are a lot of plot holes. Don’t expect greatness.
In the first season of Jack Ryan, Jack works for the CIA in an analyst group that tracks money transactions internationally for any suspicious activity. He finds several sophisticated transfers of money made via digital phone sim cards. That eventually leads him to a terrorist who plots to kill the President’s college buddy and a lot of other people. It was poorly cast, but the storyline was plotted well and the fact checkers did a great job. Not so for this season.
First, expect some serious cast changes. ALL of the season 1 cast is gone. There’s no Cathy (his wife in the actual Tom Clancy Jack Ryan series of novels). There are no military commandos led by Matice (he has only three lame guys who aren’t very good). In fact the only characters brought back are Jack Ryan, Will Greer, and Matice. That’s it. That usually means no one in the original cast could get along with the lead, John Krasinski, which doesn’t surprise me at all. After season 1 of Jack Ryan aired, John Krasinski went on air and YouTube with several personal videos. He was arrogant, rude, and downright un-American. He married a snobby British actress (Emily Blunt) and used his clout to push through her citizenship then made some very unkind remarks to Americans in general and said he was proud to be Polish. Well then, go live in Poland.
Second, expect some huge plot holes and some incredibly dumb moments that are meant to make John Krasinski look like an action hero instead of an arrogant actor with a great stuntman. In fact, the entire plot line revolves around a mineral called Tantalum that, according to the series is only found in China. Venezuela finds huge deposits of it and then secretly begins mining it to make trillions of dollars off of the US electronics market. <cough cough> Unfortunately this isn’t even close to factually correct. If you search Tantalum you’ll see that it’s found in many countries and NOT Venezuela. And this isn’t the first series to mention Tantalum. The Widow, a series that was much better done than this one, centered around the illegal trade in coltan, a mineral from which Tantalum is extracted. Thankfully, that series had a better fact checker.
In the second season, Jack is now working on Capitol Hill as an aide of some sort to a senator who was a war buddy, Senator Moreno. So Jack gets photos of a ship illegally launching a satellite in international waters. He suspects it’s Russian. It turns out to be Venezuelan. So he and Moreno are ordered to go there by Senator Chapin, who secretly puts out a hit on both of them.
At the same time Greer, who is stationed in Russia, discovers a ship delivering what appears to be weapons to Venezuela. The same ship from which the illegal satellite was launched. That brings him to Venezuela at the same time as Ryan.
Ryan and Moreno immediately realize they are in danger and that the president of Venezuela is a murderer. On the way to the airport their convoy is bombed and Moreno is murdered. Ryan discovers that the person responsible is none other than the former partner of the German CIA operative he slept with the night before the murder (played by Noomi Rapace). This is the impetus for Ryan’s motivation to overthrow the president of Venezuela and to prove he’s behind Moreno’s murder.
There’s a side plot involving a group of paid mercenaries who work through London, but it was a red herring. Interesting though is that their South African leader is played by none other than Arnold Vosloo, the mummy from The Mummy fame. His accent drops half the time, but it was nice to see the mummy in a non-mummy role.
Perhaps the most frustrating subplot of the season was the crew of military men that Matice puts together. Two rednecks and a boating specialist from Miami who’s almost as dumb as the rednecks. They get separated and leave the Miami guy behind. And why wasn’t Miami guy by the boat where he was supposed to be? Are these the four stooges? After such perfect execution of Matice’s crew in season 1, I was extremely disappointed in Matice’s motley crew this season. BTW, they get him killed. It’s as if the budget was made by an idiot who said at the last minute, let’s cut all the funds for this subplot and give them only four guys. :0
Another irritating thing about Season 2 is the ads. Amazon now owns IMDB and this is their series, so they’re over-advertising this series all over the place. As if we aren’t sick enough of Amazon already.
In the original Tom Clancy series, Jack Ryan was nothing like John Krasinski’s character. I realize that each and every actor who wants to produce a Jack Ryan series has his own special image of the character, but Krasinski’s image couldn’t be further from Tom Clancy’s version. Ryan is a devout Irish Catholic. He’s humble, a family man, and devoted to that family. Krasinski’s Ryan is a playboy with a bad temper, a short memory, and no religious beliefs at all. Clancy’s version was intelligent and methodic. Krasinski’s version thinks he’s a genius or savant. He’s not. Clancy’s version was a team player. Krasinski’s version is a showboat who wants to be in the limelight. So with such a dramatically different version of the Jack Ryan character, why is Amazon hammering home the series name change from Jack Ryan to Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan? That’s an odd thing to do between seasons 1 and 2, especially when the series second season is nothing at all like Clancy’s character.
2 out of 10 stars. It’s barely watchable. We had to force ourselves to watch past episode two. By then we lost all the people in the room but one and that’s because I had to write this review. Seriously, they could’ve done so much better with a different writer and different cast. 🙁