Thursday, October 31, 2019

REVIEW: 'Jack Ryan' - Jack Learns More About Harry While Targeting the Venezuelan President in 'Tertia Optio'

Amazon's Jack Ryan - Episode 2.02 "Tertia Optio"

Jack is granted permission from Senator Chapin to stay in Venezuela. President Reyes denies involvement in the assassination of an American Senator. Jack and Harry team up to follow a lead that could create dissension within the ranks.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's Jack Ryan.

"Tertia Optio" was written by Vince Calandra & Daria Polatin and directed by Phil Abraham

Noomi Rapace is more than the new female lead this season who gets to be romantically-linked with John Krasinski's Jack Ryan. It offers to be a much more complex dynamic that is wrapped up in the grand conspiracy this season. Jack's relationship with Cathy in the first season never quite worked. As such, it shouldn't be surprising that the show doesn't mention it at all in these new episodes. Of course, Harry was defined in the premiere by solely being the new woman Jack is sleeping with. Even when he travels aboard, he can still get in bed with someone new. He is a single man tasked with saving the world. He feels that burden at all times. It is only amplified further by Senator Moreno's death. He needs to stay in Venezuela until he gets answers and brings the guilty parties to justice. This shocking event hasn't completely disrupted the political relationship between the two countries. Instead, it's still something that President Reyes is quick to right off by blaming a fringe radical group for the attack. He has his soldiers kill his own citizens trying to stand up for their beliefs just because it serves his political goals. Again, the audience can probably question who all was involved with this assassination. Did Reyes actually order it? Or is there something much larger going on in this country? Those are important questions. Jack is determined to believe that Reyes is responsible and must be punished. He grows furious when the answers don't immediately present themselves during this investigation. Instead, he is only greeted with concern and uncertainty. The police chief seeking asylum only knows that he was threatened and his family has been killed. He ends up dead eventually too. Meanwhile, Harry has a continually shifting story. It takes a lot of effort for Jack to uncover the truth from her. She is an operative for German intelligence. She is in Venezuela tracking down a former colleague, Max, who has become a hitman for hire. He is the man who killed Senator Moreno and more than likely tried to kill Jack here. He is simply trying to finish the job he was paid to do. He gets away because Greer refuses to let anyone know about his heart condition. That is a detriment to the narrative though. It means this mystery is allowed to continue simply because these characters don't talk with each other in a genuine way. Again, it's clear that Jack and Greer are only close when they are working a mission together. That may be the depth of relationships in the intelligence community. It may be a sad and lonely life. Jack still trusts Greer to save him when he is ambushed though. He has that trust. He makes these bold assertions about what is going on. Most of the time, they prove to be correct. He is thrown when he realizes that Harry is a trained operative who has been following him. And yet, he sees her as a valuable asset as well who could provide useful information. Sure, the hour ends with him having no clue what to do with her any more. He can't trust anything that she says. That shifting loyalty may make her interesting. And yet, it's difficult to buy into this dynamic and whatever conspiracy is happening in this country. It's a broad geopolitical mystery that hasn't really made its main players feel like fully-dimensional characters. Jack is blinded by rage and a personal vendetta while Greer needs to prove that he is still vital in the field. The newcomers are still just being introduced with none of them immediately coming across as valuable new players who will drastically shake up Jack or Greer's lives. They will just be important to this one specific mission. That's not inherently bad. Jack and Greer need objective minds and tactical support to get anything done in the region. Their interests may not always be aligned though. Plus, the audience cares about the two of them more than anyone else.