Friday, November 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Jack Ryan' - Jack and Green Lead a Mission in the Jungle to Discover What's in the Containers in 'Orinoco'

Amazon's Jack Ryan - Episode 2.03 "Orinoco"

The U.S. Special Activities team lands in Venezuela where Jack's intel leads them to a militia guarded compound. The mission goes awry and one of the team members gets left behind in the jungle. President Reyes' opponent, Gloria Bonalde, proves to be a real contender in the upcoming election.

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.

"Orinoco" was written by David Graziano & Annie Jacobsen and directed by Andrew Bernstein

Matice and Marcus make their landing in Venezuela. They have arrived to provide tactical support as Jack and Greer investigate what is in the mysterious shipping containers. They don't walk away with an immediate understanding of what is currently happening in this country though. Instead, they lose a man in the heat of the moment. It's somewhat awkwardly handled too. It feels as if the show was building to this specific plot point without really caring if the way to it made all that much sense in the long run. Marcus gets out of the boat in order to avoid detection. But he also eventually gets far enough away that he can't make it back when the rest of his unit arrives and escapes to safety. Jack was the first person to compromise the mission. He didn't want to leave as soon as Matice warned them that their position would soon be compromised. He needed to understand what was so important that it was worth having all of these guards protecting it. It's still unclear. It's not a nuclear weapon. That's the narrative that everyone has been operating under so far. They view that as the most significant threat that could be happening at the moment. However, the stakes in Venezuela have to be different in order to feel as if it's a threat that could only happen under these specific circumstances. Reyes is desperate to remain in power. He fears that his political rival is actually electable. She has the support of the Venezuelan people. He may have been able to craft a narrative about the recent assassination of a U.S. Senator. However, that may be the scope of his power. The show really hasn't made his political machinations all that interesting to watch. He comes across as intimidating when he informs his key adviser, Ubarri, that his home has been bugged. He and his wife make plans to keep living normally even though they fear for their daughter and her political views. But it's an expositional drag when Ubarri just starts talking about his childhood and going to mass and stealing from the various houses afterwards. There isn't a whole lot of narrative purpose to that moment. It serves to better introduce these characters and their long history with one another. But it's so stunted. It's obvious that that is what's being done. As a result, it doesn't feel like it comes from a place of passion or concern. It's simply the lines on the page that need to be delivered so that the next twist can occur. That's unfortunate. The show has gone all in on the Venezuelan political drama this season. Gloria Bonalde makes her debut in this episode. She is just as surprised as everyone else that she is performing so well in the polls. She is running to get justice for her husband who has been missing for over a year. She sees a corrupt government that needs to be stopped. She has the support of the people. That may not be enough because those in power will do absolutely anything to ensure that they maintain that control. As such, it's always dangerous to watch as the various threats close in and risk exposing all the work that has been done to maintain that stronghold on the current reality. Jack and Greer think they are getting closer to the truth. They know they are making waves because they've been targeted by assassins. Of course, Greer is more than willing to cut a man's finger off just to get information out of him. That's not okay. He finally tells Jack the truth about his heart condition. But now, it all seems as if any time Jack, Greer and Matice are working together something is poised to go wrong. Here, that's leaving Marcus behind after continuously demeaning him as nothing more than the driver on this mission. None of it is subtle and none of it is all that intriguing to watch. The show feels like it's just going through the motions of wanting to care but not really connecting on a deeper level. Plus, it's setting up the certainty that things need to have potentially lethal consequences for Greer this time around.