Sunday, November 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Jack Ryan' - Jack and Harry Finally Confront Max While Greer Tries to Help Gloria in 'Blue Gold'

Amazon's Jack Ryan - Episode 2.05 "Blue Gold"

Using Max's daughter as bait, Jack and Harry convince Max to meet face to face. Stranded in the jungle, Marcus stumbles across a prisoner camp. Greer visits Gloria hoping to draw a connection between Reyes and her missing husband.

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.

"Blue Gold" was written by Vince Calandra & Annie Jacobsen and directed by Dennie Gordon

This season has chosen to be a bit more mysterious with its central conspiracy. It has made it unclear who the actual antagonist is and the geopolitical events that have shaped them into that reality. Sure, it's clear to see Max as the present threat who is continually targeting Jack. However, he is simply the man behind the gun pulling the trigger. His actions certainly create a lot of chaos and destruction. But it's also just a job he is hired to do. He may have information about why mysterious parties wanted Senator Moreno and Jack Ryan dead. And yet, he doesn't willingly give up that information. Instead, he's just looking to complete the job even though it has come at a great physical cost. He is in a hostage situation here that ends with him being shot in the head by Harry. The show hasn't really earned that big shocking twist where Harry kills her former mentor. It's mostly been said that they had a strong personal connection with that never really being seen on the screen. Here, Max is mostly just intimidating to Harry and more than willing to kill her just to complete this mission. He doesn't present as a man anyone can have any form of love and attraction to. He is a smooth operator who can manipulate things to his benefit. But his job is as a mercenary. He kills people and gets paid to do so. He disrupts the world. But it's just as disruptive to analyze the people who have created such corrupt institutions that continually need to rely on these ugly and deadly tactics in order to remain in power. Gloria talks about Venezuela being rich in resources but the people suffering now more than ever before. She is determined to lead an uprising knowing that there needs to be a dramatic shift in the leadership of the country. Right now, Reyes presents as the man collecting all of this money for himself and his loyal enablers while turning his back on his community. He has the tools necessary now to be taken seriously on the world stage. And yet, that too may be a narrative propped up because of the suspicion that Venezuela can disrupt the Chinese dominance over one corner of the market. That's what all of this is fundamentally about. Reyes is looking for a new source of revenue that will allow his country to be on equal footing with so many others throughout the world. That's his long game. He won't let anyone stand in the way of that. Gloria has the support of the people though. They are the ones hurting right now because they aren't feeling any of the benefits from this exploration of natural resources. Instead, it highlights just how imbalanced the country's economy actually is. Gloria is trying to speak truth to power. But she is always in fear for her children's lives because of the threats that Reyes delivers. He can get to them so effectively and efficiently. It takes someone from the United States government to care about training Gloria's security detail to ensure that this election remains fair and free. America needs to stand up as the symbol of democracy around the world. It can't be seen as trying to influence elections. That's a destructive narrative that belittles the actual state of the world. But it's such a delicate balance of power because there are so many factors at play. All of this is fascinating storytelling work. However, the narrative feels the narrative burden to focus it all around Jack essentially becoming more monstrous this season. He holds a girl against her will here. Meanwhile, the hour ends with him being suspected of murder. He is innocent of that crime which the show considers to be the more damning accusation at the moment. And yet, the audience has to be very critical of our love for someone who can so easily and willingly do everything that he does to Max's daughter here. That should challenge his standing in the world even though the show always has to rely on him to be at the center of taking down these global conspiracies. That's a narrative struggle at the moment that can easily destroy everything the show is actually hoping to achieve.