Friday, February 4, 2022

REVIEW: 'Reacher' - Reacher Quickly Gets Wrapped Up in a Murder Case with a Personal Connection in 'Welcome to Margrave'

Amazon's Reacher - Episode 1.01 "Welcome to Margrave"

Reacher is wrongly accused of murder while visiting the small town of Margrave, Georgia.

"Welcome to Margrave" was written by Nick Santora and directed by Thomas Vincent

Reacher is a behemoth of a man. Everywhere he goes, people comment on his build. He stands at 6'5" and weighs 250 pounds. People are intimidated by him. It's unavoidable. Him simply walking down the street is enough for others to take notice. They view him as someone with the power to disrupt their lives. And yet, the story actually begins with Reacher getting arrested. He is charged with a murder he didn't commit. He causes no trouble for the local detectives. He follows their rules even though he can break free of their restraints at any point in time. He also happens to be a keen observer. He can make quick analyses of the people he meets along his journey. He views himself as a good judge of character. But he is free to roam the world as he pleases. He has done his service to his country. He has put his talents to good use. And now, he just aspires to drop everything and go somewhere if the right idea strikes him. It's not the way most people live their lives. He has no home. He travels lightly. He only seeks to replace his wardrobe after his clothes are ruined by a fight. He is a simple man with simple pleasures. But again, he is thrown into an incredible story of murder. It has a personal connection to him as well. One of the men killed happens to be his brother. Reacher had no idea that Joe was in Margrave, Georgia. He came here solely out of appreciation for blues music. Joe may have been leading him here because he feared he was in trouble. But it also creates one incredible coincidence that Reacher just wants everyone to accept immediately. It can't be that easy. It seems too outrageous to be true. Finley is right to demand answers from this man who has wormed his way into this investigation. So much of Reacher's essence comes across smugly though. He wishes for others to know exactly what he thinks of them. He can see through all the effort they put into their lives in order to be appreciated and noticed. That just has the effect of tanking Finley's abilities as a detective overall. Reacher is the one telling him every meaningful clue in this investigation. The local police don't present as offering something of value to the conversation. Reacher is the one who notes that this conspiracy is so much bigger than a few dead bodies. The police are simply reacting to these crimes. Reacher can't avoid this trouble either. He is being followed. People even want him dead too. Again, that's crazy considering he has never been in Margrave before. That's the kind of insanity he gets pulled into though. It's just the nature of his life. He stands out no matter what. And so, trouble constantly swirls around him. That's just a matter-of-fact plot point. It's stated bluntly here. Reacher has long grown accustomed to it. Trouble will find him. He doesn't need to speak up in order to cause it. He has his way of living. He can handle himself no matter what comes. The show presents that as him being secure in himself. But it doesn't offer much nuance or variety. Sure, Reacher is absolutely brutal when he has to be during physical fights. That's a skillset he has as well. Head butts appear to be a go-to move for him. That's him using his brute strength to his advantage. But that physicality can only do so much in solving a mystery. And so, it has to be known that Reacher possesses those abilities to put the pieces together as well. All of this does come across as a faithful adaptation of the book series by Lee Child. It just doesn't feel all that aspirational or offering something new. Amazon already has shows exactly like this in Jack Ryan and Bosch. Sure, that makes Reacher feel at home on this platform. What makes it distinct is simply the flourishes accentuating the build of its protagonist. Yes, his stature is impressive and towering. That doesn't form a unique character though. More is needed in order for the audience to be invested in the outcome of what's happening in this small town.