Creators: Carlton Cuse, Graham Roland
Writer: Carlton Cuse, Graham Roland & more
Starring: John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, John Hoogenakker
Trivia: Season 2 scenes located in Venezuela were actually filmed in Bogota, Colombia.
I promised you a separate review on Season 2 and here it is. I have to admit, I’m guilty of binging on the whole 8 episodes during a whole weekend. Didn’t do anything except watching one episode after the other. It was that good.
The second season of the Amazon series starring John Krasinski, as Jack Ryan, keeps things exciting and entertaining while maintaining the high standard of writing as the first season.
Jack, Jim, and the rest of their CIA buddies are back with a vengeance in Jack Ryan Season 2, and vengeance is not an exaggeration. The stakes are higher when what begins as a suspected arms deal between Russia and Venezuela quickly turns personal.
Season two’s themes are eerily reminiscent of today’s geopolitical climate.
Season two draws influence from headlines about the ongoing crisis over the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro’s presidency after the results of Venezuelan’s May 2018 election were disputed.
Maduro swore himself in, but only China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Turkey recognize him as the country’s president. It’s a fitting match for the legacy of Tom Clancy who, in a way, “invented” the whole geopolitical thriller genre.
It seems that in this season many of things that held back the first season were improved. Jack Ryan is no longer a rule-following boy scout. He asks for forgiveness instead of permission, defies orders and makes a few mistakes along the way. This type of Protagonist feels more up-to-date than the old Jack Ryan.
The other element that improved was the removal of the whole sub-plot of Cathy, which was one of the weakest parts in season one. Those two elements allow Jack to become a stronger Protagonist in this season.
Just like in Season one, the writers did a great job crafting the season’s Big Bad, Venezuelan President Nicolas Reyes (Jordi Molià).
Reyes is the textbook definition of a narcissist. His inflated ego and his determination to silence anyone against him make him very easy to dislike. While in season one we got to see the private life of the villain and his motives, in season two the writers have taken it a step further.
Not only do we get to see the villain’s family and close friends, there is a sense of nearly a Greek tragedy in his whole relationship with the people he surrounds himself and especially in his relationship with his childhood friend and brother-in-law, José (David Norona)..
On Elysium the defense secretary, Delacourt (Judie Foster) will stop at nothing to prevent illegal citizens to enter Elysium to the point of shooting refuges who land on Elysium. Delacourt uses undercover military agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley) on Earth, who is a psychopath, to a point that even her own government instructs her to discharge him.
Where season one felt like everyone was either “good” or “bad,” Season two does a superb job of leaving everyone in the grey. For every good decision, there’s a bad one to even it out.
The one aspect that this season of Jack Ryan suffers from is in how to introduce female characters. Yes, the show gives us a strong, noble opponent to Reyes in the form of Gloria Bonalde (Cristina Umaña) but even her character’s reasons to oppose Reyes are stereotyped.
You’d expect that by today female characters could stand on their own without having to be someone’s wife (or ex-wife) or a love interest. But the show struggles in introducing female characters without first making them love interests for Jack or other CIA agents.
Ultimately, this improved season of Jack Ryan leaves you feeling satisfied. It never outsmarts itself, but it respects its audience by giving them all the information they need and can handle.
Verdict 4.5/5 Stars in my book