Season 2, Episode 5
Date of release: October 31, 2019 (Amazon Prime)
The ending of this episode might be proof that the writers did not really know what to do with the original premise of a Venezuelan presidential election going awry with an evil president and a candidate who may be in danger, all while the Venezuelan and American governments are embroiled in a conspiracy of sorts. After five episodes, the show is somewhere completely different: It closes in on BLACK PANTHER Vibranium ideas while turning Jack Ryan into a potential killer, about to be the target in a worldwide manhunt after Harriet probably decides not to tell anyone that her lover died with a perfectly placed bullet from her weapon. While I kind of like the idea of a manhunt for Jack Ryan (it would push the story towards him again, after he was only part of one part of the season’s greater story arc), I do not like how much the season’s premise has changed and how it stopped being about the Venezuelan election. That one has instead turned into a conversation piece between Gloria and Jim Greer, proving that two people from different worlds could be allowed to fall in love with each other, now that they have talked about their previous partners and children. And all this happens while a team of American soldiers is looking for one of their own in the middle of the Venezuelan jungle, talking about shooting Marcus in the hand for being such a crappy and useless team member. By the way, that is what happens when you decide not to hire someone who is still active in the business and instead decide to go for a guy who has already retired and may live with post traumatic stress after what he may or may not have done during behind-the-scenes conflicts.
With the exception of the ending, which I found to be partial crap, the episode was mostly okay to solid. Finally the writers established an on-screen relationship between Harriet and Max (by the way, it is so nice of her to have a real name for a change), putting an unspoken back story into the narrative that could fill one or two more episodes. In the meantime, Jack gets a closer look into the conspiracy and is about to sniff out the guilty parties behind the murder of Senator Moreno, which apparently is not at all a plot the writers cared about after the second episode of the season. The murder is still mentioned, and Jack is still looking for the people involved in the assassination, but considering this is the murder of a freaking United States Senator, and Jack Ryan works for the State Department, I was hoping this would have a bit more of a bigger and maybe more emotional aftermath. Yet the show has forsaken American characters with the exception of Jack, Greer and Mike (the soldiers currently in the jungle probably do not even care about what happens with people working in Congress) and therefore decided to drop all focus on stories involving said American characters. This might look good for a television show focusing on international affairs, and it is definitely refreshing to watch a show that does not focus on American affairs already having been chewed up on other TV dramas, but with each episode of this season of TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN, Moreno’s murder becomes more and more a plot device to kick off the actual narrative, turning less and less into an emotional event in return. Let’s not forget that the writers did not even get into why Moreno was targeted and what it has to do with whatever the villains are doing this season.
Harriet continued to be a confusing character and with it she became more annoying. She lied about working with Jack for the past three years, yet she immediately called him when threatened by Max. She decides to go after Max’s daughter for leverage, yet she also ditches Jack in the train for reasons unknown, when it would have been logical for her to just remain in the train. Max was too far away to suddenly hop into the train which was already closing its doors, but why Harriet made the decision to jump out, run away and then get shot by Max is beyond me. Is this just convenient storytelling to have her almost bleeding to death (with more added convenience of Max not killing her right there after finding out she sent Jack to his daughter) or was there an actual reason for the characters to make these moves? What I liked about the whole story is Annabelle’s gift and how she came to use it almost immediately. It reminded me of FACE/OFF and how John Travolta’s daughter stabbed the man with her father’s face and voice in the leg after she learned how to do that. Of course, with Max gone into the afterlife now, chances are Annabelle will be retired as a character as well.
And I wished the same could be said about whatever is happening in the jungle. It’s the C plot now, the one part of the show that adds minutes to the episode’s running time growing shorter, and now Matice and his guys are bitching about how they are still in this jungle and how this is the fault of the only black man of their team. At least Victor’s story from the previous season still had emotional value. Maybe I am waiting for the inevitable fight between the Americans and the Venezuelans, but maybe I just want this whole thing to end and for this season to focus on what it set out to do, because I am getting the feeling that focus is lost.