4/10 While a slight step up from the 3.5/10 rating I gave season 1, “Jack Ryan” continues to be extremely mediocre and makes me wish I was watching “Homeland” or “24” instead. A lot of the season has similar strengths and weaknesses to its debut season but there are several notable differences. While the romantic subplot didn’t do much for me last season, I did appreciate that it gave Ryan something to do as a character. His romantic interest served as motivation and character development for outside of his work life. With that completely gone this season, the already bland character becomes even more boring. The first season made his struggles with PTSD part of the plot and there is not even one mention of it this entire season which was ridiculous. PTSD isn’t an accessory to take on and off depending upon which season it is. It is a real life, personal struggle and while this show is fiction, it tries to be realistic and elements like this take away from that. The score was even less memorable this season and a large part of the plot I took issues with. Half of the story (if not more) this season revolves around a Venezuelan election. If you live in South America or Central America, you will probably love this season but for myself as an American and for everyone outside of South/Central America, this season has lower stakes than the first did. In the first season Ryan and co. were rushing to prevent a terrorist attack on American soil, a very intense, dangerous and sadly relatable situation for those of us who lived through 9/11 in America. To replace the American action with a foreign country’s election just didn’t hold the same weight or gravity as the immediacy of a terrorist attack. This season leans more into the analyst side of things with Ryan trying to connect dots and follow money, which is fine since that is his job and his character but it sure slows down the pacing. As for what did work, the show has the balls to kill off some characters which creates emotional, heart wrenching moments that worked for me. The cast expansion was also fantastic with Noomi Rapace, Michael Kelly and Tom Wlaschiha putting in solid work and playing interesting characters to counter act how vanilla Jack Ryan’s character is. Wendell Pierce as Greer, the best character of last season struggles between being great at his job but vulnerable with health problems and Pierce did a great job yet again this season with his complicated role. The episode running times stay brief enough to never overstay their welcome as this is a show that, while disappointing, won’t waste too much of your time. After initially being excited for this show since it is in my wheelhouse, these first two below average seasons have made me feel obligated to watch the third season as opposed to thrilled to. Hopefully delays from the Coronavirus will give the writers more time to make Ryan an interesting character and provide an overarching thread for the plot next season that gets everyone’s blood pumping. Until then, stick to the aforementioned “Homeland” and/or “24” if you want similar content done on a much better level.
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