When we heard that John Krasinski was going to be the leading man in the new Amazon show Jack Ryan we were thrilled – Who didn’t love him as Jim Halpert in The Office? Amazon has been pushing the star power of the cast along with the heavy weight behind the Jack Ryan novels in hopes that this might be their first huge property that puts them on the map as a major player in the scripted television universe. Amazon is one of the most under-rated networks out there, because even though it doesn’t have one massive runaway hit like HBO had with Game of Thrones or Netflix had with Orange Is The New Black, Amazon has a really solid roster of great shows like Absentia, Bosch, Goliath and Sneaky Pete – so is Jack Ryan going to be Amazon’s Game of Thrones?
We will say this up front: We are not readers of the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan series, so we are going into our reviews purely from a television stand point.
The story goes that Jack Ryan, who is an analyst for the CIA, thinks he’s onto something big with a man named Suleiman – basically the next Osama bin Laden, but he can’t get anyone to take him seriously because the Intel he’s gathered still feels like it’s in the beginning stages. When his new boss, James Greer (played by Wendell Pierce from The Wire fame) take over his department things only get worse since Jack has already had a run in with him once before. Greer has been transferred to the head of Jack’s department after being put on leave for a while – a heavy demotion. There are all kinds of fantastical rumors as to what he did to fall so hard making everyone a little bit afraid of him.
As Jack starts to see more movement in money transactions in the millions he realizes that something is happening and it’s happening fast with Suleiman. When Greer refuses to freeze the account (he may be a little gun-shy to make a mistake after just being brought back) Jack goes over his head to make it happen causing more strife between them. The relationship between these two men has been set out beautifully and Krasinski and Pierce really have some great on screen chemistry together to make us as uncomfortable as they are in the room together.
Although Greer and Jack have very different ways of thinking about things, Greer decides to dig deeper into Jack’s past and learn as much as he can. He uncovers that Jack was a Marine who was discharged from active duty after a helicopter crash where 12 Marines died and one was left critically injured… that Marine was Jack.
When it turns out that Jack was on to something we get our first big action type scene of the show where a helicopter lands in the middle of a fancy party, scoops Jack up and flies away with him. The one thing we have had a hard time picturing is Krasnski as an action star or really part of anything action related since we know him mostly for The Office and rom-coms, but so far so good.
After landing he meets up with Greer who reveals that they’ve picked up two suspicious men that might be linked to Suleiman and the suspicious money transfers and because Greer doesn’t understand all the financial tracking that Jack has been doing, he needs his help in the interrogation – so off they go to Yemen.
We weren’t sure how this interrogation scene was going to go since the show is portraying Jack as a guy who sits behind a desk, but the reality here is that he’s a former Marine and has a lot of field experience. While some of the interrogation situations made Jack a bit uncomfortable (as we suspect they would many people), he’s thrown into the fire as he tries to find out more about the money transactions. Things seem to be going fairly well (at least as well as an interrogation can go), when the bunker comes under attack and one of their suspects is killed. The other suspect is rescued by his men and Jack realizes that he’s been talking to Suleiman the whole time.
Related – Check out our Jack Ryan episode 2 review
Guns, guns, guns! If you love a show with a lot of gunfire, then this premiere is for you! While there was certainly a lot of great action the thing we appreciated about this premiere the most is that they had the Jack and Suleiman meet face to face right away and they both know what they are up against with each other – at least on the surface. Jack Ryan also did a wonderful job of getting us invested in the back story of Suleiman and his brother and how they were victims of an airstrike on their town when they were just young boys and how they stuck together through out the worst of times including Suleiman pulling a burning log off his brother’s legs. Villains are always more exciting to watch when we also have some investment in them as well like Wilson Fisk from Daredevil. So far, we like what we’ve seen and if the rest of the season is as good as the premiere then Amazon has another hit on their hands.
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