Review by Dan Skip Allen
Jack Ryan, one of Tom Clancy's most popular characters, has had his share of days in the sun. Four actors have played this iconic character in five films, up until Amazon got the rights to Clancy's library of characters and stories. It didn't take long before they started their series for the titular character Jack Ryan. The show has gotten to its fourth season, starring John Krasinski as Jack Ryan. This season is different, but in a way, it's still the same as previous seasons.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan has been a show that has spanned the globe in its three previous seasons. The character has dealt with political intrigue here in the states, various forms of drug trafficking and corruption in South America, and prevented WWIII involving the Russians. This season, the show goes to Myanmar, Mexico, Switzerland, Croatia, Nigeria, and here in Langley, Virginia, DC, and California. All these places play into this season's main storyline.
One of the things that makes Jack Ryan a good show is that the creators Carlton Cuse and Graham Rowlan have assembled a great team of writers that keep these seasons very authentic to the world we live in. Books are one thing, but setting the series in these far-flung places makes the story represent a broader context of reality. Last season was very grounded, and I wish there were more action sequences. However, this season, despite all its locations and characters, lacks the action I've come to get used to in this show.
The series connects the dots on previous seasons with recurring characters and collateral damage regarding what happened. It doesn't skimp on the main story this season, though, and that's a good thing. Fans of the show and books have come to know this series as one with a lot of gravitas. They have to believe this stuff can happen in real life, whether we want it to or not. It's got a realistic story everybody can get behind.
Shows involving spy games have many MacGuffins and jargon regarding things that are said and or used within the context of the story. Places like the Marketplace, W.H.O. Conferences, and even the planet Pluto are used as code names for special operations. Fictional corporations also come into play. And the ever-present Senate Hearings dealing with corruption in the CIA and assassinations of foreign dignitaries are also used. These are all small pieces of an overlying story, which makes the show feel very real. Jack Ryan has always felt very real and not procedural. That makes it more enjoyable for me.
When a show like this deals with realistic things like kidnapping, that's when things get real in the true sense of the word. The creators, writers, and directors have to put the title character in a sense of danger, where he has to make life-and-death decisions regarding his loved one, as do other characters in the show. This season has to go to places that make everyone watching believe in it, and I for one believe in everything I am watching. It's one of the most realistic series I've seen in recent memory.
Jack Ryan Season 4 has many twists and turns. It takes what the creators have given it regarding past seasons and runs with it. It doesn't get bogged down in needless things. Everything viewers see in the series is there for a reason. Nothing is wasted, from an amazing cast to little story beats that have to get paid off from previous seasons. The creators, writers, and directors don't waste a minute of screen time on frivolous things that bog the story down. There is so much going on in this season, but none of it is something we wouldn't believe because of how it's all set up from the very first episode. Amazon has a winner on its hand once again with the fourth season of Jack Ryan. It is a bit bittersweet, because it is the last season as well.
Jack Ryan streams on Prime Video beginning June 30. All six episodes reviewed.