Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 2 Review and Episodes 1-2 Recap: An Emotional Test For Our “Data Analyst”

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 31, 2019 (Last updated: March 16, 2024)
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Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Season 2 Review and Episodes 1-2 Recap
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Season 2 (Credit - Amazon Prime Video)


Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 2 presents an entirely new challenge, but the key unique selling point is the character development of the lead character.

The opening season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan introduced the world to a fresh-faced John Krasinski playing the multi-skilled character that enjoyed cycling to work and claiming he had found the next Bin Laden. Fast forward to Season 2, and we are in a whole new ball-game. We have an entirely new story to ponder.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 2 Review: A Great Addition To The Series

We are no longer faced with the baby-faced actor that swooned hearts in The Office US. The versatile John has grown a shabby stubble for Jack Ryan and presents a character that has become more cynical than before, and less naive.

There are several story arcs that conjoin in Season 2 but the selling point is the new Jack. After deciding to remain in the USA, throwing the odd lecture at aspiring students, Jack Ryan is faced with his biggest challenge to date. One that is close to his heart, and changes his development indefinitely.

Jack is astoundingly more interesting due to the wounds he carries in Season 2. Traumatised by the events of last season, he shimmies through action sets with less care. His decision making is more irrational, emotional and less calculated. The Amazon Prime series has flagrantly built a character ready for Season 3. It feels like a filler for more interesting stories to come.

And that does not discredit Season 2. Jack Ryan focuses on the Venezuelan Government with an upcoming election; corruption reeks in the air with the leader facing strong opposition, and when a satellite is shot in the sky from the South China Sea, Jack’s analytical skills and intuition encourages a diplomatic investigation. There’s plenty of complexities to enjoy, and solutions are less simple than ever in Season 2, with more intense political stakes.

You may have heard in the casting news that Noomi Rapace stars in Season 2. While plot details will have to be left out, her character is a welcome addition to Jack Ryan. The actress proves once more that she owns the drama/action genre, fitting in with ease into Jack’s world. The only let down is that she is not in it enough,

In its eight chapters, Jack Ryan Season 2 is less Data-Analyst and more boots-on-the-ground espionage. Jack, Jim and their acquaintances tend to remove their diplomatic professionalism at the door and have free reign in implementing their own missions. It’s laid back “do what you want Jack” approach makes for less-realistic, but more interesting storytelling. It loops back to his character development — a character on edge, with an emotional objective and less of a factual one.

Season 2 is a genuinely well-crafted addition to the franchise.

Jack Ryan Season 2 Episode 1 Recap

Jack Ryan Season 2 Episode 1 (Credit – Amazon Prime Video)

The writers decided not to play around with Season 2, getting off to a fatal start immediately. “Cargo” begins with a ship in the South China Sea. It launches what looks like a missile.

24 hours later in Moscow, we see Jim Greer (Wendell Pierce) staggering across the city. He meets a Russian man, and gives him a new ID for his son, but claims he needs more intel. Jim wants to know more about the ship, believing it’s sending an unregistered satellite over Venezuela. When he heads back to the street, Jim collapses.

And then we finally get introduced to Jack Ryan in Episode 1. He’s a man with heavy stubble — he’s not as clean-looking as he was in Season 1. Life looks to have taken its toll slightly. Jack is delivering a lecture on different perspectives in the media and hints that Venezuela has massive resources. Jack also mentions that Gloria Bonalde is running for President and may fix their issues. This scene was purely created to set the story. After his lecture, his friend, a Senator named Moreno, throws him a surprise party. It’s his birthday.

Like last season, Jack has a hunch and he raises it to the department heads alongside Moreno. Jack raises that Russia is secretly selling weapons to Venezuela, but he is brought back down to reality for not having enough evidence. Jack is tasked to visit Venezuela and asking President Reyes directly about the shipments.

We learn that Jim has a heart condition and he is lectured by his boss about his health. But Jim ignores the warning signs and continues gathering intel; he learns the ship he has been tracking was not Russian. He also learns that Jack is tracking the same vessel and immediately asks for reassignment to Venezuela. Our two characters did not take long to be back together.

Midway through Episode 1, Jack and Moreno arrive in Venezuela and speak to President Reyes. Predictably, he denies all knowledge of Russia providing arms by shipment. In a side scene, a man, unknown by name, is asking about time frames and he receives keys to some storage units.

After a failed conversation with President Reyes, Jack is getting eyed up by a woman at the bar (Noomi Rapace), but he is soon sidetracked by Jim. I have to raise that Jack looks ridiculously irritated that he cannot pursue the woman — he has one thing on his mind, just like last season. Both characters learn they are looking at the same ship.

Jack finally meets up with the woman giving him the “come to bed eyes” at the bar. She is called Lena and knows many languages. They soon sleep together, but after, while Jack is asleep, Lena (I assume that is not her real name) sneaks around his room and looks at the photos of the shipments. She bugs his room.

Jack Ryan Season 2 Episode 1 concludes in tragic circumstances; Jack and Moreno’s convoy is attacked, with explosives almost killing the entire crew. The unknown man from earlier is sniping them, with the risk of death imminent. Jack manages to escape the car, but Senator Moreno is sniped and killed.

When the episode closes, Jack is shaken, and traumatized, and has the task of ringing Moreno’s wife. I assume this moment is a turning point for Jack, with Moreno being an old friend of his who helped him earlier in his life.

Jack Ryan Season 2 Episode 2 Recap

Jack Ryan Season 2 Episode 2 (Credit – Amazon Prime Video)

At the start of Episode 2, “Tertia Optio”, a wounded, shaken Jack Ryan reaches the U.S Embassy. He tells Jim and Mike November (Michael Kelly) that he is not leaving Venezuela until he knows the person that killed Moreno. An injured Filiberto Ramos also turns up at the embassy begging for asylum for him and his mother after his family was killed in the previous chapter. Filiberto claims he knows who the senator is.

I would just like to note the fact that Michael Kelly shows up in almost every TV show that heavily involves the government — his agent has stuck to his USP and ran with it for years.

Jack, Jim and Mike interview Filiberto in Episode 2, and learn that he was paid off to change the traffic access for the convoy Jack Ryan and Moreno were attacked in. Jack is furious, calling him a coward. Jack is fuelled with rage. Filiberto is tasked with drawing the person who paid him off.

Jack immediately goes covert, his emotions getting the best of him. He ends up on a shipping containment trying to find information, but a member of staff sniffs him out as suspicious. Luckily, Lena helps him out of a tight spot. Lena calls herself Lee now and is formerly KSK. Lee is looking for a businessman and provides Jack with an offer — she will help Jack with Reyes if Jack helps her find her businessman. Lee gives Jack a recording.

The recording is Miguel Ubarri talking about Gloria Bonalde with his wife and how she is likely to win the next election. Jim and Mike find out Jack his getting his intel from a foreign agent, and question his motives. Their next plan is to use Ubirra against Reyes by leaking the recording.

Jack and co. trap a man named Mateo Bastos, Head of Security for President Reyes — they play the recording and then let him go.

At the midway point, Lee visits Jack at his room again, and I did wonder for a brief second if she was looking for round two. Jack removes all sexual tension between them both and reveals that he knows who she is. Lee reveals she is looking for a man named Max Schenkel.

Episode 2 moves to the next day. Jack and Jim are requested to go to a meeting with President Reyes, who claims he has brought the men to justice who killed Senator Moreno. Jack has lost all sense of diplomacy at this point, whispering to Reyes, “I know you killed him”. Jack also squeezes Mateo Bastos’ left arm which gives him shooting pains. Jack has figured out that the dog bit him. It was Mateo Bastos who attacked Filiberto.

With the President celebrating his daughter’s birthday, there is an assassination attempt on Jack. The man tries drowning him, choking him and throwing a plastic bag over Jack’s head but our lead character is resourceful and manages to stab the unknown man in the eye. Jim overhears the attempt and ends up chasing the man, but fails. Jim reacts irrationally to Jack when he asks if he is okay. Jack is completely unaware of Jim’s health problems, and I am sure it will become a problem later in the season.

Jack Ryan Season 2 Episode 2 ends with a disgruntled, angry Jack showing the drawing by Filiberto to Lee. Jack demands the truth off her and asks if it is Max Schenkel. Lee gives him a story about how she went to boarding school with Max, and later in life, Max failed in an operation and fled. Jack is furious that Lee knew that Max was a murderer. After pointing a gun at her for a few minutes, he states he has no reason to trust her and walks off.

What did you think of Jack Ryan Season 2? Comments below.

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