Reacher is a bone-crunching good time.
This recap of Amazon’s Reacher season 1, episode 1, “Welcome to Margrave,” contains spoilers.
Read the season 1 review.
Reacher season 1, episode 1 recap
Just below an underpass, a man from behind is seen running for his life through shoulder-tall grass. Multiple shots from guns are muffled by a silencer. The man is killed instantly by an expert marksman. The scene doesn’t end there. The killer, dressed in a full-body suit to minimize any DNA evidence against him, begins to beat the lifeless man just after he picks up the bullet casings. They are stomping him with their boots. He is beaten so severely, he may be beyond recognition.
Reacher (played by Alan Ritchson) gets off the bus during a sunny and warm morning with the ground freshly covered from a Georgia rainstorm. He walks past a “Welcome to Margrave” sign. When he sits down in a diner, he can’t finish his first bite of peach pie in the peach state because two local cops arrest him.
Reacher walked over the underpass right around when the body was discovered. The Chief of Detectives Oscar Finley (Malcolm Goodwin) thinks he has their man, but a gigantic mass of a man quickly tells him why he was wrong. Oscar knows that his prime suspect used to be military police. He loves blues music and stopped at Margrave to learn about Blind Blake. He is unusually perceptive. Oh, and he never got to finish that slice of fine peach pie.
Oscar and his deputy, a whip-smart blonde female named Roscoe Conklin (Scream‘s Willa Fitzgerald), leave Reacher and head out to a possible suspect or witness to the crime. The man’s name is Hubble. His number had been pulled out of the witness’s shoe. While being questioned by the police, he sees an ominous-looking car outside.
He confesses to the crime immediately, even though Oscar proved he could not have done it because he took the bait and said he killed the man with a shotgun blast to the face. It’s also revealed that Hubble was at a party during and well after the witness died. He could not have done it.
Of course, Finley doesn’t find this out until later. Well, Roscoe doing due diligence gets him released from prison. What’s that now? Oh, yes, Finley sends Reacher and Hubble to the local jail for safekeeping. Except the correctional officer puts them in the general population. Hubble won’t leave Reacher’s side for protection. The giant former MP is now wearing a pair of sunglasses, and Hubble does not have his standard eyewear.
Why does this matter? Because they are immediately jumped in the shower room. The leader says, get the guy with the glasses. They jumped the wrong guy, you see. They were supposed to kill Hubble. Instead, in the bone-crunching scene, Reacher defeats the group of eight prisoners. He breaks their arms, ankles, legs, and noses. He even gouged one of the inmates’ eyes out. (Remember, as Reacher said, he started it). Eventually, the guards show up, Reacher’s prison scrubs are covered in blood, but no matter. He takes a much-deserved nap in isolation.
Officer Roscoe finds a tape of Reacher on a bus during the murder. This gets him released, but what about Hubble? You know, since he confessed to it? Well, everyone knows he is lying so those are the breaks. Just after Reacher announces that he will leave town, Roscoe invites him to her place to cook him dinner. He says yes practically immediately.
This is another incident of why Reacher is no fool.
The Chief of Detectives doesn’t like Reacher, but he goes through personal problems. He came to Margrave because he had just wrapped up a divorce. Yet, he still wears his wedding ring. Deputy Roscoe gives him the details on Reacher. It’s a military greatest hits album if there ever was one. He is a graduate of West Point. He received numerous medals, including two Silver Stars, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Army of Commendation Medal, and the Purple Heart. The guy even saved six soldiers’ lives after a bombing at a barracks, carrying two soldiers out at a time.
Yikes. This man is Uncle Sam reincarnated. Or George Patton.
Oscar attempts to build trust with Reacher by letting him go on his investigation. Reacher knows what he is doing and gleefully lets him know about it.
You love the Jack Reacher character because he always moves forward, never backward, and always runs towards trouble, never away from it. So, when he is about to get a shave and a haircut from a local barbershop owner named Mosley, he sees KJ pull up in his truck in the town square. This young punk is the son of Kliner Sr., a man who brought big business to Margrave that’s allowed freshly manicured lawns, flower beds, painted gazebos, and a polished town statue. Everyone in town now has a job.
He walks right up to KJ, with shaving cream still on his face and neck, and looks danger right in the eyes, asking him if he wants to dance. Of course, KJ takes the lead. We get a taste of Reacher’s backstory. He read that Major Jack Reacher had charges against him dropped and disappeared about an incident in a small village outside Baghdad. Now, for the first time, Reacher looks like he has lost his train of thought.
However, another body has popped up. This man was killed 40 feet away from the first John Doe discovered. While talking to the medical examiner, Finley asks if they have identified the first victim yet. They have not, he tells them. That’s because the fingerprints can not be scanned because of a dermatitis reaction.
This sends Reacher’s head swimming. He remembers what Finley said to him about deciding if someone else looks just like Reacher on that tape walking around Margrave. Reacher grabs the computer monitor to turn it around. He reads off the report. The victim was allergic to latex, and the shooter wore a protective suit to prevent DNA from transferring. The victim broke his arm. In Berlin, Reacher says. The victim had his tonsils taken out. In Seoul, Reacher says aloud.
When they reach the body in the morgue and pull it out, Reacher grabs the left hand and tells a story of how the scar of the body’s wrist was caused by them wrestling and pinning the hand to the hot stove that was just turned off without them knowing. He turns to Roscoe and Finley to tell them this one thing: That’s how my brother got this scar.
Just after Roscoe tells Reacher not to beat up a man half his size because he has kind eyes, they drive back to the police station. He tells both of them this one other thing. He is going to find out who killed his brother and kill every last one of them.
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