Jack Ryan “Pilot”

You know, a lot of folks around here (Jimmy, Watson, that weird guy in the corner that smells like bad milk) have been going on about how good this series based on Tom Clancy’s best known fictional character is.  Sometimes my students tell me that, too, and if I want to depress myself, I let them know Jack Ryan was in movies from 20+ years ago.  One kid got really excited to learn there was a movie of The Hunt for Red October.

I kinda liked that one as I recall.

Anyway, I might as well take a look myself.

Well, so far, so good.  Why is it the two Lost guys made shows Watson loved so much when they went their separate ways?  Lindelof, of course, made this past year’s Watchmen.  Jack Ryan is the work of his former partner Carlton Cuse.

Furthermore, we have John Krasinski, the actor that is improbably married to Emily Blunt.

I’m not even sure how those two even knew each other, truth be told.

Krasinski seems like an odd choice for Jack.  Past Jacks have included the likes of Harrison Ford twice, Chris Pine, Ben Affleck, and Alec Baldwin.  Granted, no TV series is going to be able to afford an actor on their level right now, but Krasinski has shown a lot of talent in recent years.  He came close to playing Captain America, and the MCU doesn’t make poor casting decisions.  And then came A Quiet Place where he wrote, directed, and starred in the thing.  The man has a lot of talent.

OK, so, we got some good potential talent in front of and behind the camera.  How’d the actual story go?

It was pretty smart.  Jack’s an analyst in the CIA, a numbers guy.  He gets on his new boss James Greer’s bad side on the boss’s first day, but he does seem to see a $9 million deposit going somewhere questionable.  After a bumbling meet-cute with love interest Cathy–check that, during a bumbling meet-cute with love interest Cathy–Jack gets summoned to Yemen to assist in an interrogation of some terror suspects.  He uses some common sense with a phone call to prove the one guy is exactly who they’re looking for, but then some smart stuff happens.

First, some guys sell some terrorist corpses to the soldiers present.  Jack, meanwhile, tries talking to the suspect’s bodyguard, realizing the guy speaks English and Jack just tries being nice (what a concept compared to, oh, everybody else there).  But then there’s attack on the base, the one dead guy wasn’t dead, and the bodyguard was the real terrorist.  The only thing keeping a wounded Jack alive is he held onto a grenade that would explode if someone killed him.

You know, I think I may enjoy this if it can stay this clever.  Spy stories should always be clever.

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