Jack Ryan Season 3 Review – This espionage drama comes in hot “from the cold”

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5

 

John Krasinski is officially Hollywood royalty. The actor has come a long way since the days of The Office. He now has a horror franchise under his belt, a comic book character in the Marvel universe, and a successful espionage series with multiple seasons. That lanky, indifferent, and “effortless” (strictly according to Michael Scott) dude who bagged the receptionist, turns into the bulky and rugged Jack Ryan, the CIA’s only hope to avert a full-blown war between the US and Russia in Jack Ryan’s Season 3.

While the series once again delivers first-rate entertainment, season three brings back unruly memories of unrealistic set pieces and predictable ends, although uncharacteristically some well-brewed and authentic spy work.

If one were not concerned with the plot, one could find plenty in a roundhouse tour around Europe. You definitely get to see the best parts of the continent. As Ryan chases the elusive Project Sokol across the continent, he goes through cities like Rome, Prague, Budapest, and many more undiscovered places that come straight from the best-looking tour guides. If you were struggling to find inspiration to plan that backpacking through Europe experience, Jack Ryan’s season 3 will come in handy.

On a more serious note, the narrative elements in this season are reminiscent of the treacherous political turmoil Eastern Europe finds itself in presently. We all know about the high tensions between state heads and Jack Ryan’s writers gauge a similar feeling in their show’s universe. The whole ordeal between NATO and Russia is weaponized by a rogue faction trying to restore the lost glory of the USSR.

Ryan investigates intelligence that points towards Sokol being reignited. But his intrusion is not taken lightly and a narrative is spun against him, branding him a traitor. Luka Gocharov (James Cosmo), an erstwhile Soviet commander, now sits as the head of the SVR. He bands with Ryan and Greer (Wendell Pierce) and Elizabeth Wright (Betty Gabriel) of the agency to figure out the exact motives of the cabal trying to goad the world into war. Czech President Alena Kovac (Nina Hoss) and her father Petr (Peter Guinness) douse a fire of their own when Russian Minister Popov is murdered on their soil. While there is an attempt to resuscitate Project Sokol – a program to build nuclear weapons undetectable to the radar – the real hunt for something more controlling brews transiently.

Unlike the previous two seasons, the ensemble is given more responsibility here. We move away from Ryan’s personal life and each actor in the story has a role to play. Krasinski does not shoulder all the responsibility, acting-wise, and having stalwarts like Hoss, Guinness, and Pierce helps balance the scales. All churn-out refined performances fine-tuned to the requirements of the roles.

There is much less drama this time, the absence of which replaced by the elaborate depiction of classic espionage teachings in full flow. Mind games, manipulation, and strategizing dominate how the story moves forward and how the spies settle scores. This stands in contrast to how they are usually presented – going no holds barred with their fists and guns.

The practicality of diplomacy is done away with to embrace the viability of starting and concluding the plot within eight episodes. The makers certainly do not have the time that people behind The Americans had to marinate the processes and systems. Everything politics-wise is too simplistic in season 3 of Jack Ryan but given those logistical impossibilities, some leeway must be afforded on that front. Some smart decisions are made to make the plot cut-throat and keep us engaged.

These interludes are important cornerstones around which we see the increasing connection between Ryan and Luka being established. This camaraderie of sorts becomes season three’s soul. However, the age-old ailments for shows like Jack Ryan eventually play spoilsport. Realism and predictability are unavoidable metrics to objectively assess such shows; unfortunately, Jack Ryan does not score too well on them.

Despite the illusory beginning, Jack Ryan’s season 3 chooses the easy way out but not without doing all the hard work to set up an enticing cross-continent chase. It is a show for people with simple tastes and moderate expectations looking to ease out the stress of everyday life.


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  • Verdict - 7/10
    7/10
7/10

9 thoughts on “Jack Ryan Season 3 Review – This espionage drama comes in hot “from the cold””

  1. I too thought it was a little dark. What struck me most was the terrible foreign accents (mostly Russian) speaking English. Why on earth would all these foreigners be speaking English???? Should have been in their native languages with subtitles. I was reminded of how amazing the show Narcos was with all of the subtitles and thought Jack Ryan should have done the same. We had to turn on Closed Captioning just to understand some of the words. Overall, I enjoyed the series (much more after turning on closed captioning) but thought too many connections came to easily. Could have been 10 episodes at least.

  2. I don’t understand the picture to dark claims, because I saw it just fine.

    I do have a problem with Arnav Srivastava’s last sentence “It is a show for people with simple tastes and moderate expectations looking to ease out the stress of everyday life.”

    Arnav, can watch and enjoy sophisticated movies like Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse and Gaspar Noé’s Vortex and the third season Jack Ryan as guilty pleasure.
    You can also watch the third season Jack Ryan and Family guy and still not falling under the pejorative definition of “people with simple taste”.

    The show itself is so predictable, full with sci-fi situations and campy acting that is quite cringing to watch. But somehow it is better than fast and furious, transformers and not so far from your average James Bond movies (sans the hype and marketing around it), so it is watchable.

    It feels like a show that was written in the 80s and when they picked up the script they decided that they are going to do it precisely as it is was written without any adaptations to contemporary social changes (for better and worse).

    My biggest question, is how John Krasinski who established himself on the past couple of years as a serious filmmaker, agreed to act and keep acting in this show? Was the money that good?

  3. Stopped watching after episode 2. So dark we couldn’t see what was happening.. very disappointing

  4. We are choosing not to continue with season 3. It is so dark on our screen that we do not know what is going on anyway. Such a waste of time and money.

  5. I agree that too many scenes were shot way too dark. I also had a hard time seeing characters. And I thought previous seasons, especially the first, were much better.

  6. Too many shoot outs for my taste and lacking in meaningful content. Enjoyed season one thoroughly. Season two was a bit disappointing and season three lost me by the second episode.

  7. I thought it was the best season so far. The acting was of a higher standard. The camara work was excellent. Highly entertaining.

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