Jack Ryan Season 4 Review – The final showdown lacks the grit and style of its predecessors

Season 4


Episode Guide

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

Season 4 of Prime Video’s hit Jack Ryan will be its final. Star John Krasinski’s contract wraps up with season 4 as he moves on to other, perhaps more important projects.

Since the first season back in 2018, Jack Ryan has been a dependable go-to for Prime. Adapted from Tom Clancy’s titular Ryanverse character, the show has established a loyal fanbase with consistently engaging espionage drama hinging on the one man who is forced to do it all. Krasinski’s approval ratings went through the roof as a result of this show and he continues his stint with a towering performance in this final season as well. 

At only six episodes, this one is considerably shorter than the other seasons. Although the reason for the length isn’t clear, it does seem to have an impact on the storytelling. With lesser time, the central plot prematurely unfolds, leaving out a slow-burn buildup and adopting a model where the urgency seems artificial. As such, the creators aren’t able to give the show the sendoff it deserves. And they don’t establish the story with a structure that is easily understood. Instead, the web of different subplots converges chaotically and by the time they do come together, the season becomes uninteresting.

Season 4 of Jack Ryan begins with Ryan and Elizabeth taking up two positions at the top of the pyramid of the CIA. Confirmation hearings by the Senate Intelligence Committee begin for the two as a new threat looms large. Nigerian President Udo is assassinated in his house in Lagos, sparking global unrest. What is even more disturbing for the new heads of the CIA is that the gear and hallmarks used for the assassination resemble a black-ops team.

At the same time, evil forces in the criminal underbelly of Mexico and Myanmar “converge” in a deadly combination. The Marquez Cartel and The Triad join hands to create one of the most powerful networks of arms, drugs, and other vices in the world. But the mesh runs far deeper than that.

Ryan, Elizabeth, and James Greer discover that former Director Miller was using agency resources to fuel their operations. The interconnectedness of the events forces Ryan to call in help in the form of Mike November and find a new ally in former CIA operative Domingo Chavez. The mission objective is to stop the “convergence” from happening.

This is one of the first seasons of Jack Ryan where the story is spread out nicely. I think Krasinski has the shortest screen time in terms of minutes this season and that is a good thing. It affords a little more time for the other characters to be significantly important and have meaningful arcs. The entire story does not revolve around Jack but each of the different moving parts come together to make Season 4 whole.

Although the writing is quite good, the narrative management is poor. The script has many layers of personal motivations and narratives but they don’t always come together. It is befitting to wrap up the journey for characters like James Greer and Elizabeth Wright but they aren’t brought out as one cohesive unit by the showrunners and directors. There is always a feeling of something tangential lacking in terms of direction and ethos.

The plot is difficult to follow because of the poor management of the storylines. We are only shown bits from each of them, leaving the arcs incomplete. The inconsistencies in delivering information may become annoying and frustrating as you try to piece the puzzle together.

The standard of action sequences, which have always been quite good, also dipped to some extent in this season. They aren’t as frequent and grand in scale to be considered thrilling. Efforts like November’s rescue mission and the Croatia marketplace sequence come across as half-baked. They lack inspiration, vision, and showmanship. The varying elements of this universe, such as the Marquez cartel and the Triad, had the potential to spark a more imaginative and action-filled storytelling effort, but it was lacking. 

The complaints from season 3 about the dark settings and low-light shots persist in this season as well. Although it is not as grave, they still become a bother every now and then. 

Jack Ryan has closely held on to a degree of formulaic approach to filmmaking. There is undeniable merit in imbuing the tactics that have worked before but the lack of imagination makes Season 4 dull and predictable. This is a weak and undeserving end to a franchise that was once dependable for giving us tasteful entertainment. Krasinski played the iconic character really well overall but even his best efforts weren’t enough to make his final bow memorable.

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  • Verdict - 6/10

4 thoughts on “Jack Ryan Season 4 Review – The final showdown lacks the grit and style of its predecessors”

  1. I was sorely disappointed in Season 4. While I have no issue with suspending disbelief in pursuit of enjoying a rousing action show, I had come to expect that this particular series would remain tethered to some modicum of realism. However, this season threw all that out the window (from the 75th floor no less). The gunfight in “The Marketplace” was just silly. The security force working for the Triad must have been hired thru some 3rd rate “Rent-A-Cop” employment agency. Talk about a gang that couldn’t shoot straight. But more fundamentally, the constant theme of “public service” and “doing what’s best for the American people” and the sanctimonious “Holier Than Thou” attitude of Ryan wore thin very quickly. Talk about unrealistic! It just felt insincere and simpleminded.

  2. Man, this was my favorite Amazon Prime show, just beating out Reacher. I wanted S4 to be better than S3 but it wasn’t. I really like Krasinski as an action hero and hope he does more of them instead of super hero stuff. I agree with this review. When E6 ended I was like, “Wait, this is the end?” 🙁

  3. You put to words my own feeling about season 4. A lot was packed in to this that if done with 8 episodes and richer character development would have been more satisfying. It seemed shallow in comparison to previous seasons.

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