Episode 1 -| Review Score – /5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – /5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – /5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – /5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – /5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – /5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – /5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – /5
The Terminal List has all the ingredients to be a sure-fire hit. High-octane action, twists and turns along with enough treachery and intrigue to keep you guessing. Unfortunately, all of those ingredients are spread out far too thinly across an 8 hour run-time that could have very easily been half that length.
Chris Pratt isn’t anywhere near charismatic enough in this role to carry the show through its slower segments, while a revolving door of characters do little to get you invested in the supporting players. This is one disappointing thriller.
Based on the Jack Carr novel of the same name, The Terminal List essentially takes elements from other movies and shows of the genre – from Bourne Identity and Mission Impossible through to Reacher and Jack Ryan. It then grabs the core elements of those and blends them together into what should be a pulsating thriller.
The story itself centers on a former Navy SEAL officer called James Reece (Chris Pratt). The story opens with a tense, covert mission deep in enemy territory. Reece leads his men to try and take out high-profile target… but there’s a problem. Their entry point is rigged with explosives and enemies quickly ambush them.
It’s a bloodbath, and as explosives are triggered Reece is one of the few remaining men to survive the incident. With the plan a bust, the soldiers head back to US soil and are debriefed. Mourning the loss of their brothers, Reece soon finds that the war has followed them home.
When his friends begin to die in mysterious ways, Reece quickly learns that there’s a conspiracy going all the way up the chain of command. Naturally, Reece begins to investigate further, setting up a kill list as he begins going after those responsible.
On paper, the premise is simple and effective, with the idea of a kill list essentially working as an ever-evolving mission for Reece to conduct. As the episodes tick by, and more and more names are added and crossed off that list, The Terminal List begins to slow down and become a laborious chore.
I mentioned that the episode run-time is around 8 hours and honestly, this show could easily have told the same story in half that length. Flashbacks are repeatedly constantly, dreamy sequences of Reece struggling mentally, and drawn out segments for supporting players that never stick around long enough to get fully invested in their plights.
The Terminal List juggles Reece’s investigation with another character, a female reporter by the name of Katie Buranek (Constance Wu). This works reasonably well to balance out the power dynamic, with Reece doing much more of the physical work and Katie using her skills to look deeper into the root cause of the operation-gone-wrong.
The trouble is, the show skews much further into the investigative work than it perhaps should, with numerous scenes early on involving board meetings and deals that essentially amount to busywork by the end. I’m being careful not to reveal spoilers here but by the end of episode 5, you’ll wonder just what the point of it all was. And to be honest, that episode’s cliffhanger feels like a natural ending…but then we still have 3 more hours of content to get through.
This wouldn’t ordinarily be an issue with a more pacey screenplay but The Terminal List meanders through even the most intense of scenes. In episode 6 we get what should be an exciting cat and mouse chase as Reece goes on the run. Instead of a brutal, pulsating 10 minute affair, or a nail-biting sequence like that car chase in Bourne Identity, we get a solid hour of trekking through the wilderness.
The whole episode splits up tiny bursts of gunfire around flashbacks, radio chatter and Tony Layun (JD Pardo) organizing traffic.
The pacing is ultimately The Terminal List’s most fatal flaw and something that drags everything down into mediocrity. There’s definitely a good story in here somewhere but it definitely didn’t need 8 episodes to tell it.
Visually, the show does look pretty good although once more the current trend with filming everything wearing sunglasses and the brightness turned down to 0 at night makes it difficult to discern exactly what’s happening during action scenes in the dark. It’s a trend that really needs to stop in Hollywood and The Terminal List is another example of why.
Compared to other staples of this genre, both on the big and small screen, The Terminal List is not a very memorable series. It overstays its welcome long before the final credits despite some nice twists right at the very end.
The Terminal List starts brightly but fizzles out before the final credits, making for a rather disappointing thriller.
The Terminal List releases on Amazon Prime 1st July 2022 worldwide!
Verdict - 4.5/10