For Episode 2, “The French Connection”, of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, we start in Paris, where a priest on his way home gets mugged and stabbed by two guys who take his wallet. Suleiman’s guys? I guess so, but honestly, I still don’t know why we saw that.
Back at Langley, Jack’s (John Krasinski) hurtin’ bad after the attack in Yemen – sporting a new stab wound and a messed-up back. He sucks it up and gets dressed for the big meeting upstairs, where he sits on the sidelines with Greer and Gloria. Pretty much everybody who’s higher up than he is – including Deputy Director Nathan Singer (Timothy Hutton) and Director Sue Joyce (played by the amazing (Blair Brown) – sit around the big kids’ table and review the video footage of Jack’s fight with Suleiman (Ali Suliman) and his brother Ali (Haaz Sleiman). Nobody’s happy about what went down, especially since the bad guys got away.
Off Singer’s word, the higher-ups assume Suleiman is part of ISIS – to which Jack immediately mutters his disagreement. All eyes shoot over to him and Greer prompts him to stand up and speak. Jack explains that perhaps Suleiman was ISIS before, but not now. A higher-up asks him how it is that Jack knew about Suleiman and nobody else did. Jack says he was “just following the money,” and that the way Suleiman is handling his is way more sophisticated than the way ISIS usually does things. He’s acting on his own.
Greer steps in and adds that ISIS would normally be happy to claim responsibility for an attack like this, but they haven’t. Singer counters that that doesn’t constitute proof of anything. Greer counters his counter by saying that he didn’t believe Jack at first, either – but after what happened in Yemen, he’s convinced. They’re dealing with a whole new, Bin Laden-level threat – guys who, in his words, “have their sh*t wired extremely tight.”
Singer then proposes forming a task force to Director Joyce. She asks who’ll be running point. Knowing full well that Greer expects to get the job, Singer smugly gives the honor to CTC Europe instead, supposedly since Suleiman’s financing seems to be originating in France. Greer, Gloria and Jack are outraged – Greer says they’re the ones who found Suleiman, so TFAD should get the job. Singer says Greer’s people will support CTC Europe and report any new intel to them. The meeting breaks up and Jack asks Greer if he said something wrong – but Greer assures him that what Singer did had nothing to do with him. Noticing how he’s wincing with pain, Greer tells Jack to take a couple hours and go get his back checked out.
Back in Yemen, Suleiman’s brother Ali sits on a dock, sketching the boats (like a pro, I might add). Suleiman joins him, and Ali asks why he’s being sent on the new mission instead of one of the others. Suleiman says he’s the only one he trusts to get the job done. They embrace and Ali boards a fishing boat, waving goodbye to his brother.
At Washington Memorial Hospital, Jack goes in for an MRI. The terrible noises the machine makes unnerve him, bringing back bad memories that he tries to shut out. Afterwards, the doctor tells him he’s lucky he only has a sprain and mild swelling given how screwed up his back already is from prior surgeries. She wants to give him hydrocodone but Jack refuses. No drugs. She tells him to ice his back and try some yoga after the pain subsides. Jack’s like, yeah, right. Then he asks if she’ll point him toward Epidemiology.
Jack finds Cathy (Abbie Cornish) in her office, and she’s pleasantly surprised to see him. He apologizes for his leaving so abruptly at the party, and she says, “Yeah, that was quite an exit,” before asking what the big deal was. Thinking fast, he comes up with a BS story about a shipment of bad lettuce to the Navy that needed his immediate attention. Of course, Cathy looks at him like, seriously? But she drops the subject as they do their walk-and-talk through the office. Jack asks if he can take her out for dinner. Cathy answers by saying she asked her dad about him.
Jack’s face goes even paler than usual, but he braves asking what he said. She says Joe called him smart but “too good for his own good.” But then she says she doesn’t really care what her dad thinks anyway and types her phone number into Jack’s cell. Then she suggests he do some yoga for his back and leaves. Jack looks at her like, ‘oh, I’m fine,’ but as soon as she turns her back he looks like he’s gonna pass out.
When Jack returns to Langley, a couple of his co-workers bug him for details on the Yemen incident – and even though Jack says he wasn’t there, they all know he was. Then another co-worker asks him for what I think was fantasy baseball advice, but I really have no idea what they said. Jack drops a load of sports-geek knowledge on her before getting called into Greer’s office.
Greer slips Jack Suleiman’s cell phone, which he nicked on the down-low, saying the company IT guys couldn’t crack the password because they’re using geometry algorithms instead of personal info. Jack corrects him and says algebra uses algorithms, not geometry – and Greer’s just like, whatever. He tasks Jack with figuring out the password, since he knows Suleiman better than anyone.
Back in Syria, Suleiman returns home with a bunch more shady associates in tow – which Hanin (Dina Shihabi) isn’t liking, but she can’t deny how happy the kids are to see their father, and how happy she is to have her husband back home. But as they serve dinner to their new houseguests that night, Hanin notices one of the new guys, Yazid (Kamel Labroudi) making downright rapey eyes at her oldest daughter, Sara (Nadia Affolter). Hanin sends her daughter out of the room and puts Yazid right down with a pointed glare – but the threat still remains.
Jack gets called upstairs to meet with Singer, who tries the same lame, small-talk angle that he did with Greer – with pretty much the same results. After answering a few questions, Jack politely asks what it is he wants. Singer says he’d like Jack to work directly with him and the CTC Europe team to nab Suleiman – something which could really advance his position. Jack tries to give the credit to Greer, but Singer warns Jack not to hitch his wagon to that falling star. Greer’s “talents” don’t translate well to Langley, he says. Jack asks for time to think it over and Singer agrees, but not to take too long.
Meanwhile, Greer takes some personal time to have coffee with his friend Kamal (Nasser Faris), who says everyone misses him at the mosque, and asks the same uncomfortable, small-talky questions Singer asked. With Kamal though, Greer opens up – turns out he converted to Islam in order to marry his wife, but now that they’re splitting up, Greer doesn’t see much point in praying anymore. Kamal understands, but gives Greer some prayer beads to take with him, saying that Allah is always with him anyway.
When Greer returns to Langley, he finds Jack doing yoga on the conference room floor. He’s been going nearly insane trying to figure out the password to Suleiman’s phone, with no luck. Greer says it was worth a try and is about to leave when a super-pissed off Jack demands to know what Greer did in Karachi. Greer says he’ll talk about that when Jack tells him about Afghanistan. Greer reiterates that he’s not Jack’s buddy and doesn’t owe him anything. But before the argument can escalate, Greer notices the video of Suleiman at the Black Ops site on the monitor. He says the way Suleiman presents himself to be cuffed indicates he’s done time before. So Jack uses his nifty new SQL thingamajig to find his prison record in France – and bam! The password turns out to be his inmate number: 24601. Just kidding.
Greer and Jack take the new info they get from the phone to higher-up Shelby Farnsworth (Daniel Kash). Singer drops in just as they reveal that all the calls made from the cell phone are to an apartment in Paris. Greer wants to head right out there and nab him. Singer jumps down Greer’s throat for going around him, but Farnsworth decides to pass the ball to Jack. Who does he think should handle it? Loaded looks bounce back and forth all around – but Jack says that he and Greer should go. Farnsworth agrees, leaving Singer fuming and no doubt plotting revenge.
Suleiman’s brother Ali arrives in Paris and does an exchange of cash for a sh*t-ton of SIM cards from some scraggly dude at a café – SIM cards they’ll be using to transfer money into another account, to replace what Treasury froze. And back in Syria, while sneaking a look into Dad’s workroom/weapons cache/explosives storage, Sara finds herself cornered by rapey Yazid. He just about forces her to suck on a lollipop in an innuendo-filled scene that goes on for a torturously long time before Sara’s little brother Samir (Karim Zein) interrupts, giving her the opportunity to break away. Terrified, Sara runs right into her mother’s arms, asking why Dad brought the men to their house. Hanin promises she won’t let anyone hurt her, but it’s clear from her expression that she’s just as scared.
That night, Hanin tries to talk to Suleiman about what’s going on, asking them why he brought such unsavory types to stay in the same place as his children. She says she wants to support him, but what he’s doing now is so different than before – that he’s different, and she’s afraid the others are trying to use him. Suleiman gets offended by that and puts an end to the conversation by saying that she has to trust him because he’s her husband and starts making love to her. But the expression on her face is anything but into it – she can’t feel anything but the fear that something terrible is going to happen.
Greer, Jack and Matice (John Hoogenakker) – who introduces himself as “Garth” – arrive in Paris and meet with the Police Captain, Sandrine Arnaud (Marie-Josée Croze) and SWAT Leader Lt. Tariq LaPointe (Réginal Kudiwu). Sandrine lays down the law with them, saying she expects her orders to be followed. Any problem with that? The guys say no, and they all load up into police vans, doing a lovely scenic tour of all the famous landmarks while they talk about Suleiman’s plans. Sandrine asks if he’s going to attack Paris – Greer says they don’t know but that the money for whatever he’s going to do is coming out of Paris. Jack adds that they’re going to use an app that allows money to be transferred onto SIM cards in ten thousand-dollar installments.
Jack then asks Matice what the “Garth” thing was about. Matice says it’s a Garth Brooks nod and that it’s just fun to give himself a different name with every op. Jack looks at him like, ‘okay, crazy dude,’ as Matice shoves a handgun at him, even though technically Jack’s not supposed to carry. Matice shows him how to use it and warns him to keep it pointed down so he doesn’t accidentally shoot him in the a**. Jack replies by expertly checking the gun and chambering a round, putting Matice pretty firmly in his place.
They arrive at the apartment building in the Seine-Saint-Denis area and begin a stealthy deployment of what seems like an entire army of cops. Greer and Matice stay with Sandrine and Tariq up front while Greer instructs Jack to bring up the rear. But as the line of cops make their way down the hall, a kid pretending to be playing makes a call on his cell as soon as they pass by.
Inside the apartment, Ali and a bunch of other associates sit around the kitchen table smoking and listening to rap while they furiously transfer money using the SIM cards. Suleiman’s hooked up to Ali by phone, listening in, waiting for the transfers to be completed. But then Ali gets the warning call from the lookout kid and everybody scrambles to pack up and get out the guns hidden all over the apartment. Ali then pulls out a suicide vest and looks at the others – somebody’s gotta wear it. Nobody looks eager to take the job, but finally, the only woman in the group steps forward.
Jack watches from the rear as the cops surround the apartment door and rig it with charges. But shots blast through the door at them before they can even finish – and then it’s chaos as a major firefight ensues. Ali takes one in the gut, but he manages to escape out the bathroom window and drop to the next floor down. He then tries to blend in with the rest of the tenants as they evacuate.
Sandrine orders Jack to get an injured Tariq outside to the ambulance – and while they’re going down, Jack notices blood on the railing. He looks down and sees Ali and doesn’t hesitate to leave a bewildered Tariq on the stairs to go after him. He gets down to the street and Ali sees him coming after him. He does his best to run as Jack aims in on him. Civilians keep moving in front of Jack, blocking his shot – but it’s clear in his expression that he’s weighing firing anyway. Back in the apartment, Greer and Sandrine enter just as the remaining cops corner the terrified girl stuck wearing the suicide vest. She begs them not to shoot but they do anyway, and she lets go of the detonator.
And outside, Jack startles when the explosion rings out, turning and watching in horror as the apartment blows up.
There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like in this episode. It’s packed with plot, but it really moves along. No wasted time anywhere – well, except for that scene of the priest getting mugged in the beginning. Does anybody know what that was about? And that skeezy scene where Yazid makes Sara eat the lollipop. Ick. I mean, I know it was supposed to be uncomfortable to watch, but it was too long. Way too much ick.
I’m loving the inner politicking playing out between Singer and Greer and now Jack, whose brazen righteousness and no-a**-kissing attitude in a place of so much corruption just tickles me to death. Watching him burn Singer with the Paris op was so delicious – and props to Tim Hutton for making his character so delightfully hate-able.
I also like the fact that Suleiman and Ali, and especially Hanin’s characters are so well-developed. While there’s never any question as to who the bad guys are, it’s much more interesting to see that the bad guys aren’t really bad guys. They have families and loved ones too and showing all that makes for a much more emotionally effective story.
And while I’m quite sure nothing happened to Greer – because, well, it’s Greer and nothing can happen to him – I am wondering if he’s been injured in the explosion…? What’d y’all think?