In the sixth episode of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, entitled “Sources and Methods,” we start with a flashback to six months earlier in Liberia in Africa. Two men outfitted in rudimentary hazmat gear dig up a body in a WHO (World Health Organization) cemetery full of Ebola victims. Once they have the corpse bagged and loaded in the back of their pickup, the men clean up and take off their masks – it’s Suleiman (Ali Suliman) and Ali (Haaz Sleiman). They rest and rehydrate while their local guide gets the duty of refilling the grave – but the guide doesn’t bother using the same safety gear. (Hmm…not too smart.)
Back in present day, Hanin (Dina Shihabi), Sara (Nadia Affolter) and Rama (Arpy Ayvazian) sit in the crowded bed of a truck headed for Kusalani, Turkey. Rama shifts around uncomfortably, needing to pee. Hanin notices urine on the floor from others, so she tells Rama to just go – but understandably grossed out by the idea and the surroundings, she refuses.
Meanwhile, Greer and Jack (Wendell Pierce, John Krasinski) arrive at the airport in Adana, where Lance Miller’s (Jonathan Bailey) waiting for them, ready to go. As they drive, we find out that Lance trained with one of Greer’s friends in Vienna. They both go on a bit about how amazing Austrian pastries are and then Greer asks about the contact they’re going to meet.
Jack asks if it’s the smugglers they’re meeting – Lance says it’s actually the guy who runs the local dope and sex trafficking rackets, but that they’re related. Jack makes a snide remark about how lucky they are and Lance, not appreciating the attitude Jack’s brought with him, just says, “They’re all bad guys, buddy.”
Just so happens, as they’re stopped to allow some pedestrians to cross in front of them, our favorite drone pilot Victor (John Magaro) walks out of the airport with a gym bag. A taxi driver approaches him asking if he needs a ride, and Victor tells the guy he needs to get to Syria. The driver thinks he’s joking, but when he realizes he’s serious, he tells Victor that nobody’s gonna want to take him there. Victor pulls a fat wad of cash out of the gym bag and the driver’s like, “oh, did I say that? I meant hop in!”
Back in D.C., at Washington Memorial Hospital, we see Cathy (Abbie Cornish) working hard studying some reports about a new Ebola victim. Her friend Rebecca (Natalie Brown) walks up and asks her about it – Cathy says the whole thing is bizarre because the new victim’s suffering from a strain that’s already been eradicated (and if we’re watching closely, we can see that the victim is none other than the poor local guide that Suleiman and Ali used in that first scene). Cathy says her boss is telling her that her findings are off, but she’s double-checked. Rebecca says she should go around the boss and consult with the British doctors working in Liberia. Then she asks Cathy about going out for drinks later, but Cathy’s far too involved in work to even think about it.
Back in Turkey, the smuggling truck arrives at a hidden rest stop off the highway. The smugglers let everyone out and tell them they have fifteen minutes before they’re back on the road headed out to the coast. Hanin and the girls walk through the market-like setup, with vendors selling life jackets and people mobbing phone-charging stations.
As Hanin takes the girls to the disgusting-smelling bathroom tent, guess who shows up? Yep, it’s rapey Yazid (Kamel Yabroudi) miraculously back and badder than ever. He approaches one of the smugglers and pays him to find out where Hanin is – the guy points toward the tent. Luckily, Hanin sees him coming. Rapey Yazid storms into the tent and bullies all the women out, searching each stall – just as he finds Sara and Rama, pow! Hanin smashes him upside the head with a rock and then shoves him into a lovely pool of sh*t. Then she and the girls take off on foot into the brush.
That night in D.C., Cathy video-calls her colleague, Sean Duncan (Vince Nappo) – who tells her more about the Ebola victim. Turns out that six months ago, two foreign guys hired his uncle to help them steal a body from the WHO cemetery – but when the uncle got cold feet, the nephew stepped in. Cathy’s worried – what the hell do they want with the corpse? (Gee, I dunno, Cath, you’re the genius scientist, take a wild guess. Gotta love lame dialogue.) After she gets off the line with Sean, she immediately types up an e-mail to the CDC which she marks “Urgent – possible containment breach.”
Back in Turkey, as Lance, Greer and Jack roll up on the local brothel, Greer mentions quietly to Jack that he needs to “act casual” – but Jack’s not even trying to hear any of that. When they’re brought into the main lounge and told to wait, he seethes at seeing all of the prostitutes with bruises. As they sit and wait for audience, both Lance and Greer give Jack worried looks – dude’s waaaay too high strung. Finally, they’re brought to the back office to meet their contact, Tony (Numan Acar). Personable and easygoing, Tony greets Lance and Greer like old buddies – but Jack’s, shall we say, “intensity” – kinda puts him off.
Lance leaves and as the others sit down for coffee, Greer tries to make small talk – but Jack’s staring at Tony like a serial killer and bouncing his leg like a tweaker. Before Greer even gets a chance to ramp up to business, Jack demands to know what Tony knows about Hanin. Tony says he knows the smugglers and can get the info they need – Greer says they’ll pay for it. Tony adds that the smuggling ops have become more difficult and dangerous in the last couple of years. Refugees must travel farther away now – as far as Italy, Croatia to be safe. Jack’s like, yeah, whatever – where do they leave from?
Tony says the location changes every couple of weeks because they have to work with the cops. Jack asks where Hanin is now – and Tony taps on his cell phone, saying he can make a call. Then he and Greer haggle over his payment. Once it’s settled, they shake hands, but when he goes to shake hands with Jack, Jack looks at him like he’s ready to take his head off as he forces himself to shake his hand.
Tony leaves to make the call, and Greer lights Jack up for being an ass. Jack says they should be going to the Turkish police instead of a lowlife like Tony. Greer quickly corrects that idea by reminding him that the local cops get paid to ignore the smuggling ops and that they’d have better luck finding a unicorn. He tells Jack he needs to “watch and learn.” Then they head out, letting Tony drive their truck.
As they drive, they talk shop about trucks and then Tony asks where they’re from. Greer says Cincinnati – but Jack, still being an ass, won’t say. Tony says he knows Jack thinks he’s a bad guy, and that maybe he is – but that maybe if he was from some nice place in America, he’d be a good guy. “Geography is destiny,” he says. (Excellent line.) Then his phone rings (“Copacabana”…awesome!) – whoever’s on the line tells Tony something just went down at the rest stop.
When they get there, Tony questions one of the smugglers and shows him a photo of Hanin. Apparently, someone came after her and she attacked him. The woman and the girls fled on foot and the attacker drove off to intercept them at the coast. Tony tells Jack and Greer he knows a shortcut to the coast, but they have to hurry if they’re going to get there before the boats leave.
As Hanin and the girls trudge across the rough terrain, little Rama says her feet hurt. Sara says she’s tired, they should rest. Hanin insists they keep going, saying they have to get to the beach before it gets dark. Rama then says she wishes her father were there, that he would take care of them. Hanin loses it and yells at both of the girls that they have no idea what hard is. Only when they’re older will they understand what she’s protecting them from now. Done being nice, she then yells at them to get their little butts moving.
Greer, Jack and Tony pull up to a house in the middle of nowhere – up to a stone wall with a closed gate that Tony swears wasn’t there before. Greer asks if there’s a different way, but Tony says there isn’t one that will get them to the coast in time. Two guards come out to meet them – Tony tells Jack and Greer to wait in the truck while he talks to them, but he’s checking and stuffing a gun in his belt as he does. As they disappear into the yard, Jack says the sitch ain’t right and Tony’s just milking them for more money – but Greer just says, “So we’ll pay him.”
Just then, gunshots ring out – Greer and Jack run in with guns drawn, only to find both the guards dead with Tony standing over them. Apparently, the guards were trying to milk him for more money than he thought he should pay for passage. Jack flips out and yells at Greer that they’re done with him, but Tony fires back that they’ll never find Hanin without him – unless they want to wait until they show up in a few weeks in his “stable.” (Oooh…low blow!)
Last straw broken, Jack goes ballistic – he tackles Tony and starts pounding on him with a jackhammer fist. Greer jumps in and breaks them up, yelling at Jack that they can’t get anywhere without Tony’s help and that he needs to just focus on finding Hanin – not on Tony the lowlife. Then like a pissed-off dad, Greer shoves both man-children back out to the truck.
Meanwhile, drone pilot Victor arrives in Al-Bab, Syria. The taxi driver dumps him in the middle of the road and for a moment, Victor just stands there like a dope staring vacantly at his surroundings – until he spots a gate that he recognizes (from drone footage, I’m assuming). He knocks on it and an old man (Mohamed Ziat) answers. Victor just says, “I killed your son” – but of course, the old guy has no idea what he’s saying. So Victor, who apparently didn’t bother to bone up on any Arabic on the long flight over, starts making a bunch of charades-like gestures to play out the drone strike. Luckily, the old guy’s good at charades – he figures it out and invites Victor in.
The nice old guy makes tea for them. Victor tries to offer him the money he brought (the $30 thousand he won I’m assuming), but the old guy won’t accept it. Just then, the old guy’s grandson (Mahdi Chalkhaoui) comes in – as soon as he sees Victor he runs away. But then he comes right back with a stack of about six dozen eggs and gestures to Victor for the money. Victor grins at the kid and says he’ll happily buy all the eggs. He finishes his tea and then stands up, telling the old guy, “I’m sorry.” The old guy seems to understand and nods – then he and his grandson watch as Victor leaves – without the eggs.
Back in Turkey, Hanin and the girls finally make it to the beach. It’s a busy, chaotic site as the smugglers load lines of refugees onto rafts. Hanin notices a couple of the smugglers arguing, not paying attention to their lines. She slips past them with the girls and into a line heading out to the rafts, picking up life jackets.
But of course, rapey Yazid’s sitting right there in his truck just out of her view, watching all the boats. He spots them and gets on the horn to Suleiman to ask him what he wants done. Suleiman says to bring the girls back home – but what about Hanin? Suleiman hesitates – but then he orders her to be killed.
Greer, Jack and Tony arrive at the beach and start looking around frantically for Hanin – who’s just about to get on one of the rafts with the girls. But then two of the smugglers jump in and pull them all out of the line, dragging them over toward waiting, rapey Yazid.
Panicked, Hanin and the girls yell and scream and cry at the tops of their lungs – which Jack hears. He and Greer run over, guns drawn – starting a standoff between themselves and the smugglers and Yazid, who grabs Hanin and puts his gun to her head. Tony gets in the middle and tries to calm everybody down – he tells the lead smuggler he needs Hanin and the girls. The lead smuggler knows and respects Tony, but says he’s already been paid.
Tony asks the guy if he’s willing to risk offending his family over a deal with a stranger. So the lead smuggler goes to rapey Yazid and then comes back to Tony – bartering time again. Tony tells Greer and Jack that they’ll give up Hanin, but not the kids. Jack immediately says no way – but then Greer overrules him and agrees, dropping his gun. Jack’s horrified, but Greer insists that Jack stand down – so all Jack can do is watch helplessly as the girls get dragged off and Yazid tosses Hanin at them.
But as soon as Hanin gets clear, bang! That quick, Greer takes rapey Yazid out with an amazingly accurate head shot – then everyone goes nuts again and it’s back to a standoff. Tony gets back in the middle of it all and tries his best to diffuse the sitch, saying, “we’re all friends here.”
After a few more tense seconds, Greer agrees to stand down. Then the smugglers stand down and it’s finally over. While Jack runs over to Hanin and the girls, telling them he’ll get them somewhere safe, Greer gets everything he can off dead, rapey Yazid (who I’m hoping won’t magically heal up and come back yet again) and takes his picture with his cell.
Before they leave, Greer hands Jack a bunch of cash and tells him to pay Tony, since he’s the “finance guy.” With all the enthusiasm of someone going to their own execution, Jack trudges over and hands over the money to a smiling Tony, who wishes him good luck. Jack and Greer drive off with Hanin and the girls, leaving everyone to go back to their terrible, illegal and immoral business as usual.
That night at Incirlik Air Force Base, Jack talks with Hanin – he’s impressed at how good her English is. She says her uncle taught her, that he was a driver for businessmen “back before…everything.” Jack then tells her that they’re cleared to fly to the US – but unless Hanin can provide them with intel, they won’t be able to stay.
Hanin says she didn’t know about the Paris attack – Jack believes her. She then says that she has no idea what his plans are. Jack says she can at least tell him where Suleiman is – but she’s reluctant to say. Jack says he knows about her son, that he’s still with him. Hanin wants Jack’s word that he’ll get Samir out safely. Jack says he can’t make a promise like that – only that he’s the best chance she has.
Jack goes to Greer afterwards – they have Suleiman’s location. Jack’s smiling – but Greer isn’t. Greer tells him to sit and he does, bracing for impact. Greer then tells Jack what went down in Karachi – he was securing a huge asset, a deputy chief in the Pakistani army. They set up a meeting, but the asset got cold feet at the last minute – not only did he change his mind, but he also threatened to toss Greer in prison.
Greer knew he’d be dead before he even got there, so he acted – he stabbed the guy and left before anyone noticed. Greer tells Jack the guy had five kids – and that every day he still questioned whether he could’ve done or said something different. He then tells Jack the whole debacle is why he got shipped back to Langley, and that “There is no version of this job that does not require compromise.”
But Jack doesn’t agree. He believes he can change things – get the job done without making compromises. Greer says he knows he does, because he used to think the same thing, too. Then he gets up and leaves, giving Jack a sage, salty look that says he’s gonna learn – one way or the other.
My favorite part of this episode was without a doubt, Numan Acar’s Tony. He did an awesome job of finding just the right balance in such a tricky character, equal parts smarmy and admirable. The only disappointment is that I know it’s probably the only appearance he’s going to make. Too bad.
As always, props to Dina Shihabi for her powerhouse performance as Hanin. So much rides on her and she doesn’t disappoint. I was actually glad to see her flip out on the girls when they started complaining, because that’s what a real mother does when she’s had enough of being nice and comforting to ungrateful kids. It was wonderful to see that crack in her otherwise pretty stoic demeanor. Also loved the whole standoff sequence on the beach. Not only was it an impressive location, but the action and tension were terrific. My only hope is that they don’t magically bring rapey Yazid back from the dead again.
As for what I didn’t like –how about Victor? How weird was all that? I mean, it’s nice that he wanted to make amends. But the fact that he just jumps on a flight to friggin’ Syria with nothing but a bag full of cash just doesn’t work for me. I mean, come on. Dude wouldn’t even have gotten out of the US looking that hinky. TSA would’ve nabbed his butt quicker than you could say potential terrorist.
And then there’s Jack. Good lord, that guy. I mean, I understand what they were going for, the whole ‘righteous boy scout’ aspect of his character and his having to learn the hard way how the real world works. Got it, but wow. I wanted to punch him myself, he was being such an insufferable pr*ck.
My husband, a former marine, made an interesting observation as well about how Jack was here, saying he was acting way too naive for a Marine with combat experience. Good point. I just hope Jack gets that stick of misplaced righteousness dislodged from his butt or he’s going to be absolutely unbearable going forward.