In the season finale of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, entitled “Inshallah” (“if Allah wills it” in Arabic), news channels all over the globe report the Ebola scare – that Dr. Nadler (Matt McCoy) and the other hostages are infected, and that Nadler may have infected President Pickett (Michael Gaston) at the press conference. They also report that the President and other members of his staff have been placed under a 21-day quarantine at Washington Memorial.
Meanwhile, flashbacks of the helicopter crash in Afghanistan keep Jack (John Krasinski) awake and tense, so he gets up and goes out to the other room – waking Cathy (Abbie Cornish) up in the process. She gets up, sees him reading and asks what woke him. At first, he says it’s nothing. She doesn’t buy it but doesn’t want to push, so she heads back to bed – but then Jack suddenly decides to unload.
He tells her it was remembering the crash that woke him. He says there was a Pashtun orphan boy (Kemaal Dean-Ellis) who was always hanging around – and he would go around taking Polaroids of the Marines and then sell them to them at ten bucks a pop. On the day of the crash, Jack’s unit had to evacuate a local family that had been marked as collaborators by the Taliban. The boy begged Jack to take him, too, and he allowed the boy on the helicopter.
All was well. The helo was airborne and on its way – then Jack looked over at the boy, just as he pulled out a grenade and pulled the pin. Cathy’s shocked to hear all this as Jack reveals his inner conflict in a nutshell – “All my Marines…all those people we were trying to save ended up dead because of me,” he says. Story told, burden unloaded, Jack then gets up and says he’s going to shower. Cathy thanks him for trusting her enough to tell her about it.
At Leesburg Airport in Virginia, Suleiman (Ali Suliman) and Samir (Karim Zein) arrive via private jet from Canada under fake names, looking the part of a wealthy family in their crisp suits. The customs agent asks the purpose of their visit and Suleiman says that Samir’s there for a liver transplant operation at Johns Hopkins. He presents the paperwork to verify it, and as the agent looks it and them over, Suliman tries to not look anxious as he notices the surveillance camera watching. But then the agent stamps their passports and lets them go.
At the Port of Baltimore, an unlucky dock worker (Patrick Baby) checks out the shipping container that Suleiman’s guys had been in. He finds the cylinder of blue powder on the floor, touches it and even smells it. Not surprisingly, his next stop ends up being the nearest ER, where he barely manages to make it to the nurses’ station before puking and collapsing in a seizure.
Not too long after at Langley, FBI shows up with a representative from NEST (Nuclear Emergency Support Team), Dr. Wade (Jonathan Potts), to brief the CTC/TFAD crew about the dock worker. Turns out he has radiation poisoning from exposure to Cesium-137. Even though DHS checked every shipping container, since Cesium-137 is almost impossible to trace, no one picked it up. Greer says from Baltimore, Suleiman could easily get to any number of major east coast cities within a few hours. FBI says they’re working with their field offices in Boston and Manhattan to identify targets. Dr. Wade warns that depending on how much Cesium they’re using, the fallout from a bomb could last 30 years and kill potentially hundreds of thousands.
At Washington Memorial, Cathy checks on Dr. Nadler in the bio-containment unit. He’s on a respirator and doesn’t look good. Then she heads to the quarantine unit and examines President Pickett. He’s glad to see she’s just wearing some surgical gear and a face guard instead of a full containment suit. Cathy says his tests look good, so he shouldn’t be worried. As she examines him, POTUS asks about Nadler. Cathy says he’s not gotten any better – but he also hasn’t gotten worse, and that’s good news.
Back at Langley, the CTC crew sits around the conference room trying to figure out where Suleiman might be going. Dr. Wade says they need to consider symbolic targets as well as places where a lot of people would gather. Greer asks where the baseball teams are playing that day – Orioles are away, but the Nationals are playing in town.
Jack studies the photos of the cargo container that Suleiman used to smuggle in the Cesium. He shows them to Dr. Wade, saying that it seems too small to carry enough Cesium for a bomb – Dr. Wade agrees. Jack then wonders aloud if Suleiman is really trying to kill thousands. Perhaps it’s just another part of a multi-step plan, like in Paris – where a priest had to be murdered first in order to have the funeral that would get all the people he wanted into that church. Greer asks what the connection would be between the Ebola and Cesium – but Jack doesn’t have the answer yet.
Meanwhile, Suleiman’s gathered with his team – Dudayev (Goran Kostic), Ibrahim (Amir El-Masry), Jabir (Zarif Kabier) and Amer (Sahdi Jahno) to test out the delivery device. Samir watches from the other end of the room as Suleiman pushes the button and a bunch of test cylinders explode, releasing dust that gets pulled into a large fan and into the air. Ibrahim hands Suleiman a cell phone that will control the detonator – once the powder explodes, the ventilation system will do the rest.
Dudayev tells Suleiman he doesn’t have to be there, they can handle it. Suleiman says he can’t expect his message to resonate with those they want to inspire if he’s not willing to risk his own life. Then he spots Samir watching and shoos him away. Samir goes to the restroom – and then looking around, he finds a cold storage room. He opens the door and is shocked to see two dead bodies inside. He runs out to Suleiman, who’s changed into a D.C. EMS uniform. He tries to comfort Samir, saying that when the job is done, they’ll find Hanin and his sisters – and they’ll be a family again. (Wait, what? This is the same guy who wanted Hanin dead in the last episode, right? Talk about sloppy, man.)
Jack goes to the safehouse in Annandale to ask Hanin (Dina Shihabi) if she knows anything about the Cesium or the device. Hanin doesn’t know, but she jumps on him about Samir – why hasn’t he found him yet? He promised he would. (Actually, he didn’t, but whatever.)
Hanin says all he cares about is killing her husband, Jack says that isn’t true. But then he says that somehow, Suleiman knew that the raid on the compound was coming – how could he have known? Hanin gets even hissier then, at the insinuation that she warned him. She shuts Jack down completely, saying she doesn’t know anything else. She can’t help him. As a frustrated Jack leaves, he passes Sara (Nadia Affolter) sitting at the top of the stairs, listening – and realizing that she’s the one who accidentally tipped them off when she messaged Samir. Nice going, sis.
That night in Georgetown, Ibrahim walks into a local pizza joint and sits down at a table. The server tells him he has to order at the counter, so he gets up to get in line – then he turns around and walks out, leaving his backpack on the floor by the table. On his way out the door, he bumps into two Muslim girls. He says sorry, looking like he’s going to warn them to get out – but he doesn’t. Instead, he walks off across the street and sends the command to detonate – and the whole place explodes.
At Langley, Jack’s in the men’s room splashing his face with cold water. He looks in the mirror and sees a vision of the Pashtun boy standing in the doorway – staring at him, all bloodied from the crash. He says, “You can’t stop it,” in Arabic and Jack has to shut his eyes to get the vision to go away. Then Greer comes in and tells him about the explosion in Georgetown.
As a fleet of ambulances haul ass down the street, Suleiman pulls in behind them in another ambulance. And as Greer and Jack drive toward the site, Jack says it doesn’t make sense that Suleiman would hit such a small target. Then CTC calls to notify them that the bomb was plastic explosive – no Cesium.
Jack then notices all the ambulances going the other way and asks Greer which hospital they’re going to. Greer says Washington Memorial is the closest. Ding! Jack figures it out – they’re all going where POTUS is – that’s where he’s going to attack. Jack calls Cathy and leaves her a message, telling her to call him right away.
Suleiman arrives at the hospital with his guys, all of them in EMS uniforms. As they wheel their two dead bodies into the hospital, no one notices them amidst all the chaos – except a passing nurse, who tells them they’re going the wrong way to triage. Amer tells the nurse the ones they have are already dead and they’re taking them to the morgue.
When Jack and Greer arrive, they’re stopped by Secret Service Agents until their supervisor, Agent Crawford (Trevor Hayes) allows them in. He gives them badges and then asks them what the threat is. Greer says they’re guessing four or five guys that might include Suleiman himself.
Suleiman and the guys walk into the morgue and Dudayev wastes no time shooting the unlucky coroner. Then they get the corpses up on the tables and cut them open to get the Cesium cylinders out. Then they load the cylinders into the device.
Still walking-and-talking with Agt. Crawford, Jack says the Georgetown bombing was a smokescreen – something to cause chaos and allow Suleiman’s people to slip into the hospital unnoticed. Then they could unleash their attack on POTUS and all the other officials in quarantine. Crawford says they’ll have to evacuate POTUS immediately, and before anyone else is allowed to leave. Greer asks what they can do, and Crawford says they should help search the hospital for Suleiman’s guys.
Jack tries calling Cathy again, but Greer says they’re jamming all cellular and RF signals in order to prevent remote detonations. Greer tells Jack to search one stairwell, and he’ll take the one on the opposite end of the hall. And meanwhile, down on the street, Jabir sits in a car waiting nervously with Samir, who’s jumpy and getting on his nerves. Then Jabir gets even more nervous as a local PD cruiser pulls up and parks facing them.
Suleiman and his guys take the elevator to an upper floor, where they break into a utility room to get access to the ventilation system. As they set up the device, Ibrahim says it should only take 30 seconds for the Cesium to reach the quarantine unit once it’s been released. Ibrahim then hard-wires the detonator into the hospital’s phone system and they take off.
Cathy finally gets back to her office and sees all the messages from Jack. She runs out to Agt. Crawford to ask what’s happening. He tells her to clear the staff from the floor. She asks about evacuating the hospital, but Crawford says nobody leaves until POTUS is evacuated first. Not liking that answer, Cathy decides to pull the fire alarm. Crawford gives her the stink-eye and she replies with some cool resting b*tch face.
As the chaotic evacuation begins, Suleiman sees Secret Service Agents approaching and he tells his guys to scatter, split up. Meanwhile, Jack’s gotten all the way down to the morgue, where he finds the coroner dead on the floor and the mutilated corpses. Back upstairs, Crawford starts leading POTUS out, while Greer’s in one of the stairwells – he spots Dudayev and chases after him.
Dudayev bolts for the nearest elevator – which, of course, is the one that Cathy’s on. She’s immediately suspicious and scared but says nothing, while Dudayev keeps his sweaty face forward. It’s a tense ride down – and when the doors open, bang! Greer’s right there to meet him and takes him out. Cathy’s both terrified and relieved as Greer helps her past the bloody mess.
Meanwhile, Jack’s in the other stairwell – he hears shots and runs down to find a security guard’s been shot. He flies past the evacuating crowd to follow Suleiman and Amer, now outside and walking away. Suleiman keeps trying to detonate the device, but the call won’t go through. Amer’s cell won’t work either. Suleiman realizes they’re using a jamming device and they have to get farther away for it to work.
As they near the car where Jabir and Samir are waiting, the local cop gets out of his car and approach them – Jabir turns to fire on the cop and the cop takes him down. Samir looks to Suleiman as more cops move in. As they take him into custody, an initially anguished Suleiman goes ice cold. He gives Samir a hand gesture that lets him know to stay quiet as he and Amer walk past, unnoticed.
Jack comes running out then and sees the police with Samir – and Samir staring after his father. Jack follows the direction he’s looking in and manages to get a shot off when he spots them ducking into the Metro entrance. Suleiman and Amer run through the crowd, the station flooding with people leaving the Nationals game. Jack follows them and barely spots them at the other end of the platform, entering the track area.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim’s still making his way out of the hospital. He ends up walking through triage, where all the bombing victims are – including the Muslim girl, who stares at him as he passes her. He flees, upset – but manages to slip into the evacuating crowd and disappear.
Suleiman and Amer book down the tracks with Jack only seconds behind them – but it’s enough time that when he enters the tracks, he can’t see them. Suleiman and Amer hide behind gates and electrical boxes, waiting for Jack to get closer – then they open fire on him. Jack takes one to the shoulder and dives for cover – they shoot it out and Amer gets hit, stumbling onto the tracks just as the train comes through and plows over him. Suleiman takes off, getting to the next platform. Jack decides to take the stairwell up to cut him off.
Suleiman gets to the station, still trying to detonate the device – but it still won’t work. He grabs some Nationals gear and sheds his EMS cap, trying to blend in with the crowd. Jack gets there and can’t see him in the sea of people – so he tries a Hail Mary pass, shouting, “I have your son!” in Arabic – and Suleiman turns to look back at him.
As soon as he does, Jack fires a shot in the air to get everyone to duck and clear out – and as Suleiman takes off again, Jack takes the shot. Suleiman gets hit and goes down. Jack runs up to him, grabs the cell phone and flips it shut. Whew! It’s finally over – and Jack looks like he’s going to faint.
Greer shows up at the station later, as the crime scene’s being cordoned off and EMS finishes patching Jack up. He tells Jack he did good – “real good…for an analyst.” To which Jack replies an exhausted but succinct, “f**k you.” Greer takes it in stride, saying if he keeps talking to his bosses like that, he’ll end up in a cubicle writing financial briefs. Jack just looks at him and says, “You promise?”
Some time later, Greer and Jack bring Samir to the safehouse in Annandale. It’s happy reunion time for the Suleimans, as Hanin, Sara and Rama all come running out to hug Samir. Hanin gives Jack a thankful look as he and Greer watch from a distance. Greer says Jack was right not to give up on Samir – that Jack saved his life. But as Samir turns to look back at the people who killed his father, the expression on his face isn’t so easy to read. And being a little wiser for the wear now, all Jack can say is, “We’ll see.”
Four months later in Morocco, Matice (John Hoogenakker) walks into a crappy little motel and goes up to a room where he makes himself at home, drinking some tea while he stares out the balcony windows. Then he hears a noise – turns out it’s Ibrahim’s room, and he’s just gotten back from a run to the store. He puts his stuff down and then notices the half-full tea glass. He feels the tea pot – it’s warm. Then Ibrahim turns around just in time to get a glimpse of Matice as he fires, taking Ibrahim down with a single shot to the head. Then he leaves.
Back at Langley, Greer’s packing up – and only needs one box. Jack stops in and Greer says he’s been made Deputy Chief at the station in Moscow – major reward. He’s officially out of the company doghouse. Jack says he’s just happy to stay put. Greer says that makes sense, he’s good at the “nerd sh*t.” That’s about as mushy as he gets as he heads out the door. Jack wishes him good luck, having brought a gift of a knife in a nice case. Greer tells Jack that he went to pray for the first time in ages the other day, and that the words of the Prophet struck him – that no one is a true believer unless he desires for others what he desires for himself. A good lesson, he says. Jack doesn’t really get it, but Greer just walks off with a “So long, bright boy.”
Later, Jack gets called in to meet with Singer (Timothy Hutton), who tells Jack that he wants him to take over as head of TFAD. Singer hands Jack a dossier-type thing that Greer put together for him. And as Singer drones on about how the new job will be great for Jack’s career, how much he impressed people, how he could be on the 7th floor by the time he’s 40, blah-blah-blah, Jack looks unsure – even a little sad, realizing that maybe being a desk jockey isn’t really what he wants.
Then Jack opens the dossier-thing to find a tourism pamphlet for Russia, with a sticky note from Greer that says he’s booked Jack a flight to Moscow. A big grin spreads across Jack’s face as Singer wishes him good luck – and Jack just says, “Thank you, sir.”
Solid finale – lots of tense action, and in this day and age of series that have a 50/50 shot at being cancelled after one season (or less), I appreciated the fact that they wrapped everything up and finished the story. Way too many series are guilty of setting up plotlines and/or mythologies and then not paying off, leaving viewers with nothing but unanswered questions after the show gets cancelled or finishes up.
I also liked the fact that the attack plot was complex but not so convoluted that you couldn’t follow it. And special props to whoever came up with the story of the helicopter crash in Afghanistan that Jack carries around with him – I really wasn’t expecting that cute little kid to pull that grenade. Dang. It was a real shocker, and made you understand why Jack’s so affected by it and is likely to always be (like in the bathroom scene – very good). The scene where he tells Cathy about it was nicely done, too. Even though Cathy’s character and the whole relationship angle are by far the weakest parts of the show, it was a good scene for both characters.
Props also to the writers for making Suleiman such a great character as well. Even though he gets less well-rounded toward the end, he never completely loses that depth. That said – and as glad as I am that they wrapped up the story – I’m bummed that Suleiman bought it at the end. I dug him, and I was really hoping he’d get away and live to fight next season. But I suppose they could continue the story with Samir taking his place – that might be a good way to go. It would also allow Hanin to return, and that would be awesome, too.
Speaking of Hanin though, how off was that line about them getting back together as a family? I mean, really – dude had just ordered her murdered. And still Samir never brought up the fact that dear old dad lied to him about his mom being dead. I suppose they figured by this point, who cares, but any writers who are taking on something like Jack Ryan, where everything is so rooted in such detailed plot, I mean, come on. There’s no excuse for sloppy sh*t like that.
If there’s anything I’m not entirely thrilled with, it’s Matice (their stand-in for John Clark). I know they must’ve hung out and consulted with a few veterans on this, but I dunno. I’m married to a Marine and I’m from a Navy family myself – and Matice just comes off a bit too obnoxiously hillbilly for my liking (and it’s got nothing to do with country music). It skirts too close to the edge of being a stereotype. I’m hoping they can dial that back for next season.
I also wish I could say I liked Greer more than I do. Nothing against Wendell Pierce, my problem is with how the character’s being written. Now I don’t know the novels, but from what I gather, this version of Greer is almost completely different – which would be good if it was a better version. But I don’t think it is, and part of it is the Muslim aspect. I understand what they’re doing with it – that he, an intelligence officer, experiences both sides of the issue. He fights Islamic terrorists but also experiences the prejudice and fear that people harbor about Islam and those who follow it. Got it. I just don’t know that it works all that well. It feels more like something that’s just been shoehorned into his character and every time they make a thing out of it, it feels like a rock in your shoe. It’s just kind of annoying.
The other thing is that Greer just seems a little too rough for my liking. I’ll admit that I’m used to James Earl Jones’ stoic coolness and easygoing manner. Maybe it’s something I’ll adjust to, but so far I’m kinda meh about how rough-around-the-edges he is.
Overall though, it’s been a good starter season. I’m glad to see Krasinski taking on another role like 13 HOURS (really good flick). Even though I take some issue with his character, I believe it’s something that’ll evolve over the coming season(s) and that this is just the starting point. Krasinski puts the same kind of heart into the role that made Harrison Ford’s Jack so beloved. So I’m excited to see what’ll happen in season two. What’d you think?