Is everybody over that first episode yet? I’m a few episodes ahead as far as viewing, so I can tell you that there’s no down time at all in this season. It’s just go-go-go. So let’s get to it. Oh, and by the way, the title of this episode, “Tertia Optio,” is Latin for “third option.” But I’m guessing you probably already Googled that. And you may or may not already know that it’s apparently the motto of the CIA’s Special Activities Division.

So it’s the same night of the ambush in Caracas – and at the US Embassy, a piece-of-sh*t car races toward the gates. The guards draw their weapons, ready to light it up when a bloody, beaten Capt. Ramos (Gustavo Angarita) steps out, giving himself up. Inside the embassy, Greer (Wendell Pierce) tells a seething Jack (John Krasinski) that he’s gotten him on the next flight home. You can probably guess Jack’s reaction to that – he’s not going anywhere.

John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

So in walks the Chief of Station, Mike November (the awesome Michael Kelly) – yeah, that’s really his name, Mike November. I’m guessing he’s got cousins with names like Alpha Bravo, Delta Echo and Lima Charlie. Anyway, he introduces himself and gives his condolences to Jack. Then his assistant comes in and tells him he’s needed right away. The guys head outside to see Capt. Ramos being brought in in cuffs – and as he walks past them, Ramos pleads directly to November for help.

After the initial interview, November fills Jack and Greer in as they stand on the other side of the one-way glass. Ramos told him about his family being murdered, and big surprise, he wants asylum for himself and his mother (who’s in the hospital). Jack asks what he has to give in return. November says Ramos knows who killed Moreno. Jack and Greer then join November in the interrogation room, where he tells Ramos he needs to spill what he knows.

John Krasinski, Michael Kelly, Gustavo Angarita in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Jack gets impatient, demanding to know what happened. Ramos starts talking and November translates – Ramos tells them about the assassin, Max Schenkel (Tom Wlaschiha), describing his European looks and accent. He says Max gave him $3,000 US to redirect the convoy. Jack approaches the table, calling him a piece of sh*t. Ramos tearfully pleads that he didn’t know anyone was going to be killed, a total BS line that infuriates Jack. He picks up the table and bangs it back down, demanding to know if Max ever mentioned President Reyes (Jordi Molla) or General Ubarri (Francisco Denis). Ramos says no, and Jack storms out.

Greer goes after him, finding him staring out the window in one of the stairwells. Greer then asks the supremely dumb question, “Are you alright?” Jack just says he knows Reyes was behind the ambush. Greer warns him that given all the intel they have – the satellite launch, the arms shipments – there’s something much bigger going on. Greer says they can help each other. Jack thinks it over and then says they’re not in TFAD (Terrorist Finance & Arms Division of CIA) anymore. They have to work together, and Greer agrees.

John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Somewhere in the San Esteban jungle in western Venezuela, a young militia soldier wakes up to take a leak – only to find the Venezuelan army hiding in the tall grass. Cover blown, the Army soldiers open fire on the whole camp. The young soldier hauls a**, almost managing to get away until he gets shot in the leg. The Army soldier’s about to finish him off when Pres. Reyes’ head of security, Mateo Bastos (Eduar Salas) appears. And if you were paying attention in the first episode, you’ll also recognize Bastos as the guy who killed Capt. Ramos’ family. Bastos tells the soldier he needs some of the guys alive.

Meanwhile, at a marina in Tampa, FL, a guy named Marcus Bishop (Jovan Adepo) does some underwater welding on some rich slob’s yacht. After he’s done, said rich slob offers Marcus some extra cash to scrape barnacles off the hull. Insulted, Marcus tells him he’s a repair guy, not a janitor. But then in the next scene, when he arrives home, we see him stuff some cash into a cookie jar. So he apparently did the job anyhow.

Jovan Adepo in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Marcus goes into the backyard and is surprised to see none other than our old buddy Matice (John Hoogenakker) – or as I prefer to call him, Not-John-Clark – sitting with his grandma, sipping sweet tea and getting attacked by mosquitoes. Marcus is none too pleased to see him and asks what he’s doing there. Matice, who’s introduced himself to Marcus’ grandma as ‘Jeff Spicoli,’ (remember, he likes to pick a different goofy name with every op) asks if they can talk privately.

Once inside, Matice looks over all of Marcus’ many awards and medals – and his father’s as well. He tells Marcus he needs an experienced ‘skipper.’ Marcus says he’s wasting his time, he’s done with all that. Matice says he’s not looking to re-enlist him – it’s actually better if he’s not currently in, since it’s an “off the books kinda job.” As if Matice ever does any other kind of job. Marcus still refuses, saying he has a life there.

John Hoogenakker, Jovan Adepo in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Matice then makes a snarky, insulting comment about how much p*ssy he must be getting, being a repair guy for rich people and living with his grandmother – to which Marcus understandably replies, “Man, get the f**k outta my house!” Realizing that he may have overstepped, Matice gets up to leave and tries to hand him a note with the info, saying he’ll give him 24 hours to consider it. Marcus won’t take it, so he leaves it on the bookshelf. Before he goes, he points at Marcus’ Navy portrait, saying, “You looked happy.” Which is something Marcus is clearly lacking at the moment.

Back at his hotel in Caracas, Jack attempts to clean himself up when Senator Chapin (Michael O’ Neill) calls, offering his condolences. He asks Jack how he’s holding up and Jack says he’s doing the best he can – which, as we all know, is not good. Chapin says there are going to be a lot of people in D.C. who are going to want to know what happened, and he offers to help him with that. Jack says he’s still in Venezuela. Surprised, Chapin tells him to call if needs anything.

While Capt. Ramos gives a description of Max to a sketch artist back at the embassy, Jack decides to start investigating on his own and drives down to the port. He steals a hard hat, a vest and a clipboard and voilà — instant incognito, even better than a baseball cap. He boards the Almeta, heads below deck and starts going through their paperwork when he gets caught by a crewmember, a South African guy named Jost Van Der Byl (Arnold Vosloo, who you might remember from The Mummy back in ‘99).

Arnold Vosloo in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

He demands to see some ID, and Jack starts spinning a weak yarn about working for a coffee company and looking for a missing shipment. Van Der Byl’s not buying it – but then suddenly, who should appear but “Lena” (Noomi Rapace), also dressed up in a hard hat and vest. She starts yelling at Jack that he’s on the wrong boat and he’d better get moving. Jack goes along with it – but they don’t get far before Van Der Byl’s on top of them, this time with a gun. But luckily, “Lena” busts out some ninja moves and knocks him out. She and Jack haul a** off the boat and ditch their costumes.

Then for some reason they decide to stop while they’re still inside the port and have an info-dump chat. Personally I would’ve gotten in a car and made sure I was miles away before having a long conversation, but I guess that’s just me. Anyway, Jack demands to know who she really is. She says, “Lee Klein,” but we get the distinct impression that she’s probably still lying. She says she’s former KSK (German Special Forces) and now works as a private investigator. She’s looking for a missing German businessman on behalf of his family.

John Krasinski, Noomi Rapace in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Jack asks why she’s following him and “Lee” says that her businessman’s last communication came from the office of a company called Cinco Palmas, which is right there at the port. She says her businessman’s cover was as a “military consultant,” but really, he’s an arms dealer, and she believes that President Reyes has him. “Lee” then says how sorry she is about Senator Moreno’s death and guesses that Jack’s blaming Reyes for it. She says they can help each other – that Jack can help her get her businessman back. Jack asks why he would do that and “Lee” says she’ll give him the “first move” — she hands him a flash drive.

Turns out that “Lee” recorded Gen. Ubarri’s bedroom conversation with his wife. At the embassy, Jack plays the audio for Greer and November, and says it proves that Reyes killed Moreno. Greer asks him what it cost, and Jack says sharing any intel they get. November asks him who the source is – Jack doesn’t want to say, but Greer gives him up. The pretty lady in the hotel bar. November asks who she’s working for and Jack says he found out she works for BND, Germany’s intelligence agency.

Noomi Rapace in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

November’s pissed, saying he has an obligation to report him. But Jack says that “Lee” can be an asset – she gave them the recording so that they can leverage Gen. Ubarri with it. They can use it to create “dissention in the ranks.” Greer says they can recruit Ubarri and get him to flip on Pres. Reyes. November reluctantly agrees but says there better not be any more surprises. Clearly, he doesn’t realize who he’s working with.

Back at Miraflores, preparations are underway for Reyes’ daughter’s quinceanera (15th birthday). A decorator asks Pres. Reyes to choose a color for the napkins, and he and Gen. Ubarri laugh, given that they were starving as kids. Look at ‘em now. Ubarri then asks Reyes why he wasn’t in on Moreno’s assassination. He says it was reckless and that the US will blame them. Reyes says they won’t blame them, they’ll blame him. But when the real killers are caught, the US will look like fools. Ubarri agrees but also lets Reyes know that Capt. Ramos turned himself in to the US embassy.

Jordi Molla, Francisco Denis in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Meanwhile, Mateo Bastos (Eduar Salas), Reyes’ head of security (and who we now know is the guy who killed Capt. Ramos’ family), accepts the signed confessions of two of the militia guys they captured. Bastos tells them they did the right thing for their families, and tells the guard to get them cleaned up and fed.

Back with Greer, Jack and November, who’s driving them all someplace, November tries to make some small talk by asking if the guys are married. Greer: divorced. Jack: single. End of conversation. November offers up that he’s been married and divorced twice to the same woman – Ambassador Calabrese. Jack and Greer are both surprised, and Jack asks if he just didn’t learn his lesson the first time or what. November says she’s a “formidable woman.” And both Jack and Greer say he should probably go for a third time, since it’s a charm, right?

Eduar Salas, David Norona in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Meanwhile, in the Petare section of Caracas, Bastos finishes up a neighborhood futbol game (which he helps his team win by being an unsportsmanlike d**khead, of course) and then drives away in his pimp-mobile. But as he gets out of the city, the truck seizes up and stalls. Bastos makes sure to arm himself before checking out the overheated engine. He calls for a tow and the mechanic (David Norona) says he needs to bring the truck to his shop. When they get there, the mechanic brings Bastos up to the office to wait – only to find the mechanic pulling a gun on him and Jack, Greer and November waiting for him.

November frisks Bastos, takes his gun and then takes a selfie with him. Greer asks why the hell he did that and November says it’s a handy way to “plant the seed of doubt.” They tell Bastos to sit down and when he says “F**k you,” they know he speaks at least some English. Jack plays the Ubarri recording for him and says that as Reyes’ head of security, they thought he would find the information useful. Then they let him go, and when he gestures for his gun back, November makes sure to eject the magazine and empty the chamber before turning it over.

Eduar Salas, Michael Kelly in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Later, back at the hotel, “Lee” shows up at Jack’s door. He offers her a drink – with the bug she planted in the bottom of the glass. He knows who she really is now: Harriet Baumann, and she does actually work for the BND. He’s guessing that her “businessman” is BND too. Busted, Harriet reveals him to be Max, and that he disappeared a couple of months ago. She says BND’s given her one chance to bring him back in.

Jack asks why she targeted him. Harriet says the Ubarri recording mentioned a US senator, and she figured that Max was probably involved in whatever was going on. Jack asks why she gave him the recording, and she says she needs CIA’s help – but didn’t want to make it an official joint operation, because that would mean that if Max was captured, CIA could kill him. She doesn’t want him dead. Jack agrees to work with her to bring Max in alive.

John Krasinski, Noomi Rapace in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

The next day, back in Tampa, Marcus finds Matice waiting by his truck at the marina, munching on some tacos. Matice offers Marcus an envelope with $15 thousand in cash and says he’ll get another 15 after the job’s done. Marcus tosses it back at him, refusing again. Matice then offers to bump it up to $40 thousand, but that’s as high as he’ll go. Marcus still says no.

Aggravated, Matice brings up the fact that Marcus washed out of SEAL training, but so what. Marcus has what counts – real experience under pressure. Matice knows he can be counted on when it really matters. He says Marcus has more in common with his father than he thinks – and lets him know that the plane will be leaving from MacDill AFB in the morning. Then Matice takes his money and his tacos and walks off, saying he won’t ask a third time.

John Hoogenakker, Jovan Adepo in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Back at the hotel, a pissed-off looking Ambassador Calabrese (Susan Misner) waits for Jack and Greer to join her. Apparently, Reyes has asked for a meeting. She says she has no idea why, but stresses that neither Jack nor Greer are “gonna f**k this up.” There’s that formidability November was talking about.

When they arrive at Miraflores, Reyes is getting ready for the party, looking all smart in his tux. Calabrese makes the introductions and they all sit down. Reyes offers his condolences and says he has some news – two of the men responsible for the ambush have been found, radicals from a local militia group. He says they were captured in a raid that also produced some police uniforms and explosives. As the signed confessions get passed around, Reyes says they’ll spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Jordi Molla, Susan Misner, Wendell Pierce, John Krasinski in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

The looks going back and forth among Jack, Greer and Calabrese make it clear that they all know Reyes is trying to pass off a huge load of bullsh*t with this story. But there’s not much they can do at the moment, and Reyes is quick to politely shoo them out. But Jack isn’t about to let it go at that, despite Calabrese’s warning (and looking like a total slob who just rolled out of bed, I might add – nobody seems to care that he’s totally not dressed for a presidential meeting). When Reyes offers a handshake, Jack leans in close and says, “I know you killed him.”

But Reyes just matches his steady stare and offers his condolences again. On the way out of the office, Jack plays a hunch – when he walks past Bastos, he grabs him by the left arm – where he was bit by Capt. Ramos’ dog. And when Bastos winces, Jack knows he’s got him.

John Krasinski, Jordi Molla in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Later, as the quinceanera gets under way, Reyes pulls Ubarri aside and lets him know that the Americans have bugged his house. He tells Ubarri that they’ll talk about how to handle it the next day. And back at the hotel, Greer asks Jack what he said to Reyes. He tells him, but Greer’s like, “No, seriously.” November calls Jack then and Jack asks him to confirm the dog bite info. When November confirms it’s the left arm, Jack tells him to show Capt. Ramos Bastos’ picture.

Back at the party, as Reyes gives his daughter a pair of gold high heels as a traditional gift, back at the embassy, November rushes down to holding to see Capt. Ramos. But as we might have guessed, when he gets there, Capt. Ramos is lying on the floor, foaming at the mouth. November yells for a doctor – but it doesn’t look good.

Jordi Molla, Sarah Pinzon in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

And while all this is going on, Jack goes back to his room at the hotel, only to find the bathtub overflowing. When he goes to shut off the faucet, Max jumps him and shoves his head underwater to drown him. After a few dunks, Jack manages to get some leverage and push him off – but Max is quick to get a hold of him again, trying to strangle him. Jack pushes him off again and calls for Greer, who’s in the next room reading his Koran.

Jack almost gets away – but then Max grabs the plastic bag in the trash can and starts to suffocate him. Jack digs the multi-tool Moreno gave him out of his pocket and stabs Max in the leg a few times – then he manages to flip over and stab Max right in the eye. Ouch. Jack yells for Greer again as Max takes off down the hall, running right by Greer. Jack tells Greer to go after him.

Tom Wlaschiha in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Cut to Miraflores, where Reyes and Ubarri are having a little Godfather II, ‘I-know-it-was-you-Fredo’ moment as everyone’s applauding him and his daughter. And Greer chases after Max, who’s gimping his way down the street, trying to disappear in the crowd.

Greer spots him rounding the corner and tries his best to give chase – but his bad ticker won’t let him and he nearly collapses from the sudden pain. Jack catches up and tries to help him up, but Greer shoves him off angrily. He says Max got away, and he didn’t see where he went.

John Krasinski in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

Jack then goes to Harriet’s room and shows her the police sketch of Max, asking if that’s the guy she’s looking for. Harriet doesn’t want to admit it, but reluctantly confirms it’s him. Fed up, Jack then pulls a gun on her and demands the truth. The real truth. Harriet says that Max recruited her into the KSK when she was 17. During an operation in Afghanistan, Harriet says she made some big mistakes that got people killed. She says that Max protected her and took the blame for it. Then they were both forced out of KSK, but found a place with the BND.

But then Max left. Jack asks why. Harriet pleads that she knows what Max is doing is wrong, but that she can’t forget what he did for her. A tearful Jack says “he kills people for money,” and that Harriet must already know that. She must also know that Max was behind the hit on Moreno – she knew, and said nothing. He asks if she knows where Max is, and she says no. Jack says that he can’t believe anything she says, much less trust her – and he walks out.

John Krasinski in TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

 

***

So is anybody else getting the Clear and Present Danger vibe from this whole setup? I thought it was just the ambush sequence, but now I’m seeing it in the overall story. Just sub the Venezuelan government for the Colombian drug cartel and there you go. So if you’re familiar with the story, then it’s kind of easy to tell where this is probably going. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m more interested in seeing differences than similarities.

Love, love, love the addition of Michael Kelly, though, he’s so cool. I can only assume that his role isn’t just to be a desk jockey. They could’ve gotten anybody for that, so I’m psyched to see how big his role will be. Though I have to admit, I laugh every time I hear his name. It’s just goofy. And his being the ex-husband of the Ambassador? Seems like a bit of a reach and I’m not sure where they’re going with it, but, uh…okay.

And just what is the deal with Noomi Rapace’s Harriet? When a character has told so many lies, like Jack said, you just can’t trust anything they say. I’m interested to find out what the real connection is between her and Tom Wlaschiha’s Max – yow, a man must get a new eye! But that was a great fight scene, really well done – down and dirty, and you could just feel the tiredness on both character’s parts. Which is so much better than handling it like two superheroes just going at it endlessly with neither of them really getting hurt.

And as for Greer, wow – it’s not looking good for him, is it? I suppose this might the beginnings of him stepping back and leaving the field to take on more of a power position at Langley – more like James Earl Jones’ version of Greer. I’ll be interested to see how they do that. And as for this new guy, Marcus, I get the feeling he’s going to be really important going forward. I already like a character who’s not afraid to tell Not-John-Clark where to stick it.

So the plot thickens. Let’s keep going!

 

Check out more JACK RYAN recaps here!

 

 

Lorinda Donovan
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