Welcome to episode seven of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, “Moscow Rules.” As usual, lots to get through, so let’s go:
At the White House, Wright (Betty Gabriel) briefs President Bachler (David Badella) on the explosion in the Czech Republic. She tells him all about the Small Wars plan, how the Sokol device was made to look like an American weapon, and the players involved, including the recently deceased Petr Kovac/Lebedev (Peter Guinness) and Russian Defense Minister Alexi Petrov (Alexej Manvelov). She tells him that increasing their DEFCON status would be exactly what they want and that they’re working with an asset to de-escalate the situation.
In Moscow, Jack (John Krasinski) and Luka Gocahrov (James Cosmo) prepare to get a recording of Petrov confessing to his involvement. Luka’s arranged to meet Petrov, but he doesn’t show. Instead, a bunch of other Russian Intelligence guys do, and Luka’s forced to ditch his earpiece as they shove him in a van and drive off. Jack jumps in his car and gives chase, trying to stay close so that the recorder still picks up a signal.
At the US Embassy in Moscow, Greer (Wendell Pierce) looks up the status of an old Spetsnaz (special forces) informant, Vova Litishenko (Gordon Kennedy). He talks about it to station chief Phil Figueroa (James Sobol Kelly). He says that Litishenko got kicked out of Spetsnaz, and they haven’t bothered with him since. Greer tells him about President Alena Kovac (Nina Hoss) coming to Moscow and tells him not to put eyes on her and that he’ll be responsible for her.
Jack loses Luka as the van as he enters a warehouse area, where the baddies get Luka out of the van. Luka keeps talking so Jack can pick up his signal, taunting the baddies that they’re not going to live long enough to get good at being badasses. Jack grabs his gun out of the glove box and moves in just as Petrov shows up.
Luka and Petrov do their info-dump conversation, and Petrov reveals himself as the big bad. Luka says he’ll never be a great man like Petr was, and he’s only another politician. Petrov says muting the explosion inside a mountain was clever, and Luka says he wasn’t even there. He was being delivered to Petr. Petrov says he wanted to let the “old dogs fight” it out and settle their score.
Luka says there’s no way Petr would’ve left Crossbow to Petrov as Petrov hands Luka’s gun to one of the other guys and tells him to kill him with it. Then, Jack swoops in and saves Luka, and the two take out some of the other baddies, but not all, as some of them speed off in the van.
Greer meets up with Litishenko and shows him an old photo of Petr wearing the yellow Spetsnaz beret. Greer asks what the color meant, and Litishenko says yellow represented the “clean-up crews.” He says they were disbanded and “f***ed over” by the government. He also says that some of them are still around and that they’re like a brotherhood. Greer slips him a bunch of money to set up an introduction.
At the Czech embassy in Moscow, Pres. Kovac calls Petrov to set up a meeting. Mike November’s (Michael Kelly) there with her and asks if she knows what to do. Pres. Kovac says she needs to make Petrov think he’s still got power over her, to “distract him with his own magnificence.” Pres. Kovac asks Mike if he’s figured out a way to get to Minister Popov’s widow, Natalya (Selma Alispahic), and he says he’ll figure something out.
Meanwhile, Petrov briefs President Surikov (Mikhail Safronov) on the US’ movements. He shows Surikov photos of US fighters being prepped, a warship entering the North Sea, and troop movements. Petrov says they must raise their readiness, but Surikov isn’t going for it. He agrees to have fighters moved onto their runways so that the US’ eyes in the sky can see it, but that’s it.
After the meeting breaks up, Surikov keeps Petrov there, who apologizes for overstepping. Surikov says it’s the nature of ambitious young men to overstep and that he needs to get used to working with him, as he’s still mourning the loss of Minister Popov. But it’s clear Surikov’s warning Petrov that he knows he’s up to something.
Meanwhile, Jack and Luka pull over somewhere, and before they split up, Luka hands over the recorded audio of Petrov confessing to Popov’s murder. Jack asks Luka to tell him why he was there at Matoksa in 1969, and Luka admits to giving the order to kill the scientists, saying he has a lot to make up for.
Pres. Kovac arrives at the Kremlin, and Petrov tells her he doesn’t understand what she expects to accomplish. He says it’s clear that she’s a puppet for the Americans. She says they both know the explosion had nothing to do with NATO. She knows he was working with her father, and he will be in serious trouble once it all comes out. Petrov keeps his cool, telling her she sounds desperate. He says she’d better distance herself from NATO if she knows what’s good for her. Then he dismissively tells her to “fly away home” before her own house catches fire.
Meanwhile, Greer gets a message from Litishenko with an address to meet at. So, Greer goes to this sketchy-looking building and walks up to an even sketchier-looking apartment — where Vova tries rushing him with a knife. But Greer ain’t havin’ that, and after a tussle, Vova ends up going over a railing, falling down a few floors and breaking his leg. Ouch.
Greer asks who gave the order to kill him, and after stepping on his busted leg, Vova admits it was Rolan Antonov (Derek De Lint), the Navy captain from the Popov funeral. Greer scares him for a minute by aiming his gun at his head. But then he relents, takes his money back and leaves.
Back in D.C., Wright and all the President’s men are looking at satellite images of a Russian ship moving within firing range of US airbases. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. McGuire (Donald Sage Mackay), has a small fit over the whole non-reaction reaction plan. When he gets pissy with Wright, she hits him up with something he must’ve learned at West Point: “No enemy is worse than bad advice.”
Back in Moscow, Mike shadows Natalya Popov as she heads in to see the opera. While she’s in the theater, he hijacks her driver by having his phone say very politely in Russian, “I need to borrow your car,” and then pointing a gun at him. Classic Mike.
Wright calls Greer, who tells her the embassy staff’s being kicked out. Wright says she’s running out of options and favors. Greer says he hasn’t heard from Jack yet but “has faith.” Wright warns him to get out of Moscow. And as Greer’s walking out, he passes by a dude handing out flyers for a concert in Gorky Park and asks Greer if he wants to see “bright boy,” aka Greer’s favorite nickname for Jack.
Greer heads to the park and finds Jack, but then a Russian intelligence guy tries to take them out. Luckily, Luka’s there too and takes him out first. Jack hands Greer the recording of Petrov’s confession and tells him to give it to Pres. Kovac. Jack then asks if he’s found out anything. Greer says all he’s got is the name Rolan Antonov, who was also at Matoksa in 1969. But Luka says he couldn’t be involved, that he’s a friend and a good man.
When Natalya Popov gets into her car after the opera, she’s shocked to see Mike driving. He tells her he knows what happened to her husband and how she could get some payback. He drives her to an apartment where Greer and Pres. Kovac wait. Pres. Kovac says she has things to tell her that’ll be “unpleasant to hear.” Intrigued, Mrs. Popov says it’s “much less boring than the opera.”
Jack and Luka head to Antonov’s house, where they take out a couple more Russian Intelligence guys, and Jack grabs some paperwork they’d thrown into the fire — workups on all of the US ships in the Baltic Sea. They both realize it’s Antonov who’s going to start the war.
And while Capt. Antonov’s boarding Russia’s best warship, the Fearless, near St. Petersburg, Pres. Kovac’s playing the audio of Petrov’s confession to Mrs. Popov, who hilariously calls him “that little yuppie sh*t!” Then, Pres. Kovac says she needs her help to see Pres. Surikov.
While Wright briefs President Bachler on Antonov, the gang drives Mrs. Popov home, and she agrees to set something up. She tells Pres. Kovac that she followed her campaign closely and that it’s been more than 200 years since a woman ruled Russia. Mrs. Popov and Pres. Kovac agree that they’d like to see that change.
Wright gets a bunch of messages from Jack and calls him. Jack tells her about the Fearless and how Petrov authorized the mission. Jack and Wright realize they’re getting the US caught up in a coup, and while she warns the President, Jack says he’s got to get out to the Baltic somehow. He and Luka split up again then, with Luka saying he’s going to find a way to get to Antonov.
Jack and Luka make a pretty good team, no? And I have to say it was nice to see some of the old Jack back when he asked Luka about Matoksa. It was so good to see some real depth of emotion there instead of just the stone-cold operator he’s been all season.
This ep was all about women wielding real power. Between Wright handling the White House and Mrs. Popov and Pres. Kovac, they were all taking care of business. Even though the idea that a president would leave her country (especially after that explosion) and get involved in this kind of subterfuge is a bit much to have to buy, it was still cool to see.
Only one more episode left! We’ll see how Jack saves the world this time.
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