In the seventh episode of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, entitled “The Boy,” Jack (John Krasinski) returns from Turkey and heads back into the office. Seeing all the corporate “normal” after everything that happened in Turkey is weird for him. Greer (Wendell Pierce) and Singer (Timothy Hutton) call Jack into a huddle to ask him about Hanin’s (Dina Shihabi) arrangements. Jack says he’s got her and the girls set up in a safehouse in Annandale, MD. They walk into the conference room where surveillance feed of Suleiman’s (Ali Suliman) compound is up on the screen. Singer says they’re still waiting for visual confirmation that Suleiman’s on site, but that the President is ready to approve a HALO insert once they’ve gotten it.
At a CIA training facility in Virginia, Matice (John Hoogenakker) oversees training the Delta Operators for the raid at a mock-up of the compound. He clears the room when Jack arrives with Hanin. Matice asks her what side of the bed Suleiman sleeps on and what weapons he keeps. She gives up the info, but her expression is one of anguish. Matice leaves then, saying quietly to Jack that he’d better be right about her, because “it’s us going in that door, not you.” Hanin looks to Jack for reassurance and he gives her a friendly wink – but it’s clear he’s worried, too.
At the compound in Syria, Suleiman tells Samir (Karim Zein) that his sisters will be coming home – but not Hanin. He says she left them to stay with the enemy, and that Allah punished her for it by having the enemy kill her. Suleiman says they’ll get their revenge, that the enemy will pay a high price – but Samir just walks off, upset.
Back at Langley in the 7th floor conference room, Director Joyce (Blair Brown) leads a briefing for the Director of National Intelligence, Bobby Vig (Ron Canada), who asks if Suleiman is there. Singer replies that they’re moderately confident that he is. Vig says “moderately” won’t get approval from POTUS. Director Nash (Daniel Kash) says moderate-to-high – but Vig still says no. Secretary of Defense Trent (Al Sapienza) says Suleiman killed 306 people in Paris. Vig counters 306 French people on French soil. Greer pipes up and says 27 of them were Americans. Vig says let the French handle it. SOD Trent says all they have to do is call in an air strike.
Then Jack pipes up out of turn as usual, insisting it has to be a ground assault. Vig asks why they should risk American lives if they don’t have to. Jack says even if the air strike killed Suleiman, it wouldn’t neutralize the threat – his group has cells in Syria, France and Yemen and those are only the ones they know of. An air strike would wipe out any and all evidence of his operations. But Vig still insists no ground assault – and that an air strike would only be approved if Suleiman is there. End of discussion. On the way back to the office, Greer rips Jack a new one. He says it’s not their job to advocate a course of action – only to present the intel and options.
Back in Syria, Samir goes to his parents’ room and goes through his mother’s things. He finds family photos in a drawer and cries when he sees one of him with his mom. But then, realizing he’s showing weakness, he slaps himself and punches the headboard, all that grief turning to rage.
At Washington Memorial in D.C., a couple of officers from USAMRIID (US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases) approach Cathy (Abbie Cornish) telling her they have questions regarding that e-mail she sent to CDC. Cathy says okay. They say there’s a car waiting downstairs, get in it – which wasn’t what Cathy was expecting to hear.
Meanwhile, Suleiman texts rapey Yazid asking him to message him via the game, still unaware that Greer’s put a very large hole in his head. Then one of his guys brings Dr. Nadler (Matt McCoy) to him. Suleiman gives him a box with medicine and vitamins, all the stuff Nadler asked for. The Doc’s relieved and grateful, and then asks again about examining Samir. But Suleiman insists he’s fine and sends him away.
Nadler goes back to the group and distributes the goods – then he goes over to Al Radwan (Jameel Khoury), who’s been languishing in the corner. As Nadler gives him some pain meds and water, one of the other docs, Ben (Maxime Robin), asks why he’s bothering when he’s the one who kidnapped them. Nadler tells Ben not to forget that they’re doctors first.
Back at Langley, when Jack and Greer return to the office, Tarek (Mena Massoud) shows them a photo they just got of Suleiman and Ali (Haaz Sleiman) arriving in Azerbaijan six months earlier – they were coming from Liberia with the body of a relative to bury. Of course nobody’s buying that, and Greer realizes that it has something to do with the Ebola containment breach. He tells Jack USAMRIID’s running a briefing with an expert and they should get over there.
At USAMRIID HQ, Cathy sits nervously in front of the Army brass. They grill her about EVD-27, which she tells them there’s no effective treatment for. Just then, Greer walks in with Jack and – whoops! He and Cathy trade shocked looks as Greer shows her the photo of Suleiman and Ali. He tells her about Azerbaijan, that Soviet scientist defectors set up shop at the universities there in order to create bio-weapons to sell on the black market. Jack asks Cathy if it’s possible to weaponize the Ebola. She says because the virus is transmitted through bodily fluids and killed by oxygen, a delivery system for it would be difficult to come up with – but that it is possible.
After the meeting breaks up, Jack chases after Cathy, saying he wasn’t allowed to tell her what he really does. Cathy says he could’ve just told her exactly that, instead of lying. She asks if anything he told her was true, like all the stuff about his father. Jack says he’d never lie about that, but there’s no way she can trust anything he says now. She tells him “good luck” with the same tone one would use to say “f**k off” and walks away.
At the Port of Baltimore, Suleiman’s guys Ibrahim (Amir El-Masry) and Jabir (Zarif Kabier) drive in and go looking for a shipping container. They find it and go inside, donning hazmat gear. Then they open up one of the crates and pull out a metal box hidden inside – a metal box containing eight cylinders of blue powder. They freak when they discover one of them is leaking, so they leave it on the floor and take off with the rest.
In Annandale, the safehouse boss Marabel (Julianne Jain) arrives and checks in with all the security guys watching over the place. She goes into the kitchen with some spices for Hanin’s recipe that she’s making with Rama (Arpy Ayvazian) and then goes to Sara (Nadia Affolter) with a handheld video game console.
Around 3am, Jack’s tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep. Then Greer calls and tells him to get to the 7th floor for a meeting ASAP – and wear a tie. When Jack arrives at the conference room, he finds all the higher-ups in attendance – but that he’s the only one in a suit. Greer chuckles as Jack sits next to him. Hardy-har-har.
Then the briefing begins, this time with President Pickett (Michael Gaston) on line via video call. The directors show him new surveillance images from the compound that show Suleiman is there. They also let him know that Dr. Nadler is among the hostages – turns out Nadler and POTUS served in Vietnam together. Pickett tells them to get them out – but before he can sign off, Jack leaps up and asks about rescuing Samir. He tells POTUS that they wouldn’t have gotten any of their info without Hanin’s help, and she just wants her son back. POTUS agrees – add Samir to the list.
In Syria, Suleiman holds a little pep rally for his people – and as they cheer and fire their weapons into the air, Samir joins in, grabbing one of the rifles and shooting it off with a smile on his face. Then later that night, as he lies in bed with his handheld video game, he gets a message from Sara, who uses her new game to message him. Samir’s happy to find out that they’re okay and even better, that Hanin is still alive. But then Suleiman comes in to say goodnight. As Samir pretends to be asleep, Suleiman looks at his video game and sees the last message from Sara.
It’s morning stateside and on the 7th floor at Langley, everyone’s gathered to watch the live feed of the raid. Matice and the Delta team enter the compound and search everywhere, but Suleiman and his troops are gone – only the hostages remain. Jack asks about Samir, but he’s gone too. Matice finds a tunnel underneath the compound with lots of ways out. He wants to take a few guys and check it out – but Director Farnsworth says no, just get the hostages out. As some of the Delta guys bag up all the evidence left behind, a transport helicopter arrives and picks up the hostages, Matice and the rest of the team.
After the busted bust, Jack goes to a bar to drown his disappointment. Greer finds him, which doesn’t please Jack. He asks if there isn’t anywhere else Greer could’ve gone. Greer tells him that given everything they recovered from the raid, “in our world, in ops, that’s a huge win.” But Jack can only dwell on the fact that they didn’t find Suleiman or Samir. Greer asks how he knows Samir doesn’t want to stay with his father? When Hanin fled with the girls, he stayed behind – the boy might not be salvageable. Jack says they don’t know that for sure – and Greer fires back hard with, “And maybe one day my black, Muslim ass’ll be Director of the CIA.”
In the badlands just south of the Turkish border, Suleiman and Samir arrive via camels to meet their Russian contact (Marko Leht), who’s waiting for them with transport and new passports.
Back at Langley, everyone watches the news as the hostages arrive home – except Jack, who’s at a restaurant waiting for Cathy. When she arrives, he says he’s grateful she came, he wasn’t sure she would. She asks how a relationship would possibly work when he’s a spy. Jack says that they have something special and asks if they can just start over and work things out as they go. Cathy says okay – and as they order, they see a press conference going on with POTUS and Dr. Nadler.
Back at the office, the CTC/TFAD crew goes through the items found in the hostages’ cell in Syria. One of the crew, Noreen (Eileen Li) finds the box of meds and vitamins and notes that it’s weird that Suleiman would’ve given them that stuff. Meanwhile, Tarek gives Greer a news article found shredded at the compound – which shows POTUS with Dr. Nadler, talking about how he was considered for Surgeon General.
Greer calls Jack, who’s watching the press conference with POTUS and a sickly-looking Nadler. And they both realize at the same time what’s happening – that Suleiman’s using Nadler and the other hostages as the Ebola carriers.
Well, it’s the next-to-last episode, so of course they packed a ton of plot into it. Overall it does click right along and has that exciting rollercoaster-on-the-downhill feeling, building toward a big ending. The compound raid was awesome, I really liked how they handled it. There was so much tension as the Delta team went through the place, and as they cleared room after room, you really expected an ambush to happen at any second. But the fact that it didn’t happen, and that Suleiman left without taking the opportunity to attack adds depth to his character.
But one thing that’s hit sour with me all along is how Jack’s been piping up in these executive-level meetings since the get-go, but the only person who ever dings him for it is Greer. The higher-ups seem way too willing to listen to this junior analyst they don’t even know. I mean, I know Jack is the one who ultimately steers the action, but it just seems like he should be getting in a lot more trouble for speaking out of turn, especially when the Secretary of Defense and the President are involved.
As for the ever-present speed bump that is Jack and Cathy – given that she’s now involved in the main plot their scenes at least keep up with the flow a bit better, but honestly I’m not sure how to feel about her character being so closely tied to the main action. I don’t want to make it sound like she shouldn’t have anything substantial to do, and I know it’s difficult to fit her in with such a plot-heavy story. But to put her right smack in the middle of the same terrorist plot that Jack’s involved in just seems – well, contrived at the least and unbelievable at the most.
The last Jack Ryan movie, Shadow Recruit, did the same thing – they involved Cathy in the main plot and it just dumbed the whole thing down. On the other hand, the Harrison Ford flicks managed to keep Cathy relevant without directly involving her in the main plot (well, except for Patriot Games, but that was a personal vendetta-based story). Cathy was always there for Jack but she had her own thing going on, which is a lot more realistic. So all this makes me wonder if it was really the right thing to have Cathy in this season at all.
And one more thing – on the bad guys’ end, when Samir finds out that Hanin is still alive, he doesn’t seem particularly shocked by it. Nor does he take Suleiman to task for lying to him about his mom being dead. Nope, he just happily rolls along with Pops and becomes a junior jihadist. That was a huge WTF moment for me. What’d you think about all this?