Welcome to the series finale of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, titled “Proof of Concept.” It’s all come down to this, folks. Ready to dive in? Let’s go:
We begin at the confirmation hearing for Acting Director Wright (Betty Gabriel). As Senator Henshaw (Derek Cecil) calls for the votes, we cut to poor Jack (John Krasinski) in Myanmar, getting dragged into the dungeon where we first saw him. Wright gets a standing ovation and flashbulbs galore as she’s officially confirmed as Director of the CIA. But all Jack gets is a hello from big bad Zeyara Lemos (Zuleikha Robinson).
Meanwhile, Ding (Michael Peña) and Mike (Michael Kelly) are still on that rocky beach in Thailand, with Mike sporting a lovely gunshot wound to the shoulder. Ding says they need to start walking, but Mike says he thinks he knows where they took Jack – the same place where he picked up Cathy (Abbie Cornish).
Back at Langley, Greer (Wendell Pierce) welcomes the mysterious Mr. Tuttle (Michael McElhatton) back to the CIA. Yep, Tuttle’s a former spook. Before that, he was an Army Ranger – which Greer says impresses him. “Those are some bad mother***ers.” Greer says he’s surprised they’ve never met before. They’ve both been posted all over the world. Then Tuttle says, oh, yeah, Karachi. I heard what you did there. Ooh, an unpleasant callback to season one for Greer. And he’s not amused.
Greer’s like, ain’t no Miranda rights in this room, so what happens is up to you. So tell me where Jack is. Tuttle’s like, oh, yeah, him. Miller really hated that guy. Greer doesn’t appreciate Tuttle’s lack of conversational skills, so he’s like, let’s skip to the bombs then. Where are they? And Tuttle’s like, hmm. Depends on what time it is.
Then Greer gets a call from Cathy, who’s at Andrews Air Force Base with Kyi Fah (Jacelyn Parry) and daughter Bennu (Ryn Greenwell). Cathy says Kyi didn’t know anything about any passwords or intel from her now-deceased husband, Chao Fah (Louis Ozawa). She asks about Jack, and Greer gives her the bad news that he’s been taken.
Back in the dungeon, Zeyara warns Jack not to black out, as he definitely won’t like what they do “to wake you back up.” They lower his feet into a tub of water, and they bring out the car battery. Zeyara asks what the now-deceased Chao Fah told him and Jack’s like, he didn’t tell me anything and then you killed him. ZAP!
Then Zeyara asks about the remaining packages, and Jack admits that Chao told him they were going to the States. Zeyara confirms it, saying it’s a “first round.” But she also says that it’s not really about the bombs. It’s about “proof of concept” – about proving that America is vulnerable to attack. She’s just proving it to the rest of the world. Jack says she’ll never get away with it. ZAP!
Back in Thailand, Ding and Mike do a little shopping. They manage to get a rusty knife, a spear gun and a skiff. Then Ding tells Mike he’s not going because his shoulder’s packed with banana leaves and will definitely get infected if he doesn’t get it taken care of. Mike’s like, great, so what do I do? Ding’s like, get us a plane.
Back at Langley, Ade Osoji (Okieriete Onaodowan) shows up with flowers for Wright. She’s like, gee, thanks. Then Greer shows up behind him, grabs the flowers and tosses them in the trash. Ha! Wright shows Osoji the security feed of Tuttle in the interrogation room and they tell him they know about Dominic Sanderson.
Osoji’s like, so I helped a kid in need. So what? Wright’s like, so it’s just coincidence that Miller (John Schwab) used those badly-named shell companies of yours to fund black ops? Osoji’s like, that’s classified above your pay grade. Classified above the Director of CIA. Wow. What a d*ck. So then he says he’s willing to make a deal for immunity, to which Greer succinctly replies, “F**k you.” What does he have to offer? Ah … Jack’s location.
Wright says she can’t authorize that herself; she has to go to the Attorney General. Osoji’s like, so get the phone and once I have it in writing, I’ll tell you where he is. Wright kicks him out and Greer’s like, we can’t cave into this guy. Jack would hate that. And Wright’s like, I don’t care what Jack thinks about it. We need to get him back.
Back at Andrews AFB, Cathy talks to little Bennu, who tells her how Chao gave her the bunny and she could tell him all her secrets. Cathy feels the bunny’s belly and finds a hole that’s been stitched up. She calls Greer and tells him she found a flash drive in it. Meanwhile, Ding arrives back in Myanmar and gets himself a car while Mike shows up at an air force base in Bangkok and asks to use the phone. Of course, the guards are all like, whaaat?
Back in the dungeon, Jack wakes up and finds himself chained to a table. Zeyara’s henchmen rip Jack’s shirt, exposing his back. She touches his surgery scar and is like, so you know pain. But whether you talk or not, the infrastructure’s already in place. And Jack’s like, yeah, but it’s untested. If your proof of concept doesn’t work, all your buyers will disappear.
Zeyara’s like, if my buyers disappear, your loved ones die. Then her henchmen pour boiling water on his back. Yikes. Zeyara warns him again to talk, but he still won’t. So they throw salt on the burn. Oh, man. So much ouch. Not a moment too soon, Ding arrives, scaling the wall while he sends his burning car down the ramp to distract the guards.
Greer goes back to Tuttle and shows him a coded message that indicates where the bombs are going. Greer says, decode it. Tuttle’s like, what do I get in return? Greer’s like, nothing. Tuttle’s like, oh, so Osoji’s involved now, huh? Then he says how interesting Osoji is. Tuttle says when he tracks a target, he tries to find their center, the “point from which they operate,” but Osoji doesn’t have one. Tuttle’s like, you have the coded locations of the bombs, I can translate the code. Let’s deal.
Back in Bangkok, Mike gets to pull the awesome homage to Clear and Present Danger (1994), where he goes to the Thai Air Force commander and asks to borrow a plane. He says they can charge the company for it, and he hands over a CIA business card.
And while Mike’s renting planes, Ding’s making his way through the prison, expertly taking out guards along the way. He follows the sound of agonizing screams and finds himself right above where Jack’s being held. Ding tosses a grenade outside to distract the guards. Zeyara sends her henchmen out while she stays with Jack.
Thinking she knows who it is, she starts talking through the door to Ding (not realizing he’s actually above her). She says it’s too bad they haven’t met before now. But if Ding will simply walk away, she’ll make sure to “fill the bank accounts” of the families of his fallen men. But if he doesn’t, she’ll just find the families. Ooh. Wrong thing to say.
Ding drops in from above and tells her to tell him the names of his men. If she can name one, he’ll let her go. Well, of course, she can’t, so he shoots her. Ding-dong, the b*tch is dead. Ding lays a gentle hand on Jack’s arm, and all poor Jack can do is cry with relief, exhaustion and suffering. Aw.
Mike calls Greer and gives him the good news. Greer then hurries to Wright’s office, but it’s too late, Osoji’s just signed his get-out-of-jail-free card. So Greer has to reluctantly let Osoji pass by; however, not without a death stare. Then he and Cathy meet the plane when our weary heroes arrive.
Senator Henshaw calls Wright to congratulate her on getting Jack home safe, and how the Committee is looking forward to hearing all about it. Yeah, okay. Meanwhile, the guys are going through the massive amount of info that awkward Patrick (Adam Bernett) dug up on the whole operation. Mike laughs and calls Jack “obsolete,” and Jack just tells Patrick an earnest “nice work.” And Patrick’s like, low-key yay, me!
Greer comes in with the cipher for Tuttle’s code: a Mormon Bible. Ding tells them Miller had one too. So the operation stretched from Myanmar to the U.S. through Lagos. The whole reason President Udo was assassinated was to defend the port there. Greer and Jack meet up with Tuttle, who reiterates that he doesn’t know where the bombs actually are. That was Osoji’s department.
Tuttle also says they made contact with him through snail mail, which ensured no digital footprint. But he hasn’t received anything. Jack says the shipment was expedited and Tuttle’s like, well, sh*t. Then it’s probably already too late. They take Tuttle on a field trip back to Biz Hub, where there’s a bunch of mail piled up on his desk.
Tuttle finds the package and hands it to Greer, who’s like, screw that, I’m not touching that thing. So he hands it to Jack, who opens it to find several sets of car keys. Tuttle’s like, well, now you know how they’re moving them. Jack remembers a bunch of trucks at the port in Mexico that they thought were carrying drugs. One of the keychains has a Texas car dealership name, so Jack calls and asks about trucks that were ordered. The dealer says they should be at the border the next day. So guess where everyone’s headed?
Jack, Greer, Mike and Ding all get to the port at Brownsville, TX, and meet up with Customs and Border Protection at their tech suite. Ding warns that the trucks will have escorts and spotters. They conference Wright in as they look for every car carrier and check weights. One comes up without a preload weight, which happens with last-minute shipments – but only if authorized by someone very high up.
As they send Wright the info to check it out, they spot the carrier with the trucks. Jack tells the CBP guys to pull back, but it’s too late, as the carrier driver pulls out a shotgun and kills one of the officers. The carrier driver lays on the gas and hauls butt, ready to ram his way through, but a CBP armored vehicle takes out the driver, and the carrier crashes.
As our heroes move in on the wreck, more bad guys jump out of their vehicles and start shooting, causing total chaos. And all Wright can do is watch as the news covers the shootout from their helicopters. Then Wright discovers that the authorization for the trucks came from none other than Senator Henshaw! Gasp!
The shootout finally ends with all baddies down, of course. Then, Jack, Mike, Ding and Greer all jump in the vehicles on the car carrier, checking to see which ones are the hot ones. The computer in the truck Mike’s in makes noise and the guys check beneath the truck and find the bomb. Of course, there’s no time to wait for the bomb squad, so Jack just grabs the cable connecting to the computer and cuts.
Nothing blows up. Yay! Terrific! Now they just have to do that a few more times.
Later, Wright shows up at a bar where Osoji’s busy lobbying. He approaches her and gives her the whole “nothing personal” line. He truly cares about her, and says she has such potential. He goes on to say that the era of heroes and villains is gone. Wright needs to understand “what justice actually looks like today” if she hopes to stop the Zeyara Lemoses of the world.
Wright’s still impressed by his ability to spin golden words. But then she asks him what missionaries were the ones that helped his village. Mormons, he says. Right … Mormons. Wright digs into her bag and pulls out the Bible Miller had. And Miller definitely wasn’t a Mormon. Oh, wait – what’s that sound? Police sirens.
Osoji’s like, uh, immunity, remember? And Wright’s like, well, with CIA, sure. But not with D.C. homicide. Probably shouldn’t have killed Miller. And Osoji’s like, I’ll have this rap beat within 18 months. And the others out there like him who are the real bad guys. Are you gonna arrest them all, he asks. And Wright says, “One by one … without compromise.” Osoji has no clever comeback for that, so he walks off into police custody.
Then, at the next hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jack walks in as a star witness. After he’s sworn in, Senator Henshaw makes a speech about how, even though they’re all relieved that the imminent threat has been eliminated, “the American people deserve answers as to how we got here.”
Jack wholeheartedly agrees, saying it was his job to eliminate any compromised operations left behind by Miller. And he reminds everyone about his belief that the CIA should not exist if it serves anyone other than the American people. He says that he wanted to prove that “our system of government could once again be trusted.”
But, he says, he failed. And he realized that when he and Ding, Mike and Greer were putting their lives on the line to neutralize the biochemical weapons that had gotten into the country. He says that Zeyara Lemos gained the confidence to attempt her plan because of the weakness in our system.
Henshaw attempts to divert by pointing to Jack’s disregard for protocol. Jack’s like, yeah, okay, I used any means necessary. But I also discovered that my own people were working against me. Then Jack holds up a copy of the authorization letter Henshaw signed for the trucks. Ooh. And as Henshaw does his best to be ignorant and indignant, Jack just goes off on a total verbal beatdown. Turns out Osoji’s lobbying included getting lots of money for Henshaw’s reelection campaign. Even bigger ooh.
Jack finishes by saying he hopes that Henshaw really didn’t know what Zeyara’s endgame was. That he didn’t know he was putting thousands of American lives at risk. But if he did know, then he’s just as guilty as if he set the bombs off himself. With that, and a final “the people deserve better” line, Jack walks out, and the rest of our heroes follow suit.
Jack meets everybody outside, and Wright’s like, you know the President’s gonna want you to run for office, right? And Jack’s like, uh … no. In fact, hell, no. Ding says, hey, should we get back to work then? Jack sees Cathy waiting and is like, I quit this job, remember? I’m taking a break. Wright says she’ll see him around campus. And Jack just looks at them all like, wow. “Helluva team photo.” Then he walks off with Cathy into the gray, wintry D.C. sunset. The end.
So that’s it! It was definitely an action-packed hour, and none of that disappointed me. But to me, it all felt kinda rushed. We barely got to know Zuleikha Robinson’s Zeyara Lemos as her true baddie self before she was killed.
And the awesome Michael McElhatton didn’t get to do much but sit in a room, which was a real waste of his talent.
But I will say this: we finally got to see some real character work in Jack. Watching him go through that torture sequence was hard to watch, but it gave John Krasinski a chance to really break down and show some raw emotion. We weren’t seeing the super-cool, Jason Bourne-lite version of Jack that I’ve really come to dislike. We finally saw a real person, going through real pain. That moment when Ding put his hand on his arm after rescuing him was heartbreaking. And that’s good. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t get more of that, not only in this season but the one before it.
Wendell Pierce’s Greer got a last chance to flex, and that was awesome. Betty Gabriel’s Wright also got some welcome moments to shine. And if Michael Kelly and Michael Peña don’t get back together in whatever version of Rainbow Six that’s in development, they really should just do a cop-buddy movie together.
And while Jack got to rip the Senate a new one, I have to admit, I really wish it could’ve been done like Clear and Present Danger where Jack went directly up against the President. I dunno; there’s just something about that setup that’s way more interesting to me. Meatier. And as for Jack and Cathy, well. Y’all know how I feel about that. It was good and right to have Cathy back, but Abbie Cornish’s talent was tragically underutilized, and that’s a shame.
So, all in all, I’d say that Jack Ryan ended decently enough. But it should have ended better. As Jack himself said, the people deserved better.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is currently streaming on Prime Video.