Roush Review: Always Trust ‘Jack Ryan’ to Save the Day

John Krasinski - 'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan'
Prime Video

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

Matt's Rating: rating: 4.0 stars

How many times does Jack Ryan have to save the world before his CIA bosses give him the benefit of the doubt?

This question nagged at me through much of the white-knuckle ride of the disquieting third season of Prime Video’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (as if there were another). The timely doomsday scenario imagines a rogue Russian cabal sowing international unrest through assassination, incursion and coup. How do we know it’s fiction? Because the Russian president in this story comes off as a peacenik by comparison.

This long-dormant group, thought to have been eliminated in a 1969 massacre, has revived a nuclear scheme known as the Sokol Project — how very Robert Ludlum. Their ultimate goal: to revive the fearful specter of the Soviet Union as “the monster that kept the rest of the world up at night.” (Subtlety is not this series’ strong suit.) First stop: the Czech Republic, whose steely female president (Nina Hoss) proves to be no pushover even when betrayals hit close to home.

Intrepid and intuitive case officer Jack Ryan, once again imbued with a hangdog charisma by John Krasinski, uncovers the plot, but is soon made a fall guy by the suits in Langley when a mission goes sideways and a “red notice” goes out on our hero. Even the ambitious Rome station chief (a fierce Betty Gabriel) admits to Jack’s face, before becoming an ally, “I’ve never really liked heroes.”

We beg to differ. With cohorts including CIA officer James Greer (the sturdy Wendell Pierce) and ex-spy mercenary Mike November (a wry Michael Kelly) always on hand to have his back as he runs toward danger in an impressive array of European countries, Jack somehow manages to rise above internal politics. With firefights and ambushes at every turn, he finds himself at ground zero during literal ticking-bomb moments while averting geopolitical armageddon.

Hard not to agree with high-ranking Russian widow who observes, “This is much less boring than the opera.” Next time, guys, just trust this dude. He always comes through.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Season 3 Premiere (all eight episodes), Wednesday, December 21, Prime Video