Prime Video’s goodbye to John Krasinski’s Ryan is another season of solid spycraft storytelling.
Generally speaking, we avoid personalizing our reviews at The Spool. This isn’t the early 2000s. No one needs to know about my journey to my couch to watch Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 4. That said, please allow me a brief personal indulgence that I promise will prove illustrious. In an effort to get ahead of deadlines, I watched the season’s six episodes in a day with a plan to write the review the next day. However, by the time I sat down to write that review about 26 hours later, I realized I had to watch the whole thing again. In a day’s time, I had forgotten too much to write a review in good faith.
This isn’t because Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 4 is bad. It’s a decent enough final season featuring solid action sequences and the occasional sly laugh. I think John Krasinski makes for a fine Ryan, a good balance between the egghead he started as and the action hero he became. The supporting cast is fine as well. It’s hard to dock a series for utilizing the likes of Wendell Pierce, Abbie Cornish, or Michael Kelly.
No, Jack Ryan has never been bad. But it’s always been just good enough. As a result, it doesn’t linger in the mind for better and worse. It is the kind of television show intended to entertain audiences while they watch and evaporate soon after.
To focus on Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 4 specifically, the show picks up with Wright (Betty Gabriel) and Ryan facing Congressional evaluation to determine if either or both will transition from CIA Interim Director and Deputy Director to permanent CIA Director and Deputy Director. While ambitious Senator Henshaw (Derek Cecil) initially seems to be the only hurdle, a political assassination possibly connected to the prior CIA Director, Tom Miller’s (John Schwab), illegal activities complicates things considerably. Worse, the fallout begins to threaten far more serious considerations than a pair of political appointments.
The season’s biggest new addition is Michael Peña as Domingo Chavez, a man with, you guessed it, a shady past with unclear motivations and alliances. While not the favorite version of Peña, comedic Peña, the actor proves a welcome inclusion. His practical attitude compliments Krasinski’s “we can save ’em all” optimism and Kelly’s delightful mercenary amorality. Another compelling arrival, Louis Ozawa as Chao Fah, a lieutenant in a prominent criminal family, gives the show a certain doomed nobility that agrees with its vision of global politics. In Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 4, the world has more than its fair share of villains, but there are also plenty of decent people stuck in situations not of their own making.
[Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan] always been just good enough.
Perhaps that’s why the series’ biggest stumbles are when it reaches for the opposite—people who have the power to be anything but choose evil. The show climaxes on the twin exposure of bad actors on American soil, and both read excessively simplistic and false. Krasinski’s grandstanding exposure of a corrupt official is especially unbelievable. Accepting Ryan’s near-superhuman ability to resist torture is easy. Please don’t expect audiences to swallow a single document could fell an opponent wielding tremendous political power, though.
If you’ve watched and liked this series until now, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 4 will prove the best sort of “more of the same.” On the other hand, if you either didn’t like it or haven’t checked it out yet? There’s no reason to think Season 4 will be the one to change your mind.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan season 4 faces down Prime Video oversight starting June 30.