John Krasinski headlines the final chapter of the espionage series with a non-stop thriller of a season.
PLOT: The fourth-and-final season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan finds the titular character on his most dangerous mission yet: facing an enemy both foreign and domestic. As the new CIA Acting Deputy Director, Jack Ryan is tasked with unearthing internal corruption, and in doing so, uncovers a series of suspicious black ops that could expose the vulnerability of the country. As Jack and the team investigate how deep the corruption runs, he discovers a far-worse reality—the convergence of a drug cartel with a terrorist organization—ultimately revealing a conspiracy much closer to home and testing our hero’s belief in the system he has always fought to protect.
REVIEW: After three pulse-pounding seasons, Prime Video’s foray into Tom Clancy’s connected universe is ending. Filmed back to back with the third season, the fourth series of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan offers a shorter run that is both tighter and a fitting conclusion to the John Krasinski iteration of the character previously played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine. While never reaching the unprecedented plotlines from the novels that inspired it, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan has saved its best season for last while setting up the potential for spin-off narratives set within the so-called Ryanverse. This season introduces a cool new character to audiences in Michael Pena’s Ding Chavez while providing a satisfactory close to the four-season arc for the title character.
Following Jack’s rogue mission in the third season, this final season opens with the former analyst turned field agent beginning his tenure as Deputy Director of the CIA. With Elizabeth Wright (Betty Gabriel) preparing for her confirmation as Director of the CIA, Jack is questioned by a Senate subcommittee led by Senator Henshaw (Derek Cecil) regarding his actions and those of the agency he represents. At the same time, Jack and James Greer (Wendell Pierce) must contend with a recent assassination in Lagos that may or may not have been carried out with assistance from the CIA. This introduces a new threat that involves factions around the globe. In Asia, Jack and his team begin to investigate Chao Fah (Louis Ozawa) and a mysterious woman named Zeyara Khin (Zuleikha Robinson).
Coming in at two episodes shorter than the three previous seasons, this season of Jack Ryan feels much more propulsive than any storyline that came before it. While the threat of nuclear war was the crux of season three, the stakes are slightly smaller this season but no less impactful as Jack begins to uncover a thread of corruption through the highest levels of our government. While Jack begins the path of leadership that his character followed in the Tom Clancy novels (eventually becoming President of the United States), John Krasinski has mastered Jack’s skills as a field agent and tactician. This season does not disappoint in showing Jack with a weapon in the field. We also get to see the return of Abbie Cornish as Jack’s love interest and future wife, Cathy Mueller. It was always odd to me that Cornish was absent for the second and third seasons of the show, but her return is welcome as her scenes shared with Krasinski are amongst the best in the show.
The most notable addition to this version of the Ryanverse is Ding Chavez. Played by Michael Pena, Ding is a substantial character who is connected to Clancy’s Rainbow Six novels and is a colleague of John Clark. While Clark is never seen in this series, he was previously played on film by Willem Dafoe and, most recently, Michael B. Jordan. Pena has always had dramatic and comedic chops, but as Ding Chavez, he gets to exercise the darker action muscles he has been hiding for a long time. In many ways, Chavez is the anti-Jack Ryan, and the proposed spin-off focusing on his character could make for some very cool television. Chavez joins the returning Wendell Pierce and Michael Kelly, who makes James Greer and Mike November some of the coolest characters on the small screen. Everyone gets some solid screentime together this season, and it really drives home how solid of a final season this shapes up to be, both narratively and holistically.
Series creators Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland have no involvement with this final season which features scripting duties split amongst Vaun Wilmott, Aaron Rabin, Steven Kane, Jada M. Nation, Robert Port, and Joe Greskoviak with episodes directed by Lukas Ettlin, Jann Turner, and Shana Stein. While it is unfortunate that John Krasinski did not step behind the camera during this series, he does give his all as a producer and on-screen as Jack Ryan. While there have been substantial physical stunts in addition to the dramatic moments throughout the series, this season does have some of the most brutal torture scenes I have ever seen on the big screen or small. It is hard to watch at points before transitioning to some tense showdown sequences and some top-notch palace intrigue. The final episode packs a hell of a punch and ends in a way that ties things up while leaving the door open for more in the future. A nice joke about the future for Jack Ryan harkens back to the source material while never feeling entirely like the end of this story.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan has always been inspired by the author’s series of novels rather than being adapted from any particular book. This has given the series creative freedom to explore the themes Clancy explored in his stories without being stuck living up to fan expectations. I am still shocked this series ends as early as this, especially without a tighter ending to the story, but I am glad we got the four seasons we have. John Krasinski has become the definitive Jack Ryan, even if he will always be overshadowed by Harrison Ford’s brilliant and far different take on the character. This series has accomplished something that two prior attempts to adapt this character failed to do. I hope that someday we will see more of this version of the franchise continue in one capacity or another.
The final season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan premieres on June 30th on Prime Video.