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‘Jack Ryan’ incites excitement and empathy

| Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ivan Skvaril

Hollywood is in the middle of a monumental change within the world of television. Streaming companies such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have proven they can reach a high number of viewers by creating their own content and can even compete against studio giants like Paramount, Fox and HBO during awards season.

Amazon is looking to match the popularity and immersive world building that some studios have been able to make with TV series such as “Stranger Things” on Netflix and “Game of Thrones” on HBO. This August, Amazon released season 1 of its new original series, “Jack Ryan.”

Jack Ryan (John Krasinski), a former United States marine, now works for the CIA as a financial analyst that is part of the Agency’s Counterterrorism Center. One day, Ryan gets a call from his boss in the Counterterrorism Center about trying to investigate a series of mysterious bank transfers. Ryan, hesitant to investigate these actions, agrees to join the investigation and travels to Yemen, were he interrogates a suspect named Mousa Bin Suleiman (Ali Suliman), an Islamic terrorist within ISIS.

While the interrogation happens, the encampment where Suleiman is being held is attacked, and Suleiman escapes. The season progresses as Jack Ryan and the CIA look to track down Suleiman and thwart his plans wherever they can.

Season 1 does a good job with showing the depth of Jack Ryan by depicting scenes from his time serving as a Marine to the troubles that occurred during that time and how they still affect him. John Krasinski does a remarkable job in portraying Jack Ryan as this strong and resourceful CIA agent, but also showing us his flaws as a human person.

Through skillful crafting, writers get viewers to empathize with the enemies in this story. The writers show us how there is more to the terrorists than just their lust for destruction and chaos. We see how these terrorists have families and friends they care about deeply and how they would risk anything to protect them. We take a look back at Suleiman’s backstory and notice how he became corrupt and how it influenced those around him.

I found myself during many of the action scenes not only worrying about our heroes, but also the terrorists and how their actions would affect their families and communities. It was very satisfying to see this high-quality storytelling, and it gives me hope that Hollywood is still looking to tell good stories.

However, a problem with the series is the slow pacing of some episodes. There are entire sequences that take a while to get into but only deliver toward the end. There were scenes about Jack’s past that felt forced and did not seem natural to the story.

With an immersive world, intriguing characters and John Krasinski’s charisma, “Jack Ryan” is a well-done series worth seeing. The little flaws that come with pacing never once broke my interest in the story, which had me on the edge of my couch, hoping for a good ending.

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