Jack Ryan season 1, episode 2: ‘French Connection’


Jack Ryan fleshes out its antagonists in an exciting hour of television.

While the pilot felt like the series might be heading in a generic direction, “French Connection” makes things a bit more interesting. Namely, Jack Ryan dives deeper into Suleiman’s life which expands his role from the typical villain you’d see in an action show. Overall, any concerns from the pilot haven’t carried over as much into the second episode.

The episode picks up with the murder of a priest getting murdered. It’s a bit unclear what the significance is outside of the fact that danger can be lurking around every corner. They steal his wallet, and he will undoubtedly have a bigger role to play later in the series.

Back in Washington DC, the CIA is concerned about how to handle Suleiman and the public. Nathan Singer, the deputy director of the CIA, seems like he’s happy to just blame the whole thing on ISIS and wipe his hands clean. Jack isn’t as willing though, and he quickly speaks up that nothing about Suleiman’s profile fits ISIS. He’s well-funded through European banks, his army is extremely well-trained, and no one is exactly sure what his endgame is. Singer seems to punish Greer by putting CTC Europe on the case and benching Ryan in the process.

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Jack isn’t upset for all that long, because he takes a few personal hours to swing by the hospital. His doctor is shocked by the amount of scar tissue and surgeries he’s undergone, which once again has us wondering what happened to him in the military. But Jack Ryan doesn’t expand on the protagonist’s past quite yet. Instead, he heads upstairs to epidemiology so he can ask Dr. Cathy Mueller out on a date. She happily agrees, but the two might hit a rough patch down the road since Jack lied about his job.

Back in the office, Jack is pestered by his colleagues about what happened in Yemen. He plays dumb, but Noreen hands him a list of targets from Western Yemen. In return, Jack gives her some fantasy baseball advice, proving once again he could literally take any other job. Just as he sits down, Greer calls him into his office to give him Suleiman’s cell phone. The CCI team couldn’t crack the eight numbered password, so he thinks Jack has the strongest chance at figuring it out.

It’s a tough task, and ultimately Jack gets sidetracked Instagram stalking Cathy, probably one of the most relatable things for any person dating nowadays. While Greer takes a personal hour, Ryan gets called into a meeting with Singer where it’s casually implied that Singer would like to promote Jack over Greer. Clearly, the two have a personal vendetta, and Jack isn’t the kind of guy who would like to benefit because of something like that.

While this is happening, Suleiman has returned home to his family. Ali has been sent to France to pick up the money for the organization where he’s assembled his own team for the job. Meanwhile, Suleiman’s family is discontent with their current situation on Jack Ryan. Hanin is worried about her children, especially eldest daughter Sara who has been accosted by one of Suleiman’s men. She begs her husband to either tell her what’s going on or ask them to leave. At first, he seems sympathetic but ultimately ends the conversation by saying it’s her duty to trust her husband.

Hanin definitely loves her husband, but the tears in her eyes as they have sex seems like forewarning she will betray him. Any mother will confirm that their love for their children is stronger than anything else. If the soldier makes one more move against Sara, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hanin try to escape with her children on Jack Ryan.

Ryan and Greer get in a fight over the lack of trust between the two which leads them to realize Suleiman has been imprisoned before. Not in any of the American prisons or the typically monitored one, but a French jail. His real name is Mousa Bin Suleiman, and the password to his phone is his prison number. Jack and Greer convince CTC Europe to let them follow up in France, much to Singer’s annoyance.

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In France, Jack Ryan introduces two new characters: Captain Sandrine and Lieutenant Tariq. The group makes their way to the building where Ali is transferring money with his group. A young boy tips off Ali that the police are on the way and the group prepares for a gunfight. In the crossfire, many of the French SWAT force are taken down, and Ali himself is shot. He manages to escape, but not before Ryan notices the blood trail on the staircase. Chasing after him probably saved Ryan’s life, since a bomb goes off in the building upstairs.

“French Connection” is all-in-all a solid second episode for the series. The ending where the bomb goes off from a suicide bomber was an incredibly heartbreaking moment to watch. The woman didn’t want to die, and her pleas for help seemed genuine. However, it’s clear the police were also terrified she was lying and took the shot to save themselves. Ultimately, it led to guaranteed destruction because the bomb went off when her hand relaxed off the trigger. Jack Ryan seems committed to try and explore the storyline from different angles, and that’s definitely paying off.

What did you think of “French Connection”? Tell us in the comments below!