Jack Ryan season 1, episode 7 recap: ‘The Boy’


In the penultimate episode of Jack Ryan, Suleiman’s plan finally goes into effect.

“The Boy” seems to focus on Samir, who’s storyline in this episode is truly saddening. He’s just a boy, but everything happening on Jack Ryan will have a huge effect on the person he grows up to be. As all the chess pieces are moving into place for the finale, it’s clear that whatever happens to Samir will leave a lasting impression with Jack.

Everyone seems to be on edge when the episode begins. Hanin is helping prepare a ground team for the assault on her former home, something she’s clearly still unsure about. Who can blame her? She’s worried that her son could be caught in the crossfire when the gunfire begins. Meanwhile, Matice finds it hard to trust a woman who was once sleeping with the enemy, especially when it means putting his own team in danger. Jack understands both sides, and it’s clear that his conscious is pulling him in more than one direction.

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However, he also believes that a ground assault is the best decision for everyone. Not everyone in the government agrees though, with DNI Bobby Vig wanting the French to handle it rather than America. He lets the Secretary of Defense know if they can get visual confirmation of Suleiman at the compound, then he’ll order an air strike but that’s it. Jack speaks up, not just for Samir, but because he wants to gather intel they can find from the compound. As he points out, they have no idea how many cells exist around the world, or even when Suleiman’s plan is. Simply bombing their leader isn’t going to stop the organization from spreading.

Luckily, Cathy is able to shed some light on his plans in Jack Ryan. His coworker, Tarek, is able to find footage of Suleiman taking a flight from Liberia to Azerbaijan to “bury” a dead relative. However, as we learned in the previous episode, he was actually in Liberia digging up the corpse of someone who died from EVD-27. Jack and Greer head to USAMRIID for a brief where Cathy is telling a panel about a possible outbreak of the aggressive strain of Ebola.

This makes things a bit awkward for Jack, who hasn’t exactly been forthright about his real career. The two are professionals though and are able to discuss with the group what their real fear is. Turns out, Jack believes Suleiman may have figured out a way to weaponize EVD-27, which cannot be vaccinated against. While Cathy says it would be quite difficult to make Ebola airborne, that it is possible.

With this new information and visual confirmation of Suleiman’s whereabouts, an emergency briefing is set by the President at around 4 AM. This works for Jack since he’s been up all night stressed about the situation with Samir, Suleiman, and his recent breakup with Cathy following the USAMRIID meeting. Greer gets in a little prank by telling Jack to wear a tie, which he does, and embarrassing him in front of the entire Intelligence community still in their pajamas. It’s a nice moment of levity in an action-packed episode of Jack Ryan.

The President ends up agreeing to a ground assault since surveillance also picked up the twelve hostages, including his friend Dr. Daniel Nadler. Jack takes this moment to speak up and request Samir be treated as a hostage and not a hostile, especially because Hanin has been nothing but helpful. He agrees, and Jack finally has a relaxed smile on his face knowing that an innocent boy has the chance at a new life.

However, Samir does complicate things throughout “The Boy”. Suleiman tells him early on that his sisters will be returning but that the enemy has taken his mother. He promises a great revenge for the boy, and it’s clearly meant to inspire his son to take up arms. Throughout Jack Ryan, we’ve seen that Samir is a child who is more interested in playing soccer than fantasizing about war with his father. Upon hearing the news, he heads to his mother’s room to smell her perfume and cry over pictures of him with her. It’s heartbreaking to see him hit himself as a punishment for crying, especially when all he really wants is his family back not revenge.

Yet, he still goes down to shoot a gun with the rest of the soldiers during his father’s speech. The smile on his face isn’t about the lust of war or revenge but just excited by the energy buzzing as the shots fired into the air. When he goes to bed, he finds his sister is playing the same game online as he is so they can chat. The look of pure happiness is heartwarming because now he knows that his sisters and mother are actually alive and well. Unfortunately, this is fleeting because his father walks in and discovers that the girls have flown to America with the military.

Suleiman, now tipped off that the Americans probably know his location, gathers his forces and flees before the ground strike can get there. However, he leaves behind the hostages, which the ground team is able to save. Greer points out right away, something is wrong, but the team is ordered to focus on saving the doctors than discovering where Suleiman went. However, Jack is more upset about the fact that Samir wasn’t rescued in the raid. While everyone seems to think that the boy is a lost cause, Jack knows that the eleven-year-old is probably confused and unsure of who to trust which means he might just want to go home.

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Even though he’s frustrated with how things turned out at work, Jack does reach out to Cathy to talk. Their breakup earlier in the episode felt a bit cliche, and it’s nice to see Jack Ryan get them back together quickly. Yes, he wasn’t entirely truthful about his job but he seems to be willing to share what he can now. Their happiness over the reconciliation is cut short by the fact the saved doctors have all been infected with EVD-27.

While the reveal about the doctors was a bit obvious once Suleiman gave them vitamins, “The Boy” was overall a really strong episode. The compound raid is one of the best sequences Jack Ryan has done, and the fight for Samir’s “soul” is one of the more interesting subplots to introduce. It’s also interesting to see the series bring Cathy into the fold more, promoting her from Jack’s love interest to a vital member of the team.

What did you think of the penultimate episode of Jack Ryan? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!