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Reacher Season 2 Review

December 15, 2023 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Reacher Image Credit: Brooke Palmer/Prime Video
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Reacher Season 2 Review  

Author’s Note: This is a non-spoiler review for Reacher Season 2 based on screeners provided to us by Prime Video.

Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) is back for another action-packed adventure. Based on Lee Child’s bestselling book series, Reacher became a breakout hit with its first season, offering a more faithful and accurate adaptation of the source material, thanks to Ritchson’s charismatic, layered, and compelling performance. Ritchson nailed his characterization of the eponymous Reacher, making each nail-biting episode of the first season an easy binge-viewing experience.

Reacher’s sophomore season opens with the impeccable Reacher experiencing an interruption to his average vagabond lifestyle. He receives a distress call from one of his former subordinates, Frances Neagley (Maria Sten), who returns from the first season. When Reacher and Neagley meet up, they reveal it’s been over two-and-a-half years since the events in Margrave, Georgia, where they took out the Kliner Foundation’s counterfeiting ring. Sadly, Neagley’s brought some bad news to her old CO: their former teammate in the Army 110th Special Investigations unit of the Military Police, Calvin Franz (Luke Bilyk), has been brutally murdered, leaving behind a grieving widow and young son. Unwilling to let NYPD lead the investigation of Franz’s murder, Reacher and Neagley decide to start their own inquiry into their friend’s mysterious death.


Image Credit: Brooke Palmer/Prime Video

Eventually, Reacher and Neagley reunite with two of their other teammates from their Army days: Karla Dixon (Serinda Swan), the unit’s forensic accountant; and the fast-talking legal expert, David O’Donnell (Shaun Sipos). Dixon and Reacher share some unresolved romantic tension from their Army days, and the sparks still fly once they meet up again. They soon realize their other teammates have also been murdered, so it falls on Reacher and his old Army buddies to piece together the clues and uncover a deadly conspiracy led by Shane Langston (Robert Patrick), the head of security of a private military contractor. Unfortunately for Langston’s crew, they’re about to learn a lesson not to mess with Jack Reacher and his Special Investigators.

Series showrunner Nick Santora wisely freshens up the premise for Season 2. He changes up the sweltering summer heat of rural Georgia for the wintry northeast, with the majority of Season 2 set in and around New York City. Granted, both seasons were shot in Vancouver, but the change in scenery is reflected throughout the season, offering a pleasant upgrade in the vibe.

The other refreshing and exciting change is Reacher’s partners, as he reunites with his former military teammates of the 110th, whose exploits sounded downright legendary in the first season. Neagley’s been upped to a regular for Season 2, and O’Donnell and Dixon round out their team. Neagley, O’Donnell, and Dixon are all people Reacher knows well because he used to be their boss. They exude believable chemistry and interpersonal dynamics that differ from what Reacher shared with Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald) and Oscar Finlay (Malcolm Goodwin).

In Margrave, Reacher was an outsider, and his relationship with Finlay was often abrasive. By the end of the season, Reacher begrudgingly bonded with Finlay, but in this season, Reacher works with the military colleagues and friends he has known for years. It’s nice to see Reacher interacting with people who are well acquainted with his methodology, rather than seeing Conklin and Finlay react with their jaws dropped to Reacher’s unique approach to detective work.

Season 2 pays off all that setup and exposition work given to the 110th. This season’s flashback narrative showcases the 110th during the group’s infancy when the team members meet each other for the first time. The flashbacks establish how the 110th, a group set up to fail, became a battle-tested and efficient unit under Reacher’s leadership.

The flashbacks establish why the stakes are so high for Reacher. The 110th were more than just his military buddies. They were his surrogate family, and with the death of his brother Joe, they are now the only family that Reacher has left. Reacher shares an intimate, familial bond with his teammates, not merely one forged in the heat of battle.

Season 2 provides a nice payoff from when Finlay points out to Reacher in Season 1, “How do you let go of people so easily? It’s not healthy.” Reacher is a pragmatic individual, and he’s dedicated to maintaining his wandering, vagabond lifestyle. That amounts to a rather lonely, solitary life for Reacher’s carefree life of drifter bliss. When Reacher reunites with Neagley, he finally realizes what he misses living life on the road: weddings, teammates having kids, and a funeral when one of their other teammates died in a tragic car accident. The other 110th members stayed in touch and managed to attend important social events, but Reacher missed all of them. Reacher is so stuck in his ways that many significant life events pass him by.

There is a mild implication throughout the show that Reacher doesn’t like getting close to others, and perhaps, that’s a self-defense mechanism. That habit could result from Reacher’s upbringing in a military family, where they spend most of their lives moving across the globe and rarely setting down roots. Reacher believes he has a wandering spirit, and maybe there is something to that, but perhaps he struggles to be vulnerable to others. Ritchson showcases Reacher’s pain and vulnerability. He bottles up the pain and anguish and then releases it as channeled, focused rage on his enemies. The depiction of those rare moments of vulnerability and Reacher leading such a lonely existence are what elevate the story beyond being a base power fantasy.

Reacher Season 2

Image Credit; Brooke Palmer/Prime Video

That is the true strength of Ritchson’s performance as Reacher. He displays the subtle nuances of Reacher’s emotional anguish. When he visits the grieving family of Franz, their devastation clearly affects Reacher, but he does well in keeping his emotions in check. There are great moments where Reacher not only realizes how much his subordinates mean to him but also how much Reacher meant as a mentor and friend to his subordinates.

The main drawback of Season 2 is the underwhelming portrayal of the villains. Robert Patrick can play a decent heavy in his sleep. Patrick does well with what’s required of his character here, but the antagonists could have used further development. The villain mystery does well to drive the central conflict forward, but the plot mainly focuses around Reacher and his allies trying to uncover secrets and inevitably converge with the obvious bad guys. Season 2 also introduces a mysterious new character known only as A.M. (Ferdinand Kingsley), a mercenary who is covertly traveling into the country. Throughout the season, A.M. has a connection to the perpetrators. The character and setup are interesting because there’s a hint that A.M. could become a worthy adversary. Unfortunately, the A.M. business becomes repetitive and disappointing later on.

Season 2 does not skimp on the action. The urban settings create some new action scenarios for Reacher. The fight scenes look impressive and visually accurate to the title character. Ritchson extensively performs much of his own stunt work and fight choreography. That always makes action scenes look better since they are not forced to cut around the lead actor. Ritchson exceptionally captures the duality of Reacher. The man is an unstoppable juggernaut of righteous absolution for his enemies and a brilliant detective with a keenly deductive mind. It makes those sequences where Reacher dissects a crime scene or interrogates a suspect just as juicy and enticing as when he goes into beast mode. Reacher’s style of fighting looks memorable. The man is not looking for a long, drawn-out brawl. Every move Reacher makes in a fight appears designed to quickly incapacitate an assailant because one wrong move means certain death. Reacher’s fighting style looks like one he acquired through decades of experience, from defending himself from schoolyard bullies in his youth to facing hardened killers as an adult.

Reacher Season 2 skillfully scratches that modern action show itch and provides some compelling mystery, suspense, and thriller aspects as well. Ritchson’s charisma is on full display as he fully realizes this motion picture adaptation of Jack Reacher.

Reacher Season 2 begins streaming on Prime Video on December 15 with the first three episodes. New episodes will drop weekly on Friday, with the season finale dropping on Jan. 19, 2024.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Reacher Season 2 is another fun, action-packed season, offering a new mission for Reacher and refreshing changes to the premise and cast, with a new group of characters to interact with the unstoppable vagabond. Ritchson's charisma, energy, and star power have truly emerged in this role. Season 3 cannot get here fast enough.