In the realm of crime thrillers, the moniker “Mr Big” is often reserved for the nefarious kingpin orchestrating sinister plots. However, in the Prime Video adaptation of Lee Child’s acclaimed novel series, “Reacher,” actor Alan Ritchson takes center stage as the formidable ex-military behemoth, Jack Reacher. His imposing presence, likened to a man who could arm-wrestle a silverback gorilla, has garnered acclaim, particularly from fans who found Tom Cruise’s portrayal in the movie adaptation lacking.
As the series delves into its second season, Ritchson’s Reacher appears even more top-heavy, his shoulders resembling beach balls filled with cement. A few years have transpired, yet Reacher remains a trouble-attracting wanderer, armed only with a toothbrush. The narrative kicks off in small-town Arkansas, where Reacher thwarts a random carjacking with formidable efficiency before the plot takes a personal turn. The mysterious death of a loyal comrade from his army days prompts Reacher to embark on an unauthorised investigation, unraveling a potential vendetta against his former military police unit.
Season two, based on the 11th Reacher novel, “Bad Luck and Trouble,” unfolds as a “getting-the-band-back-together” story, with the retired major reuniting with old squad members to exact revenge. The addition of a chatty Scooby gang, including capable investigator Neagley, forensic accountant Dixon, and smart aleck knife man O’Donnell, adds a dynamic element, allowing for humorous commentary on Reacher’s unconventional life choices.
The unauthorized investigation leads to a confrontation with Robert Patrick’s corporate antagonist, marked by the ominous helicopter scene in the opening. However, amidst conflicting leads, nondescript henchmen, and a plot involving shady tech deals and corrupt cops, the central storyline remains somewhat elusive.
The challenge lies in Reacher’s nature as a creature of action, always inclined to tackle challenges head-on. To sustain a series or novel length, the narrative must string him along, a departure from the direct approach that defines his character. Season one addressed this by incorporating flashbacks to Reacher’s army brat childhood, while season two offers glimpses into the formation of his effective unit.
The series distinguishes itself through Ritchson’s captivating physicality and eccentric energy. Reacher oscillates between heroically gallant and ruthlessly pragmatic, elevating the character beyond a mere intimidating brute. While the action scenes lack the hyper-focus found in the novels, Ritchson’s purposeful movements convey that Reacher is a strategic force to be reckoned with.
Season one, released in a binge-worthy format, mirrored the tradition of devouring Child’s novels in one or two sittings. Season two, however, adopts a staggered release, with three episodes initially and subsequent installments weekly. Despite a confirmed third season, the wait for the finale in early 2024 is poised to enhance Reacher’s aura of invincibility. Each episode concludes with Ritchson delivering a stone-cold one-liner, promising impending vengeance, adding a touch of corny yet undeniably enjoyable flair to the series.
“Reacher” Season Two, starring Alan Ritchson, continues the ex-military giant’s action-packed journey, blending humor and intense physicality. The addition of a Scooby gang adds dynamic camaraderie. While the plot’s complexity challenges the series, Ritchson’s captivating portrayal and the promise of weekly releases maintain the show’s addictive appeal, making it a must-watch crime thriller.