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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lloyd

What’s the matter with Season 2 of Amazon’s Reacher?



A plot line that is faithful to any of Lee Child’s 28 Jack Reacher books cannot miss because Mr. Child is the Shakespeare of today’s mystery/suspense novels. He was even born in Great Britain!


Reacher, Season 2 (streaming on Amazon) was fairly faithful to the plot of Mr. Child’s Bad Luck and Trouble, #11 of the single author Jack Reacher books.  So, it was not plot but character that sunk the 2nd Season. 


Season 1 had Reacher with his towering sarcasm, quick wit, and physical stature (Alan Ritchson). Reacher shined because he was illuminated by an awesome ensemble of characters. 


The good guys: Roscoe (Willa Fitzgerald), the born and bred (female) hometown cop of Margrave, Georgia, with her ‘take no s__t’ from anyone,  her facility with repartee (especially with Reacher), her unbridled passion for what and who was right, and her lean beauty. Detective (Horatio) Finlay (Malcolm Goodwin) the black, cop emotionally fleeing from Boston - though not leaving his wit behind - into the nowhere land of a small, Southern town. The black town barber, (Willie C. Carpenter) who won’t be pushed out of his hometown. Neagley (Maria Sten), Reacher’s NCO from their Army days together, whom even Reacher doesn’t want to tangle with, appears later in the season yet quickly and deftly moves center stage. And others…


The bad guys: Kliner (Currie Graham), the pompous, super-rich benefactor to Margrave, which he uses to house his big-time criminal enterprise. The fat and equally pompous and crooked Mayor and self-named Chief of Police (Bruce McGill). Kliner’s son (Chris Webster), a resurrected Oedipus with hate and violence in his blood. The son’s skinhead cousin (AJ Simmons). Picard (Martin Roach), the turncoat FBI agent, a death-trap with a badge. Throw in a few feral Venezuelan killers. That’s a cauldron that keeps the show cooking.


I dedicate a lot of written real estate about the previous Season in this review. For a purpose: take a sample from Season 2’s characters, and what do you have? A bloody but bloodless 8 Reacher episodes. The contrast gives meaning to how characters, not only plot, are the engine of a gripping story.


Season 2 builds to the climactic end that Mr. Child always delivers. World destruction is thwarted, and justice served. Nice - but not the fiery end (literally) of Season 1.

 

But there’s another serious fault with Season 2. Viewers got all eight of the Season 1 Reacher episodes front-loaded, all at once. While in Season 2 we are doled out 4 to start, then weekly rationed one at a time. Plus, too much time, which allowed interest to fade, between the end of the 4th episode and the start of the 5th. Bad idea. Wasn’t there anybody at the studio who knew that things vanish in days from the human mind?  That it would be foolhardy to expect keeping an overstimulated streaming viewer’s juice going, especially in a mystery/suspense story. 


Season 3 is in the oven. Can Amazon come to senses about how the episodes are served to viewers, like you and me?


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