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How Jack Ryan Season 3 Can Rebound From Season 2

CBR 11/4/2022 Rebecca Tierney
© Provided by CBR

Amazon’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan first graced screens in August 2018 to instant success. The political thriller was voraciously consumed by viewers everywhere with John Krasinski receiving particular praise for his performance as the title character. The first season ended on a thrilling note that left viewers wanting more -- but then Season 2 failed to meet the same high standard.

The second season didn't capture the same excitement as the first. While it was still a commercial success -- reportedly watched by more people than The Boys at the time -- it wasn't as entertaining. Now that the Season 3 trailer is out, though, there are signs that the upcoming season will get Jack Ryan back to its former glory.

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Why Jack Ryan Season 2 Disappointed

Season 2, Episode 1, "Cargo" brought viewers back into the action as Jack Ryan made his way to Venezuela accompanied by a U.S. diplomat while James Greer maintained his position as Moscow station chief. Full of the twists and turns that the thriller genre is known for, the season followed both Ryan and Greer as they become embroiled in a sometimes violent search for illegal activities happening in Venezuela under the rule of corrupt President Reyes. As with the first season, the season ended a cliffhanger for viewers to wonder about as Ryan conversed with a senator back in the U.S. before having the man arrested.

Despite the continued praise for Krasinski’s performance, it only had a 58 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes -- down 30 percent from Season 1. Season 2 was ambitious in its approach; however, this meant that the eight episodes suffered from too many characters who were often uninspired, loose threads left in storylines and plot points that often felt unoriginal.

The first season drew viewers in with the premise of Jack Ryan as an Everyman with a penchant for the little details who just happened to be employed by the U.S. government. He relied on his mind to solve problems far more than his gun. Season 2 put that aspect on the back burner in favor of violence and action scenes.

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How Jack Ryan Season 3 Will Recover

The Season 3 trailer sets up the season to be the most unpredictable so far. Following his attempts to restore a semblance of democracy to Venezuela, Ryan delves into a conspiracy in Russia. After a three-year hiatus and with an end date in sight, the show also sees Ryan having a fallout with the CIA as his actions from the end of Season 2 come to light.

Ryan explains the new threat early on in the new trailer: “A small group of hard-line Russians formed a plan to preserve the U.S.S.R. and use a nuclear strike to create chaos. The weapon has been built and is on the move.” Throughout the season, Ryan will be attempting to clear his name after being accused of treason as well as investigating the Skotal Project that he described. The synopsis for the season, via TVLine, reads: “Jack is forced underground, crisscrossing Europe, trying to stay alive, while preventing a massive global conflict."

This plot is obviously expanding the show's world even further -- but it's also exploring the consequences of Ryan's actions from before. It's keeping the character of Jack Ryan at its center, and that's when the show is at its best. Krasinski may now be playing Mr. Fantastic in the MCU, but he's at his most fantastic as Ryan. If the series remains tightly focused on Ryan and Greer, and keeps its plot from getting too big like it did in the prior season, Jack Ryan Season 3 will be as good as Season 1.

Jack Ryan Season 3 premieres Dec. 21 on Prime Video.

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