“Jack Reacher was arrested for murder and now the police need his help. Based on the books by Lee Child.”

Directors: Norbeto Barba, M.J. Bassett, Sam Hill, Omar Madha, Christine Moore, Lin Oeding, Stephen Surjik, Thomas Vincent
Writers: Lee Child (based off book), Nick Santora, Cait Duffy, Aadrita Mukerji, Scott Sullivan
Staring: Alan Ritchson, Malcolm Goodwin, Willa Fitzgerald
Release Date: February 4, 2022

Reacher is my perfect kind of slop. The latest big hit Amazon Prime show has everything that I look for in brainless entertainment.

Let’s go through the checklist of my simple pleasure triggers:

  • Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) is a mysterious man with a snarky attitude that kicks ass but is relatively humble about it.
  • The plot is straight forward but clouded by some deeper stuff; it is a revenge story but if you want it is a political cover-up harming an innocent town.
  • The secondary characters are unique and entertaining
    • Oscar Finaly (Malcolm Goodwin) is an out-of-place leader of the police who dresses like he is in the early 1900s
    • Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald) is a strong-willed cop who can handle her own and doesn’t cater to her love interests wishes or her supervisors expectations.
  • The setting of the story is not just some city that could be any city. Margrave, Georgia is a great place for this story.
  • Characters that you are not expecting to die do actually die.

I really like Reacher, and I am very much looking forward to season two whenever it is happening.

Alright, but what is Reacher?

The first season of this show is based off of the first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor, written by Lee Child. (Fun fact, there are 24 of these books and supposedly Alan Ritchson read all 24 to prepare for his role). Retired Military Police Officer Jack Reacher is a wandering soul coming to Margrave, GA to look up the history of a jazz musician. Yes, that is real. His quest for enlightenment is sidetracked when he is arrested for a murder that he did not commit. After some initial questioning from police chief Oscar Finlay, it soon comes to light that there is much more happening in this small southern town than anyone expected.

The story devolves for Reacher into one of personal revenge, and his motivations of self-satisfaction are parallel with Finlay and fellow badass and home-cooked cop Roscoe Conklin. Together the three of them lead a mission to clean out Margrave of corrupt politicians, dirty cops and foreign hitman.

Alan Ritchson plays the titular character, and he does a damn great job doing it. Going into the show, I had Ritchson’s visage if Thad Castle in Blue Mountain State…but that quickly dissipates with the pilot episode. Rather than being bombastic like in roles past, Ritchson is remarkably quiet, serene and charismatically arrogant. He is not a man to boast about his accolades. Rather, Reacher would just look at you with his piercingly good eyes and strike fear into your soul with a flex of his pecs of his biceps. Ritchson is phenomenal embodying what the Reacher character was meant to be according to the Child books (which I am now putting on my wishlist).

The two other major characters in this story are Oscar Finlay, played by Malcolm Goodwin, and Roscoe Conklin, played by Willa Fitzgerald.

FInlay is a displaced cop from the Northeast who moved down south to take a job that he thought would be less demanding. Naturally circumstances change and his outlook on the job are altered heavily, but the real flip of the switch that helps churn Reacher along is his relationship with Reacher. Born first out of immense distrust, it takes episodes and time for him to at least allow the real Reacher to act out…though with that being said…he doesn’t always like what Reacher does. He still has his values but comes to appreciate what Reacher brings to the table and how two different tactics can be helpful in solving a problem.

Roscoe on the other hand is far more trusting of Reacher from the start. It would not be action-TV slop without a romantic connection, and Roscoe stirs that drink as well. What i like thought is that it is now Reacher who is wooing her, rather it is she is tugs at him and forces him down the road he never expected. Reacher is not the emotive type, but the character of Roscoe draws whatever semblance of loving sentiment the quiet protagonist can deliver. For the most part, Roscoe does need Reacher; she choose to have him be there rather than needing him to save her. Now this does change in the final couple episodes of the show, which leads to my only gripe of Reacher as a whole.

Much like an action movie, Reacher takes its final two episodes, and especially its finale, and makes them incredibly action heavy. There are a ton of guns, a ton of explosions and some final bouts that seemed destined to take place in a burning down, stressful environment. This is speaking strictly to my own personal preferences, but I enjoyed Reacher most when it was heavy on the banter and quick on its feet with the violence. Over the course of the climax, the action becomes staged like set pieces rather than one-off must defend myself or make a statement acts.

According to IMDB, the final two episodes of Reacher are the highest rated of the bunch, but for myself, they are more in the middle of the pack. I think this comes from needing to adapt a book into a movie of this specific genre. When you are writing the words onto paper, you can create the quiet moments and make them feel as scary as a gallant battle. On the screen, the quiet tense moments don’t have the same payoff for the audience. If you did that in a TV show, the crowd would be clamoring for more. With a book, those quiet moments of yearning for more make the literature stand out more. You can sit there and take your time to think about it, while in a TV show or movie, the action does not stop.

With all that being said, Ritchson does look good walking out of a towering inferno looking like quintessential Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Reacher is not a show that demands a ton of attention to appreciate, but come the end of it you are going to look back on your time and realize you are looking forward to the next bit of trouble that Reacher gets into. The show has already been green lit for a second season and it has risen up my ranks as my second favorite Amazon Prime show behind The Boys. We won’t be able to get more of Reacher’s sarcasm until at least 2023, but I’ll be there to soak it all in with a shit-eating grin on my face.

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