Reacher Season 2- In crime thrillers, the evil kingpin is often referred to as Mr. Big. However, this nickname also fits Alan Ritchson, the XXL star of Reacher, the Prime Video adaptation of Lee Child’s wildly popular novel series.
As the righteous ex-military man-mountain Jack Reacher, Ritchson looks like he could arm-wrestle a silverback gorilla. This was seen as a major plus when the series launched in early 2022.
The actor’s ability to open beer bottles with his biceps seemed to win over those fans of the books who felt short-changed by Tom Cruise’s compact movie incarnation.
If anything, Ritchson is even more top-heavy in season two, his absurdly hench shoulders resembling beach balls filled with cement.
A couple of years have passed, but Reacher is still a trouble-magnet drifting around the US with nothing but a toothbrush. He is reintroduced in small-town Arkansas foiling a random carjacking with wince-inducing efficiency.
Then things get personal. A loyal lieutenant from his army days has died in suspicious circumstances. Is it a one-off or a targeted vendetta against Reacher’s former military police unit?
This season – based on the 11th Reacher novel, Bad Luck and Trouble – is a getting-the-band-back-together story, with the retired major reuniting with some of his old squad to extract payback.
His sidekicks include capable investigator Neagley (Maria Sten, returning after an extended cameo in season one), forensic accountant Dixon (Serinda Swan), and smart aleck knife man O’Donnell (Shaun Sipos). Surrounding the laconic loner with a chatty Scooby gang is a smart move. They can also poke fun at Reacher’s eccentric life choices without fear of injury.
Reacher’s unauthorized investigation will eventually lead to Robert Patrick’s tetchy corporate heavy. We know he’s the baddie because he had Reacher’s pal thrown out of a helicopter in the opening scene.
The plot of Reacher involves shady tech deals, corrupt cops, and a lethal middle-man. However, while the leads are untangled and nondescript henchmen are brutalized, the actual plot remains opaque.
The problem is that Reacher is a creature of action. To stretch stories out to the length of a series or novel, you need to string the big guy along because as soon as he has a target, he attacks it head-on (which, to be honest, is part of the thrill).
In season one, the run time was filled out with flashbacks to Reacher’s army brat childhood. In season two, we get vignettes showing how he forged his hand-picked bunch of bickering recruits into an effective unit. There are team-building bar brawls, flickers of forbidden attraction, and perhaps more Elton John sing-alongs than you might expect.
During one flashback, a veteran soldier is mocked by a fresh-faced rookie with the phrase: “Isn’t there a CBS drama you’re missing?” With its F-bombs and bone-snapping action, Reacher is certainly more intense than procedural potboilers such as NCIS or Blue Bloods.
But it is not that much more sophisticated. What elevates it to the level of addictively watchable is Ritchson’s screen-filling physicality and oddball energy. The preternaturally self-assured Reacher can be heroically gallant one second, fighting dirty the next.
In the novels, the action scenes are fast and brutal but unfold over multiple pages as Reacher calculates his optimal combat strategy.
While that hyper-focus is not reflected on screen, Ritchson still moves with a purposefulness that shows that Reacher is much more than a terrifying brute. When his opening move is to stamp on a car bumper, it is to intentionally trigger the airbag to break the driver’s nose. When he head-butts an aggressive biker mid-threat, it is to seize the tactical initiative.
When he chucks a breeze block at an assassin’s head… well, maybe that breeze block was just handy. It certainly does the job.
Season one of Reacher was released in one binge-worthy chunk, which was in keeping with the annual ritual of tearing through Lee Child’s latest novel in one or two sittings.
However, season two has pivoted to three episodes at launch, followed by new installments weekly. A third season has also been confirmed. That enforced wait for the season finale in early 2024 will probably do even more for Reacher’s aura of badass invincibility.
Practically every episode ends with Ritchson delivering a stone-cold one-liner about the vengeance he is about to unleash. It will be left echoing around the audience’s head until the next episode. It may be a little corny, but it’s big fun!