REVIEW: Season 2 of ‘Reacher’ is a Triumphant Throwback

Alan Ritchson returns to deliver a fresh batch of ass whoopings as the brutally bellicose Reacher

*NOTE: This spoiler-free review covers Episodes 1-3 of Season 2 of Reacher. All 3 episodes debut on December 15th.*

Alan Ritchson has found his home. After trying his hand as a pair of superheroes and voicing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the mammoth Ritchson has found a character he nearly perfectly embodies in Jack Reacher. Based on the works of author Lee Child, Reacher follows Ritchson’s nomadic military police investigator who dispenses equal parts brains and brawn as an “avenging angel.” The 8-episode first season of Reacher was incredibly well-received by critics and audiences alike in early 2022 and the new season, adapted from Child’s 2007 novel, Bad Luck and Trouble, doubles down on everything that made Season 1 such as a hit with dads all over the globe.

Like Season 1, Reacher Season 2 makes a strong statement as an intentional antithesis to modern action franchises. Neither hyper-stylized like The World of John Wick nor full of adrenalized stunts like the Mission: Impossible series, Reacher is undeviating in the pursuit of purpose and predictably principled. Nothing about Reacher requires the audience to pay particularly close attention to detail, the villains are neither subtle nor nuances and both the series and the title character work methodically and joyfully through whatever impediments are introduced to solve the problem at hand. To that end, Ritchson gets to flex his mental muscle as well; despite his bullish physique and demeanor, Reacher is always the smartest guy in the room. Reacher presents a wonderfully full-bodied bouquet with hints of 80’s action films such as Commando and Cobra upfront with a tight, underlying structure of Columbo.

While Emmy-nominated showrunner Nick Santora was smart enough to veer too far from the formula that made Season 1 such a hit, the choice to adapt Bad Luck and Trouble, the 11th book in Childs’ series, does add a little more to the show in terms of a stronger supporting cast and to Ritchson‘s Reacher by humanizing him a bit more. The season opens with Maria Sten’s Neagley, who played a solid supporting role in Season 1 as one of the only characters to have a shared history with Reacher, contacting her old boss with some bad news: one of their old Army buddies was tortured and dropped from a helicopter. Their investigation quickly leads them to conclude that a bad man is out to get the members of Reacher’s old Army MP Unit: the Special Investigators of the 110th. As Reacher and Neagley track down the other members of their old unit, they continue to uncover clues that lead them down the road to a much bigger mystery.

Serinda Swan (Inhumans, Coroner), who plays the saucy Karla Dixon, and Shaun Sipos (Krypton, Outer Range), whose wise ass David O’Donnell serves as a wonderful foil to Reacher’s straight-man routine, work well as newbies whose connections with Reacher allow the audience to get to know the tough guy a little more. Teamwork makes the dream work and Reacher’s team of Special Investigators help transmute their old boss into something more than just a rageful ronin who is all-too-happy to rid the world of wrongdoers. In this case, that wrongdoer is Shane Langston, a character seemingly pulled directly from a late 20th-century action movie, whose commitment to corruption has put him on a collision course with the unstoppable, American knight errant. And to make Langston feel authentic last century, the series cast Robert Patrick, the face of one of the 90s greatest villains, in the role…and then dropped a T2 reference in case you missed it.

Season 2 of Reacher smartly hold on to the recipe that made the first season a wide-ranging success while adding just the right amount of accouterments to make it feel like a truly new chapter. Ritchson leans even harder into his portrayal of the stoical character yet maintains enough charm to elicit a few laughs in between the beatings. An unabashed ode to 20th-century action films and the tough guys that inhabited them, Reacher Season 2 is a triumphant throwback.

About Reacher Season 2

Reacher Season Two begins when veteran military police investigator Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) receives a coded message that the members of his former U.S. Army unit, the 110th MP Special Investigations, are being mysteriously and brutally murdered one by one. Pulled from his drifter lifestyle, Reacher reunites with three of his former teammates turned chosen family to investigate, including Frances Neagley (Maria Sten); Karla Dixon (Serinda Swan), a forensic accountant for whom Reacher has long had a soft spot; and fast-talking, switchblade-wielding family man David O’Donnell (Shaun Sipos). Together, they begin to connect the dots in a mystery where the stakes get higher at every turn, and that brings about questions of who has betrayed them—and who will die next. Using his inimitable blend of smarts and size, Reacher will stop at nothing to uncover the truth and protect the members of his unit. If there’s one thing Reacher and his team know for certain, it’s
that you do not mess with the Special Investigators. This season, get ready for Reacher and the 110th to hit back hard.

Based on Bad Luck and Trouble, the 11th book in Lee Child’s global best-selling series, Reacher Season Two stars Alan Ritchson in the title role of Jack Reacher, with Maria Sten, Serinda Swan, and Shaun Sipos as key members of the 110th MP Special Investigations Unit. Rounding out the cast are Ferdinand Kingsley as A.M., a mercenary that homeland security refers to as a “ghost;” Robert Patrick as Shane Langston, head of security for a private defense contractor with a questionable track record; and Domenick Lombardozzi as tough NYPD detective Guy Russo.

Reacher is produced by Amazon Studios, Skydance Television, and Paramount Television Studios. Based on the novels by Lee Child, who serves as an executive producer, the series is written for television by Emmy-nominated writer Nick Santora (Scorpion, Prison Break), who also executive produces and serves as showrunner. In addition to Santora and Child, the series is executive produced by Don Granger, Scott Sullivan, and Adam Higgs, with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Bill Bost for Skydance.

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