Reacher: Fly Boy
January 21, 2024 1:31 PM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Reacher and Neagley make a final desperate attempt to save O'Donnell and Dixon, stop A.M. and avenge their friends' murder.

An Amazon original series.
posted by DirtyOldTown (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Big man stop bad guys! He shoot and punch and head butt. Also is smart big man! He better than everyone!

God, this stupid, stupid, stupid-assed show is fun. Truly terrible, but fun anyway.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:32 PM on January 21 [8 favorites]

Bold move to resolve the season long arc with 20 minutes left on the clock.

I also don't understand why I don't hate this show, but I somehow don't. Maybe coasting on goodwill from the first season? I could have done without the completely unambiguous murders, though. There's something to be said for revenge fantasy, but I prefer there to be at least some plausible way to categorize it as self defense, even if the veneer is thin. Reacher isn't supposed to be an antihero, I don't think.
posted by wierdo at 4:11 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]

Yeah, the morality of the first season gave way to yay our guys and fuck those other guys! Then a bunch of murder. I should be madder, but I'm not.

I lol-ed when Teacher told the young girl everything would be fine he just needed to murder a new more people.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:22 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]

I’m grateful this was the last episode because that whole “I second that motion” exchange was unforgivable.
posted by ftm at 4:28 PM on January 21

I was entertained by this season, but a lot of that was my feelings about the actors, goodwill from season 1, and my familiarity with a handful of books serving as spackling to patch over some of the flaws.

I think this was a poor choice of books to do for this season. Having a team with pre-existing relationships is just not core Reacher.

A.M. was a real non-entity. The big bad puppet master is supposed to be way more important to the plot. Langston was similarly unimpactful. Just a stock guy whose plans were being messed up, nothing interesting or specific to the story.

I think I saw that season 3 is already greenlit? If so I hope they get back to what makes Reacher Reacher.

Also, does anyone else think the "Based on..." title card needs an oxford comma? As written it makes it sound like Reacher is a co-author of his own stories.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:03 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]

If you need another reason to keep you on board with this very ridiculous show, Alan Ritchson is fully open about being bipolar in a refreshing way.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:51 PM on January 21

I feel like something happened with the writing team halfway through the season.

For the first half, there was an interesting core mystery and setup, a building sense of tension with A.M. making his way across the country, new supporting characters that demonstrated competence while revealing interesting dynamics with Reacher. It all allowed us as an audience to learn more about Reacher and how he views the world and how those closest to him relate to him, with a compelling framework of "someone is killing his friends, and there's a wider threat".

Then all that seemed to go out the window.

They built up A.M. as this hyper-competent killer but there's no showdown with him and Reacher, just him trying to explain moral relativism before being gunned down while unarmed. So the main action finale is Reacher trying to get to Langston whose character was specifically called out as someone who has others do his dirty work, so he's only ever an indirect threat to Reacher. There's a few minions that Reacher has to get through, but they serve no narrative purpose as such. They didn't even go back to "you specifically are the one who killed my friends" in the finale.

We only get to see Swan as an eyeball in a jar. All this build up throughout the series and intrigue about if he is or isn't a bad guy and the resolution is "he was a good guy so we killed him off screen ages ago".

And then there's the plot with the senator which was could have gone in so many interesting directions and said something about corruption within government and how even Reacher can't violence his way to fixing democracy corrupted by capitalism, but it turns out he can.

All the partners and children of the dead people get a bunch of money, so, happy ending. Effectively Reacher's crew that we as an audience got to know walk away from the experience unaffected, just richer. All the crew that Reacher cared about died off screen and the one person who does die that we're meant to care about is the cop who Reacher basically had met a few days prior and mostly ignored/antagonised.

I still enjoyed the series and all the actors did well, but I genuinely felt like I was watching a different show by the end.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:11 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]

The best running gag in season 2 is Reacher being 100% transparent.

"This isn't your phone?"
"I took it off one of the men I killed."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:35 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]

I couldn't believe the action was finished with a good chunk of airtime left but then I also thought that when the camera cut to Langston's body, I almost expected him to blink and then get up to attempt one last chance to beat Reacher. That's how inane the series has become. Reacher might be unfilmable because so much of his competence-porn maneuvering is hidden by the author and the reader only understands it several pages later. I expect there will be a third season and that Neagley will pop up again.

I did like that he bought a Trailways pass valid for one year.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:11 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]

If he had any appreciation for his own body mass he should have (and could have) bought two.
posted by Molesome at 10:26 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]

Definitely on the bandwagon of preferring season 1 over 2. Two was perfectly enjoyable in a turn off your brain sort of way. (Gilded Age, I do the same, except it's the clothes and the waiting for the oyster fork uprising) This season coasted a long way on Alan Ritchson's charm, Maria Sten's compentance and Serinda Swan's eyebrows.

I know we had a lot of violence, go figure, but even there they soft pedaled one book moment with the helicopter pilot. They didn't let him go and shoot him down. Reacher asks him if he flew all the flights where his team was killed and on getting an affirmation kills the pilot directly.

And yet, in the book, they capture and tie up the terrorist (AM) for the FBI, no murder. No senator plot, etc (and the crooked cop was way more crooked and the other cop wasn't a "good guy" in the same way. So lots of changes to the bits hanging off the skeleton of Bad Luck and Trouble, but I don't understand the whys of them.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:38 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the season, but Reacher and team's murdering was pretty psychopathic (which, fine, is part of the fun when watching something like this, I guess!). I'm not sure the actual fight scenes were as solidly choreographed as in the first season? Were any as memorable as the prison fight?

Also, and I suppose it was the part of the book character that made Alan Ritchson the far more appropriate casting choice than Tom Cruise (in the movies), his sheer physical presence makes him seem like a Terminator, and only notionally flesh and blood. I don't remember him even breaking much of a sweat this season after a physical fight, and the bad guys don't seem intimidated enough.
posted by Pryde at 11:54 AM on January 22

By the way, if you find that you are indeed finding it therapeutic to have our guy kick the absolute shit out of bad people, let me assure you that the violence in this show is a pleasant Canadian whiskey of asskicking and the violence in the 2013-2016 show Banshee is liver-curdling moonshine. Way past "Oh shit!" and well into "Holy mother of gawd."

In that show, Antony Starr (later famous as The Homelander on The Boys) plays a just out of prison tough who tracks the woman he loves to a small town in Pennsylvania... and through a series of events, ends up running a long-term con pretending to be the new Sherriff. The show is by Alan Ball (True Blood) and the team that later made Warrior.. It's essentially the trappings of an 80's/90's Cinemax programmer elevated by writing into a lurid, noirish delight.

A (very bloody) example.

The whole show is on Max.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:03 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]

DirtyOldTown: co-fucking-signed. Banshee is a delight
posted by coriolisdave at 3:00 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]

It seemed like he had a signature move in season 1, a sort of shortswinging, repeated forearm smash. See here from 3.15 but I can't remember him using it in season 2. It seems like he would stick with something that works.
posted by biffa at 3:31 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

You do not mess with the special investigators because.... what was that Vin Diesel? Yes, because they're family.
posted by dogstoevski at 9:36 PM on January 22

Calling Reacher a Kaiju [godzilla-like monster] felt like a writers' room in-joke. I was reading this article lately (can't remember if it was linked from Metafilter or Mastodon) which points out the in Western monster movies, the monster usually operates in a moralistic way, punishing people who have misbehaved somehow. Sometimes it's an actual baddie, like when Nedry in Jurassic Park gets eaten by dinosaurs. Sometimes it's just someone who is coded as rude or promiscuous. Reacher isn't so much a hero as a kaiju. He's not so much a human deliberately trying to be moral, as a force of nature which happens to mostly annihilate bad people.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:27 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]

The absurd brutality of the last two episodes was too much for me. Torture, and indiscriminate murder, topped off at the end by murdering some guys who were effectively just civilians with a magic missile. By the end of this season I did not really think there was anything to distinguish Reacher from the "bad guys". The first season kept him as a hero. Here, he becomes the real villain.

Jack Reacher is a fascist power fantasy. I'm usually OK with action heros as conservative power fantasy characters because the writers are sure to "save the cat" and let something be redeeming about them. But jesus, Reacher pushed it over the limit.

Jack Reacher would commit a genocide.
posted by dis_integration at 8:52 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]

I think of Reacher as "You done messed with the wrong person" in human form. It's a release/fantasy for people tired of feeling underestimated and/or powerless.

It's competence porn, and it's stupid as fuck, but I don't think it's necessarily fascist.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:15 AM on January 23

While there is too much extrajudicial murder, I wouldn’t consider the two in the chopper as innocent civilians. The helicopter pilot flew all the missions where people got dropped out the back door “to avoid ballistics checks on the bullets” (never mind they shot one of the torturees and then dug out the bullet with a knife, or that they could have murdered their victims in a variety of simpler, non-gun-related ways), while the truck driver killed the original driver when he hijacked the truck and took a lot of shots at Reacher’s teammates.

Now, shooting them down over the Hudson with a state-of-the-art SAM after telling them they were free to go is cold-blooded and indiscreet vengeance, and not a little over the top.

Really, the less you think about the story the better.
posted by cardboard at 10:22 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

Every person I speak with about this show seems to have one of two responses:

"It's extremely fucking stupid. I hate it."
"It's extremely fucking stupid. I love it."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:23 AM on January 23

> I wouldn’t consider the two in the chopper as innocent civilians

I guess not. But the moral calculus in these types of media is usually that you kill people who are trying to kill you or others, but when they're unarmed and at your mercy you let the authorities deal with them. If you go too far in a Jack Bauer style torture to stop the ticking time bomb, that has be noted, and the audience is given some ambiguity where it's like, "he saved the day, but did he still go too far?", and the hero should show some of the effects of guilt.

Reacher just kills everyone he doesn't like and acts like that's actually the moral and righteous choice. Reacher would drop the bomb again. Reacher would execute all military age males in the villages of his enemies. All of his backstory is a lie, he was actually the guy who had the idea for Abu Ghraib. I suppose they were trying to contrast him with our arms dealer villain (who had the STUPIDEST story resolution I've possibly ever seen), who is also an indiscriminate murderer. But it's more like: look at these two horrible villains on a collision course with each other. Which actually is not an uninteresting premise, except the whole framing is that one of the evil villains is in fact a good guy.
posted by dis_integration at 12:19 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]

Also, that scene in the helicopter was trying to be mission impossible but it was pure marx brothers. Ok, I was a little stoned, but I was cracking the fuck up.
posted by dis_integration at 12:20 PM on January 23

Final thought: why DID the guy who was buying the rockets kill everyone he came across if he was just a middleman? Get in, buy the guns, sell 'em, get out. I thought we were going to build up to some scenario where he was going to use the rockets to shoot down an airliner or air force one for Isis and reacher has to stop him. But I assure you with a good passport I could make it to an arms deal and then back to where I came from without killing anyone at all. Just steal a car dude. It's not that hard, the kids in my neighborhood do it all the time.
posted by dis_integration at 12:25 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]

I think they were just trying to drive home that "AM" did everything to keep the number of people who knew who he was to a minimum. (Hence the whole thing with DHS saying that they didn't even have any real photos of him)
posted by drewbage1847 at 6:50 PM on January 23

I thought Reacher and his sidekicks in this season read like a revival of the 80s camp classic The A Team, but with added blood.

The Reacher character works best as a lone Samurai traveling the land looking for evil to fix.
posted by monotreme at 9:11 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]

Season 3 now filming in Toronto.

I sure hope he beats the shit out of someone, but like wearily!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:29 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Thanks mefi, I stopped at e6 and didn't watch these last two. the recaps saved me 2 hours of my life.

Were there any good bon-mots or deadpans? Please let me know!
posted by lalochezia at 6:42 PM on January 24


This really went off the rails, didn’t it?
posted by obfuscation at 1:00 PM on February 18

a sort of shortswinging, repeated forearm smash.

This plus headbutts are literally his signature moves in the books, because (as he explains more than once) you can do a lot of damage to someone without fucking up your hands and feet.

The helicopter pilot flew all the missions where people got dropped out the back door “to avoid ballistics checks on the bullets”

Worth noting maybe that in the book the pilot is even less innocent because the helicopter flights are actually the last bit of torture to get info out of Swan & the rest, and they are alive when they go out the door. He's flying a mobile torture & execution chamber.

Reacher just kills everyone he doesn't like

This season really upped the body count to Rambo movie levels - Book Reacher mostly doesn't encounter people with dozens of disposable minions, and in a lot of ways he's mostly a brawler that puts people in the hospital. (That's part of the competence porn, where he can take down a bunch of toughs in 5 seconds flat with some headbutts and elbow smashes and kicks to the kneecaps.) He'll kill killers without remorse, or to protect someone, or if it's his life or theirs, but he's not nearly as bloodthirsty as this season has made him.

that scene in the helicopter was trying to be mission impossible

Yeah, as per my above paragraph, the last two episodes took a sharp turn into "cheesy action movie cliche", with all the shooting and showdowns and dangling from helicopters. Which feels very Not Reacher to me.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:30 PM on March 9

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