"Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" is back for season two on Amazon Prime Video. John Krasinski still plays Jack as the impatient, impetuous, borderline reckless character we came to know in the first series, but the new story leaves radical Islamist terrorism behind for one that seems straight out of the Cold War.
When we left Jack, he'd turned down a chance to follow his mentor Jim Greer (played again by the great Wendell Pierce) to Russia and instead hoped to get away from the action with a desk job in Washington.
Ryan has also left romance behind, as there's no sign of first season girlfriend Cathy Mueller (Abbie Cornish). We can only assume that Jack's obsessive mood swings were just a bit too much for a successful doctor like her.
Greer has uncovered a Russian plot in Moscow as he battles a heart condition. That plot points to Venezuela, and he arranges for a transfer to Caracas. Ryan has been following a mysterious satellite launch, and the trail also leads him to Venezuela.
The two men work out their differences and agree to hook up to solve what they at first think is a weapons dealing plot. There's an oppressive regime in Venezuela and an opposition party that's desperate to bring clarity and transparency to government in an upcoming election.
We're left with an old-fashioned story where Americans want to bring democracy and fair elections to the rest of the world. Totalitarian strongmen are the bad guys in this world, and they especially piss off Jack, who quickly goes off the reservation to pursue his small-d democratic agenda.
Obviously, this story takes place in an imaginary parallel universe, as Jack's agenda sharply clashes with our current foreign policy.
Season 2 doesn't skimp on the action, and the show delivers the kind of elaborate chases and jarring violence that characterized the first go-round.
A story about repairing democracy in South America doesn't have quite the same visceral immediacy as the terrorist story from last season, but the show still takes care to find the right blend between spycraft and ass-kicking that makes for a great Jack Ryan tale.
Amazon has already ordered season 3, so we'll look for more Jack next fall.