"Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" may have just released season 3, but the franchise has a long and storied history. When writer Tom Clancy first introduced the character in his 1984 novel "The Hunt for Red October," he likely had little idea of how successful the character would be and how big the franchise surrounding him would grow. Many of Clancy’s novels following "The Hunt for Red October" centered around Ryan’s character and his work for the Central Intelligence Agency, while others that didn’t feature the character took place in the so-called "Ryanverse" and often followed the exploits of some of Ryan’s friends and co-workers.
In addition to Clancy’s "Ryanverse" novels, Jack Ryan has been featured in several films, many of them adaptations of Clancy’s books. With multiple big-name actors such as Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine, portraying the character, it has become a highly coveted role. In some ways, the role of Jack Ryan mirrors that of James Bond, with actors passing on the mantle after their time with the franchise is finished. John Krasinski’s portrayal of the character in "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" may just be the next in a long line, but his take is a refreshing one. But with a character sporting such a rich history through multiple mediums, it’s no surprise that "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" is filled with small details that viewers may gloss over, so here are some you may have missed in Season 3.
Kevin Kent Plays a New Character Every Season
Apart from John Krasinski and Wendell Pierce as Jack Ryan and James Greer respectively, the only person to have appeared in all three seasons of the show is actor and military advisor Kevin Kent. A former Navy SEAL who served over 20 years of active duty, Kevin Kent has since become a prolific military technical advisor and actor in Hollywood. Kent is credited as a military technical advisor on many films and shows, including "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi," which starred Jack Ryan actor John Krasinski and was directed by Michael Bay.
Although Kevin Kent has appeared in all three seasons of "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan", he portrays a different character each time. In Season 1, Kent played several unnamed characters, while in Season 2, he played a mercenary named Savage, who was a member of the PMC team led by Jost Van Der Byl. While he only appears in two episodes of Season 3, his role is arguably his biggest on the show to date. His character, McAuliffe is the leader of the Special Operations group that worked with Jack in the first episode, and he returned in the season finale to help Jack land on the USS Roosevelt, pushing him out of the helicopter to force Captain Bennett to bring him onboard. Here’s hoping Kent will appear as new characters in future seasons.
Jim’s Muscle Car Garage
After being burned by the CIA and sent on the run early in Season 3, Jack Ryan has few friends he can depend on. One of those few friends is former CIA officer Mike November (Michael Kelly). Jack first met Mike in Season 2, when he was serving as the CIA Station Chief in Caracas, Venezuela. While the two didn’t get along at first, due to Jack Ryan’s maverick nature, they eventually became friends after the two stayed behind in Caracas to take on Nicolás Reyes following the mandatory evacuation of the US Embassy.
In Season 3, Mike has become a private contractor, and shows up to rescue Jack in a plane while on the run from the CIA. If you’re wondering how Mike knew to come get Jack, you need only look at Jim’s muscle car Garage. Earlier in the episode, Jack is shown going to a website called Jim’s Muscle Car Garage multiple times. Each time, he inquires about buying a Camaro. While it is never explicitly shown that Jack is communicating with Mike, the latter confirms this when he picks Jack up, telling him that he "wasn’t really in the market for a Camaro."
Another ally that Jack has to team up with while on the run from the CIA is Tony Ahmet Demir. Jack met Tony all the way back in the show’s first season. When Jack and James were sent to Syria to extract Hanin Abdullah, the wife of Mousa Bin Suleiman, Greer introduces Jack to Tony, one of his contacts. Jack takes an immediate disliking to Tony, who operates a brothel that deals in human trafficking. Jack is disgusted by Tony’s operation and makes his feelings apparent, while Tony argues that if he had been born in America, he might be more heroic like Jack. The two never become friends, but they are able to work together.
In Season 3, Tony takes Jack Ryan in while he’s attempting to escape from both the Russians and the CIA at the behest of James Greer. Tony hides Jack in his garage until the coast is clear, and eventually sends him on his way with a vehicle from the garage. That vehicle happens to be a Toyota, which is a clever nod to a conversation that Jack had with Tony in Season 1. While driving Jack and Greer to meet with a contact, Tony tells them about Daesh and how they all drive Toyotas. He talks up the brand considerably, mentioning they are great products, so it’s unsurprising that the car he gives Jack in Season 3 would end up being a Toyota.
Did Luka Kill the Scientist?
By the time "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" Season 3 takes place, Luka Gocharov is already a seasoned spymaster who has spent his life working for the Russian government. However, throughout the season, we learn a bit more about Gocharov’s past as a young man in the 1960s, when he was ordered to terminate the Sokol Project. In "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan," the Sokol Project is a secret Russian science operation set with the task of creating an undetectable nuclear warhead. But in 1969, Luka Gocharov is given the order to terminate the project and murder all of the scientists working on it. Luka carries out the order, despite many in his unit casting doubts on whether it was the right call.
In "Old Haunts," the second episode of the season, it is revealed that despite carrying out the order, the deed weighs heavily on Luka. He visits the scene of the shooting and begins to collect some personal items from each of the dead. Luka then makes a point of visiting each of the scientists’ families, dropping off personal items, and telling them that their loved ones had been killed in an accident. However, at one house, Luka finds one of the scientists alive and well, having called in sick the day of the shooting. He begs for his life, but it is never revealed if Luka chooses to spare him or finish the job.
Rolan Antonov Refusing an Admiralship
One of the final twists in Season 3 of "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" is that Operation Crossbow’s final step involves a Russian Captain going rogue and using his ship to fire on an American vessel, starting a war. That captain was Rolan Antonov, an old friend of Luka Gocharov, who had been with him on the day that Project Sokol was terminated. Antonov was the captain of the Fearless, and unbeknownst to his crew, he had taken the ship out against the orders of the Russian president to attack the USS Roosevelt. Gocharov, who is working to stop the war from happening, is shocked by Antonov’s involvement in the scheme, saying that he was a trusted colleague.
However, for those paying attention, Captain Antonov gave a subtle hint about his defection rather early in the season. After the Russian Minister of Defense, Dmitry Popov, is assassinated, both Gocharov and Antonov attend his funeral. When they meet up, Gocharov notes that Antonov has passed up another admiralship, to which Antonov replies that there isn’t much good he can do behind a desk. This foreshadows his role in Operation Crossbow, as he knows that if he takes the prestigious promotion, he will be unable to commandeer the Fearless and attack the Americans, as he would be working at a desk.
To Each Hour Alive…
Petr Kovac is a major player in "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" Season 3. Not only is he the father of Alena Kovac, the President of the Czech Republic, but he’s also the driving force behind the resurrection of the Sokol Project, which seeks to overthrow the Russian government and restore the Soviet Union. Throughout the season, audiences learn through flashbacks that Kovac used to be a Russian soldier named Petr Lebedev, and was part of Gocharov’s military unit in 1969, when he was ordered to assassinate the Russian scientists working on the Sokol Project. Unlike Gocharov, Kovac refused the order, believing the scientists to be patriots, and was shot and left for dead.
After James Greer begins to suspect Kovac of having ulterior motives, due to his ties with the traitor Radek, he visits Kovac and asks to speak with him privately. While the two are discussing matters over vodka, Kovac gives a toast, saying, "To each hour alive, for it is the keeper of our death." Later, in Episode 5, it is revealed that Kovac was saved in 1969 by a Russian man who lived in a home out in the words. The man says the same toast to Kovac. While Kovac was forced to kill the man to conceal his identity, he seems to carry great reverence for him and the kindness he showed, still using his toast years later.
Peter Guiness and James Cosmo Also Appear In Chernobyl
Peter Guinness and James Cosmo play two of the most important Russian characters in "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" Season 3 — Petr Kovac and Luka Gocharov — but it isn’t the first time that the two have worked together playing Russians on television. Both actors played guest roles on HBO’s 2019 show, "Chernobyl." The historical drama follows the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a nuclear accident that involved one of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor cores melting. In the show, Peter Guinness plays a Soviet Major, while James Cosmo plays a miner.
There are some interesting similarities between the two shows. Both stories have the two actors portraying Russians, and both involve the Soviet Union’s use of nuclear power (although in one it is used for energy, while in the other is for weapons). In "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan," Petr Kovac uses the old site of the Sokol Project to continue his work on developing an undetected nuclear warhead and posts signs around the building warning of nuclear radiation to keep people out, much like the irradiated site of the Chernobyl plant in 1986. Interestingly, "Chernobyl" also stars Stellen Skarsgård, who appeared in the Jack Ryan film, "The Hunt for Red October."
A Lot More English Is Being Spoken By Non-English Speakers
One of the elements that brought "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" a lot of praise in its first two seasons was its use of non-English dialogue throughout. Many shows portray characters in non-English speaking countries using English in order to make them easier for English speakers to watch. However, "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" kept its stories more authentic by having characters speak in their native languages, and using subtitles to translate the dialogue. For instance, the majority of Season 1 antagonist Mousa bin Suleiman’s dialogue was in French and Arabic, while many characters in Season 2 delivered most of their lines in Spanish. For whatever reason, Season 3 of "Jack Ryan" reverses this decision, having most of its Russian characters speak in English.
The decision to revert to English dialogue for characters who should be speaking other languages did not sit well with many fans of the show. One Redditor pointed out this trend, creating a thread titled "Are we reverting back to speaking English with fake foreign accents in 2022?" While the show’s producers have not given an answer as to why this decision was made, it may be because several of the major Russian characters are played by non-Russian actors. In some ways, this does mirror "The Hunt for Red October," where English was being spoken on a Russian submarine.
The Climax Mirrors The Hunt For Red October
Speaking of "The Hunt for Red October," the third season of "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan actually features a number of homages and references to the classic film that first brought Tom Clancy’s most popular hero to life on the big screen. This is most apparent during the final climax of Season 3, which sees Jack Ryan attempting to stop a war between Russia and the United States by preventing a US naval ship from destroying a Russian vessel. In the finale, Jack Ryan boards the USS Roosevelt and argues with Captain Bennett in order to prevent him from destroying the Russian vessel called the Fearless, which is captained by a Russian officer that had gone rogue. This is because Jack had faith that Gocharov could diffuse the situation from the other side.
In "The Hunt for Red October," Jack boards a submarine captained by Commander Bart Mancuso, and like in the series, he pushes to get Mancuso’s sub, the USS Dallas, to stand down and not fire on the Red October. Jack believes that Marko Ramius, the Russian officer who went rogue, was looking to defect and believed that he wouldn’t fire. While the situations between the two are different, there are a lot of scenes that echo each other, including Jack jumping from a helicopter into the water in order to board the US vessel.
Captain Bennett’s Demeanor
Captain Andrew Bennett only appears in two episodes of "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan," but he ends up being a very important character by the end of the season. This is because much of the show’s climax revolves around his decision as to whether he wants to fire on the Fearless or take a chance at peace. Bennett first meets Jack Ryan in the show’s first episode titled "Falcon," where he helps bring Jack Ryan and his strike team to the Russian vessel that contained the Russian scientist that Jack needed to extract. When they first meet, Captain Bennett is very cordial to Jack, even complimenting him on his maverick nature, and how he heard Jack gets the job done.
Despite parting on good terms at the end of the first episode, Bennett is very unhappy to see Jack again in the season’s final episode, "Star on the Wall." While the show doesn’t give an exact reason for this, it may be due to Captain Bennett seeing Jack as a threat to his command. Jack was not given permission to board the USS Roosevelt, and instead faked needing rescue to be brought onboard while trying to convince Bennett not to follow orders. Clearly, Bennett has a harder time accepting Jack’s maverick tendencies when it is his orders that are being disobeyed.
The Intelligence Star
The odds may have been stacked against Jack Ryan and James Greer in "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" Season 3, but luckily, thanks to the combined efforts of the two men, Operation Crossbow was a failure and the Soviet Union was never resurrected. With the help of allies from Russia, the Czech Republic, and the United States, Jack Ryan stopped the USS Roosevelt and the Fearless from shooting each other down, ultimately stopping a war between the United States and Russia. For their efforts, CIA Director Elizabeth Wright presents an award to Jack Ryan and James Greer. While "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" never explicitly names the award, close inspection reveals it to be the Intelligence Star.
In the United States, the Intelligence Star is bestowed upon CIA officers for "voluntary acts of courage performed under hazardous conditions or for outstanding achievements or services rendered with distinction under conditions of grave risk." The prestigious medal is also a part of the storied history of the "Ryanverse", with Jack Ryan having received the award multiple times throughout his career in Clancy’s novels.
Gocharov Might Still Be Alive
"Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" Season 3 seemingly ended on a happy note, with Ryan having averted war between Russia and the United States, and the show’s villains (including the self-serving CIA Director Miller) having been brought to justice. However, this takes a darker turn when a Russian agent appears at Luka Gocharov’s door, saying he has orders to bring Gocharov with him. Luka tells the agent that he has accepted his fate, and viewers then hear a monologue in which Gocharov says he wishes to die with honor.
Many fans have taken this as confirmation that Gocharov was killed by the Russian government at the end of the season. But aficionados of the spy genre might be more skeptical, as all is rarely as it seems in this type of story. Gocharov’s monologue made his fate seem final, but his death is never explicitly shown to the audience, giving the producers an opportunity to bring the popular character back for a surprise "Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan" Season 4 appearance. Then again, the ambiguity may have also been tied back to the ambiguous fate of the scientist that Luka was tasked with killing, bringing his story full circle in a way that is as satisfying as it is frustrating.