Reacher Season 2 Is Missing What Made The Amazon TV Show So Great In Season 1

Reacher Season 2 Is Missing What Made The Amazon TV Show So Great In Season 1

Warning: Spoilers for Reacher season 2 below!


  • Reacher season 2 lacks the intensity and character development that made season 1 captivating.
  • The NYC setting in season 2 makes Reacher seem less distinctive and stretches the suspension of disbelief.
  • The dynamic between Reacher and the other characters in season 2 is not as fun or complementary as in season 1.

Reacher season 2 is fun but lacks the core ingredients that made season 1 great. Like season 1, Reacher season 2 avoids drifting too far from its source material despite taking a few creative liberties. It also adopts a similar narrative structure to season 1, where trouble somehow finds Jack Reacher, and before he knows it, he is in the middle of a grand conspiracy. Surprisingly, Reacher season 2 also marks the return of several season characters.

Given how Reacher season 2 harps on the strengths of its predecessor while attempting to bring something new, it is not surprising that it is earning rave reviews from both viewers and critics. However, despite all the merits, Reacher season 2 still seems to be missing some elements that made season 1 incredibly enjoyable. Season 2 is, by no means, a subpar adaptation of Lee Child’s Bad Luck and Trouble. However, it just does not have the same level of intensity and character development that allowed season 1 to captivate audiences.


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Reacher Season 2’s NYC Setting Loses Margrave’s Unique Charm

Margrave’s small town setting benefited the show

After being a big fish in season 1, Reacher seems less distinctive amidst the towering skyscrapers and powerful villains of season 2.

When Reacher entered Margrave in the Amazon show’s first season, it was hard not to notice how he came off like a big fish in a small pond. His massive stature and larger-than-life demeanor instantly made him stand out as the main character. Owing to this, the show did not have to give over-the-top depictions of his feats of strength to convey his formidable presence. There was a clear juxtaposition between the simplicity of the town and the complexity of the central conspiracy Reacher was dealing with, and it seemed evident that after Reacher’s departure, the town would never be the same.

Season 2 tries to raise the stakes of Reacher’s adventures by placing him in the middle of a bigger conspiracy in a much bigger city. Unfortunately, this approach backfires because it not only makes the show look like any other action/espionage TV series but also makes Jack Reacher seem less exceptional. After being a big fish in season 1, Reacher seems less distinctive amidst the towering skyscrapers and powerful villains of season 2. Season 2’s setting also seemingly stretches the suspension of disbelief with its portrayal of all the unlawful acts Reacher and his team manage to get away with.

Since Margrave was a small town with a close-knit community, Reacher just had to establish good relationships with the local police to be able to get away with his aggressive, unconventional investigative methods. Although it is fun to see him and his team do “cowboy s**t” in season 2, it is hard not to wonder why they are not being tracked by law enforcement for their acts of vigilantism. While it is understandable that the show had to find a way to expand Reacher‘s universe in season 2 and increase the urgency of his crime-solving endeavors, season 2’s NYC setting just makes him seem less enigmatic than his season 1 counterpart.

Reacher season 2 drops new episodes every Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

Reacher Is More Within His Comfort Zone During Season 2

The stakes in Reacher’s season 2 mission seem surprisingly low

Reacher season 1’s initial conflict revolved around the primary character’s struggles to get along with the law enforcement of Margrave. Even after Roscoe and Finlay realized that he was not responsible for the central murder, it took the two police officers some time to get used to Reacher’s methods. The three characters had to go through the entire process of storming, norming, and conforming before they could work together as a team. Reacher season 1 also had several moments where the titular character was all by himself while facing the enemy forces. This put him way out of his comfort zone.

In season 2, on the other hand, Reacher seems way more comfortable because he is not only working with the people he knows but is more aware of how he is supposed to manipulate his urban settings to get to the bottom of the central mystery. His methods, which raised eyebrows in Margrave, are not all that shocking in New York City. Reacher also rarely seems to face the solitude he felt in season 1 because he is always surrounded by his former team members. Although Reacher season 2 does a good job at highlighting how the titular character has missed out on a lot because of his lifestyle choices, it fails to recreate the sense of novelty he felt when he first landed in Magrave.



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Reacher Season 2’s New Character Dynamic Isn’t As Fun

Reacher’s season 1 dynamic with Roscoe and Finlay was better

In season 1, Reacher had a Sherlock-Watson kind of dynamic with Roscoe and Finlay. The two characters helped him solve the overarching mystery but never stole the limelight from him. Instead, they were more like sidekicks who complemented Reacher’s unique skill set and helped him navigate his novel setting. Every main character in Reacher‘s season 2 110th Special Investigations Unit is smarter than the next. They are all “Sherlocks,” and no one truly comes off as a sidekick to Reacher. Reacher himself keeps acknowledging how incredibly smart Neagley is, which opens room for a potential spin-off that focuses on Neagley but diminishes the impact of Reacher’s crime-solving forte.

Several scenes in Reacher season 2 exemplify this. For instance, when Reacher and Neagley explore Franz’s office to find potential leads, both come up with brilliant theories on where he might have hidden his drive. Similarly, in the scene where Reacher and his team clash with a biker gang, nearly all the characters are able to stand up for themselves in the showdown without needing Reacher’s help. This makes Reacher look less intimidating. Although season 2 introduces over-the-top scenes where he kicks cars to activate their airbags, these moments do not make up for the shift in the overall portrayal of Reacher’s characterization.

In Reacher season 1, there was a clear contrast between Reacher and the police officers he was working with. Season 1’s running gags also primarily revolved around the hilarious differences between Reacher and Finlay’s day-to-day choices. While Finlay settled for a simple spinach salad during their rendezvous at Jolene’s Chicken Shack in Reacher season 1, episode 3, Reacher hilariously ordered an entire buffet, including two fried chicken thighs, fried okra, ribs, collard greens, pole beans, rice with giblet gravy, and cottage cheese with peaches. Reacher season 2 tries recreating this dynamic between Reacher and David by portraying how David has settled with his wife and kids while Reacher finds pleasure in the open road, but the two characters still seem to have a lot in common.

Reacher Season 2 Faced A No-Win Scenario (& Season 3 Needs To Solve It)

Reacher’s future seasons can learn from season 2’s pitfalls

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher holding dogtags in the poster for Amazon's Reacher season 2

It would be fair to say that Reacher season 2 found itself in a no-win scenario. It did not have the option of treading the same path as season 1 because that would have made its storyline redundant. As season 2’s setting and character dynamics suggest, sowing new narrative seeds instead of watering the old ones has also not worked out too well. Therefore, in season 3, Amazon’s Reacher must find a new narrative direction that neither repeats season 1’s elements nor tries to be as typical and predictable as season 2. Fortunately, Lee Child’s novels offer an abundance of settings and storylines that could easily restore the novelty Reacher season 1 introduced.

For instance, 61 Hours would be a great choice for future seasons of the show because it highlights how Reacher, too, is capable of making unforced errors. At the same time, it also puts Reacher in a new and intriguing small town setting — Bolton, South Dakota — where he faces everything from police conspiracies to encounters with Latin American drug kingpins. Lee Child’s Tripwire also deserves to be adapted in Reacher‘s future seasons because it portrays Jack Reacher in his most vulnerable state, altering the perception of the seemingly invincible character.


Produced by Amazon Prime Video, Reacher adapts Lee Child’s Jack Reacher book series to live-action. The series follows veteran Military Police Officer Jack Reacher as he unravels a dangerous conspiracy in the fictional town of Margrave, Georgia. Played by the towering Alan Ritchson, the titular hero collaborates with officer Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald) and Chief Detective Oscar Finlay (Malcolm Goodwin) to clean his name and save Margrave from crime and corruption.

Release Date
February 4, 2022

Malcolm Goodwin , Maria Sten , Willa Fitzgerald , Bruce McGill , Chris Webster , Alan Ritchson


Story By
nick santora

Nick Santora

amazon prime video

Jack Reacher

Nick Santora

Nick Santora