TV Recap: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan – Hindsight is 20/20 …

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
“End of Honor” (Episode 105)
August 31, 2018

Episode 4 ended with some deaths we care about for the story and the release of a chemical agent in a church. Episode 4 of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan brought together, nicely, several threads from the first 3 episodes and tonight picks up where we left.  Before you read on, make sure you’re caught up on everything that happened before with our recap & review here!

Ready? Great, let’s get on with Episode 5, “End of Honor” … after the jump (SPOILERS BEWARE)!!

Paris.  Night has fallen and Hazmat wearing agents are clearing the padlocked doors and entering the Church where the Sarin Gas attack occurred.  We follow one Hazmat suit as the person walks up the center aisle. The sight is gruesome with bodies littered everywhere, bodies from in death with contorted, tortured faces. Cell phones ring everywhere in the church – calls that will never be answered.  Chilling opening scene.

Photo: Amazon

The next day, talking heads around the world are reporting the terrorist attack and we learn that Mousa bin Suleiman has claimed responsibility. Mousa made a video to put the world on notice.

“Paris was only the beginning.”

Obviously, Jack is watching from his computer at the CIA. Greer joins him as we see some of Mousa’s new social media videos which have hit the internet. The men agree that it’s well done, highly persuasive jihadi propaganda and Jack is losing his cool as he flips through the close up pictures of the Sarin victims in the church. Being the hero of his story, he naturally blames himself for not stopping the attack before it happened.

“You have a cape on under that shirt.”

Jack doesn’t take Greer’s bait and finishes his thought that Ali knew the plan and had Ryan not shot and killed him …

In response, Greer tells a story (one of countless such stories that exist by the way) of a man working security at Dulles airport on September 11, 2001 who noticed one of the hijackers because they had dirty shoes which didn’t match their first class tickets and nice clothes. This security worker blamed himself for allowing a hijacker on to the plane but on what rational basis would he have thought to stop the man with dirty shoes. The point being, Hindsight is 20/20 and to think Ryan could have done anything is irrational and, because Greer always takes a shot, narcissistic.  He leaves Jack to stew in his juices of righteous anger.

Nizip, Turkey.  Hanin and her daughters arrive at the Zeugma Accommodation Facility, a refugee camp, and its teeming with people (mostly women and children – there are some old men too).

Photo: Amazon

At a processing station, Hanin gives her basics to a Turkish interviewer.  After some preliminaries, he tells her that Turkey can’t (won’t) take anymore Syrians, “especially after Paris.” Hanin has no idea what he’s talking about with the Paris thing and pleads that their lives are in danger. He’s unmoved as he gives them their temporary tent assignment. Next.

It’s only after this encounter that Hanin and the girls see Mousa’s video on a TV and learn about the Paris attack.  The camera zooms in on the part of Mousa’s recruitment video where he is imploring Muslims (read: Hanin) to “return to your homes.” He repeats the phrase. Its meaning is not lost on Hanin.

Washington, D.C. Jack’s desk is covered in everything “Paris Church Sarin attack” which is how he puts it together than the stabbed priest days prior and the Sarin attack were related incidences. He goes to Greer and emphasizes the point that Suleiman researched his target and set up the church to be filled on a random weekday. I think the take away of this scene is to hammer home that Suleiman is no random, impulsive terrorist; he’s calculating and strategic and has his shit together.

Al Mnajeer, Syria. Suleiman and Ibrahim (Amir El-Masry), his new number 2 with Yazid gone (more permanently than Mousa realizes), walk through the compound – which has been turned into a full fledged training camp – talking about next steps for the guys stuck in Paris. Suleiman emphasizes to Ibrahim that his orders remain unchanged, they are to wait for Ali to arrive and then all travel home through Italy together.  Mousa asks after Hanin and the girls but Ibrahim informs him that Yazid hasn’t checked in yet …

Suleiman passes one of Al Radwan’s former men, Ismail, and stops him to ask about his hygiene. The man confesses he has nothing else other than the dirty clothes he’s wearing. Mousa tells him to use the water they have to bath and clean his clothes. He tells Ismail that being poor sucks balls but you can’t let it rob you of your self-respect.

“If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will respect you.”

Mousa instructs Ibrahim to give Ismail some of his own clothes and as he watches them walk away, he slides into a memory.

We see Young Adult Mousa in Paris, France. Its 2001. Based on the looks Mousa is getting, I am thinking it’s post-September 11, 2001. Waiting in an ante-room with some white dudes, everyone suited up (job interview vibe), Mousa tries to make nice with a chap that he interned with back at Credit Suisse. The man is desperately trying to pretend like he doesn’t know who Mousa is and then hands over a handkerchief. Seeing Mousa is confused, the man nods to Mousa’s muddy shoes, “best foot forward,” he says condescendingly.

Photo: Amazon

Mousa is called into the interview, the fallen face on the Frenchman when he sees a Middle Eastern” face is a priceless recreation of reactions around the globe at that time (and still, since, really).  In the meeting, Mousa explains a paper he wrote on the future of global economies moving to digital banking and the bank that gets ahead if it now, will dominate the system. The old stuffy French guys around the table have heard enough and shut Mousa down. They scold him that banking is built on trust and that trust cannot be built over a computer. “Also, get out you dirty terrorist.” This last bit is implied though not actually said.

Washington, D.C. In the Langley board room we’ve seen before, Singer is walking the meeting through the terrorists captured on CCTV in Paris.  He identifies a familiar face to the Eastern European desk, Ansor Dudayev, who he calls “the Chechen.” Which is a pretty cool name.  Apparently Dudayev is a veteran terrorist and was the man responsible for the weapons technology used to pierce American armor in combat. Singer identifies another man and says the third is still being looked into.

Photo: Amazon

The big man in charge of this meeting is Secretary of Defense Marcus Trent (Al Sapienza), and he doesn’t see a threat to the US so he tells Singer he’s going to recommend letting the French handle this one alone. Taking a page out of Ryan’s book, Greer expresses his disagreement with this position, though no one actually asked him.

“This is not a French problem. This is a world problem.”
“Who the hell are you?”

That famous Greer personality begins to emerge with the Secretary but Singer interrupts to speak “bureaucrat”; what Jim means is, its important for the US to run point on this investigation. Trent asks how that would look and Singer begins to run through the complex, global partnership of working zzz zzz zzz…

Ryan, who is still on the outer ring of seats, takes notice of the End of Honor video game chat screen Ali and Mousa had used displayed on the big wall and he remembers, “the game.”

Eyes turn to Ryan who explains how Ali and Mousa had communicated using the chat feature in End of Honor.  His plan is simple. Since no one, other than the CIA and the DGSI people in the Alps, know that Ali is dead, they should reach out Suleiman with the messaging app again and impersonate Ali. Greer supports Ryan’s idea that Suleiman will want to help Ali, as his own family and because Ali is the one that got him out of the CIA Black Site (back in the Pilot episode).  Secretary Trent is incredulous that a video game is their best plan but Director Farnsworth says its their only plan and tells Ryan to proceed.

Seine-Saint-Den. Paris, France. Dudayev and his compatriots are watching a news report on how the French police are still combing the Alps for a suspected terrorist in the Paris Sarin attack. They are showing Ali’s photo on the screen. In Syria, Mousa and his people are watching the same news report.  Dudayev calls Suleiman but the answer is still to wait. Dudayev agrees but warns Suleiman.

“It is your heart talking, not your brains.”

Photo: Amazon

Creech Air Force Base.   Ava comes on duty and finds Tombstone already at his station. he’s going over an old “BDA” (bomb damage assessment); yeah, Victor, you need to not be thinking about the past my man if you’re going to keep doing this job.  Riot Grrl hands over their new target list and Victor notices right away that there is a mistake.  He’s already killed one of the targets listed. Remember the dad on the scooter who was blown up at the beginning of last episode? Yeah, that was a mistake – someone misidentified him as someone else. Ava is all, “no bigs, he probably would have ended up on the list at some point.” But Victor disagrees. He strongly fucking disagrees and you can see the last cracks forming here. “I killed an innocent man.”

Al Mnajeer, Syria. Mousa gives Samir his shot (the one we saw Hanin give him previously – he’s got some kind of condition). They talk about when Samir’s mother and sisters will be back. Dr. Nadler is brought before Mousa and he sends Samir on his way. Suleiman asks Nadler how the aid workers are doing, medically speaking.  Nadler rattles of things they need and Mousa says to make a list and they’ll get what they need.  Perhaps to gin up some good will or perhaps because he’s a caring doctor but Nadler asks after Samir and how long he’s been a diabetic.  He offers to run some tests and if its what he thinks, the diabetes can be treated with an oral medicine (instead of the shots).  Mousa thanks him. Before being dragged away, Nadler tells Suleiman that they have ransom insurance but Suleiman scoffs at the American money obsession … yeah, this isn’t about money.

[Dr. Nadler confirms they are from Doctors Without Borders, though he gives the name of the agency in French and the rest of the conversation is in English.]

Flashback to Paris, 2001.  In the Belleville district, a much scruffier, hipsterish looking Mousa joins his brother who is hanging with some friends in the street.  Ali shows Mousa a gun he is now carrying and Mousa loses his shit, telling Ali that a gun is not a toy.

“You don’t know anything, stick with selling falafel.”

This is NOT the deferential Ali we’ll see in a few years. He takes the gun back. Cut to Ali rolling a joint and the brothers commiserating about getting out of this life. Mousa complains to his brother about the interviews and how people have judged him before he does anything.  Ali tells him to think positive, to will it into existence — 2001 is a little early for The Secret but Ali is tapping into something here.  Mousa scoffs at him.   Ali tells Mousa that Mousa is going to do great things in this life. More importantly, Ali needs Mousa to do great things (and take Ali with him) because Ali has pride and won’t sell falafel. Ha! These two have a great rapport.

Photo: Amazon

Two French patrolmen come by and, catching Ali with the joint, use that as an excuse to bust their ball. Keeping Mousa off to the side, the one cop starts to pat Ali down (for more drugs I presume) but Mousa’s eyes go wide knowing they are going to find the gun.  Rather than let his brother face the consequences that are coming, Mousa jumps the two cops, and a 4 man struggle begins. The gun falls to the ground and Mousa begins to crawl for it. With both cops trying to subdue him, Ali is able to run away (at his brother’s urging). I think we just saw the thing that sent Mousa to French prison.

Zeugma Accommodation Facility. Back at the refugee camp, Hanin is now pressing her case to an American refugee worker (Jonathan Bailey) (USRRT is his organization but not sure yet what that stands for) telling him that she seeks political asylum. “My hubby is a little guy known as Mousa bin Suleiman, you might have heard of him recently, hmmmm.” (this is a paraphrase – but the implication is the same).

She certainly has the refugee worker’s attention but she also has no other proof of who she says she is, so how is he supposed to believe her?  He wants to know where Suleiman is but she won’t say – she’s worried about Samir’s safety. She runs off, thinking this was a mistake but not sure you can put this Genie back in the bottle, Hanin. We’ll see.

Cut to night time in Washington and Layla is on the phone with Jack. The refugee worker, who’s name is Lance Miller, is actually a CIA operative embedded in the refugee camp for this exact kind of thing and he kicked up the Suleiman connection to Layla. She mentions the Samir angle and why Hanin wouldn’t speak any further.  Jack tells Layla to have Miller find Hanin and then goes back into his date with Cathy.  Inside the restaurant, Cathy has paid the check (marry her, Jack!) and when Jack sits down she gives him, “the talk.” She’s find with the bump and grind distraction but she’s focused on her career and clearly, he is too. So, let’s keep it casual she says. Sure sure cool cool, Jim Halpert Jack Ryan replies.

Zeugma Accommodation Facility. Hanin, now on like Plan Q, seeks out a Mr. Sadik (Youssef Kerkour).  Inside his tent, it’s clear that Mr. Sadik is a professional smuggler of sorts and based on how lavish his set up is, business is going very well.  After giving him the name of her referral (I guess this is a check system on her bona fides), she gets down to brass tacks. She needs to get out of dodge and into Europe …

Photo: Amazon

Mr. Sadik tells Hanin its super dangerous and very expensive.  How are you going to pay? She hands over a tangled of gold chain and he scoffs, its maybe enough for one person. He tells her to come back when she has more money. Sensing imminent defeat, Hanin pulls up her sleeves and shows Sadik all of the gold bangles she’s wearing. He nods and we’re in business.

Al Mnajeer, Syria. Night time in the Suleiman compound and as Mousa watches over his flock, he has another flashback. This one to 2002, when he was inside Fleury-Merogis Prison (France).**  Ali visits his brother and we see that Mousa is now sporting a big beard and is wearing Muslim dress and prayer beads. Ali is all, “what the fuck happened to you?” Mousa swears that nothing bad has happened only good – that he has found people and God and that for the first time in a long time, his mind and soul are free. He feels like he belongs somewhere.

“I want every Muslim to feel that sense of belonging that I feel.”

Times up and the brothers share the first of their call and response banter: “Peace be with you,” “no brother, not if she’s been with you first.” We saw this as Ali was getting on the boat to go to France a couple of episodes ago. Ali isn’t convinced at all but he loves his brother.

Las Vegas, Nevada. Ava and Victor are having breakfast together at Karl’s Diner and Victor tells her he’s being forced to take 10 days leave to chill the fuck out.  Ava sees this as a win but he doesn’t want to go, won’t “solve anything.” He tells her that he was one of the top students in flight school but then got shipped off because the drone program needed bodies. Ava is confused, is Victor bent out of shape because he doesn’t like his duty station?

He tries to explain his feeling, that they sit in a trailer “10,000 miles away,” push a button and someone dies.  But “real pilots” go to war and operate with the risk of being shot down, killed and/or captured. What they do isn’t the same as being a real pilot.

“We sit in a trailer and we play video games. And then we come here and we have fucking breakfast.”

Ava just shakes her head, she disagrees with his whole line of thought. She tells him that every kill they make is one less bad guy and bomb on the ground and it saves American soldiers’ lives. So, take your leave and get your shit together, she warns him, because she has to know he has her back in the trailer.

Photo: Amazon

CIA HQ. Jack, with Tarek’s technical help, logs into End of Honor and the game is afoot.  He’s in a work room but it’s packed with bodies, including Greer, Singer and Farnsworth. This is a high profile operation.  Greer tells Singer (and us) that DGSI is standing by in Chamonix, France, to grab whomever Mousa sends to pick up Ali.  Ryan begins with a simple, “I’m here.”

In Syria, down in the operations bunker, Mousa’s tech guy tells him about the chat message and Suleiman, anxious to hear from Ali, jumps in the chair. Jack, using the expansive research and technology arms of the CIA, is able to answer basic location info and test questions from Mousa (Ibrahim insists that Mousa give a test question to prove its really Ali). Unfortunately, Mousa ends the message with a, “peace be with you, brother” and Jack doesn’t answer correctly. As we’ve seen, he should have said, “no brother, not if she’s been with you first.” What he actually says is, “and with you” (which is the Catholic answer, dummy).

[Seriously, maybe the most tension filled, high stakes text message exchange I’ve ever witnessed. A credit to the show for being able to create so much sense without using 1 emoji.]

Mousa knows this isn’t Ali (Ibrahim is already texting Dudayev to abort the pick up mission in France) and Ryan doesn’t ask permission before answering that Suleiman’s right but also, Mousa has met Jack before … at the Black Site.  Suleiman remembers him, “the analyst” and asks Jack if Ali is dead. Jack responds with a simple, “yes.” Mousa vows to find him and Ryan baits Mousa by saying, “not before I find Hanin. I know she left you.” Which is exactly when Suleiman terminates the connection.  Jack takes this as confirmation. Confirmation of what, Singer and Farnsworth want to know?!? Greer and Jack explain about the woman in the Turkish refugee camp and that Jack believes this conversation is proof that the woman IS Suleiman’s wife.

“Find her.”

Photo: Amazon

Al Mnajeer, Syria. We see Mousa quietly crying and Samir coming and comforting him.  Complex Characters.

Zeugma Accommodation Facility. As Ryan and Greer are boarding a CIA jet for Turley, we see Hanin and the girls being loaded into a getaway van.  At the same time, we see Not Dead Yazid enter the refugee camp. He’s found Mr. Sadik and he’s showing a picture of the women.

“The women and the two girls? Where are they?”

The episode ends as the getaway van drives out of the refugee camp lot and off into the night. Lots of episodes ending with vehicles driving off into the distance in Jack Ryan.

Thoughts.

Not too much to say here, this was a very “moving pieces”around the board. Honestly, Greer and Jack should just stay in Europe at this point – I can’t imagine what their body clocks must look like at this point with all the TransAtlantic flying they’ve done recently.  Hanin took matters into her own hands and is getting her girls to safety. Mousa’s mission will change now because he knows his brother is dead. A brother, which we learned through flashback, was extremely important to him – more so than we even realized before. Cathy and Jack, keeping it casual.  Everyone spent this episode moving into place as we’re race towards the final 3 hours of the season.

I think the use of the flashback narrative really helped to fill in the Mousa character shades. Coming out of this episode, I think we understand him more and his motivations. Also, he’s more human to us and therefore, much more complex and not as easy to write off as a terrorist nutbag. This is a guy, an intelligent guy, who tried to hack it in the Western world and through chance and xenophobia, found himself on a totally different path than he would have maybe gone. It’s an interesting thought discussion on how particular events shape our entire lives.

Now that it’s been introduced, I wonder if we’ll see the flashback used again for any other characters (or again, for Mousa)? I like flashbacks (see my writings on social media about LOST) but a show must be careful to not become reliant (read: lazy) with their use. Still show, don’t tell but a good flashback really does fill out a backstory in a useful and creative way.

On to the next stage of the story.

*******

** According to Wikipedia, Fleury-Mérogis Prison “is the largest prison in Europe.” It has over 4,000 prisoners and is also “notorious as a leading center of Islamist radicalization in European prisons.”

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