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Directed by: Phil Abraham | Written by: Carlton Cuse, Graham Roland
Official synopsis: Jack Ryan searches for the truth behind Venezuela’s transactions with various World Powers. James Greer, about to get sidelined from his new post in Russia, joins Jack in Venezuela and the two find themselves in the midst of a Venezuelan leader’s re-election effort.
The writers decided not to play around with Season 2, getting off to a fatal start immediately. “Cargo” begins with a ship in the South China Sea. It launches what looks like a missile. 24 hours later in Moscow, we see Jim Greer (Wendell Pierce) staggering across the city. He meets a Russian man, and gives him a new ID for his son, but claims he needs more intel. Jim wants to know more about the ship, believing it’s sending an unregistered satellite over Venezuela. When he heads back to the street, Jim collapses. And then we finally get introduced to Jack Ryan in Episode 1. He’s a man with heavy stubble – he’s not as clean-looking as he was in Season 1. Life looks to have taken its toll slightly. Jack is delivering a lecture on different perspectives in the media and hints that Venezuela has massive resources. Jack also mentions that Gloria Bonalde is running for President and may fix their issues. This scene was purely created to set the story. After his lecture, his friend, a Senator named Moreno, throws him a surprise party. It’s his birthday.
Like last season, Jack has a hunch and he raises it to the department heads alongside Moreno. Jack raises that Russia is secretly selling weapons to Venezuela, but he is brought back down to reality for not having enough evidence. Jack is tasked to visit Venezuela and asking President Reyes directly about the shipments. We learn that Jim has a heart condition and he is lectured by his boss about his health. But Jim ignores the warning signs and continues gathering intel; he learns the ship he has been tracking was not Russian. He also learns that Jack is tracking the same vessel and immediately asks for reassignment to Venezuela. Our two characters did not take long to be back together. Midway through Episode 1, “Cargo”, Jack and Moreno arrive in Venezuela and speak to President Reyes. Predictably, he denies all knowledge of Russia providing arms by shipment. In a side scene, a man, unknown by name, is asking about time frames and he receives keys to some storage units.
After a failed conversation with President Reyes, Jack is getting eyed up by a woman at the bar (Noomi Rapace), but he is soon sidetracked by Jim. I have to raise that Jack looks ridiculously irritated that he cannot pursue the woman – he has one thing on his mind, just like last season. Both characters learn they are looking at the same ship. Jack finally meets up with the woman giving him the “come to bed eyes” at the bar. She is called Lena and knows many languages. They soon sleep together, but after, while Jack is asleep, Lena (I assume that is not her real name) sneaks around his room and looks at the photos of the shipments. She bugs his room. Jack Ryan Season 2, Episode 1 “Cargo” concludes in tragic circumstances; Jack and Moreno’s convoy is attacked, with explosives almost killing the entire crew. The unknown man from earlier is sniping them, with the risk of death imminent. Jack manages to escape the car, but Senator Moreno is sniped and killed. When the episode closes, Jack is shaken, and traumatized, and has the task of ringing Moreno’s wife. I assume this moment is a turning point for Jack, with Moreno being an old friend of his who helped him earlier in his life.