How Reacher Season 2 Grows And Evolves A One-Note Lead Character

Reacher is one of Amazon Prime Video’s unexpected hits. Reacher season 2 is currently on its way to its finale, with season 3 already greenlit. The franchise based on Lee Child’s novel series, initially saw Tom Cruise play the lead character in two feature films. However, the Reacher series is a more faithful adaptation, one that works wonderfully. After a successful debut season, Reacher returns bigger and badder than before. And the series finds a way to turn their one-note lead character, into something much more this season.

Please note that the following will contain spoilers for Reacher season 2, now streaming on Prime Video.

Disclaimer: I Very Much Enjoy Reacher

Reacher season 2 face off.

Image via Prime Video.

Let’s make something very clear right off the bat, I actually like Reacher, despite the headline. What I mean is more that the archetype behind the Reacher character has one defining quality; strong and silent. This is what makes Jack Reacher an interesting character when audiences first meet him. His brooding demeanour works in tandem with the other characters in season 1 and even adds to some of the lighter moments. However, it’s an archetype that can wear very thin, very fast, if the character doesn’t adjust to the stories and experiences around him.

So on that note, Reacher season 2 definitely does more with the character, by not only changing the setting of the story, but also through other characters. Season 1 was all about this enigma that is Reacher meeting and interacting with everyone for the first time in an unknown town. However, Reacher season 2 completely upends that dynamic by changing the setting and relationships.

It’s The Reacher And Friends Show


Image via Prime Video.

One of the intrigues of Reacher was the mystery and isolation that the character brought with him. Everywhere. So Reacher season 2 loses that by centring the story around Reacher’s old special investigations team, full of quirky characters and big personalities. As his old team members are killed off one by one, Reacher and the remaining members need to get to the bottom of it.

So this time around, we see Reacher actually working with a team of old associates and friends. So much of finding out about Reacher’s past comes from these relationships, both one on one, and how Reacher is in a group setting. We also get to see how Reacher was as a commanding officer, instead of just hearing about his time in the Service. But this friendly dynamic adds another layer to this character.

Reacher Season 2 Gets Real Personal

Reacher season 2 friends.

Image via Prime Video.

In season 1, Reacher was a lone character with nothing to lose. An unknown stranger who gets tangled up in the politics and crime of a small town. While the catalyst of the story was the death of his brother, Reacher was detached from everything else happening around him. Giving him an edge and a sort of hilariously cruel demeanour.

However, surrounding Reacher with people he has a history with, automatically makes him invested in their wellbeing. Which gives him something to lose, making him vulnerable. It’s a difficult balancing act but Reacher season 2 successfully makes us believe that this huge muscular monster-man actually has feelings and is willing to go to extreme lengths to protect those he cares about. Adding a layer of emotion to his violent actions and beatdowns, something Season 1 intentionally avoided.

But another amazing consequence of these relationships is the comedy. Most of the funnier moments come from the familiarity these characters all have with one another. And especially with Reacher himself. For example, when they mock his size, It’s pretty funny. Especially considering Hollywood is usually unaware of their star’s physicality sometimes. Like how Arnold Schwarzenegger had a huge career in family friend movies playing a regular Joe, without any explanation as to why he’s built like a brick house. So it’s refreshing to see Reacher season 2 weave star Alan Ritchson’s immense physique, into the character development for Reacher.

Looking Behind The Veil

Reacher season 2 love.

Image via Prime Video.

Reacher season 2 also evolves the character by humanizing him to audiences. Season 1 Reacher was a hulk of a man with very little soft side. But in the second season, seeing Reacher with people who are essentially his friends, is amazing, as they constantly cut him down. His extremely nomadic lifestyle is constantly mocked by his friends. His decisions and state of mind questioned. And the big guy even gets to start a romantic relationship based on past feelings.

But the greatest thing about Reacher season 2, is that despite changing a lot of the dynamic about the character, the writers still keep him true to what he is; an absolute ass-kicking machine! But in a lot of ways, fleshing out the characters makes that part of him even better. When Reacher is destroying guys left and right, there’s a weight behind it this time, because he’s doing it out of care and a fear of losing his loved ones. It’s a great enhancement that makes him grow, without taking away what makes him such an awesome character in the first place.

Reacher season 2 is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

What did you think of the changes they made to the character in Reacher season 2? Let me know in the comments below or follow me on X (Twitter) at @theshahshahid to talk more about Reacher.

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