REVIEW: Reacher – Season 2, Episode 8, “Fly Boy”

The writers of Reacher must’ve known how melancholy seeing season 2 end would leave fans, so they made the finale, “Fly Boy,” immensely satisfying. All of the storylines wrap up in fun and gratifying ways, with Reacher dispensing the justice we want to see visited on the evildoers who came after his crew. The dialogue does fall short in some scenes, with the usually cool one-liners feeling a bit forced this time, but it’s small potatoes compared to the rest of the story.

Reacher gives himself up to Langston in order to save Dixon and O’Donnell, while Neagley awaits help from Senator Lavoy’s Special Forces team. Langston arranges to meet AM so he can pick up his money.

When last we left Reacher, he had surrendered to Langston and his forces, but even though he had guns pointed at him by trained killers, he was smiling. The opening scene of “Fly Boy” shows us exactly why. Handcuffed and being ordered around by Langston’s men, Reacher lashes out in violence, knocking his captors around like volleyballs without the use of his arms – though I think he uses his massive shoulders once or twice. And he doesn’t stop until Langston shows up with a gun trained on Dixon and O’Donnell. I can see some people not liking this, preferring to see Reacher defeated, if only temporarily. But I think it works because this is what Reacher represents: the wish-fulfillment of an unstoppable force for justice, and it’s fun seeing him throw these guys around. Reacher smiled when he was captured because he knew who he was and what he could do, and being taken captive only meant he’d be in close enough proximity to his enemies to deal them some pain.


Reacher Fly Boy

Of course, he was also smiling because he knew Neagley was still alive and preparing to team up with some Special Forces commandos sent in by Senator Lavoy, who is now working with Reacher. And Neagley spends the beginning of “Fly Boy” making her way around Langston’s compound, taking out sentries to clear the way for her rescue mission. Season 2 has found ways to make the rest of Reacher’s team look cool without diminishing the big guy, and Neagley’s infiltration of the enemy base is another example of this. While she’s getting ready to break her friends out, Reacher is being beaten by Langston, who wants to know where Neagley is now that he knows she’s alive. Juxtaposing the two is great; this time, Reacher takes the hits instead of delivering them so his teammate can handle the action. I mentioned that some of the dialogue is weak in this one, and Reacher has some clunkers here, but I love Langston’s descriptions of what he’s going to do once he gets paid for the missiles with the Little Wing tech; he’s evil, but for a second or two, it’s hard not to like him.

Once Neagley and Lavoy’s operatives storm in, it’s all-out action as Reacher breaks free and jumps into the fray with those who are supposed to be rescuing him. This isn’t as good as some of the show’s other shootouts, but they still manage to keep things fun, like when Reacher realizes his rifle is out of bullets, so he uses it as a blunt instrument on one of Langston’s men and takes the dead guy’s gun. The next long section of “Fly Boy” is a series of payoffs and much-needed catharsis as Reacher pays back all the villains. What makes it even better is that each bad guy gets the fate he deserves. Langston takes off in a helicopter with Dixon and O’Donnell, prepared to kill them, but Reacher manages to climb aboard and, after some fun beatdowns, dispatches Langston the same way Langston murdered Franz, Sanchez, and Orosco by throwing him out of the helicopter – exactly as Reacher said he would. Then, they find AM at the delivery site, and while AM argues that he is more moral than his clients because he is merely a facilitator, Reacher and his team unload their guns into him, figuratively arguing that it’s more moral to do the dirty work yourself than wash your hands of it while making sure others do if for you. And just when you think Reacher is going to let the missile scientist and Langston’s pilot get away, Neagley blows up their helicopter with their own Little Wing missile, doing to the scientist what he was going to help terrorists do to innocent people. Finally, when Senator Lavoy’s team turns on the 110th, Reacher reveals that he’d anticipated Lavoy’s betrayal and tipped off Homeland Security, who arrive to round up Lavoy and his men. Reacher, who typically works outside the system, this time used the system to his advantage to take down a man who thought he could control it. It’s all delicious, and it makes a season of mysteries and red herrings and twists and turns and fights and betrayals worth it.

Reacher Fly Boy

After the bad guys are dealt with, “Fly Boy” wraps up the character arcs, and it does it all through Reacher. Once again, Reacher is in possession of dirty money, and once again, he uses it for good by giving it away to the families and friends of everyone Langston killed, as well as the surviving members of the 110th. This is the other side of Reacher’s justice, going from punishing evil to protecting the innocent; I particularly liked him giving a bunch of money to an animal shelter in memory of Swan, who we find out was murdered this week. And it’s Reacher’s interactions with what’s left of his team that illustrate why he was in the best position to do this. All season, the show has been examining how different Reacher’s life is from those of his old friends, and while at first, it seemed like he had made a mistake, it slowly became clear that Reacher was living the life that was right for him. Now, as O’Donnell says, Reacher doesn’t have the worries the rest of them do, and that means he can deal out the money to those who need it without being tempted to keep anything for himself; Dixon has to make him promise to give himself a gift (aside from having Dixon one last time).

And the gift Reacher gives himself is perfect; he buys a limitless bus ticket good for one year. It’s the same gift he gave himself when he left the military: freedom. Reacher is a wanderer once again, traveling the country till he finds his next adventure in the eyes of a victim who needs his help. He isn’t going to settle down with a family like O’Donnell, take a steady job like Neagley, or adopt a social outreach crusade like Dixon. He’ll just move on, and wherever he ends up, he’ll move on from there, too. Jack Reacher goes where the winds take him, which will inevitably lead to another dark corner that needs to be brought kicking and screaming into the light. I’m looking forward to seeing that, but for now, I’m tremendously satisfied with season 2.

Reacher "Fly Boy"

Plot - 9
Acting - 8
Progression - 10
Production Design - 8
Action - 8



“Fly Boy” is an immensely satisfying finale that has Reacher dealing out justice to the bad guys, reaffirming his place in the world while helping others find theirs. Some of the dialogue is clunkier than usual, but it’s still a fun ending to a great season.

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