At the end of the first Reacher episode, the titular mountain of a man said that he would find everyone responsible for his brother Joe’s murder “and kill every last one of them.”
So… did he?
Heading into the Prime Video adaptation’s eighth and final episode, titled “Pie,” KJ, Mayor Teale and dirty FBI Agent Picard had gotten the drop on Reacher and Finlay. (As Picard would explain, he did warn Finlay not to take the Margrave job, and he assumed the investigation would fall apart before the cop and drifter got too close to the truth.) When Reacher recaps what all went south for the bad guys — the closed-down shipping lanes made their Venezuelan clients get antsy — KJ corrects him on one point. It was KJ who killed Kliner Sr. (as well as truck driver Joplin, and Joe’s Secret Service contact, and Joe himself). And yes, Reacher, Finlay and Roscoe all will die also, at which point the mayor will spin the sordid business as a case of the crooked Reacher brothers’ something-running scheme gone wrong.
But first, Reacher is tasked with locating Hubble, so KJ can tie up that one last loose end. Once Reacher does so and Picard relays the good word (by a 6 am deadline), Charlie Hubble and her daughters (who are currently being held at Kliner Industries’ money-washing facility) will be set free.
With Picard as his gun-waving babysitter, Reacher insists they pull over so he can spend some time with a map and think. Doing so at the diner (and using a non-lethal crayon), Reacher draws a series of perimeters — around Margrave, around Atlanta, and around Augusta. He explains that Hubble at first wouldn’t want to be too far, and chose Atlanta, but then he got antsy about too many people around to spot him. Then after considering Athens (where he and Charlie attended UGA), he settled on Augusta — close but not too close, plus, you know, golf! When a waitress brings Reacher his coffee and pie, he “accidentally” knocks over the former, using the commotion to pocket a fork, which he then casually spikes into the car’s rear tire, causing an eventual flat. Pulling over to put on a spare, Reacher goes for one of the many guns in his trunk, but ends up in a “draw” with Picard. He then walks them through a mutual disarming/truce, only to trick Picard and put a bullet into him.
Reacher finds Hubble at a 1) cheap motel that was 2) walking distance from the bus station, 3) wouldn’t question his lack of ID, and 4) where he signed in as one of the Beatles, and they had back to Margrave. Along the way, Reacher explains that Paul’s “treasury contact” was in fact his brother Joe. Paul in turn recaps how once the Venezuelans started getting anxious (and after Joplin was executed in front of him for skimming), he phoned the federal tip line and was put in touch with Joe. Once back in Margrave, they stop by Hubble’s home so Reacher can grab (dead) Dawson’s truck, which he later uses to barrel into the cop shop (after texting Finlay to “DUCK AND COVER”). Neagley then saunters in to meet the gang and join in the fight.
After staking out the Kliner Industries loading dock area, Neagley quietly takes out two guards with long-range kill shots, and Reacher sneaks up on/guts a third. Reacher dumps a water cooler jug of gas at the foot of one loading bay door, tasks Paul with being singularly focused on finding his daughters and whisking them to safety, and then lets the “de-tweeded” Finlay have the honor of visiting “Flavor Country one last time” by firing up a cig and using it to start a small inferno. In the ensuing commotion, Reacher, Finlay and Neagley creep in one door, while Paul uses a higher one. Paul quickly sees and calls out for his wife, who points him to where their kids are being held; he then makes a beeline for the office area and frees the girls, offing one goon along the way.
Neagley finds high ground on a catwalk and goes about picking off goon after goon, while Reacher and Finlay mow down several others. Reacher also frees Roscoe and Charlie, the latter of whom joins her husband and kids outside. Eventually, the skirmish boils down to Roscoe vs. Mayor Teale (the man who killed her father figure)… Finlay vs. Picard (the Fed who betrayed him and survived Reacher’s gunshot)… and Reacher vs. KJ. Finlay scores the first W, jabbing his finger into Picard’s gunshot wound and then crushing the G-man inside a hydraulic press. Roscoe is next, grappling with Teale until she cuffs him to a rail and, only because he made her, blowing his brains out with the Desert Eagle. She, Finlay and Neagley then race out of the increasingly smoky area, only to realize Reacher is still inside.
Reacher (and we) suffer through KJ spinning some sort of symbolic yarn about a time he walked up to and killed a rhino while on safari, until Reacher distracts his foe and then tackles him. Reacher dunks KJ into a vat of the money-washing chemicals, before kicking him toward some flames, which instantly consume the smarmy lad. Moments later, we and the others from outside see the place explode, but Reacher sure enough casually emerges from the smoky haze to receive a big ol’ kiss from a relieved Roscoe and declare, “It’s over.”
The morning after, Neagley texts Reacher (at Roscoe’s bedside) that she is back in Chicago, after which he crushes that burner phone in his hand. Regarding the French war medal he carries around, Reacher flashes back to when he (in military dress) and Joe visited their dying mother, first reminding each other that “no matter what, we don’t cry.” Seeing her visiting sons, Josephine reminds Joe that he needn’t “solve all the world’s problems,” that “some” is enough, whereas Reacher should use his great strength to “do the right thing.” (She then reveals that she knew all along that it was Reacher who beat up the Okinawa bully, and that Joe was “saving him” by taking the rap. Knowing that their sons were defending a “special boy from torment,” she and their father never once dared to steer them away from such pure natures, she explains.) Then, privately with Reacher, she gives him his grandfather’s French war medal, which was awarded for “bravery in the face of danger.” Because, she tells Reacher, “It takes bravery to do what’s right.” Afterward, back in a taxi, Joe tells his brother, “Now you can cry.” And he does.
In the epilogue, Roscoe warns Reacher that the feds are going to want to ask him some questions, and she knows he much he hates questions — as much as he hates sticking around. “It’s just who I am,” he explains, likening himself to the age-old sort that would wander while others stayed near the fire. “But if anyone could make me stay close to the flame, it’d be you,” he tells her. Roscoe hands over a Clark Bar wrapper with her digits on it, insisting on a call if Reacher is ever back in these parts. As for what’s next for Roscoe? Reacher suggests she run for mayor, and after processing it for a beat, she says, “Wow, that’s not a half-bad idea.” Later at the diner, Reacher (after bumping into Killing Floor author Lee Child!) finds Finlay, who says he already told the feds he has no idea where Reacher is. Finlay thanks Reacher for helping him see what was afoot in his own town, and then reports that he will soon return to Boston — and hopefully to living a life after “spinning” for too long. Reacher learns that Finlay named the dog they rescued “Jack” (seeing as Reacher wasn’t using the name!), and then finally gets to sample the best peach pie anywhere, and it is…? “I’ve had better,” he winks at Finlay.
Lastly, after burying their grandfather’s medal at the spot where Joe was murdered, Reacher gets to hitchhiking on the highway, as “Travellin’ Man” plays….
What is your verdict on Prime Video’s Reacher? Did you find it as incredibly bingeable as I did? And who is clamoring for a Season 2?