Home Television Recaps ‘Reacher’ – ‘Welcome to Margrave’ – Review
‘Reacher’ – ‘Welcome to Margrave’  – Review

‘Reacher’ – ‘Welcome to Margrave’ – Review


When it comes to modern-day heroes they get come bigger, stronger, faster or braver than Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. The title character of more than 27 bestsellers, Jack Reacher is an utter force of a character and now he arrives on screen in Amazon Prime’s intense new thriller series Reacher. And this is a series that packs a serious punch.

Stepping off of a Greyhound bus and strolling into the picturesque town of Margrave, Georgia is 6’5, 220 pound former US Army military policeman turned wayward drifter Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson). With a penchant for finding trouble, he ends up walking straight into a jail cell. Arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, Reacher soon finds himself with another suspect on the lifer floor of a Georgia State Prison and it kicks off quickly. Sensing a growing conspiracy he’s ready to throw the first punch, but a dark secret grabs hold of him and it’s clear that the killing has only just begun.

Adapting the first of Lee Child’s best selling works, Killing Floor, this is the audience’s introduction to the ultimate lone wolf hero, Jack Reacher. And Amazon Prime has done a terrific job in adapting the text. Showrunner Nick Santora has a deep knowledge of the work of Child and as a showrunner, he sticks to Child’s by the book prose and keeps Reacher in line with the classic hardboiled style that has become a calling card of the Jack Reacher series. And it shows. From the moment we set our eyes on Reacher you can tell that this isn’t gonna be your regular police procedural show. Just as Child shook up the literary world with Reacher, so too will Amazon Prime’s series re-shape the presence of the procedural-thriller and Episode One ‘Welcome to Margrave’ is a hell of a debut for this character.

Filling our Jack Reacher’s imposing frame is actor Alan Ritchson. And his casting is perfect. As a physical specimen, Ritchson is a perfect fit for the height and size of Jack Reacher, but it’s his attention to detail with the character’s mannerisms, movements and intelligence that stands him in the role. Ritchson carries the supreme confidence of Jack Reacher and his man of few words nature. It’s only when he has something of value to say that he speaks up. And when he does you should listen. Reacher is one of the most forceful heroes ever invented and Ritchson has this down. He portrays the immense intimidation factor of Reacher, along with his defined moral code and this is a guy who doesn’t like bullies and is ready to deal with them at a moment notice.

From the second he steps into the frame there’s no doubt that Alan Ritchson is Jack Reacher and he plays the part perfectly. While we’re only at the beginning of the series and Reacher’s journey as a hero it’s clear that Ritchson knows what makes this character tick and he lays the groundwork for what is to come. Mysterious, and yet approachable as a character all at the same time, Ritchson gets the classic hero style that defines Reacher. There’s no fluff with this former military cop and Ritchson delivers Reacher’s trademark quick wit and direct approach as soon as we meet him. It’s only the start here with Reacher, but as a long time fan of this character, trust me when I say that Alan Ritchson has nailed the portrayal of Jack Reacher.

Along with introducing us to this imposing, drifter hero, Episode One, ‘Welcome to Margrave’ also introduces us to the other key characters that are central to Reacher’s first story, along with the picturesque town of Margrave, Georgia, which is hiding a deadly secret. Malcolm Goodwin stars as s Oscar Finley, Margrave Police’s Chief Detective, who as a city boy from Boston is very much out of his depth in the town of Margrave and he takes an instant dislike to the wayward drifter. Then there’s Willa Fitzgerald as Margrave Police Officer Roscoe Conklin, a small-town country girl with a can-do attitude who realises that there’s more to Reacher than first glance and who takes a liking to the big new stranger who’s rolled into town.

While it soon becomes very clear that Reacher did not commit any kind of murder at all in Margrave he’s still sent packing to Georgia State Prison, alongside jumpy accountant Paul Hubble (Marc Bendavid) who has confessed to the murder. It’s in this setting where the first stages of a conspiracy start to show themselves and instead of being housed in solitary, Reacher and Hubble find themselves on the lifer’s block. And Reacher goes to work. First introducing his dominance to the things around him, he’s soon signalled out by a group of Neo-Nazi’s and it’s on. The result is a bone snapping, eye-gouging brawl where Reacher cuts a path through the gang of criminals who’ve been set on them and the violence is revved up. Ritchson throws himself into the first major action piece of the series and proves that he can handle himself and that Reacher isn’t going to hold anything back from its audience when it comes to action.

Surviving his weekend in prison and cleared of all charges Reacher makes to leave Margrave as soon as possible. But there’s also the growing conspiracy in front of him and the threat that Hubble received, that if he betrayed his employers he’d be nailed to a wall and tortured in front of his family. It’s a serious admission, and a stunning revelation from Reacher’s past is brought to light and it leads to a shocking end moment that only puts more questions in the mind of the audience. As an adaptation of its source material and the first episode of a building television narrative, Reacher is a show that packs in the goods and audiences will be hooked right from the start. Casting, story and direction are all spot on in Reacher and this first chapter of this bold new series lays the groundwork for a serious thriller series that is to follow.

Episode One, ‘Welcome to Margrave’ is a hard-hitting piece of thriller television and Jack Reacher fans will be very pleased with this new adaptation. Alan Ritchson proves he has the toughness to handle the part and damn can he throw a punch. I think we’re at the start of one of the most exciting TV thrillers to arrive in the last couple of years. Brace yourself for action because there’s a new hero in town and damn does he hit hard!

Reacher is streaming on Amazon Prime NOW.

Image: Amazon Prime