It’s convenient for us that Shane Langston, Robert Patrick’s harrumphing, frowny-faced New Age Technologies security director and revealed afterhours helicopter body tosser, is so bent on keeping Reacher and his people off his trail, because it’s Langston’s henchperson rolodex stocking Reacher Season 2 with increasingly entertaining fight sequences. The team Langston sent to Atlantic City with orders to kill? Dixon and the big fella submerged their bodies in cement. The house in Queens, stocked with New Age security personnel and hired muscle? Reacher and his crew went full obliteration mode on that attempt, complete with an improvised explosive device. (Plus an improvised gas grill projectile.) And here in Reacher Season 2 Episode 4, in this season’s best donnybrook yet, a motorcycle gang Langston must keep on retainer for this sort of thing gets their asses handed to them by the special investigators. It’s like nine on four but that doesn’t matter. Reacher doesn’t even wait for the leader’s cocky schpiel. And he doesn’t reserve his trademark head butt move for just smashing faces, instead using his skull to demolish a dude’s humerus, ulna, and radius. Faces, fists, clubs, blades – whatever it takes. Karla Dixon even puts the spiky heel of her shoe through an MC guy’s eye.
That’s right, Reacher and the special investigators did all of this goon dispatchment in formal wear, the reasons for which we’ll get to in a second. What’s more important about the group’s impromptu trip to Boston is how it leads to a reunion with Malcolm Goodwin as Oscar Finlay. Reacher leaving Margrave, Georgia at the end of last season to resume his wandering existence suggested we wouldn’t see any more of the allies he’d made there. But in a really cool throwback, it’s Finlay Reacher contacts when the team needs a hand. It turns out Margrave’s chief of detectives didn’t retire, but instead returned to his hometown to become a lieutenant with Boston PD. And so, when the team needs to lean on the slimeball legislative director of a senator linked to New Age, they tap Finlay to make their ruse about ensnaring him in a drug bust look real. Finlay pulling the guy into custody, Reacher and O’Donnell in suits, playing at being FBI agents – it does the trick, and sets a strong precedent for Reacher to keep bringing back favorite former players. Roscoe Conklin, you still out there?
The ex-110’ers have made more sense of the numerical data Franz left behind. It’s a tally of attempts. 2,197 events completed, but only 1,547 successfully. With 650 as the difference. As in 650 at $150K. The documents pilfered from their vehicular B&E at New Age also connected a certain Senator Lavoy to a weapons project the aerospace firm codenamed “Little Wing.” O’Donnell, in his private sector work, often ensnares beltway operators in deals for dirt.
And his methods are perfect for convincing the senator’s legislative aide to talk. Dixon and Neagley, in gowns, target Daniel Boyd (Kyle Mac) at Boston’s Symphony Hall. A little bit of flirting, a little bit of planted cocaine, and Boyd’s in more than a little bit of trouble with Finlay and the police. Boyd sings to Reacher and O’Donnell about Little Wing, anti-missile software that New Age tweaked for use in shoulder-fired rocket systems. Only about that money, the aide and the senator assumed Little Wing would never fall into enemy hands. They were naive. And now it seems like Langston is selling this deadly New Age tech to the highest bidder.
Russo watch: the movements of Gaitano “Guy” the NYPD detective are becoming, as they say, totally sus. It’s easy to agree with Russo’s boss, Lieutenant Marsh (Al Spienza), who gives him an earful about the smash-and-grab at New Age Technologies, which occurred before the detective could execute his hastily requested search warrant. “And I bet it was those tin soldiers you were supposed to be keeping your black eye on,” Marsh shouts at Russo, who then orders his boss to keep his voice down – that seems bold – and then swears he’ll make the whole thing right. Reacher’s wise to keep Russo in contact, but at arm’s length. He doesn’t tell the detective about the team’s trip to Boston until they’re already going. And even if Reacher is just annoyed with Russo, not suspicious of his motives, we still are.
What about that other loose end, the man known only by his A.M. aliases? In Denver, the swarthy chameleon murders a cosmetic surgeon so he can steal his identity and fly to JFK for his previously scheduled meeting with Langston. Reacher and his people have discovered that New Age has a manufacturing facility in Denver, the kind of place one might combine top secret guidance software with the hardware of shoulder-fired rockets. Their plan? Send Dixon and Neagley west on the trail of that hardware, while Reacher and O’Donnell head to Homeland Security in Washington, DC. Reacher’s late brother worked at Homeland, and he’s hopeful Joe’s old contacts can help the 110’ers uncover more intel on A.M.’s true identity.
It’s this plan to split the team that’s in the works when Langston’s motorcycle gang friends corner Reacher and the crew behind a late-night restaurant. After the beatdown, as the special investigators are shaking off the pitched battle surrounded by the unconscious, broken bodies of their adversaries (Dixon, angry: “I fucked up my shoes”), Reacher calls Langston from the MC boss’s phone. “Before you ask if it’s done, it is. Just not in the way you hoped for.” Langston, always so smarmy, says Reacher’s causing his “complex operation” a lot of problems. And while it’s not like the New Age exec would actually follow through with a deal, he does ask what Reacher would want in exchange for ceasing with the henchperson bloodbath. But we already know what Reacher wants. And it’s real simple. “I wanna throw you out of a helicopter.”
Johnny Loftus (@glennganges) is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift.