After setting up the season’s central crisis through the first three episodes, Amazon Prime’s Reacher gradually establishes causality through a connection between the actions and objectives of the antagonists, letting viewers connect enough dots to figure out the big picture in the process. The previous episodes concerned Reacher learning about the systematic, brutal killings of his friends, members of the 110th unit of special investigators, and running his own investigation by taking the surviving members—Neagley, O’Donnell, and Dixon—along with him. NYPD Detective Russo, who is acting as the chief investigator of the case, briefly locks horns with Reacher but eventually agrees to help through a mutual information exchange. Eventually, the team learns about the involvement of the aerospace company New Age Technology in the murder mystery, and unbeknownst to them, the company’s chief of security, Shane Langston, is revealed to be responsible for the deaths of their comrades.
A terrorist weapon dealer known only by his initials, A.M., leaves a bloody mess to cover up his tracks as he arrives in the States and tries to blend in with the crowd; additionally, he is revealed to be in cahoots with Langston. By the end of the third episode, Reacher’s team orchestrates a daring smash-and-grab in New Age HQ to gain information and learn that one of their fellow unit members, Swan, was one of the employees of the company. Through Swan’s connection, the fourth episode titled “A Night at the Symphony” allows Reacher and co. to explore a larger conspiracy that resulted in the deaths of their friends, something that has the potential to threaten global security itself.
What Is Project Littlewing?
As the episode begins, the team is seen to be rummaging through the intel acquired—or more precisely, looted—from New Age Tech the previous night. O’Donnell addresses the elephant in the room—the possibility of Swan going rogue and being the one responsible for the deaths of their friends—but Reacher shuts his speculation down at once. He doesn’t want to entertain the idea that Swan is capable of betraying his unit, despite the rest of the team considering that as a viable option. Neagley later correctly remarks that it probably stems from Reacher’s fear of lapse in judgment—that he doesn’t want to face a reality where he might have to acknowledge that he was wrong to select Swan for the 110th unit and put the guilt of the deaths on his shoulders. Through a flashback sequence, it is shown that during a drug bust case in the army, Swan came under mild suspicion, as his actions were a bit sketchy. In light of the recent events, Reacher and his team can’t help but imagine whether the past incident should have been taken as a warning regarding Swan’s negative tendencies.
From the employee directory, Reacher rightly assumes Langston to be the one responsible for putting hits on the team, and as Neagley finds a cryptic conversation between Swan and the New Age employee Marlo Burns (who directed the team to the ambush), Reacher once again correctly deduces the topic to be about a certain project, Littlewing. Apparently, this project was one of the most high-profile undertakings the company received from a federal defense project, which also had strong political backing thanks to a corrupt Senator, Malcolm Levoy. Although there is hardly any chance for the team to be able to interrogate a senator, O’Donnell knows that the senator’s legislative director, Daniel Boyd, has a history of misconduct, and using that to their advantage, they can make him squeal. After all, despite the fact that the legislative details of political hotshots make judgment calls on their behalf, they remain fairly ‘reachable’.
The Surprise Return Of Oscar Finley
Thanks to O’Donnell’s connection, the team learns that Boyd is going to be present at a fundraiser in Boston, which will be their chance to nab him and extract the required information regarding project Littlewing. Meanwhile, the heroics of Reacher’s team at New Age HQ result in Detective Russo getting rattled by NYPD chief Lieutenant Marsh. After rejecting Russo’s calls a few times, Reacher finally responds—only to dismiss him by burdening him with the duty to do a background check on New Age Tech higher-ups. Reacher’s casual treatment regarding Russo’s involvement might result in troubling repercussions soon enough, as he is trying to pull too many favors while neglecting Russo’s warnings. Meanwhile, in Denver, A.M. arrives at the chamber of a cosmetic surgeon with whom he shares a striking facial resemblance, and assumes his identity by killing him.
Dressed in tux and dress, Reacher and his team arrive at the fundraiser in Boston and eventually honeytrap Boyd, catching him in the act of substance abuse. However, to pinch him further, the team needs a real cop, and as it turns out, Reacher has called in a favor from his friend from Margrave, Oscar Finley. Series fans will surely remember that in the first season of the series, Reacher assisted Detective Finley in investigating a murder mystery involving the Kliner family. In a mock interrogation session, Finley, Reacher, and O’Donnell manage to pressurize Boyd into revealing the true nature of Project Littlewing, which was a high-end anti-missile software that was designed to secure commercial airlines. New Age Tech tweaked it to lace it with missiles and turn them into anti-surveillance, thereby making a weaponry system that is unstoppable by radio jamming systems of any sort. Needless to say, in a world where surveillance is solely dependent on transmission, such weaponry in the wrong hands can cause a cataclysmic situation—to such an extent that, according to Neagley, 9/11 might feel less traumatic.
After helping Reacher out, Finley takes his leave after exchanging greetings and updating Reacher about Jackie (the teacher’s adopted dog). Finley’s surprise appearance will surely please series fans, but at the same time, it will make them feel dejected considering the character isn’t a series regular.
What Did Reacher Learn About Langston’s Motivation?
As Reacher and his team regroup, they learn that the hardware to be used with the Littlewing is being stocked in New Age’s warehouse in Denver. Reacher decides to make a visit and call in DOD to check up on New Age’s dealings. Taking a cue from the discussion, O’Donnell asks Reacher his brother Joe’s whereabouts, and in staying true to his eccentric sense of timing, Reacher blatantly informs him about Joe’s demise (first season). To clear the resultant air of awkwardness, Reacher proposes dining out. As the team reaches a steakhouse nearby, a gang of bikers rounds them up and seizes their firearms. However, the goons are punching above their weight while messing with the 110th, as Reacher and co. make short work of them.
Using their cell, Reacher calls Langston, who once again, like a relentless pursuer, had ordered a hit on the team. Langston tries to dissuade Reacher and strike a bargain with him, and as the episode comes to an end, a scarily composed Reacher promises to subject Langston to the same fate his fallen comrades shared.
A.M.’s involvement makes it clear that New Age was plotting treason of the highest level—possibly bidding the Littlewing to terrorists. Swan somehow learned and probably relayed the information to Orozco, Sanchez, and Franz—a fatal error that got them brutally killed by Langston and A.M. Langston might have assumed that the entire 110th was aware of their nefarious scheme and, in panic, started dispatching them one by one. With half the season done, it is safe to assume that Reacher’s trademark small town affairs have been substituted with the genre cliché of national crisis-level situations. Despite the risk of falling into trope-y narrative, it might work well with the ensemble of characters working along with the lead this time around.