*WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Jack Ryan Season 3*
Each season of Prime Video’s Jack Ryan has raised the stakes to new and increasingly dangerous levels, from plotting an Islamic terror plot in Season 1 to preventing a corrupt election in Venezuela in Season 2.
The third episode builds on this once again and introduces one of the greatest threats that exist in the spy thriller genre, Russia.
Specifically, Jack Ryan season 3 centers on a group of Russians who seek to completely change the world order through the mysterious Sokol Project.
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Episode 1 presents the Sokol project
From the opening scenes of Episode 1, the mysterious Sokol Project dominates much of the debate in Season 3 of Jack Ryan.
In an opening flashback to 1969, a truckload of Russian soldiers are ordered to kill a group of scientists working on the project while in present day Jack Ryan is investigating Sokol himself.
We catch up with Ryan in Rome as he meets a Russian minister named Zoya Ivanova who has crucial details about the plot.
She explains that Project Sokol has been reactivated and those involved have now developed a working weapon to make the plan work, which immediately begins to raise alarm bells for Jack and his CIA colleague, James Greer.
What is the Sokol project in Jack Ryan season 3?
Project Sokol is a plan put in place by several extremist Soviets that, if successful, would see them restore Russia to its former Cold War glory as the USSR.
Jack Ryan reveals that ‘Sokol’ is the Russian word for ‘hawk’ – hence the title of Episode 1 – and also refers to the names of the project and that of a weapon to be used during the scheme.
As the episodes progress, Jack learns that Project Sokol is based on the Soviet military exercise called “Seven Days to the River Rhine”, which was an actual plan developed during the Cold War that outlined the plan for attack for the countries of the Warsaw Pact (the USSR and its allies) in the event of war against NATO.
The plan at the heart of Project Sokol would see its participants use a small, unobtainable nuclear weapon to wreak havoc on Eastern Bloc countries so that Russia could reclaim territory that once belonged to the Soviet Union.
Who are the key players?
Throughout Jack Ryan Season 3, we come across a number of characters involved with Project Sokol in one form or another.
One of the first is Luka Goncharov, who was the second-in-command soldier during the opening flashback. He ordered the killing of the Sokol scientists and has been wary of its resurgence ever since. In the present, and played by James Cosmo, Luka becomes Jack’s ally to help foil Project Sokol.
Petr Lebedev is another of the flashback soldiers. He refused to carry out the order because he believed in the Sokol project. He was shot by Luka for disobeying the order, but survived and has since become a mysterious agent of power who still dreams of playing Sokol.
Alena Kovac is the daughter of Petr Lebedev, whom he helped install as President of the Czech Republic, hoping to find an ally for the Sokol project.
Rolan Antonov was a third soldier to appear in the flashback who later became a captain in the Russian Navy and is expected to play a key role in Project Sokol pushing the Americans to start a conflict.
And finally, the last major player in the Sokol project is Alexei Petrov, the Russian Minister of Defense whom Petr enlists to help stage a coup within the Russian government to install those behind the Sokol project as as new leaders of the country.
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Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 3 is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video after releasing on Wednesday, December 21, 2022.
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