‘Jack Ryan’ Season 3 Ending Explained: Who Was Behind The Sokol Project?

In the recently released season third of “Jack Ryan,” the titular agent winds up in the center of a Russian conspiracy called the Sokol Project. 

This operation aims to make the Soviet Union a terrifying nation and restore it to its former glory. Ryan doesn’t want that to happen, but he has no evidence to support his theory, so it’s hard for him to convince everyone that this is a real threat. He wades into murky waters, figuratively and literally, with James Greer and Elizabeth Wright’s approval. 

He rescues a Russian insider named Yuri rather than nuclear material that points to this sinister plot. When the police kill Ryan’s extraction team and the insider and send him on the run, things continue to go wrong. Additionally, the assassination of Russian Defense Minister Dmitry Popov in front of Czech President Alena Kovac sends global politics spiraling downward. 

Before we conclude, let’s briefly discuss the two most significant aspects: the Sokol Project’s roots and the ending.

Who is behind the Sokol Project?

In 1969, a young Luka was given the order by his superiors to shut down the Sokol Project, which meant that all of the scientists and engineers working on the Russian mission would be killed. 

One of the many soldiers ordered to do this was Sgt. Lebedev hesitated to take this action. Since no one wants to kill so many people at once, it appears to be a moral and ethical issue. 

However, as time went on, it became abundantly clear that the primary factor behind his reluctance was his belief that the Sokol Project was the one thing that would restore Russia to its former glory. 

Luka and Lebedev disagreed after the task was finished because the latter thought they had killed the most valuable heroes of the country, and the former thought they were traitors.

We see Alexei Petrov suggesting President Surikov act on NATO’s decision to move missiles into the Czech Republic in contemporary Russia. However, Luka advises against it because he believes Kovac has leaked the information to observe how Russia responds. 

We learn about Kovac’s father, Petr, an advisor to Kovac and a former Red Army soldier, before the dreadful meeting with Popov. Alexei insinuates that the Americans are responsible for Popov’s death when he dies, and Surikov doesn’t think that’s enough to take action against the United States. 

As a result, Alexei blames the nation’s non-stability on the rise in oil prices and the failed attempt to capture Yuri. Although Luka disagrees with Alexei’s assumption that the United States of America is to blame for Yuri’s and Dmitry’s deaths, this theory is partially supported by Luka. He even indicates that someone else is behind it. 

Radek Breza, Kovac’s bodyguard, kills one of the two assassins who carried out Popov’s assassination and then framed an unsuspecting man for it, who Breza then kills before he can prove his innocence to the police. This gives us a pretty clear indication that it is an inside job. 

Breza even calls Alexei to let him know that the proverbial loop has been closed in case the shooting didn’t make it clear. The young Luka running door to door to give over the last belongings of the deceased engineers to their families is juxtaposed with Alexei being sworn in as Russia’s Defense Minister. 

It’s to show that while Luka shut down the Sokol project previously, he needs to observe its resurgence in the present. The only difference is that now he doesn’t have the power to stop it by killing many guys and pretending it’s not happening with the most absurd excuses.

To appear aggressive, Alexei informs Kovac that he is deploying troops into Ukraine and will soon extend them to the Czech Republic. This persuades Kovac to think it’s an inside task to place Alexei in power and green-light this multitude of choices. 

Also, Alexei admits to Luka that he killed Popov. He then tells Luka to look for Jack Ryan because he’s getting too close to finding the plan for the Sokol Project. In addition, we observe that Jana, Breza’s wife, was also involved in Dmitry’s murder, and they are having lunch with Kovac because Kovac is unaware. 

She doesn’t even know that her father, Petr, is a member of the Sokol Cabal, works with Alexei, and uses her to ensure the Project succeeds. Greer discovers this when he comes across a picture of Petr and Breza, and he even observes that Petr has a slightly more Russian than Czech accent.

We learn a little about Petr’s background, including how he became a Czech citizen and was shot in the chest for not following his orders to stop Project Sokol. Then, when we get to the present, we find out that the Sokol Project has a subplot called Crossbow. 

In the midst of all of this, there is a little absurd detour in which Breza believes Petr is working with Greer to “tie up loose ends” and kidnaps Kovac as leverage. Petr rescues Kovac and kills Breza at the very end. Kovac sends Petr an APB notice in retaliation and summons Breza’s wife and daughter, the latter of whom spews typical nonsense about patriotism and the Project’s inability to be stopped. 

However, she is partially correct because Luka learns that the real plan is to start a full-scale war between the United States and Russia by infiltrating Antonov’s home with Ryan.

‘Jack Ryan’ Season 3: Ending Explained 

Ryan breaks into Estonia after learning of Russia’s plans to cover up a political coup by making it appear that the United States wants to start a war with them. Savage and his team pick him up to prevent the American warship from responding to any act of aggression. 

On the other hand, Luka climbs aboard the Russian warship “The Fearless” to prevent them from following Alexei’s instructions and launching a missile at an American warship. Alexei looks carefully at his war room, almost happy that his plan worked. November, Greer, and Kovac take the bodyguard of Minister Popov through the tunnels that will take them to the Kremlin. 

This gives Kovac a chance to talk to President Surikov and Greer to talk to Alexei. Surikov discovers that Alexei instructed Captain Antonov to launch The Fearless into the sea, whereas Surikov had instructed him to only prepare it. Surikov tells Alexei to bring The Fearless back to the docks when he says he wants to break the impasse with America.

Luka faces Antonov for putting Russia, and technically the entire world, in danger with a fictitious plan to restore the Soviet Union to its former glory. The conversation ends with the two men stating that they will eventually be held accountable for the crimes they have committed in the past. 

Alexei addresses his ministers in the war room in a passionate speech that focuses primarily on the motivations behind the Sokol Project. After that, he initiates voting to remove Surikov so that he can carry out his plan without being hampered. 

Greer, Kovac, and Mike make it to their respective locations inside the Kremlin while Ryan swims aboard the USS Roosevelt. As being on the offensive is exactly what Alexei and Antonov want, Ryan alerts Captain Andrew Bennett to the coup that is taking place in Russia and requests that he only remain on the defensive if the situation deteriorates. 

Ryan also informs him that Luka is in The Fearless and that he must survive the altercation unscathed to expose the Russian conspiracy.

Greer informs Alexei that his coup will fail, Surikov will survive, and Alexei will be sentenced to prison for being a traitor. Greer suggests Alexei a way out of this mess, but he demands that he leave with him right away. Kovac tells Surikov that Petr and Alexei killed Popov and that she has a recording to prove it. 

She also sits down with him. Surikov must withdraw his troops near the Czech border and refrain from escalating the conflict with the United States in exchange. Mike enters to explain that Alexei intends to exacerbate Russia’s relationship with these two nations to portray Surikov as weak and remove him. 

After that, Surikov watches Luka’s recording, in which Alexei confesses to killing Popov. He promises to use the quote from Thomas Jefferson to carry out what Kovac and Mike expect of him. Ryan attempts to purchase Greer, Mike, and Kovac some additional time. In the war room, Surikov plays Alexei’s recording. Realizing what has transpired, Alexei tries to flee, but he is killed.

As many of the people in Surikov’s cabinet were willing to support Alexei’s plans for a coup, he moved on to getting rid of the traitors. It stands to reason that none of this information reaches the Fearless or the USS Roosevelt. As a result, they continue to prepare to attack one another. 

Antonov launches a missile at the USS Roosevelt despite Luka’s intervention. Bennett keeps his ship safe and gets ready to fire back. Because Antonov wants exactly that, Ryan continues to tell him not to. Elizabeth Wright describes President Charles Bachler as the same thing in the White House because she knows they are entering the trap set by Alexei and Antonov. 

A rebellion by Luka is carried out successfully. Ryan gives a tired speech, saying he will sacrifice everyone on the ship for the country. As Luka takes command of the Fearless and informs Bennett that Antonov has been arrested, things settle down. The President permits Bennett to evaluate the circumstance and take the necessary actions. 

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when Bennett decides to de-escalate the situation. Everyone shakes hands and heads home. I mean everyone.

Mike offers his private protection to Kovac. Wright is appointed CIA Director by Bachler, and Luka is taken from his home a week later, most likely to be executed. He informs Ryan in a letter that they have finished their work, and the world is moving forward. He claims that the conflict they are currently engaged in was handed down to them by their predecessors and will continue for as long as humanity exists. 

However, he trusts that they can attempt to be preferable over the establishments they serve since that is the one thing that makes the biggest difference. In addition, he anticipates that, despite a mostly dishonourable life, he will die honourably because he will have done enough.

Additionally, he hopes that Ryan will experience the same emotions when his time comes. From an ideological and stoic perspective, this sounds great. However, it all sounds hollow when juxtaposed with images of Ryan and Greer receiving Wright’s medals of honour, the wall honouring CIA personnel who have sacrificed their lives, and the CIA’s logo. Because it glorifies a corrupt institution that regularly conducts domestic wiretapping, participates in extrajudicial justice, violates several human rights, and manipulates public opinion through various illegal means.

About halfway through the third season of “Jack Ryan,” the showrunners drop all pretense of attempting to set up Luka’s monologue mentioned above. It begins to depict the villains as caricatures who are so close to growing a mustache to twirl it and the antagonists as people who are stupid enough to be replaced by someone with only half a brain in their head. 

With their confidence and aura, Jack Ryan and James Greer transform into the stereotypical American hero who can do no wrong and is invincible. 

The frame conceals nothing about their flaws, humanity, or relatability. The commentary on the unappreciative nature of the job, which was intended to demonstrate how far the protagonists must stretch their moral standards to complete their tasks or have real emotional stakes in the story, has completely vanished from the atmosphere. And all that remains is blatant praise for the CIA and an oversimplified analysis of global politics.

We hope that, now that “Jack Ryan” has been renewed for a fourth season, they will give their characters real weight and real stakes and not just talk about the subject matter in the most clichéd way possible. Jack Ryan is at his weakest here; therefore, ascending is the only path forward.

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