The following contains spoilers from Episode 6 of Reacher Season 2, now streaming on Prime Video.
The antepenultimate episode of Reacher‘s sophomore run delivered the season’s first big death since Franz himself got shoved out of that helicopter above the Catskills.
Playing an unexpected role in this week’s so-sad sendoff was one Frances Neagley, played by Reacher vet Maria Sten.
The Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child establish Neagley as having haptephobia (a fear of being touched), while the Prime Video series has hinted at same (including in this week’s C-store scene). So when Russo — the NYPD detective who was at first believed to mean Reacher & Co. harm but wound up an ally of the 110th vets — died in a hail of bullets in the name of protecting New Age exec Marlo’s young, hunted daughter, it was highly meaningful that Neagley, when a dying Russo offered his hand, took it. And held it.
“It’s a moment where she knows this person is going to leave this Earth,” Sten, revisiting the scene, told TVLine, “and he needs that in this moment, he needs connection.”
The Reacher TV series has shed little light on Neagley’s personal backstory/demons, and the Lee Child novels have only done a bit better in that regard. So to consider her character’s mindset in that moment, Sten said that “I, for myself, did some backstory about Neagley and what she stands for, and why she is the way she is.
“I think of her as being sort of lost as a child, growing up very quickly. And she sees Russo as this person who also wants to do anything to keep this kid [Marlo’s daughter] safe,” Sten offered. “When she sees this man give up his life to save this child, there’s a moment where she feels the need to give whatever he needs, in this moment of closeness.
“Also, I think Neagley doesn’t every truly feel safe, which is why she doesn’t let people close,” Sten ventured. “So, in this moment she feels safe because she sees Russo in a real, vulnerable way.”
Sten then said with a laugh, “I don’t know if they captured any of that,” seeing as she and scene partner Domenick Lombardozzi were performing in less-than-ideal environs.
“It was 7-below, and Domenick was laying on the asphalt at four in the morning…,” the actress recalled. “But that’s what I was going for!
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