Movie Reviews

Reacher Has A Big Plot Hole Due To 1 Important Blunder In Research


  • Jack Reacher’s military pension in the franchise is a plot hole, as he never fulfilled the 20-year service requirement in real life.
  • Reacher’s earnings are mainly from his military pension and cash grabs from bad guys, with occasional payments through “spoils of war.”
  • Despite minor inconsistencies, Reacher’s engaging storyline in the Amazon series and original books keep readers and viewers hooked.

Most story elements in the Reacher franchise seem consistent and cohesive, but there is one major plot hole that seemingly stems from a lack of research surrounding the titular character’s background. As seen in Reacher season 2, there are moments in the Amazon series and even in the original Lee Child books where the titular character’s feats force a viewer to slightly stretch their suspension of disbelief. However, despite this, the overarching storylines in the Amazon show and the original books usually remain engaging and well-crafted, ensuring readers and viewers are not distracted by silly plot developments.

Unfortunately, despite Lee Child’s best efforts to create a narratively sound series, it seems like the author glossed over one detail from Jack Reacher’s military backstory. This little detail creates a major plot hole in the franchise, making one question everything from Jack Reacher’s lifestyle choices to his ability to stay afloat. There are still some narrative workarounds that can solve aspects of this plot hole, but it cannot be completely fixed due to a massive research oversight from the author.


Why Reacher Left The Military & How It Changes Lee Child’s Books

Reacher season 2 sheds light on why exactly Jack Reacher left the military to become a hobo and it’s significantly different from Lee Child’s books.

How Reacher Survives As A Wandering Hobo In The Series

Reacher Primarily Lives Off His Military Pension

Early on in Reacher, the titular character establishes he survives primarily on his military pension, which he picks up from different Western Union locations. Since Jack Reacher lives like a hobo, only carries a toothbrush, and barely spends a dime on unnecessary luxuries, one can believe he sustains himself on his military pension. Apart from the military pension, Jack Reacher also likely uses some cash appropriated from bad guys and even does part-time gigs during his journeys.

Much later in the book series, Jack Reacher also acquires a house after General Garber wills it to him and even receives sporadic payments through ”
spoils of war.

However, as seen in Reacher season 2’s ending, the character cares little about stacking up wealth for himself and lets his former team members from the 110th Special Investigation Unit keep the money they bust from an international criminal operation. Much later in the book series, Jack Reacher also acquires a house after General Garber wills it to him and even receives sporadic payments through “spoils of war.” Unfortunately, in all of these convincing details about Reacher’s earnings, the Lee Child books seem to miss one detail.

Reacher Would Never Get An Army Pension In Real Life

Reacher Does Not Fulfill Army’s Minimum Pension Requirements

Alan Ritchson looking serious as Jack Reacher with military flashback behind him from Reacher season 2

The fact that Jack Reacher earns a pension is a plot hole itself. As Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books suggest, Reacher was discharged from the military in 1997 after serving as a military policeman for 13 years. Given how the US military only offers a pension after 20 years of service (via GoArmy), Jack Reacher should technically not even receive it, since he falls seven years short of the threshold. However, since the Reacher franchise is fictional and portrays a heightened reality, one can suspend some disbelief and accept that the character somehow receives a pension despite not meeting real-life military requirements.

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