What Does French War Medal Mean in Reacher?

Image Credit: Shane Mahood/Amazon Studios

Amazon Prime Video’s thriller series ‘Reacher’ offers the viewers a moving relationship between two brothers, Joe and Jack Reacher, along with its principal mystery narrative. Reacher’s boyhood, his attachment with his brother, and the values he embeds in himself are emotionally affecting. The only thing Reacher continues to carry from his past and family is a French war medal. Since the medal plays a pivotal part in the narrative and Reacher’s relationship with his brother, we have taken a detailed look at the nuances of it. If you are intrigued by the same, let us share our thoughts! SPOILERS AHEAD.

What Does French War Medal Mean?

The French war medal Reacher carries with him is his grandfather’s, who earned it during the Second World War for his bravery in the face of danger. Reacher’s mother was the custodian of her father’s medal till her last days. She considered the medal as a symbol of bravery and righteousness and gifted it to Reacher when she suffered from cancer. By giving it to Reacher, Josephine was acknowledging Reacher’s bravery to stand against the wrong and protect the right. She also revealed to her sons that she knew it was Reacher who fought with the bully in their boyhood rather than Joe.

Reacher keeps the medal with him as the foundation of his instinct to stand for the right and be brave to fight the wrong. The medal also symbolizes the last chain of attachment between him and Josephine. Even when Reacher left behind everything he values, even his brother, to become a drifter, Reacher holds onto the medal as a fundamental part of himself. It reminds him of his past and his mother’s instruction to be courageous in life, something that drives him and his instincts.

At the end of season 1, Reacher buries the medal where Joe died before leaving Margrave, acknowledging Joe’s bravery to solve the problems of the world. Joe risked his own life to expose the counterfeit ring of the Kliners and the Venezuelans. He walked in a thin thread to collect and protect evidence and unravel the mystery behind Kliners’ operations. Joe, in a way, paved the way for Reacher and others to annihilate the evil of counterfeit money that centers around the town of Margrave. By burying the medal at the death place of Joe, Reacher is paying his respects to the bravery of his late brother.

By burying the medal, Reacher is also recognizing Joe’s life and bidding adieu to him as a brother. Joe had always taken the blame for Reacher’s actions to protect his younger brother. Even when his family had to move to Germany due to Reacher’s actions, Joe took all the blame from his dad and protected Reacher from any trouble. Joe’s selflessness to fight the evils even by risking his own life is admirable for his brother. Reacher acknowledges such a life by burying the medal, commending his courage to be self-sacrificing and for being someone to look up to.

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