What is Crossbow in Jack Ryan Season 3, Explained

Prime Video’s spy thriller series, ‘Jack Ryan’, based on the book series of the same name by Tom Clancy, delivers an explosive third season by throwing its protagonist into the most difficult task of his career yet. Stationed in Rome, Jack comes across a secret plan that aims to start a war in Eastern Europe. The threat of nuclear weapons in Russian hands becomes a cause for trouble, but soon it turns out that things are much more complicated than they appear at first glance.

What starts as an investigation into the Sokol project turns into a race against time to stop another plan, named Crossbow. Jack realizes that if it is not stopped in time, then no matter if Sokol is stopped or not, the entire world’s fate will be at risk. If you are wondering what Crossbow is and why it is so important, then here’s what you should know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD

Intrigue in Jack Ryan: Unpacking Operation Crossbow

While uncovering the secrets of the Sokol project, Jack Ryan discovers that it is not being controlled by the Russian government. Rather, a group of people who want to bring back the days of the Soviet Union have embarked on this mission by themselves. They want to create conflict in the area because it will push countries, especially their own, to go to war and reclaim their lost glory. But that’s not where the plan stops.

This group is not happy with the current leadership. Under Petr Kovac, they come up with a plan to topple the government and take control and name it Crossbow. They know that the current President has a lot of loyalists, which is why they begin by removing these people from their posts. It is in keeping with this plan that they kill Defense Minister Dmitry Popov. They make it look like the assassination was carried out by the Americans to create more grounds for political strife.

In place of Popov, Alexei Petrov is assigned as the new Defense Minister. But unbeknownst to everyone, he is one of the key players in the Sokol project. Knowing that President Surikov will never agree to start a war, Petrov is slowly and steadily placed in a situation where he not only gets to make important decisions without being questioned on every step but is also given enough influence to carry out the coup. In the final episode, with the Fearless on its way to start the war, Petrov seizes the opportunity to turn the cabinet against Surikov and takes over control of the government.

This coup d’état attempt by Peter Kovac and Alexei Petrov resembles the events that happened in Russia in 1991. Back then, Mikhail Gorbachev was the President of Russia. He too had a lot of people in the government who didn’t agree with his stance on international relations and politics. His reform program was their biggest concern and they believed that the country was being torn away. These people, belonging to the Communist Party as well as the officials in military and civil offices, tried to execute a coup where Gorbachev was to be replaced by then-Vice President Gennady Yanayev.

Much like what happens in ‘Jack Ryan’, the real-life coup was a failure too. The entire plan collapsed in a matter of two days, with Gorbachev not only returning to power but also doing away with the people who had plotted against him. In ‘Jack Ryan’, too, Alexei is not able to sustain his position of power and Surikov comes back with a vengeance, especially when it is revealed that it was Alexei who had Popov killed.

Read More: Is Jack Ryan’s Sokol Project a Real Russian Nuclear Project?