Saturday, May 12, 2007

Season Finale Review: Jericho

Jericho [s1 ep22]: "Why We Fight"

*** Spoiler Warning ***

In Brief: What's Good

  • Glad to see that Jericho finally got to use their tank

  • Glad to see that Heather Lisinski is still alive, despite assumptions that she had been killed in New Bern

  • Liked that Darcy now knows all, well most, of Robert's secrets

  • Heather's time on an Army base is informative as to the structure of the new "United States"

In Brief: What's Not So Good

  • Did not like that ________ was killed (spoiler, see summary for character's name)

  • The flashbacks, althrough brief and well done, distracted from the action and intensity of the New Bern attacks

  • Overall, a good episode, but for a season finale, not quite as exciting as I had hoped; they've had better episodes recently than this one

8 Story
8 Performances
8 Drama/Intensity
6 Suspense/Cliffhanging
8 Nostalgia/Coolness
The episode starts with a flashback to Eric & April's wedding reception, six years before the bombs. Brief flashes back to this event are intercut throughout the episode, revealing that Eric was Jake's best man but only upon their mother's insisting because Jake was no hero back then and didn't get along with his brother.

Meanwhile, Constantino and his army from New Bern is on the way to invade Jericho. They've already taken at least one farm, and they have a huge line of trucks and several mortars. We also find out that Heather, who has been missing and presumed dead, is actually alive despite being in a car wreck 60 miles from Jericho. She's picked up by the military and nursed back to health on an Army base.

Best Quote of the Night
Hawkins reveals to Johnston that he has access to a keyhole military satellite that he can use to track New Bern's movements in the field. All he asks is that Johnston keeps it secret from *everyone*. Hawkins is surprised how easily Johnston accepts the offer without asking any intrusive questions. Best line of the episode...

Johnston: "I am about to go to war with New Bern, Kansas, the home of the nearest Costco. Today is already about as weird as I can handle. I'm not asking any more questions."

Jericho plans to make their stand against New Bern at Stanley Richmond's farm because it's on the outskirts or town, is near an entryway into town, and has the highest ground.

I like the scene with Stanley, Mimi, and Bonnie at the grave, talking to Stanley and Bonnie's parents, with Mimi introducing herself and Stanley joking how she shouldn't reveal that they're living together.

I also liked that Robert didn't bother trying to hide from Darcy that his laptop was being traced while he was linked into the satellite. He has enough to handle right now without trying to keep secrets from his wife any longer. She even helped him think out the bomb situation, that the people that are seeking the one remaining bomb don't necessarily need it to detonate it but to get rid of the evidence of who made all the other bombs..

The Tank and the Big Death
It was so good to see the tank (from a previous episode) come into play on Jericho's side. It helped, but it was also a little anti-climactic, considering they only loaded it with one mortar. The tank was used just long enough to scare away New Bern's first wave and to result in our big impending death--Johnston Green. He was walking beside of the tank when it came up over the hill and was shot by someone from New Bern. Johnston didn't die right away. He lay on Stanley's kitchen table long enough to get some final words with his sons and for them to have an emotional moment.

I had heard that the season finale was probably going to have a major death, but I was *really* disappointed to see that it was Johnston Green. I had never been a Gerald McRaney fan before, but he was so cool in the role of Johnston Green. Despite losing the recent election after being mayor for decades, Johnston had ten times more wisdom, courage, and fortitude than the new mayor Gray Anderson, and people still looked to Johnston for advice and leadership. It was also Johnston's idea to keep the tank (that they had previously confiscated from wanderers pretending to be Marines) in Stanley's barn in case they ever needed it. I had hoped that perhaps Emily, Gray Anderson, Mary Bailey, one of the deputies, or one of the teenagers would be the one to die. Not Johnston. I like this show, but I'd like it better if he were to be in 2nd season (if there is a 2nd season).

The United States Restored (allegedly)
In the next scene, Heather talks with a colonel on the Army base. She urges him to get military support to Jericho because she became aware of New Bern's plans before her escape from there.

A few weeks ago at Black Jack Fairgrounds, Heather heard that there were six people claiming the presidency and saw six stars on the map representing regional capitals.

  • Sacramento, California

  • Cheyenne, Wyoming

  • San Antonia or Austin, Texas

  • Montgomery, Alabama

  • Columbus, Ohio

  • Syracuse or Albany, New York

In their conversation, Colonel Hoffman reveals to Heather that the new federal government has been restored in Cheyenne, Wyoming. But, he also says there are a couple hold-outs, one in Texas and one in a "bloc in the East." With Sacramento in the west, they must have come to an agreement with Cheyenne. Obviously, the Texas hold-out is San Antonia or Austin, but the "bloc in the East" could be any one of the remaining three.

When Heather looks up at the flagpole later in the episode, she sees a new American flag with 13 vertical stripes and 21 stars. According to the Jericho Wiki, vertical stripes implies a civil government as opposed to horizontal stripes of a military government.

Wyoming, California, and each of their border states add up to to 11 states. If you include nearby Washington state and North Dakota, that equals 13. I get the feeling that the new "United States" is mostly to the west. It's tough to say whether Kansas would be claimed by the new U.S. or by Texas or caught somewhere in between.

The Toast and the Death Announcement
When Jake steps out of Stanley's house to tell everyone that his father is dead, he pauses for a *long* time. The very long pause is intercut with flashback scenes to Jake's best man toast at his brother's wedding reception. The toast starts off painfully awkward, where you're worried he's going to make a huge scene, but then he turns around and talks about how proud he is of his brother. When Jake, in the present, finally says something, it's much more simple and straight-forward...

Jake: "My father is dead. We'll get through."

While I don't like that Johnston was the one killed or that the flashbacks interrupted the intensity of the conflict, the flashbacks do give a nice contrast between the screwed up Jake of six years ago and the new leader Jake has become today.

Jake Takes Command
Jake is shown assuming leadership over the resistance against New Bern. He feels that Gray Anderson should be escorted to a safe location away from battle so the town won't lose another leader. Gray resists at first, but Jake says it's non-negotiable.

Gail shows up. I like how they handled this scene. They didn't waste time having her talk to Johnston or cry about his death. As the men file out to give her some privacy, the camera simply shows her from behind leaning over her husband as sad music plays.

Jake is sitting on the porch alone, trying to keep it together. But, when Emily walks over and hugs him, he breaks down. Hawkins comes on the radio to tell Jake that New Bern's reinforcements are coming. Hawkins then notices a train coming from New Bern. Darcy is concerned that the trace on his laptop is almost complete, and she shuts the lid, but not before the trackers decode the final digit of the satellite link number. When Hawkins gets off the radio, Jake kisses Emily.

Military & Government Intervention
As Colonel Hoffman communicates via video conference with government officials about the situation in Kansas, we see that the bald guy with the cane (that Hawkins suspects of being behind the bombings) is on the government committee. The bald guy says that there is a suspected "terrorist" in Jericho (no doubt referring to Hawkins) and that Hoffman's men should quell the conflict between Jericho and New Bern so that they can search Jericho for the "terrorist."

Stanley tells Jake he's going to propose to Mimi and that he doesn't want to die today. When Hawkins meets up with Jake and the others, he asks to borrow the tank. I was really afraid that he planned to use the tank to block the train tracks or ram the train. But, all he does is park it on a hill and watches the train. I don't understand what he's doing, but I'm just glad the tank will survive into the 2nd season.

In the last of the flashbacks, Johnston and Jake have a heart-to-heart talk outside of the reception hall. In a moment surely symbolizing death and passing on, Johnston walks down the street with Jake's grandfather to drink 30-year old malt by the lake. Jake says he'll catch up, but his grandfather jokes that Jake would surely rather stay behind with Emily.

Back in the present, Constantino contacts Jake by radio to apologize for the death of his father and to offer one last chance for surrender. But, Jake tells him to go to hell and that he'll be after him for causing his father's death.

Colonel Hoffman tells Heather that the Jericho conflict has been moved to top priority and that he's on his way. We then see a cloud of gas near Jericho's line and hear trucks pulling toward them. Jake, Eric, Stanley, and the others get ready to fire their weapons. Meanwhile, Hawkins, observing the train from a hill sees eight military helicopters flying overhead. Jake orders the men to wait, wait, and then fire--and the episode ends.

While this season finale was not as exciting as I had hoped or expected, the season overall has been excellent, very much worthy of a 2nd season. So, I hope that, when the networks have their "up-fronts" in the coming week, Jericho will be on CBS's line-up for the fall.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

I should have checked this show out more 'cuz it sounds pretty darned good. You might have heard that there is now a massive drive afoot to make CBS reconsider its decision to cancel. In the meantime I'm gonna try to download the whole season and take a gander.