With the ratings looking worse and worse by the week, it’s fairly clear that we’re seeing the end of Jericho, at least on CBS. It could come over to The SciFi Channel even though it’s not really a good fit for that channel’s programming, but only a miracle will keep it on the CBS schedule in the fall, which is sad.
That’s why Jericho fans need to enjoy the show while they can, and there was plenty in this week’s episode to enjoy, including a major piece of information about the attacks that put the show into motion.
But we’ll get to that in due time.
Continuing the story line that began two weeks ago with the murder of Bonnie Richmond and last week’s murder of Ravenwood commander Goetz by her brother Stanley, we now find the townspeople feeling the press of a military jackboot on their necks.
Major Beck is back in town, and he’s pissed. Jake and The Rangers are in hiding. And Stanley is trying to deal with the fact that he committed a cold-blooded, if justifiable, murder.
In an effort to save the town and the Rangers, Jake turns himself in to Beck, who proceeds to handcuff him, place a hood over his head, and place him in a cell reminiscent of something out of Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. Although we don’t see it on camera, it becomes clear halfway through the episode that Beck has employed some harsh interrogation techniques.
Meanwhile, Hawkins gets a call from Chavez, who we last saw heading off to Texas to convince them not to back the Cheyenne government. He’s made contact with the Texas government, and they’re willing to talk but they want to see the bomb. Hawkins agrees to transport it to Texas and somehow gets his hands on a Jennings & Rall truck and uniform to make it through the checkpoints. Minutes before he’s set to leave, though he gets a phone call from good old John Smith.
Taking the bomb to Texas is unsafe, Smith claims, and asks Hawkins to wait for him to find a safe location. Hawkins heads off to San Antonio anyway, though.
Meanwhile, Jake is still in captivity and the Rangers launch a hair brained scheme to get him back. Disguised in ASA Army uniforms, they capture a military convoy and send Beck a note demanding that Jake be released. Predictably, Beck overreacts to the threat and declares the entire town to be in open insurrection. The Army arrives and the town is effectively blocked off from the outside world.
Jake has a dream about his grandfather, just as he did before last seasons war with New Bern, and realizes that the only way to fight the Cheyenne government is to fight them, effectively creating a Second American Revolution.
Somehow, Momma Green gets in to see Jake and is able to report back to the Rangers about where he might be. This was probably the weakest part of the episode. Why would Beck let her in to see a prisoner ? Why wasn’t she kept under surveillance after she left military custody ?
I’m guessing this entire plot line was a victim of the shortened writing schedule and the need to get through the plot in only seven episodes, but while it was nice to see Momma Green one last time, they could have made it more plausible than that.
But back to the awesomeness that is Robert Hawkins.
He’s on the road to Texas when Smith calls again. He knows that Hawkins has left and pretty much orders him to return to Jericho. When Hawkins says no, things get interesting.
Smith calls Major Beck and tells him the Hawkins is the “terrorist” he’s been looking for and he’s the one who has the nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have hatched a plot to get Jake out of custody and, suprisingly considering that Eric Green is the one leading it, it actually works. Jake is free.
Robert Hawkins, on the other hand, is being chased down by the Army and, although I’ve got to question the wisdom of shooting at a vehicle that you know has a nuclear weapon on board, they manage to stop him and capture the weapon, if not Hawkins himself.
Later, Hawkins gets another call from Smith, and that’s when the truth comes out. Smith isn’t just a Jennings & Rall employee with an axe to grind, he’s the mastermind behind the attack that destroyed 23 cities and the Federal Government. He did it, he says, because the only way to stop J&R from taking over the government was to destroy both of them. And, now, he intends to finish the job; he wants to use the last remaining weapon to destroy Cheyenne, Wyoming itself.
As the episode ends, Hawkins manages to make it back to his cabin even though he’s the most wanted man in the Allied States at the moment. Jake is there recovering, miraculously quickly, from his injuries and the two of them agree to head to Cheyenne to try to stop the bomb from going off.
The last image we see is a military convoy, with the bomb in tow, headed down a highway leading to Cheyenne.
All in all, I thought this was a good episode. Not as good as the last two, but still pretty good. The biggest weaknesses, as I noted above, were the improbability of the plot surrounding the convoy capture and the appearance of Momma Green. To some extent good writing has suffered in the wake of CBS’s restrictive budget for the show.
Given last night’s ratings, combined with what we’ve seen all season, it seems unlikely that we will not see a Season Three, at least not on CBS, so hopefully next week’s finale will do justice to a show that never really got the respect it deserved.