Jake Green -
Eric Green -
Rob Hawkins -
Johnston Green -
Gail Green -
Emily Sullivan -
OTHER JERICHO SEASONS
OTHER POST APOCALYPSE SHOWS
Day of the Triffids
The Last Train
Planet of the Apes
Nuclear bombs go off all over the United States of America and leave the country devastated. There are survivors, but they are stunned, lost and confused. The immediate problems of survival in the face of radiation and fallout give way to long term concerns such as who was responsible, why and how will the they survive in the new world that presents itself.
Post apocalypse survival hasn't been done for a while and JERICHO is a welcome return to the genre with a myriad of character stories mingled into the more general story of the town's survival. These characters are sharply drawn and well-acted by an excellent cast led by the 'name' of Skeet Ulrich. He, though, quickly becomes one of the ensemble, because this is about everyone.
Don't expect answers, though. That's for a future series. Who did it and why remains a mystery, as does the identity of Jericho's newest inhabitant, Rob Hawkins, a man who knows an awful lot about surviving a nuclear explosion.
JERICHO was probably a nice place to live before the bombs. It's a fascinating place to visit since.Top
Jake comes back to his home town of Jericho after several years in unspecified places doing unspecified things to claim some money being held in trust by his father. He's only there for one day, but those plans are changed when a mushroom cloud appears in the sky over nearby Denver. The town is stunned by the accident, shocked by the news that it's not an accident and then panicked when the lights go out. There's a school bus full of kids missing and another bus transporting prisoners has crashed. What's more, the sheriff isn't answering his radio.
What a fabulous opening for what looks like it might be a quality series. It starts off ordinarily enough, showing us that the small town of Jericho has the usual small town folks doing the usual small town stuff and suffering the usual small town problems. Then the explosion goes off and the story kicks in. And what a story! True, the hint that there's a dangerous prisoner on the loose is a step in the direction of melodrama, but the rest of the show is the stuff of nightmares because it's the stuff of reality. The sense of shock and numbness turning to panic is palpably real and grounds the more adventurous parts of the plot against disbelief.
Critical to this is the writing, which balances out the entertainment and almost documentary facets of the story. It gives the actors everything that they need to convince as characters that are barely introduced to us before we have to get on with them. There aren't many stock characters either. Skeet Ulrich is fine as the nominal hero and reformed bad boy who seems to know everything about medicine, guns and explosives, but the rest of the cast form an ensemble. There's the mayor, who happens to be Jake's father, struggling nobly to cope. His other son, overshadowed and having an affair. The town's loser kid whose mother is making a phone message when she dies. The local rich girl who's bound to get in on with him at some point. A deaf girl alone on the farm. An out of town cop who seems to be unfeasibly well informed about what to do in the case of a nuclear explosion.
The plot concentrates on the town's initial reactions and the search for the missing schoolbus whilst setting up the seeds of all kinds of future conflict along the way. Truth is, we can't wait to see how this progresses.Top
The town of Jericho wakes up to find itself alone in the aftermath of the explosion. There is no TV, radio or phone communication. Worse still, storm clouds are rushing their way from Denver loaded down with radiation. As the town races to get its two woefully inadequate fallout shelters operational, Jake's old flame Emily is hijacked by two prisoners pretending to be police.
The second episode of JERICHO continues to deliver on the promise of its pilot. The plotline about the escaped prisoners is the distraction that we feared it might be, but is at least dealt with by the end of the episode and out of the way.
More important is the race against time to get the townsfolk safe against the approaching fallout when there isn't enough space in the shelters and one of them doesn't even have ventilation that works. The cast remains an ensemble and the writing keeps the pace at such a wound-up state that there's no time to question what's happening. Other questions, though, are beginning to form and we can't wait for the answers.Top
Rain has come to Jericho, bringing with it the fear of the fallout from the bomb that exploded on Denver. Following the events of the last episode, almost everyone was safe indoors, except for one man. When the rain ends, the townsfolk come out to a new world. What they need most is to know what has happened. Jake organises scouts to go out and get some information. In the meantime there are questions to be answered, such as how are they going to feed themselves.
The main plotline of JERICHO isn't advanced very much in this episode, but that isn't what this show is about. There are so many stories, so many small details, so many small truths going on that the big story can wait. The characters are drawn from the real and that's why they compel even in the less dramatic moments. The playing across the board is excellent and the writing allows the perfomances to shine.
All is not what it seems, though. Why isn't the victim who stayed out in the supposedly radioactive rain throwing up, losing his hair and generally dying a lot. Why didn't the geiger counters go crazy when everyone emerged after the storms? Who dropped the bombs and why? What is Rob Hawkins doing in his basement?
The truth is waiting to be found and it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun on the journey.Top
WALLS OF JERICHO
A stranger is found in the town drugstore. He is dying of radiation poison, but there are others outside the town. The key to saving them lies in keeping him alive long enough to find out where they are. Unfortunately, the generators of the town are starting to fail and the hunt is on for enough fuel to keep them going before the patient and the premature baby in a respirator tent die.
The focus on the characters seems to be slipping in favour of plot. The arrival of the stranger brings all kinds of new questions to the townsfolk as they ponder questions of security and ends justifying means. It's interesting enough without being compelling and is a step down from the previous episodes. The scene where the reluctant rescuers finally arrive at the refugee's camp is a powerful however, but is immediately undermined by a memorial service scene that cuts away the subtlety for the hard of understanding.
Rob Hawkins is now firmly the character of mystery. He knows so much more about what is going on and could be involved with a group that caused it, a group that now has a trailer in it.Top
The power comes back on, but that brings problems of its own. An accident at the library sets fire to the building and leaves Emily unconscious. Whilst the men try to get the fires under control, Eric gets closer to having to make a decision about his life and Jake sees that Rob Hawkins is a little bit mroe connected than most everyone else. A message finally comes and that message is 'wait for information'.
There is more action here that keeps the episode racing along at such a pace that you hardly have time to wonder about plot holes or the fact that most of characters are pretty hackneyed and in hackneyed situations, other than the whole nuclear explosions etc. That's also helped by the fact that the cast are fabulous down to the smallest player. The final moment is a kicker and guarantees that we'll be back for the next instalment.
Rob Hawkins is now firmly the character of mystery. He knows so much more about what is going on and could be involved with a group that caused it, a group that now has a trailer in it.Top
The missiles fly and something goes off at altitude, setting off an electromagnetic pulse that pretty much wipes out all electrical equipment not properly protected. Jake has a run-in with an old friend that turns serious when the old friend steals the Green family's horses and proves to have stolen all of the food that came from the broken down train. The corn crop is also put under threat when bugs are found in part of the field.
More character drama than action this week with some of the history of Jake's life before he left being hinted at through his association and falling out with the local hoodlum. That hoodlum reminds him that someone even worse is going to be coming to town and that he's going to come looking for Jake. Relationships are shaky all around and nothing more is known about anything even though weeks are said to have gone by. The show needs to reveal some bigger picture stuff soon.Top
LONG LIVE THE MAYOR
Jake tries to broker a deal to get back the food that was stolen from the town, but fails when the other townsmen disagree with making deals with outsiders. when his father's conditions worsens, however, he decides that it's time to go outside the town limits and find out what's going on in the larger world.
JERICHO continues to be about the development of the characters and their new relationships rather than about the situation that the town has found itself in. In fact, it seems to be thriving in the new situation. Nobody seems to be suffering unduly at all. If the rest of the programme wasn't so well made that lack of realism would be a serious mark against it. Only occasional remarks about barbecueing spam shows that anything is different at all. At least the show has the courage to paint its characters in shades of grey with not everyone coming off well.
Information comes in this week about the nature of the bombings - apparently all across the country, apparently by terrorists and apparently all ground attacks. Who by and why remains a mystery.Top
Jake and Eric need drugs to save their father, so they head out for the hospital in Rogue River. They find a town that has been abandoned and a hospital full of dead people, dead by bullets. A company of mercenaries, hired by the US Government to fill in for military shortfalls has gone, well, rogue. That means lots of trouble.
After two weeks of character, JERICHO is back to action with an episode that just won't quit. Not only are Eric and Jake facing bad people with automatic weapons, but Rob Hawkins and his family are under some very serious scrutiny. The tension-ometer is near to off the scale. This is class stuff.Top
The mercenaries are coming to JERICHO and the men get together to set up barricades on the main bridge and to rig charges to blow it to hell if necessary. Eric and Jake disagree ont he course of action and a revolt is underway. Emily, though, is reassessing her view of life on the day that would have been her wedding day had the bombs not gone off.
OK, let's talk about flashbacks. Here at the SCI FI FREAK SITE we're not fond of flashbacks. If done well they can add depth to a character's motivations, but if done badly they appear in LOST. Thus, Emily's navel gazing proves to be an annoying distraction from the real meat of the episode, the preparations for the showdown and the showdown itself. It's tense, it's exciting and I'm not sure that the resolution is convincing, but it doesn't matter at the time.Top
Somebody (and we're not even trying to work out who) drops food into Jericho, but the bad guys get hold of the generator that was dropped with it and the men of the town saddle up to fight their first war. In the meantime, Eric leaves to be with Mary even though April is pregnant.
Once again JERICHO pulls off the trick of having an exiting, action-packed episode that proves to be as much about the characters. Admittedly, there are a good few of the more minor characters that have gone missing in the last couple of episodes. Those that still feature are giving good quality drama, though, and there is a very nice last minute development that brings home once again the seriousness of the situation that the town has found itself in.Top
Emily's father Jonah made a deal with the people of Jericho that he would leave them alone if they left him alone. Gracie reneged on a deal to work with him and now she's dead. He's clearly the man responsible and Gray Anderson, mayoral wannabe, is determined to deal with the situation swiftly, even if it means killing an innocent man.
And so JERICHO comes to an end, not with a bang but with an election. It's time to start questioning what happens to morality n the face of adversity. How do you keep prisoners when you can't feed the citizens? What price justice when you no longer have a judge? Is defence of your own more important than defence of what's right?
Vox Populi is a mix of action and character drama that isn't quite the most explosive finale to the first series, but the cliffhanger's include the return of Emily's fiance and a promise from Rob Hawkins' associates that they will see him soon.Top
RETURN TO JERICHO
The events in the town of Jericho from the day the bombs went off are summarised in a whip-crack lightning montage.
If you've been watching this cracking show and have a memory slightly longer than that of a goldfish then you can skip this altogether. There is no new information to be had from it. If, however, you are new to the show and want to catch up then this does give a pretty good idea of what's been happening, most of the major developments and the main cast relationships. After this, you'll be ready to dive right into the fight for survival in JERICHOTop
THE DAY BEFORE
A series of flashbacks tell the story of Jake and Rob Hawkins in the 36 hours before the bombs went off. Jake was on the run and needed money. We learn of his involvement with Ravenwood and how it got his friend killed. Rob Hawkins, it appears, was to be one of the bombers, but instead took the bomb, his family and fled to Jericho. Then the bombs went off.
Flashbacks can be the bane of a show (think LOST), but the information that we learn about Jake's past answers a few questions about his past with Ravenwood and we learn a whole hell of a lot more about our Mr Hawkins. It still isn't clear whether he's a good guy or a bad guy, but he was working inside the group that set off the bombs and did not alert the authorities. He did not set off his own bomb and brought his family to safety, but he did not stop the attack. We know a lot more details, but precious little about his motivation. What we do know is that the girlfriend who was in on it with him has juast arrived in town.
This all works far better than it ought to thanks to the committed cast and the mysteries that still lie at the heart of the Hawkins character. The resolution of those mysteries is one of the more compelling aspects of the show.Top
Jake and Johnston go to the Blackjack Fairground, which has become a trading post for just about everything that the survivors of the new America can buy or sell, as well as an exchange for information. The penalties for stealing are harsh, so when Dale steals the part they are looking for, things are not going to go well for them. Rob Hawkins gets a visitor from his group (whoever they are) who tells him that The Old Man is gunning for him. He determines to resolve that problem, but can he really trust the newcomer?
The people of Jericho seem intent on annoying just about everyone else who has survived the bombs. Whilst this episode is a little less believable than the show at its best, it is still quality drama.Top
HEART OF WINTER
Jake takes a party hunting and they are attacked by hijackers. Jake is pinned under the car and, with the temperatures plunging as night sets in, help needs to be found fast if he is to survive. Rob, meanwhile, sets out to find the Old Man, but when all they find is a body, he realises that he is being set up. What he doesn't know is who by.
Nuclear winter is setting in and starting to cause real hardship. The plight that Jake and his party find themselves in drives the episode nicely, counterpointed by the James Bond stuff of the Rob Hawkins mystery and the emotional mess of Emily coming to terms with having Roger back. Uneven, then, but still compelling.Top
The marines arrive in Jericho with word that the federal government is getting back on its feet and will be coming to Jericho's aid pretty soon now. Jake gets on very well with one of the female soldiers. He and his father realise at about the same time that the soldiers are not what they appear to be, but how do you fight a group armed with a tank? Rob Hawkins, on the other hand, has realised that his partner is selling him out. She then takes his family hostage to his handing over the unexploded nuclear weapon.
It's fair to say that the audience rumbles the false marines way faster than the people of Jericho, but that isn't the real interest in this episode anyway. That lies in the standoff between Hawkins and his ex-partner. How that's going to work out has been signposted in earlier episodes, but it's still tense and dramatic.Top
Eric's wife April goes into labour far too early through overexerting herself. Her fate lies in the hands of a doctor who's been drunk since he was pulled out of the hospital in Rogue River and med student. Negotiations over a food for power deal with a neighbouring town get tricky and Rob Hawkins has to answer some awkward questions about his dead house guest.
Things are starting to get hard in the town of Jericho and this is reflected in the misfortunes of her townsfolk. Food and petrol are getting scarce and a deal that they might not be able to keep signals trouble down the road aways, not least because it requires ten hostages to be taken away. The softer edge is getting stripped away and a darker centre is starting to be revealed, something that is improving an already great show.Top
ONE MAN'S TERRORIST
Things are getting desperate in Jericho. Food is running out and the numbers show that there are more people than the town can sustain. Gray Anderson decides that the refugees that the town took in must now be sent out into the winter, probably to die. The refuguees take a different position, events spiralling out of control through a siege, hostage crisis and potential death of Jericho's new mayor.
This is a fabulous episode that shows the town finally getting to grips with some of the awful decisions that are being forced upon them. The reality of having to choose who lives and who dies is portrayed with unflinching brutality, the actors making the most of a script that is both dramatic and all to horribly believable. For once, the continuing mystery of Rob Hawkins' part in all of this comes secondary to the events in the town, but the final cliffhanger brings him right back to the forefront.
With this episode, JERICHO made good on all the promise that it has shown since the beginning.Top
Rob Hawkins' secret is out, but his luck is in. It's Jake that knows and his only chance to prevent himself being strung up by the town is to tell him the whole story.
JERICHO gets a little bit more claustrophobic in this episode, which is almost a double-hander between Lennie James and Skeet Ulrich. The character of Rob Hawkins has been the mystery running through the various mishaps that have befallen the town, the single line of consistency. Now we finally get to know the truth about both Hawkins and just who set off the bombs.
It's intense at times, though a little unbelievable in the way that the power balance between the two shifts, but it's an interesting change of pace and at least there are some answers coming to light.Top
When the men sent to New Bern, a neighbouring town, to help build the wind turbines to provide power are returned without Eric, Jake gets suspicious and calls upon Rob Hawkins to go with him to find out what has happened. What they find is a town that is readying itself to make war on Jericho.
Times haven't always seemed too hard in Jericho, so it's a touch hard to see why the neighbours might be turning on them, but it's a turn of events that is chillingly presented as Jake and Hawkins snoop around, finding first the invasion map and then the munitions factory. The closing rally, where the Green boys are held up as the proof that Jericho is a real enemy shows the power of propaganda and sets up the show for some troubled times ahead.Top
ONE IF BY LAND
Rob Hawkins starts to organise a plan to get Jake and Eric out of prison, aided by one of the New Bern townsfolk and Maggie, the female fake soldier that ran foul of Jake in Semper Fidelis. Johnston, in the meantime, comes in search of his sons and stands nose to nose with the leader of New Bern (literally) and says that this isn't going to end well. Then the explosions begin.
There are times when reality hasn't been JERICHO's strong point and this is one of those times, but it is never less than entertaining and this episode has a bit of everything going on. It ends with the all-action shootout in which four men from Jericho and a stray woman manage to escape from a whole town of heavily armed heavies, but before that there is a lot of tension and drama. Maggie also turns out to be an interesting character, willing to swap sides at the drop of a hat to better her situation. More of her we'd like to see.
There's no way back now. War between Jericho and New Bern is inevitable. It's going to be a good last couple of episodes.Top
COALITION OF THE WILLING
Let the bombs rain down on Jericho. New Bern makes its demands for several of Jericho's farms. When nobody rolls over, mortars are fired into the town square. Gray Anderson sends untrained men to deal with the mortars, but they just get killed. The Greens, along with some surprise help from Emily's father, manage to take out the mortars before they can fire again, but New Bern declares war and they have an army prepared.
Now this is how you end a series. The tensions that have been building up between the two towns comes to a head and violence becomes inevitable. This is the way of man, when the going gets tough the tough get guns, and bombs, and start a war.
There is time for some character work in between the gunfights, but this is about the action, giving a taster of what to expect when morning comes and two towns go to war. This is JERICHO at its best.Top
WHY WE FIGHT
New Bern marches of Jericho with far more men and far more arms, but the townsfolk have two small advantages, Rob Hawkins' ability to use a spy satellite to track the movements of the enemy and the tank left over from Semper Fidelis. That's enough to win the first round, but at what cost? The Green family suffers another loss and this galvanises the town to prepare for the final assault. Hope, though, is flying over the horizon.
It's the final episode of the season and the show goes out with a bang. There is action, there is drama, there is loss, there is good characterisation and there is fine acting. Everything that has been great about this show is brought together in this one episode. And then they add on the flashbacks to Eric's wedding and threaten to ruin the whole thing. Fortunately, they don't manage it.
The intrigue continues and the show continues to make bold choices with the direction of its story. When the network cancelled the show, the fans refused to let it die. When the second season comes, make sure that you watch it and repay them for bringing back one class show.Top
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