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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Jericho’ blogging: “Jennings & Rall”

(previous: “Condor”)

So, Ravenwood is Jennings & Rall’s private army, huh? How did we not see that coming? (Isn’t it chilling how the seemingly innocuous phrase “wholly owned subsidiary” has become so, you know, chilling?) Still, “this isn’t Iraq,” Eric reminds Jake. Or is it? The entirety of Jericho is so clearly a response to everything the U.S. government has been up to in the last seven years, but this episode in particularly seems to be asking one pointed question: “How do you like being occupied, Middle America? How do you like being occupied by someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart? Not so nice, is it?”
But there’s hope, too. Not everyone is a despicable stooge like Goetz (who’da thunk D.B. Sweeney could be so repulsive a bad guy?). I’m delighted to see that Beck may not be a bad guy. Looks like maybe Trish the spunky blond J&R gal is going to be a friend, too. And even someone like Jake, who, when we first met him, seemed more shady than not. He turned out to be okay — more than okay. Boy, has Jericho turned me into a Skeet Ulrich fan or what? That scene when Jake’s explaining to Eric what happened over in Iraq that shook him up so much? Wow. The guy is good.

I love these characters more the longer the show goes on, and I love the complexity of their situation. And I’m suddenly stuck by this thought: Whenever and however this show ends — and rumor has it that CBS has already pulled the plug, again — there won’t be any going back to “normal” for these people. The world has changed too much, and even if we get a hundred or two hundred episodes, that will always be true. We’re always going to be left wanting more.

Random thoughts on “Jennings & Rall”:

• Hawkins has some cojones, huh? Walking right into Beck’s office like that? Geez. “The only way out of this thing is through it?” Wow.

• Somehow it’s very sad to see the shelves of Dale’s store so empty. Those couple of lonely bottles of soda in the commercial fridge? *sniff*

• Why do I fear for Bonnie going to Cheyenne?

• “You may be wearing civilian clothes but you’re anything but civilized,” says Kenji to Goetz. Yikes.

• What’s with that dropped bag of Hudson River virus vaccine? How is that going to come back to haunt the people of Jericho? Could it be that it wasn’t actually vaccine in those test tubes, but the virus itself, and all of Goetz’s maneuvering was merely a kind of reverse psychology to get Jake and Co. to inject themselves with it? You know, a germ-warfare move to cow the already traumatized people of the Allied States of America even more than they already are? (Or maybe Goetz himself doesn’t even know what was really in the test tubes?) Or is this show just making me conspiracy-theory nutso?

• Who is on the other end of Hawkins mysterious phone call? I recognize that voice, and the name is right on the tip of my brain…

(Next week: First they came for the guy who runs the grocery store, and I did nothing, because I was not a guy who runs a grocery store…, in “Oversight”)

(Get a full recap or watch the entire episode at CBS’s official site for the show.)



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  • Jason

    Arguably the most meaningful show on television. It will be a shame if it is cancelled again.

  • John Yoder

    People really need top watch dates before they say old news. Jericho has not ended they have not made final descion yet

    A. A carol barbee said in interview this week and next week are make or break time. There is also a cable network wantging to pick the sho

    B. yesterdays episode raised about 1 million viewers for a total 6.9. It is growing.

    Dont belive me? my sources of info are below

    http://www.filmfodder.com/scifi/archives/2008/02/jericho_decisio.shtml

    http://tvbythenumbers.com/2008/02/27/nielsen-ratings-for-tue-feb-26-idol-dominates-jericho-crushes-quarterlife/2778

  • Man, I almost committed an Internet faux pas and reposted the same Skeet Ulrich/Johnny Depp joke I posted last year when the show was originally canceled. [wipes brow, goes “whew!”]

    Seriously, this show just gets better and better. I don’t think the dropped bag of vaccine foreshadows anything; it was just a way to make a noise that would attract Goetz. And it was awesome to see Hawkins play Beck like that… he told him exactly what was going to happen, and it did. Beck is obviously honorable enough that he can be swayed over to the right side if he’s slowly eased over with good evidence.

    Here’s seriously hoping that Jericho gets renewed again. CBS would be stupid to drop it now.

  • Karen

    I so love this show. It has only ever gotten better. I haven’t been so fond of a series since Star Trek.

  • Jen

    I LOVE JERICHO!!
    CBS PLEASE RENEW THIS GREAT SHOW??
    A LOT OF VIEWERS WILL BE BROKEN HEARTED IF
    YOU DON’T.
    COME ON….YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.
    JUST DO IT!!!

    JERICHO ROCKS!!
    SEASON 3 is NEEDED AND WANTED.

  • Yes, because typing in ALL CAPS!!! always helps you get what you want.

  • MaryAnn

    Jen, this is not CBS’s Web site. CBS can’t hear you if you post something here. And you’re likely to have more success when you do contact CBS if you don’t SHOUT.

    COME ON….YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

    What? You think CBS secretly wants to renew the show but won’t because… why? What possible motive could a TV network have for not renewing a show it actually wants to renew?

  • Love your thought provoking questions. I put a summary and link in our Jericho blog/news archive.

    Gwen
    http://www.jericho-kansas.com

  • Why do I fear for Bonnie going to Cheyenne?

    Disturbing thought I just had: I hope that the means to overthrow the government of the Allied States of America/Jennings & Rall doesn’t involve Hawkins using his nuke on Cheyenne… a decapitation strike can be quite effective at wrecking a government, as we’ve already seen (another good example is in The Stand, when the Trashcan Man brings a nuke to Las Vegas and it’s detonated by the spark from Flagg’s finger).

  • MaryAnn

    Hawkins using his nuke on Cheyenne

    Oh, I *so* had not thought of that. Thanks for making me even more worried for Bonnie…

  • I’d be more worried for Hawkins, because you know he’d probably end up having to set it off manually. But it would be poetic justice, since his original job was to infiltrate the plot… if he set off the nuke with all of the plotleaders nearby (especially Valenti), he’d basically get payback for all of the deaths they caused. Sort of a “live by the sword, die by the sword” scenario.

  • Ryan

    Just as idle speculation, I thought it was interesting that Texas maintained an independent government…but California did not. Both got hit in multiple major cities according to the map…and California has a major naval presence that would have been unaffected, and a predilection towards independence anyway. I know I’m hugely over-thinking the show, but I found that curious.

    I figure they are going to try and topple Cheyenne from the inside, specifically by turning Beck. This, along with the spread of the Hudson plague will allow the Federal government in Columbus to advance over the river once Texas joins them.

    The twist is that the file that Hawkins can’t open on the computer reveals the complicity of the federal government in propagating the sickness…making matters even MORE morally ambiguous for our beleaguered heroes.

    I really hope that the show gets picked up next year, I couldn’t stand the first few episodes of season 1…but it’s been great since then, and I don’t think they can do this plot-line justice with only 5 more episodes.

  • MaryAnn

    Well, apparently they have two different final episodes for this season ready to go: one with a cliffhanger if the show gets renewed and the story can continue, and one that wraps up stuff (though there are limits to how much wrapping up they can go on a story this large). I hope it gets picked up again, too, of course, especially because this season is so much better than the first. It could just keep getting better and better. The other option is that CBS dumps it but the Sci Fi Channel picks it up, which seems like a possibility.

    Clayj: Nice one.

  • erika

    Nice recap, and you have made me nervous with your musings on the broken vials. I guess that I have become a conspiracy nut too because of this show. Also, this show has turned me into a HUGE Skeet fan as well.

    Fingers crossed for another season of this show.

  • matt

    I imagine I’m not telling you anything, but all of your musings made me wonder if you are aware that J&R has a (absurdly thorough) website now. Who runs it (CBS or otherwise) I couldn’t say.

    http://www.jenningsandrall.com/html/index.php

    Makes for quite the conspiracy theory, if you ask me…

  • MaryAnn

    Heh. That’s the way to do viral marketing.

    I wonder about the Internet in this post-attacks world. Is it as unfettered as it is today? Or is J&R — or some other entity — limiting access for Americans? The tinfoil-hat people must be going wild…

    And what about the rest of the world? Maybe we need some spinoff novels or something exploring how the rest of the world has been impacted by the attacks on America, and its “return” nuclear volleys at Iran and North Korea. Apart from the radiological impacts, the world economy must have taken a huge hit. What’s happening elsewhere?

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