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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Jericho’ blogging: “Sedition”

(previous: “Termination for Cause”)

See, I was right about Beck: he’s totally pissed off about Goetz’s death because it’s a symbol of lawlessness. “You’re not a judge,” he tells Jake when Jake takes the blame — Beck feels, and rightly so, that it was not the place of the Rangers in a lawful society to decide who lives and who dies. (And poor Stanley! I have a terrible feeling that he’s not gonna handle very well in the long run what he did…) Beck is going on and on about the people of Jericho “taking the law into their own hands.” As I knew he would.
This is what Beck has got to realize: there is no law anymore. This is what it’s all going to come down to by the end of the next episode: Which side is he gonna choose, the side of right, or the side of J&R? Cuz he doesn’t realize, as “Sedition” opens, that he’s not on the side of right… but he starts to get the idea throughut this episode. Heather telling him that she can’t see the difference anymore between Beck and New Bern’s tyrant Constantino rattles him, and he’s rattled more by her saying she’s not sure if she can keep defending him. And then Jake gets to him by telling him that what they’re living in now is “not a country, it’s a company, and you’re just middle management.” Beck is still pissed off by the end of this episode — did you notice how hard he slammed his helmet into the window? — but now he’s starting to get mad at himself.

I hope. I hope he joins the “open insurrection” that is Jericho now. I hope he comes to realize that, as Jake’s subconscious was telling him in that dream about his grandfather, that “this has all happened before”: Jennings & Rall is the British East India Company, Ravenwood are the Hessian mercenaries, and revolution is all but inevitable.

Ooh, and I was right, too, about the fingers Jennings & Rall had into the old federal system. Smith says it: “J&R was a cancer grown deep into the bone of this government.” “This” meaning, perhaps, that Cheyenne is pretty much the same cadre of bastards who made up the now-dead U.S. government.

There’s way too much stuff to be resolved in one more episode, and plenty of potential for years’ more show. The fans on the message board at the official Jericho site are all excited because they’ve interpreted the coming attractions for next week as meaning that the show has been or will be renewed for another year, because the upcoming episode was called the “season finale” and not the “series finale.” We’ll see…

Random thoughts on “Sedition”:

• Is the voice of “Smith” Bruce Greenwood? Sure sounds like him to me…

• When Hawkins is on the phone to Smith near the end of the episode, in the little flashbacks to the “Project Red Bell” report — that’s the one that wargamed the nuking of dozens of American cities — it’s perfectly clear that the summary on the first page of the report is near-dummy copy that is repeated twice on the page. (There’s some stuff there about loose nukes and loose nuclear material floating around since the fall of the Soviet Union… but then the same text just repeats again starting halfway down the page.) At least, it’s clear if you’re watching the episode in high-def. Production dudes: if you’re shooting in HD, and you’re broadcasting in HD, and you know you have a rabid audience that is so desperate for any scrap of information about this new world you’ve invented that we’re gonna freeze-frame every moment that might contain a scrap… well, then you’ve gotta take that into account.

• Jericho’s zip code? 66812. Seen without freeze-framing.

• Nice to see Jake’s mom again. Though I thought at first that she was a mirage or a dream like Grandpa was.

• The mailbox outside the Jericho post office that’s visible briefly as Beck’s soldiers secure the town? It still reads, “U.S. Mail.”

(Next week: Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Cheyenne? in “Patriots & Tyrants”)

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



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  • I knew the bomb was going to Cheyenne. Called it a few weeks ago, in fact.

    But it didn’t occur to me that the entity behind the attacks was not J&R itself, but a former J&R exec (and yeah, it does sound like it could be Bruce Greenwood after he chain-smoked a carton or two of cigarettes) who is going the really long way around in order to destroy his former company and the government it infiltrated. Assuming what Smith said is true, then J&R must be thinking right now that they hit the jackpot: Someone (they don’t know who) attacked the US and now they are de facto in charge… not realizing, of course, that they’ve merely been put up onto a tall pedestal so that they can all fall together.

    But Smith’s plan has a potentially fatal flaw… if he doesn’t eliminate the entire J&R leadership and the ASA government all at once, then he’ll have destroyed the one source of stability in the ASA and things are really going to get ugly. It’s still possible that Texas or the USA might be able to step in, but the USA may be devastated by the Hudson River Virus and Texas may just keep to themselves for the time being and let the rest of the ASA turn into Mad Max, The Sequel.

    I can’t believe Hawkins didn’t anticipate the possibility of the bomb being tracked. That was a rookie mistake if I’ve ever seen one.

  • MaryAnn

    You did indeed call Cheyenne, Clay. Congrats.

    I can’t believe that J&R was not involved in the September attacks. At the very least, those at the top of J&R would recognize the signature of their wargame and know that it if it wasn’t someone still at J&R, then there could only be a limited number of other people it could be… and so the J&R people would have be scrambling to figure out why someone no longer at J&R would put J&R’s plan into play.

    I wonder how much we can believe about what Smith says. Maybe he’s still J&R and has been pulling a kind of entrapment on Hawkins, you know, rooting out potential sedition before they can do anything with those rebellious tendencies. Or maybe something else entirely is going on.

    What I wonder, too, is this: If Smith can track the bomb, why didn’t he find it and Hawkins sooner?

  • CBS released the name of the actor playing Smith in their credits for the finale. I won’t list (spoilers and such) the name here, but it’s on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

  • Peter: Just went and found out who plays Smith… don’t know why I didn’t associate him with his voice, but now that I know the name it seems really obvious.

    But who would have ever thought that Gilbert Gottfried could make himself sound like that? ;-)

  • MaryAnn

    Huh. I’m not familiar enough with that actor’s work to have recognized him.

    Which means it ain’t Bruce Greenwood. :->

  • C.

    Ah, the zip code(s) of Jericho. This has been the subject of much debate in the fandom. The Post Office building on the set says 66009. Eric Green’s driver’s license says 67290. “Sedition” says 66812. The middle one is most consistent with Jericho’s northwest Kansas location. (There’s also a notice pasted on one of the doors on Main Street that would put Jericho somewhere in Ohio, but we’ve more or less ignored that.)

  • MaryAnn, I assume you know I was joking when I said “Gilbert Gottfried”. ;-)

    But I would be surprised to hear you say you’re not familiar with the actor who really does the voice of Smith… he’s been in a TON of movies and TV shows.

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