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maryann johanson, striking from a hidden base

‘Jericho’ blogging: “Patriots & Tyrants”

(previous: “Sedition”)

I’m very depressed today. Jericho is over. It was barely given a chance by CBS, but that’s the way network TV works these days: nothing gets a serious chance of survival unless it’s an instant hit. There’s no point in blaming CBS particularly, unless you want to rail against the entirety of corporate entertainment today. More power to you if you have that kind of strength.
What depresses me is that in this second season, the show became so relevant to what was actually happening in America today. There were hints of that in the first season — when Ravenwood (read: Blackwater) became a major player, for instance — but perhaps not enough to catch fire with audiences. And then it was too late. At least I hope it was merely that it was too late. I’d hate to think that mainstream American audiences don’t want to think about the issues that are driving so much public policy today: fears of terrorism, balancing security and freedom, government and corporations in bed together for their own betterment, and not for ours.

How often do you hear character say things like this on network television: “He said this government is corrupt and illegitimate. That it lied about who attacked us… You know there’s something wrong with this country, and you refuse to open your eyes and see it.” Okay, sure, that was said about a fictional alternative government on a fantasy TV show, but still: wow. Or this: “This is the Constitution we’re talking about, not a stereo manual.” Or this: “This government is corrupt at its core, its actions are criminal, and I no longer recognize its right to lead.” Wow.

Jericho was always about the best of what makes America America, and we see a lot of that here in this series finale. Mimi and Stanley don’t give up, even after the worst happens: they still want to make a life together. Beck’s company commanders stick with him because they’re not machine soldiers who can’t recognize when orders are simply wrong. Eric refuses to become a psychopath like Constantino, because it would be winning by giving up everything he was fighting for in the first place. Jericho‘s attitude was always hopeful even when it was confronting really difficult, seemingly intractable problems. For a show about collapse of the United States of America from its own cancerous disease, it was pretty darn optimistic.

I can’t help but think of Robert Hawkins and Jake Green’s daring flight from Cheyenne to Texas as something like Paul Revere’s midnight ride. “I think we started a war today,” Jake says, and then the show ends? There was Season Three (and maybe Four and Five) laid out for us: “the next American civil war.” Or the next American revolution. Because this is what “Patriots & Tyrants” made me think of:

…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

I’m just sayin’, is all…

Random thoughts on “Patriots & Tyrants”:

• Most chilling moment here: “J&R’s own private country,” and the new capitol going up in Cheyenne.

• The embassy of the Independent Republic of Texas? Oh my…

• Gray wandering through his trashed mayor’s office — what a powerful symbol of the trashing of democracy that’s happening in the ASA.

• Good thing Jake knows how to fly a plane!

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

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