Jericho is a show that started off with a bang. I was instantly hooked by the post-apocalyptic theme. It was a show that set out to explore a small US town following a nuclear strike which has pretty much cut them off from everything. I liked how some of the characters had mysterious backgrounds, some of which may tie into what has happened. I liked the idea of a a town thrown into the chaos of the unknown, the idea of how the townspeople would react.
Would the town fall into anarchy or would order persist? What form would the new society take? What happened in the rest of the country and is there anyone else left to help rebuild? These, and many more, questions were opened up. The problem is that the show seemed to fall off the further into the season it got. It got to the point that I even considered giving it up. I stuck through, and it seems to be paying off as we move into the second half of the season.
The series seemed to get sidetracked by mundane details, things that I did not care about quite as much as the creators would like me to. I wanted to learn more about the big picture, more about the nukes, more about the mysterious Hawkins, more of the secrets that Jake's past holds, more about everything but who stole the groceries or who is sleeping with who. Then the show took a break, and it is probably the best thing that it could have done. When it came back a few weeks ago it seemed to be headed down the right track.
We are learning more about where the nukes came from, what Jake was doing before coming home, and even a little bit about the outside world. Is the show plausible? No. Is it realistic? No. However, it seems to be successful at creating a universe of its own. I have found myself drawn back into the world of Jericho, and this latest episode is a fine example of the producers doing something right.
The episode is "Semper Fidelis." It features a powerful scene of a tank slowly rounding a corner and heading down Main Street, bringing with it a regiment of Marines. The townspeople rejoice as the Marines say they are going town by town, getting everyone back on the grid. But, just like everything else, things are not quite as they seem. The Marines are not acting quite like Marines should act, a fact picked up on former Army Ranger and former Mayor Johnston Green. Meanwhile, Jake also has a sense that something is wrong, overhearing the fireworks outside over a radio transmission that was supposed to be hundreds of miles away.
As it turns out, these "Marines" were imposters. They were a group of survivors who who masquerading as hope in order to get fuel and supplies from all of the towns they came across. Well, that just isn't going to fly in Jericho, despite Mayor Gray's attempts to celebrate their arrival and give away all of the town's limited supplies. The decision is then made to hide the fact that they are phonies from the rest of the town. Smart idea in my book — who knows what would have happened to the town had everything come out?
Meanwhile, Hawkins' story takes an interesting turn. Sarah has revealed herself for the phony that she is. She isn't there to help Hawkins, but retrieve the package that we learned about previously. The tension between the two comes to an explosive finish as the rest of Hawkins' family gets caught in the middle. What appears to be a bomb is brought up from the cellar and handed over to Sarah, as Hawkins' wife watches on in horror. This results in Sarah's murder by Allison. Where are they headed, and what effect will this have on Allison?
It is nice to see this series gaining some momentum. Rather than the meandering around town like what was happening last fall, the story is becoming more epic, getting back to what I was hoping it was going to be from the start. It seems like the two months that they were off the air were used to reconfigure the show. They have given it more of an edge and delivered some of the best episodes of the entire run. The stories have taken a turn towards the interesting, it is growing in scope, and is flat out better than the first half. One can only hope that they continue building on what they are doing now.