“The government, the army, the news… they’re all lying about who’s responsible for the attacks.”
Season 2 available for free streaming on CBS.com. Starring Skeet Ulrich, Lennie James, Ashley Scott, Kenneth Mitchell, Brad Beyer, Alicia Coppola and Esai Morales.
I know, Jericho has already been canceled and no amount of peanut-sending is going to bring it back this time, but this post still has some relevancy. First, apparently it’s not completely dead — CBS is looking to do a Friday Night Lights-style deal to capitalize on a rabid fan base and high internet viewership. Second, even if it may be too late to save Jericho, it’s not too late to enjoy it — all episodes of season 2 are available for free on CBS.com. It is a shame that those seven episodes are all we’ll get, because season 2 was much-improved off a solid freshman season.
While season 1 was an exploration of a small-town in crisis dealing with the effects of a devastating nuclear attack, season 2 deals with the much bigger picture of rebuilding a country. Season 2 finds one of the new American governments (centered in Cheyenne, Wyoming) sending its army to Jericho to restore order and stop their border skirmish with neighboring New Bern. The man in charge, Major Beck (Esai Morales) also has been tasked to find a terrorist who possesses the final, unused nuclear weapon, the one possessed by mystery man Robert Hawkins (James). Beck also turns to Jake Green (Ulrich) to help control the town, but the reemergence of Blackwater, I mean, Ravenwood, complicates matters.
This season packed a lot of story into seven episodes, and as a result ditched a lot of the dead weight storylines from season 1. All the characters from season 1 do reappear at various points (as well as many of the minor characters, which as good for continuity), but the reduced budget forced them to limit their appearances, which was fine because the main characters were more interesting anyway. There was also a lot less of the romance and a lot more of action — season 2 was fast-paced and basically a way, way better version of 24.
The major plotline of season two, that the Cheyenne government and KBR, I mean, Jennings & Rawl are essentially one and the same, is something that seem striking relevant in the days of the Iraq War, private armies and huge government contracts. The idea of two American governments (the other centered in Columbus, Ohio) fighting to ally with the independent Texas nation is also something I liked. One disappointment was that I was really excited about where they were going in revealing who was responsible for the attacks, but the ultimate reveal was forced and flat. The final episode did a good job of tying up the season arc while leaving room for a season 3 that likely won’t come.
Ulrich really was great for this part and continued to do fine work as Jake. James as Hawkins is, and this might be blasphemous to some, way cooler than Jack Bauer. The truncated season sort of marginalized Ashley Scott as Jake’s love interest Emily, and Kenneth Mitchell as his brother Eric. Morales did a fine job as Major Beck, a good addition to the cast. The big surprise was Sprague Grayden, who as pretty worthless in season 1, actually developing into a strong character this time around.
It’s too bad there’s no Season 3, because it really seems like a show that should have been successful in the mainstream, especially this season. Obviously, I’d recommend watching from the start, but even if you didn’t see Season 1, you should be able to understand this season for the most part, and it doesn’t really spoil too much from Season 1. Jericho was better, more exciting and more interesting than mostly anything else on TV, and I’m glad it got a chance for an enjoyable season 2, no matter how short it is.