Trust Jake Green to summarize in a few words the theme of this season of post-apocalyptic Kansas drama Jericho: "This isn't a country, it's a company." The old America is gone, replaced with a corporate dictatorship. This scene really made me feel as though the show knows exactly what it wants to say, and it's heading towards a huge resolution next week. And then the show threw a plot twist at me that suddenly put me in a smidgen of doubt. Spoilers, and more reaction to last night's episode, ahead.
The other thing that was really nice about that scene was the fact that it showcased something Jericho had been missing for a while: the focus on the Greens as a troubled, but caring, family. Not only did we see Jake's mom for the first time this season (and she got to kick major butt, slipping a message to Jake and then giving directions to his prison despite having been blindfolded) but we also saw Jake's grandfather, in some hallucinatory sequences. And then Major Beck ties it all together nicely with his "what would Gerald McRaney do" speech, in our clip. I often stop and wonder what Gerald McRaney would do, when faced with a dilemma.
Anyway, once again, we got a sense that Jake's family is at the center of the story, and he has a legacy to live up to. If only Eric had gotten more than two lines last night, it might have felt like old times.
All of the scenes of Jake talking about revolution were stirring, especially the weird "East India Tea Company" moment with grandpa Green. Jericho has been trying a tough balancing act this season: the micro-story of Jericho dealing with the new government and the thugs from Ravenwood, and the macro-story of Hawkins trying to expose the coverup. It's always a tough balance, because Hawkins' story is so much more important, in the grand scheme of things, and yet the Jericho story is the one we really care about. Ideally, the Jericho story should help us understand why Hawkins' mission is so important, because he can't let the corporate bastards who bombed American cities win.
But that's where we get to the plot twist that didn't quite ring true for me. I'd been assuming the mysterious voice on Hawkins' phone was not really an ally, so I was happy to be proved right. But the idea that the mad bomber behind the "September attacks" was actually trying to destroy Jennings & Rall made no sense to me. Especially since he could have predicted it would do the opposite, putting J&R completely in charge. The revelation came out of nowhere and seemed a bit forced.
And then the bomber's threat, to destroy the Cheyenne government, seemed even more contrived. I just couldn't quite buy it. It felt as though the writers were grasping for something that would amp the crisis level to maximum in the final episode, but it was a bit of a stretch. We know this bomber is someone associated with J&R, so why is he so desperate to destroy them anyway? (I heard the explanation, I just didn't quite believe it.) And if 23 bombs didn't work last time, what makes him think one more will? This was the first time that Jericho's rushed pace made me feel as though the show was just taking wild leaps to get to its conclusion.
Also, I'm having a hard time seeing how the show will balance its micro and macro stories in the final episode of the season (or ever.) With Jake going off with Hawkins to stop the bomb, we're losing our main viewpoint character on the town's struggles. Will the town of Jericho be left out of the show that bears its name? Or are we finally going to see Major Beck coming around and rebelling against his paymasters? Either way, I'm still cautiously optimistic for next week.
One other note: I couldn't help noticing that the episode was sponsored by Sprint. And Hawkins' secret secure spy phone had the Sprint logo very very prominently displayed. Good to see product placement will continue long after our country is ashes.