Jericho hits the ground running in its second season, and boy, am I glad it’s back. We’ve got blood feuds, military occupation, secret plots, corrupt government, cults of personality, soldiers trying to do the right thing, and government contractors screwing over the people they’re meant to serve. Gee, do you think this might be an allegory for something else that’s going on at the moment?

I’m waiting for them to explain what happened to the spoilers…

The Battle of New Bern, which was kicking off in earnest when the season (and series) ended last year, is brought to a quick halt by the arrival of the Allied States of America’s military. But that hardly means things are hunky dory. Nope, the real work is just beginning.

Major Beck, the man in charge of the reconstruction, finds this out immediately when he gets Jake Green and Phil Constantino, the New Bern leader, in the same room, and Jake lunges for Constantino’s throat. It’s hard to let bygones be bygones when said bygones are written in blood. Beck promises he’ll get to the bottom of things, hold some tribunals, and punish the guilty.

Four weeks later, Beck is touting the military’s prowess at restoring power and getting the town back up and running. But tribunals? Not going to happen, despite the fact that he’s determined New Bern was the aggressor. Now that we’re rebuilding, we were hoping the spirit of reconciliation would take over, Beck says. "There isn’t going to be any reconciliation until [Constatino’s] dead," Jake replies. Beck gets serious  — "There will be no vigilantism in my district. There will be more revenge killings, period." Good luck with that. Jake immediately starts planning a strike against New Bern, and New Bern sends its own gun-toting men into Jericho.

Jake is all about killing Constantino until Emily reminds him that his dad would have preferred his death to end one war, not start another one. Then Beck shows him a couple of New Bern thugs in body bags — guys he’d caught trying to make an armed incursion into Jericho. He’s serious about no revenge killings. Too bad Eric has already rounded up a posse to go after Constantino. Jake stops them before they get too far, and, when the military finds them, lies that they’re out there trying to stop a band of armed men from Jericho  out for blood. Beck knows he’s lying, but he lets Jake defuse the situation, because he know Jake is "the guy" — the one all the townspeople follow, the one who can regain control. Later, Jake accepts his offer to become the new sheriff of Jericho.

That’s not all that’s going on. The TV keeps showing laudatory propaganda about the new president of the Allied States, a junior Wyoming senator who took control after the attacks and rallied the states west of the Mississippi. The reports say that Iran and North Korea launched the attacks on America (and were apparently nuked in retaliation), but Hawkins knows the truth. That means he’s in big trouble, right?

Maybe not: Darcy is working at Beck’s office, and she sees him distribute a wanted poster for Sarah. Since Hawkins sent in a false message that she’d killed him and taken the bomb, she’s the one everyone is looking for.

Except one guy, a soldier who seems awfully interested in Darcy. He follows her to Hawkin’s safe house, and holds a gun on Hawkins. Turns out he’s Chavez, another agent involved with the plot, like Hawkins. He joined the military in Nebraska, and is now trying to expose the truth about the Cheyenne government. Since Hawkins has a radioactive smoking gun buried near Jericho, they might just have a chance.

Finally, J&R, the government contractors who have swept in to administer the reconstruction, seem to be doing fabulous work…until you look at the fine print. Stanley signs an agreement with them to get his farm out of debt with the IRS. Now that he’s free and clear, he can ask Mimi to marry him! Unfortunately, she beats him to the punch, which leaves him nonplussed. Also, it turns out to be a ruinous contract that may never end, and the Cheyenne government has already written off all non-violent crimes. Stanley just gave up a portion of his crops for nothing.

Enter Mimi, the avenging IRS angel, who puts the most righteous smackdown on the J&R stooges. She pretty much uses her bureaucratic knowhow to make make J&R cry, then offer her a job — "which I think was part self defense." Stanley calls her terrifying, but in the best way possible. Then he proposes, with a ring, and Mimi accepts.

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • I was never much of a Stanley/Mimi ‘shipper, but I adored the last proposal scene. Alicia Coppola nails the scene — shock, joy, tears running down her face. It was great.
  • What do you think of Major Beck? I like him, and think he’s a good guyin a bad situation. Do you think he can be trusted, or is he part of the conspiracy Valente is running?
  • So, the key to keeping America free is Texas. I don’t even know how to respond to that.
  • The scene where Emily was trying to bake Gail her favorite cake was heartbreaking. It wasn’t her favorite, you see — it was Johnson’s. They had a whole bit about it, Jake says sorrowfully. Well done.
  • Eric looks like he’s going to be one hell of a loose canon. He’s feeling the loss of his father and feeling like Jake usurped him. That can’t end well.
  • Interesting how Beck offered Heather the Jericho/New Bern liaison position. She turns it down because she just spent a lot of time in a town where men in military uniforms were pretty damn scary. "And you can’t tell the difference between me and Phil Constantino?" Beck asks. We don’t see her answer.
  • We end the episode with Jake taking the sheriff job — and finding out the new President wants to add Jericho to his travel plans. This is going to be interesting.

What did you think? Was it worth all the peanuts? Did you see the parallels between Jericho and Iraq/Afghanistan/insert your occupied country here? Did you think that aspect was delightfully ballsy or ridiculously heavy-handed? Do you really want Jake to shave?

Posted by:Sarah Jersild