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The other day at work I was asked to take a non-English-speaking Chinese housekeeper to the hospital because she became dizzy after a shower curtain rod fell on her head. This episode of Jericho was kind of like that situation, in that it led to confusion, laughter, and ultimately disappointment, as I did not actually get to go with her in the end, and Jericho still doesn’t make any sense.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t love it. We begin this week with Jake and Fat Cop breaking into someone’s house and yelling their name. Victor? Vendor? Bender? Robots aren’t just hanging around Jericho, Jake. Try the future. They inch up the stairs and find a pile of blankets, which causes Jake to struggle up a face of Extreme Disappointment. He lifts the blankets to find a rather white old gentlemen, dead with an expression that says, “How on earth did Sanjaya survive another week?” Fat Cop says it’s because the temperature dropped so fast, which just conjures up images of The Day After Tomorrow, in which I picture Jake being chased through the streets of Jericho by a deadly layer of frost. Someone let me make a movie, already.
Conveniently enough, a town meeting is taking place about this very issue (the generator problem, that is, not fast-moving ice or Jake Gyllenhaal). Winter’s here and there’s not enough power to heat people’s homes. Grey is at the helm, gabbing on and on about how totally screwed they all are. He joyfully announces that at the current levels of consumption, they’ll all be out of gas and diesel in only two weeks. Papa Green, sadly sitting in the audience and not busting out his rockin’ Mayor skillz, mumbles to Mama that Grey is only succeeding in scaring everyone. Heather pipes up, and I immediately think that her solution is going to be something like harvesting the blood of unicorns to power the rainbow machine. Instead, she suggests that they should be building windmills. Hey, Heather? Shut up. Harry, some sort of energy dude, shows up to give them all some more grim statistics. There is general dismay and a round of grumbling.
Meanwhile, Fat Cop has informed Hawkins of the presence of his sexy mystery woman. Hawkins skips on over to the Sheriff’s office and he Looks at her. This means Something. But I’m not yet sure What.
Henry the energy guy is on Hour 2 of shooting down Heather’s windmill idea, saying that they don’t have the parts that they need. Roger, of the Returned Legion of Zombies, pipes up and tells everyone about the Black Jack Fairgrounds. He and his undead buddies wandered through there during one of their marches of death, and discovered that it has become a sort of trading post, with people exchanging food, information, machine parts, and Wiis. Grey balks, but Heather’s whining is too powerful for one man to stop, so she eventually convinces him and the town to put a small gang together to go check it out. Any volunteers? Every single citizen looks back at Jake, who’s all like “Wha? Me? I’m just a simple circus performer! I know nothing of these machine parts you speak of! What is bomb?”
Credits. They still play little snippets of Morse Code over the title screen, and they used to list what they meant over on Wikipedia but some douchebag took it out. Anyone out there understand Morse Code? It’s imperative to national security, dammit!
Over at the Sheriff Office of Luuurve, Sara punches Hawkins in the face. And it’s about time someone did, I say. She says someone on the team sold them out and she knows it’s him, but Hawkins denies everything. Why? Well she punched him but he didn’t punch back, so that means…something. This is quite the battle of wits we’ve found ourselves in. She relents and asks if anyone else has showed up, and Hawkins tells her about Victor, that guy who turned up earlier in the season who looked like he had been microwaved. Anyway, he only survived a few hours and didn’t spill the beans about anything. No one else made it back to the rally point, which by now we all know is Jericho. How did she escape, by the way? Well, due to her classes in Jack Bauer Kickassery, she was able to take out all three of her captors and escape, running from refugee camp to refugee camp. Hawkins is glad she made it. She points out that he left her. He knows. A smoldering love fest, that’s what this is.
The townsfolk are going over the Black Jack excursion itinerary. Hey Roger, would it kill you to shave? It looks like a small family of groundhogs have taken shelter in your burrow of facial hair. Let’s try and clean up for the meeting next time. He tells them that they need to be careful with the guards, who are pretty ruthless. Heather decides that she’s coming too. Jake is flabbergasted, as he is always, over everything, but she keeps at it, insisting that she’s the only one who knows anything about wind turbines. And WHY is that? Fun Trivia Fact: Heather was a double major in college, with degrees in both Education and Windmill Construction. Jake refuses several times, but we all know what’s gonna happen here, say it with me: he gives in with a sigh and a weary smirk and they’re off to the next adventure!
Outside the town hall, Mary Bailey tries to talk to Mama Green. Apparently this girl has a major death wish. She says that she knows about April’s pregnancy and wants to know if there’s anything she can do. Mama unhinges her jaw and consumes Mary Bailey whole, leaving behind nothing but a soiled dishrag. Actually she just says that Mary’s already done quite enough, but it has the same kind of effect.
Dad and Jake are yelling at each other in the increasingly-popular hexagonal town hall lobby. Dad wants to know why Jake’s always gotta be the first one to jump in the fire. Hey, Dad? Didn’t you see the entire town looking at him expectantly? He brought this upon himself from the moment he gave that child an emergency tracheotomy. They chat about the plans for a bit, and Dad says that he wants to come and be a part of the circus. Jake asks him if he cleared it with Mom, which is so clearly a set up for an elaborate joke I can more or less just see it wafting around in the air. As expected, Dad lists every single one of his life’s accomplishments to illustrate how important and capable he is, then ends with a sheepish “Of course I asked your mother.” WAHP WAHP.
Emily and Roger are awkwardly sitting around in her bedroom. Roger is meekly looking around as if he’s never seen a house or any of its contents before. He picks up a book, pointing out that he never thought he’d get a chance to finish it. The book? The Exciting Adventures of Super-Grover. He and Emily cry and touch heads, the international sign for a hug-that’s-not-a-hug.
Hawkins brings his dirty stumpet Sara home to his wife. AWKWARD.
Hey, it’s Dale, the teenage murderer! He’s looking at the gun with which he shot and killed Mitch Cafferty. That’s real smart, kid. Fondle it daily. Skylar, the object of his bepimpled affection, finds him and they look through the store. He shows her that all he has left in the store is a bucket of rotten carrots. Skylar tells him about her father down at the SALT MINE (important later), who always did whatever it took to keep things running. She says she might have an idea of how he can fix things, but he might have to take a little trip. Into her PANTS.
Heather needs to talk to Jake, dammit! She apologizes for springing this on him, since it’s so weird because they kissed that one time a month ago and they hadn’t spoken since and do you like me? Check yes or no. Dad excuses himself quite gracefully: “I’m just gonna, you know, leave.” Pause. Stare. He flees. Heather KEEPS TALKING, insisting that she just wants to help and it has nothing to do with him. Jake is like, I seriously don’t care, in fact remind me who you are again? Dale comes running up, yelling for Mr. Mayor like he’s six years old or maybe seven, and tells him that he wants to come alone on the road trip too.
Dale wants to take all the crap that Gracie had saved and trade it in for better things. If he can’t do that, he’s just going to end up giving everything away to the townsfolk, because, I’m noticing a theme here, he just WANTS TO HELP. Well. Jake notes that it’s “one hell of a crew we’re putting together here.” I agree. It’s not often the combined IQ of a car of four people is less than that of the car itself.
Darcy is mad at Hawkins about Sara. Can you believe it? Bitch needs to chill OUT! Hawkins doesn’t want to lie to her but at the same time can’t tell her anything either. Darcy reminds him that he let a stranger into the house four years ago, and after that he left the family and never came back until a few weeks ago. I bet he told them he was just going out to buy ice cream, too. She can’t watch him to do this to poor Sam again. She angrily hands him a pile of blankets to take downstairs to his dirty trollop.
Sara is all sorts of naked in the basement. Hawkins stumbles in to give her the blankets but doesn’t say anything. He brings her over to his Lair of Evil and shows her the surveillance of him and Sam playing football. She asks who’s watching him, and Hawkins says, “My guess? The old man.” Phillip Bauer?!? She asks Hawkins if he still has the package, which he does. Sara keeps talking about the old man, how he’s been coordinating this thing since the beginning and feeding them info, so why would he turn on them now? Hawkins tells her to contact him and tell him that they’ve met up, and to see what he says about all this. My guess is that he’ll just yell at them to get off his front lawn and chase them with a rolling pin.
Jake, Papa, Heather, and Dale pile into car for what will probably be the Worst Road Trip Ever. Frankly, I’d shoot myself if I were locked in a car for several hours with these yahoos. I’d prefer Mama and Mary Bailey and Eric and April. Who would be the first to die? Think of the nonstop excitement! Anyway, they all arrive at the Black Jack Fairgrounds, noting a sign that says “Thieves will be strung up”, as if this will somehow become important later. Weird. The similarities to a spaghetti western end here, as they surrender their guns and get a number, like it’s a coat check or something.
They get out of the car and look around the parking lot. Heather cheerfully asks if the whole stringing up of thieves is just a bunch of hogwash, when the camera pans back to reveal a body hanging by a noose. They gape in total shock. See Heather, this is what happens when people ask silly questions.
After CBS gives us a commercial break so we can compose ourselves and recover from the SHOCK, our intrepid young upstarts check in at the main tent. Someone is getting beaten up. Heather chirps “Not like eBay!” Shut. Up. They all split up, which is clearly a fantastic idea.
Back in Jericho, Emily watches Roger awake from slumber. She informs him that he fell asleep midsentence while shaving. Uh, so how did he finish? He’s completely shorn now, which just leads me to believe that Emily shaved him herself as he slept, which pretty much takes the cake in terms of creepy things Emily has done (a long list). She says for maybe the sixth time that she can’t imagine how awful it must have been for him. Just ask him already, Emily. You’re not being very subtle. He decides to tell her a secret about something beautiful he saw, but she has to promise not to think he’s crazy. That’s a pretty tall order from a shaving narcoleptic.
Sara is regaling her story in the Hawkins Family Circle of Sharing. Allison cuts right to the chase and asks about the ravages of radiation poisoning. I like this girl. Sara elaborates on the massive burns, tissue loss, and copious vomiting, but sadly Hawkins puts a stop to it and shoos the kids upstairs. Darcy just sits there and defaults back to her sour face. She gets up and tells the LURVERS that she knows the kind of people they work for, and she can also read between the lines of their LIES. It is at this moment that I realize who Sara reminds me of. She’s the black version of Izzy from Grey’s! I DEFY you to argue otherwise!
Mama sidles into Mary Bailey’s bar and demands that they sit down and have a drink. “With a side of arsenic,” she fails to mention.
Heather is poking around someone’s wares (ew) when a dirty man asks her how much. Heather, oblivious to reality, asks how much for what. The dirtball says “An hour?” After several more questions, she finally catches on and becomes outraged, as the guy shoots back “Fine, a half hour?” Hehe. Gotta appreciate that persistence. She screams that she’s not a hooker, which he counters with “Then what are you doing here?” He makes a good point. Jake jumps into the fray like the puppy dog that he is and starts shoving the guy around, but they’re broken up by a handful of new guys of the non-sketchball variety. Heather recognizes someone she knows, and why shouldn’t she? He looks for all the world like David Arquette! His name is Ted Lewis, and he and Heather grew up together in a nearby town. He introduces her group to his group. Heather tells them about the windmill generator that they’re looking for, and Ted informs them that he knows a guy that doesn’t report to the main tent but has some specialty items, if you know what I mean (dildos and Cheese Whiz).
Some dude in charge tells Dale that he can’t sell anything made of out nickel because it absorbs radiation. Or something like that. Science! He refers them to a list of items in demand, which contains SALT. Papa launches into a speech extolling the virtues of salt. I know all about this already because I’m from the Salt City (Syracuse, NY shoutout!) and we have an honest-to-God Salt Museum. It’s BITCHIN.
Heather tells Ted about the airdrops from China, which is weird because his town got some from Germany. I don’t know what this means but sounds like these two should get together and have a rice-and-schnitzel party. The other guys tell Jake about how Ravenwood raided their city. They say the sheriff managed to keep control and now crime isn’t a problem anymore, but when Jake probes as to how he managed that, they don’t answer. Shadyness? No way.
They approach a large board that contains several news headlines. Russell, one of Ted’s guys, tells Jake that lots of people pass through and bring information with them. Jake tells Heather to write it all down, and Russell drags him around to the back, where it gets even better (if you know what I mean). The other side reveals a large map of the country with red dots and green stars. Jake asks what the stars are for, and Russell sneers that each one stands for a capital. Of what? “The federal government.” Interesting. Jake whines, “There are six stars up there, where’s the president?” “Which one?” I don’t know, just pick one from 24. Presidents show up like Jehovah’s witnesses on that show.
Jake gets a whole commercial break to try and comprehend this, but as we return he’s still confounded. He asks who’s in charge of the military, and Russell explains that there’s more than one of those too. The line of succession has pretty much been dissolved, so now a handful of senators have decided that they should be in charge, and they’ve all staked a claim. Jake immediately decides that he is also now a president. Well not really, but I can totally see that happening.
Dale is complaining as usual, saying that that the whole thing was a bad idea. Papa reassures him, insisting that it would have been a lot easier to just close the store and that Gracie and his mother would be proud of him. Dale explains that when his mom died, there was nothing he could do, but when Gracie died…Papa cuts him off and says that Mitchell will get his due. Yeah, with a gunshot to the gut, eh Dale? Eh? EH?
Mama is sitting with Mary Bailey in a Tea Party of Doom. Mary explains that she doesn’t drink on the job. Mama ignores this and says, “To be honest, I have difficulty understanding how many ways I dislike you,” and she pulls out a list. HAHA! Please, someone just rename this show Mama Green! and follow her on her various escapades of vengeance. She says that what she did to April was awful but that April will get through it because she’s strong. Yeah right. A mild breeze could knock that girl over. She goes on to say that Mary is breaking up the family and she probably won’t ever be able to forgive her. Mary gulps down her drink. She fell in love with Eric and that’s her mistake, but he fell in love with her too and that’s just something they’re all going to have to deal with. Springer! Springer!
Roger is still rambling on about his beautiful vision. He tells Emily how he went for help, and walked for days but ended up passing out in a field somewhere in Nebraska. He thought he was going to die but he saw a bright light in the sky, so he went towards it and, a few miles later, he found the newborn baby Jesus asleep in a manger. No, actually he just found the refugee camp, so the light saved his life.
Papa catches up with Jake, who has found a guy that has the windmill generator. The guy smarms that these parts are in high demand, and that just yesterday he turned away someone who had offered 80 gallons of diesel. Jake’s brain lightbulb slowly flickers to life, and he offers the guy a shitload of salt from the Jericho salt mines, and if he ever wants to see any of that they have to make the deal today. The guy agrees and stumbles off to retrieve the generator. Dale starts poking around and finds a back room that contains beds with handcuffs and blood on them. Ooh, sexy. Papa, ever the upstanding gentlemen, refuses to support this, whatever it is, and the guy kicks him out. Dale furtively glares at the part as they leave, which means…
…that he has stolen it. He trails behind the rest of the group, then catches up and shows it to them. This is why we don’t bring teenagers on trading post vacations, they’ll steal anything that isn’t nailed down. Jake whines that they have to give it back, but the guy has of course caught on and is now yelling and chasing after them. They just stand still and we’re off to some commercial adventures!
The guards demand that they hand it over. Jake tries to give it back, saying no harm done and that it was a mistake. But the guards, adhering strictly to the entrance sign, want to string the kid up real good and drag him away. Papa objects and picks a fight with a guard, then Jake jumps in. Russell, apparently the sole voice of reason, pulls out his gun, so everyone backs off. How come when I do that I just get tackled?
Sara and Allison are discussing the joys of shooting a gun. Aw. Sara gets a page that says “Locate and retrieve the package. Eliminate your contact.” She tells Hawkins that it’s the old man, who’s trying to turn them against each other. Only a handful of people know what they know, and that they need to protect that. Hawkins decides that they need to go see him, and that if he is in fact behind this they need to take him out. Also, there’s a chance he won’t come back. Only a chance?
Darcy is making something in the kitchen, or possibly sharpening some knives. As Hawkins walks in, she says that she knows he’s leaving. She’s worried about the kids, and asks if he trusts Sara. When he says that he does, Darcy says that if Sara becomes a threat, that he needs to kill her. Hawkins is surprised, and probably a little turned on.
The road trip gang runs away and into the car. Jake peels it out of the parking lot and towards a huge barricade, which Papa insists they will not be able to get through. He begs Jake to stop, but before Jake can ignore him completely and get them all killed, Russell cuts in front of them. He drives through a nearby trailer, and Jake follows, delivering them all to safety. Yay?
Later on, the two groups part. They thank each other, and agree to trade salt for the service of building parts. Heather tells Jake that she needs to go with Ted because of her vast knowledge of windmill construction. She can help do something for Jericho. Jake refuses, of course, but she tries the romantic angle and tells him that it never would have worked between them because she’s not dangerous enough. I disagree. Remember when the girl tried to make ice out of fertilizer? She’s certifiably insane. She assures Jake that she’ll be fine, then hugs him and takes off with Ted and the guys. Jake is left alone, looking Confused about his Feelings.
Hawkins is washing the dishes. This family is CONSTANTLY washing the dishes. Sam comes in and asks for toothpaste, so Hawkins gives him a Ziploc bag with something white in it, possibly crack. He tells Sam a little story about how when he was teething he never cried, and that he’s the bravest person Hawkins knows. Sam wisely asks him what the hell he’s talking about, so Hawkins tells him about how he’s leaving for a few days and painfully spits out that he loves him. Hawkins is such a teddy bear.
Mary Bailey is cleaning up the bar, when she finds the List of Evil that Mama had brought. As it turns out, it’s not a list at all, but instead a reminder that says “Be nice. She’s going to be family someday.” Mary doesn’t smile at this, presumably because she’s an evil robot.
The Apple Dumpling Gang returns to Jericho. Fat Cop greets them, and they regale the story of how they had the part, lost it, and lost Heather too, but only because she’s going to go work on it elsewhere. So the whole trip was fairly pointless. Great. Papa reviews the day’s events with Jake, insisting that the crazy escape attempt through the barricade was unnecessary and stupid. He could more or less just tape this speech to Jake and replay it every week. Skylar comes around and takes a look at the stuff that Dale got. He asks her how much salt her family owns, and tells her that they just might be rich. I suspect the Frito-Lay corporation will start poking around any day now.
Sara is down in the lair, texting away like a teenager in homeroom. Mystery Texter asks her if she has located the package, which she has not. They ask, “How should we proceed?” She answers, “We use his family.” What, steal their crack toothpaste supply? You monsters!
I’m glad they’re starting to give us information here. This show is still straying into Lost territory every once in a while, but at least the answers here are somewhat more precise. Six presidents? Sure, why the hell not. It may be a clusterfuck, but at least the presidents aren’t time traveling or experimenting on castaways or admiring their four toes. Thoughts? Comments? Any spare windmill generators out there?