I saw a topic in a random forum the other day titled “Anyone watching Jericho?” Most of the other topics on the forum had a gazillion posts, but this one had only 3. One person said he thought it had been cancelled, another said *crickets chirping*, and the other thought it was a show about the wrestler Chris Jericho. So there you have it. Jericho, ladies and gentlemen!
We begin this week with plucky Stanley and Friends patrolling the street on the edge of town. They see a mysterious figure with a lantern approaching. Stanley of course starts to freak out, but as the person gets closer it becomes clear that he is in fact…Billy Elliot! Or possibly a Newsie.
“I just want to do ballet.”
Papa, meanwhile, has returned and has brought a tornado of judgment and yelling upon Grey. He updates him on the situation in New Bern, but before they can get into the details Stanley storms in with Billy Elliot. Billy hands Grey a radio, which crackles to life with Constantino on the other end. He first tells Billy, aka Henry, that he can go home now. Hope that kid has an iPod for the long walk back. Constantino goes on to scream at Grey that since his men killed eight of his deputies, he now wants seven farms and half of the salt mine, otherwise they are going to invade Jericho. He says that for the sake of his people, Grey should surrender. Oh boy. Another riveting bartering episode.
Eric is now moping around the hospital. He looks into some poor woman’s supposedly private room and has a random April flashback. Mama notices him creeping out her patients, so she gives him a quick hug and drags him away before security does.
Dale, the little shit, is currently taking a farm from an old woman. Charming! She says that she can’t handle it anymore and that they’re probably going to take it from her anyway, so if he can defend it against the New Berners, it’s his. Skylar wonders aloud how he’s going to manage that, and he says that he’s going to recruit men. But he does so with a dose of smarminess that I thought would be fatal in kids his age. Seriously, I HATE Dale.
Mama is fixing up Eric when Mary Bailey stops in to say “Who’s up for some paint thinner?” Actually, she just wants to see Eric. They share a nice, long hug right in front of Mama and the Ghost of April (HA HA). Mama winces but eventually smiles. The Ghost of April cries some more.
A riot is about to break out in Dale’s store. He tells the unruly people, who happen to be refugees, that he now owns the second largest farm in Jericho. He offers them three square meals a day if they promise to help him defend it. That way, they’ll have a stake in the town and will no longer feel like outcasts. Or as Dale puts it so much more eloquently: “Who wants a future?” Lovely! SHUT UP.
Grey and Company are sitting around in his office with their thumbs up their asses. It’s been four hours, which is exactly how long Constantino gave them to come to a decision. Grey hasn’t called him back yet because he doesn’t have a decision, therefore there is nothing to say. Hey, maybe if no one does anything this whole thing will just blow over on its own!
Jake and Emily, who are for some reason part of the Mayor’s Cabinet of Hard Decisions, pull themselves out of the Caucus of Intrigue for a minute. Jack tells her that Heather has gone missing. She asks him if that means that she’s dead, but before he can answer a loud screech is heard. Jake pulls her to the ground as bombs go off outside and the windows are blown in. He gets up and runs downstairs and out onto Main Street, where hapless citizens are lying everywhere. Including Mama! Oh hell no! We can’t kill Mama! Before Jake can give her an emergency tracheotomy, another mortar hits and Jake looks Panicked.
“Hey, while we’re down here…”
After commercials, the townsfolk are flailing everywhere. Mama is totally fine, except she says that she can’t hear. Aw, Bonnie will have a new friend. Grey clears the street and demands that the shelters and hospitals be opened up. Because they’re closed right now? Did Eric barricade himself in the emergency room in an April-related hallucinatory rage? Grey gets Constantino on the radio and yells at him for, you know, bombing his town. Constantino gives him another hour to make his decision, then informs him that next time it will be three mortars, and the attacks will continue for as long as it takes for Grey to cave. Stanley runs off to find out where the missiles were launched from, and promises to take them out. Yeah. Good luck with that.
Darcy finds her husband in the mess. They’re both kind of panicked, which is kind of cute I guess. I like when Hawkins stops acting like a know-it-all and starts getting real. The Real World: Jericho. They both agree that they need to get the kids out of there, then he tells her about a safe house in Montana. Which is great and all, but there’s not really a way to get there. So, great plan, HAWKINS.
“Isn’t this FUN?”
He starts yelling at the frightened citizenry to get themselves underground. You know, in the vast Jericho subway system. Darcy suggests that they maybe go home, so they do. Little Sam wanders into Hawkins’ concrete basement lair, and Hawkins tells his wife that that’s really where they should be, since it’s reinforced and ruggedized and whatnot. They start looking at all of his SuperSecret Stuff. Darcy notices Sara’s picture on his Big Board of Suspicions, so she shoos the kids out in order to have a talk with her husband. But before she can start yelling, he comes clean and tells her that there will be no more secrets. Except for the one about him dancing around in her underwear.
Grey and Company listen on the radio to Stanley, who is out in the woods. He’s found the mortar cannons, and radios back that there are two of them on the back of a pickup truck near a bridge two miles out of town. There are ten men guarding it. Grey seems to think that Stanley and his ragtag team can take them all out, but Papa insists that they need more men first. Eric, in perhaps another post-traumatic fit, grabs the radio and tries to warn Stanley not to do anything. But Grey wrestles it back, says that it’s his call, and tells Stanley to take them out.
Hawkins tells Darcy that he’s not sure he can keep them safe. But whatevs. He says that she and the kids are what have gotten him through all of this, and then he apologizes for everything. She says that she missed him. They hug and kiss. Allison watches and smiles. I yawn. This family is cute and all, but I liked them better when they were shooting up the bad guys.
Grey and Company sit around and wait for word from Stanley, but nothing comes on the radio. The ground starts to shake and they hear explosions. He screams into the radio for Stanley, but there is no answer. Every single week Stanley’s life is threatened. I no longer believe that the man can be killed. At the end of the world it’ll just be him and the cockroaches and Keith Richards.
Later, Stanley returns (see?) with one other guy, who has been shot. He tells the crowd that more men had been waiting for them on both sides, and they wouldn’t stop firing. Papa shoots a very I-told-you-so look at Grey. Stanley then says that everyone else is dead. This is the cue for Jake’s weekly Fit of Anger. This week’s installment is aimed squarely at Grey. Jake lunges at him, then is pulled off of him by his family (who are getting really good at that by now) and Papa murmurs that they’re going to meet at Mary Bailey’s. Ah, a good old fashioned coup. Where’s my Coup Hat and Cape?
At the bar, the menfolk strategize and go over their plans. Papa reiterates that they are JUST scouting; they’ll figure out what the deal is and then plan an attack. Emily pipes up and says that she’s coming. Everyone wonders how in the hell a vagina made it into this meeting, but she insists that this is not a request and everyone just kind of looks vaguely confused. Soon these womenfolk will want the vote!
Cut to everyone riding around on horseback, “scouting”. Looks like a merry game of polo to me. One of them finds a suspicious truck, so they immediately assume that it’s a supply truck and get right to it. Hawkins sets up his sniper rifle while Jake and Eric ride up behind the truck. Jake pulls forward to the cab and climbs on, pointing the gun at the driver. Suddenly, a bunch of motorcycles pull up behind them, while a bunch of hooligans trap Hawkins and Emily. A car pulls up and out of it steps Jonah, our old squirrelly friend and Emily’s father from the beginning of the season. To review: Jonah is a douchebag. Review complete.
Papa, apparently in the mood to experience the effects of repeatedly running into a wall, is currently trying to bargain with Dale. He wants Dale’s “men” to help take out the mortars, but the little sonuvabitch wants more farms before he gives him any help. He brats that it’s “just business”. I think that Papa should take Dale out back and give him a much-deserved ass-whooping, but instead he winces and asks Dale to just do it. For him. Eh, a beating would be more effective.
Jonah has apparently been getting by for the past few months by robbing trucks for a living. Admirable. He asks Emily to come with him, because every truck-robbing gang sure does need an elementary school teacher. She says she can’t leave Jericho (again – why? Is it the free hourly orgasms?), then goes one step further and asks for him and his men to help them defend their fair town. In fact, she promises him half of the town’s stuff. Uh, Emily, might want to run that by someone else before you start giving away valuable resources. Because the last time that happened, well, you’re at war now. Just saying.
Papa is trying to convince a couple farmers not to give in. Good luck with that. The team returns with Jonah, when Fat Cop arrives to announce that Grey has his seven farms (nice work, Pops) so he’s about to call up Constantino and inform him of the happy news. Papa decides that it is in their best interest to “make a deal with the devil”. The devil being Jonah. He sends Eric and Stanley off to prevent Grey from making the call. I hope their strategy involves some sort of interpretive dance.
Alas, their plan simply consists of barging in and yelling. Which, as this show has proven time and time again, is ALWAYS effective. Grey is quite fussy at the moment, so he screams and whines for them to leave. But they don’t want to. His security goons try to wrestle them out, but they fight back and everyone draws their guns. Really, everyone. I think a few people hiding in garbage cans pop up just so they can draw their guns as well. And we cut to commercial.
And we’re back. Eric informs Grey that Jonah has joined them, and that the team is going to be able to take down the mortars. Grey dissolves into a blubbering idiot. And Constantino is calling. Great. Eric tells him not to make the deal, and instructs him to instead stall and buy some time by fabricating a bunch of detailed negotiations. Apparently Grey is “good at this”, though from what I’ve seen the only thing Grey is good at is bitching at everyone for his own failures. And then getting shot.
Team Jericho, meanwhile, have loaded themselves into an enemy truck somehow. I don’t know, I think I blacked out for a portion of this plotline. Either way, Papa is now in the cab of the truck with some guy he competed against in a bass fishing competition once. Really. The truck arrives at the enemy camp, and when Papa sticks a gun in the driver’s side, he tells his superior that he has chow in the back. The guys at the camp all gather around the back of the truck, all excited that they’re getting some food, when…WAHP WAHP. It’s a handful of armed men instead! Hilarious!
“Oh boy, food!”
“You’re not food!”
Grey, meanwhile, is still yammering on and on to Constantino, arguing the finer points of dairy farms vs. soy farms vs. corn farms. Wow. Apparently Constantino is just as fed up with this debate as I am, as he catches on with what Grey is trying to do and immediately tells him that the negotiation is over. Good on you, Constantino.
The bass-fishing driver starts to freak out and tries to alert the other guys in the camp, but this just results in a massive firefight. Team Jericho is wondering where the hell Team Jonah is. Papa points out that they probably don’t want to just saunter into a raging battlefield, so Team Jericho stops firing. And, as expected, once they stop Jonah and Friends come riding down the hill like he’s Gandalf and they’re the Riders of Rohan, and they have arrived to save the day at Helm’s Deep. (Too nerdy? Well, suck it.) Team Jericho just kind of watches and winces in horror as we hear the shots of the battle offscreen. Too bloody? Or too expensive to film? Or are their faces simply so expressive that any battle scenes would be eclipsed by their exquisite acting skills? I don’t know the answer. Uh…soy farm.
After it’s over, all the bad guys are dead. That was easy! Team Jonah start to loot the bodies. The bass-fishing driver, who was shot in the leg, reaches out to Jonah expecting help or possibly some sort of medical aid. Papa screams no, but Jonah ignores this and shoots him in the head instead (the driver, not Papa). Emily comes into view and is horrified by what she has just witnessed, as is the rest of Team Jericho. Jonah’s all, what? Something I said?
Hawkins is a pretty princess.
Later, Jonah takes pretty much all of the booty. Say what you will, but the man is a shrewd businessman. He should team up with Dale. Emily tries to stop him but he shoves her away, saying that she’s just a schoolteacher. Hey, that’s what I said! For someone who wanted to bond with his daughter earlier in the season he’s got a real shitty way of following through on that. He should just buy her a pony. As Team Jonah drives away with all of the guns and fuel, Jake watches him wistfully and whines that they need guns. Hawkins says that guns are easy. He then brings Jake to that house he had followed Sara to that one time, the one full of guns. I think they found a dead guy there or something. Whatever.
Grey and company, who are so out of the loop by now, are wondering what the hell went down. Papa returns and informs him that they took out the mortars. Time to celebrate! Actually, hold that thought. Constantino is on the radio and boy is he PISSED. He sneers, “No more deals. No mercy. We’re coming. This means war.” Haha. This means war? Who does he think he is, Bugs Bunny? Grey sheepishly looks over at Papa and says that he’s going to need his help. They shake on it.
A bunch of people have gathered on Main Street. Jake and Hawkins arrive with the new stash of guns. Papa stands up on the truck and delivers a speech that is not unlike Bill Pullman’s (or President Thomas J. Whitmore’s, if you will) rallying cry from Independence Day. I think he may have actually have a stolen line or two. It isn’t a fight about land, it’s a fight for their very existence (yup, that’s direct plagiarism), and they should all be praying for themselves, for the New Berners, and for forgiveness. Now for the fun details. Every able-bodied citizen over the age of sixteen will be getting a gun. Huzzah!
“Are we fighting aliens? I’m confused.”
And now it’s time for the Community Bonding Montage. As the guns are passed out, the Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These” blares up. Truly a rallying cry for war. Dale and his refugee army join in the fun, and Hawkins happily gives a gun to his teenage daughter. Hey, she’s proven she can use it. Better give her five more just in case. Stanley, who has run ahead on another scouting mission, spies on the sleepy village of New Bern and puts a hardened “War is hell” look on his face. Either that or he’s joined the army of the undead.
Zombie Stanley will eat your soul.
Listen, show. You damn well better deliver on an awesome episode next week. If you’re going to build up the whole second half of your season to a big war between two small Kansas towns, you’re going to want to make it amazing. You know, since you totally shit the bed on making a more interesting show centered around life after a nuclear holocaust and instead focused on petty grudges and corn crop feuds. Just make it good. I expect at least three, count them, THREE facial expressions from Jake, and no less. And promise not to kill off Stanley. If I have to live through another season of this, I want his goofiness to be there through it all. Thoughts? Comments? Someone’s going to die next week, any bets on who?