On the one hand, we're grateful to have the show back; on the other, our favorite town is a much darker place
Credit: Cliff Lipson

”Jericho” premiere recap: Nuts so good

Let’s get a few things straight. I love Jericho. I think it’s one of the most relevant, interesting shows to have premiered in the last few years. In anticipation of the new season, I rewatched the whole first season last weekend, to remind myself of everything that happened. I cried when April died. I screamed when Gray Anderson tried to rip Johnston Green a new one. I sat in shock at the end of the season finale.

Well, we fans finally got our way. The ”nuts” campaign was successful, and CBS gave Jericho a second chance, albeit a seven-episode chance. (They even showed Bill eating nuts in Jimmy’s hospital room.) But after watching the first episode of the second season, I’m not convinced the writers and producers have their hearts in it.

I shouted at my TV many times during the season opener, but it wasn’t because of something Gray was doing. The show I loved has changed, and not for the better. Character development vanished, the pacing was off, and there seemed to be no passion or caring in the Kansas town.

I understand that Jericho‘s creative team will have to ”wrap things up” in the seven-episode arc if the show doesn’t do well, but for them to pretty much destroy what they built is disheartening.

My disappointment started with the opening scene. I was hoping the episode would begin with the fight at the Richmond farm; instead we get a squabble with Jake Green and Phil Constantino in the farmhouse. Did anyone buy Major Beck as a figure of power and authority? (He projects as much as power as my pinky.) Every time he showed up on screen, I thought I was watching a high school play.

For the rest of the episode, Jake was off character. Are we to believe that he would snap so severely? Would he forget how he helped keep Jericho calm for months after the bombs? Would he really be so upset over his father’s death that he would become a vigilante and want to kill Constantino in cold blood? I don’t buy it for a second. The first season painted Jake as a man who grew in the time after the bombs; in the first few minutes of this season, we saw that completely unravel.

The same can be said for his brother, Eric. Although it’s a little more believable that Eric would snap. If you recall, in the last episode of season 1 (why it was revealed so late in the season I’ll never understand), it came out that Eric and Jake weren’t close and that Eric didn’t want Jake to be his best man. Perhaps the writers were waiting for the second season to show his manic side.

At least Mimi and Stanley are still around, with their sickly sweet banter. Mimi remains the smart-ass and Stanley the happy-go-lucky farm boy. Stanley’s proposal was one of the few scenes I cared about in this episode, and yes, it made me cry.

NEXT: Missing in action

We also got to see Robert Hawkins and Darcy working together, for once. Hawkins revealed that the government would be looking for Sarah Mason, so that gives him some leverage. The source of tension in this episode was Chavez, another member of Hawkins’ team, who showed up in Jericho. But who really knows if Chavez can be trusted at all? At least his arrival got my blood pumping. Who would have thought that Darcy would pull a gun on him? Brilliant!

Some other things happened that will definitely have repercussions: Jake becoming sheriff, Heather being asked to serve as liaison between New Bern and Jericho, Texas weighing which national government to support, and the new president stopping in town. Is any of this exciting? For me, not really, but we’ll see where it goes.

I was a bit more concerned about who was missing. Gail Green is spending time ”at the ranch.” Hawkins’ kids are with some friends since he and Darcy are once again ”having problems at home.” We probably won’t see Dale or Skylar. Bonnie has apparently vanished into thin air. While most of these characters were supporting, they are what made Jericho a warm and inviting show. Now it’s just cold and uncaring.

Still, while I may be down on Jericho after the first episode, I’m holding out some hope that it may get better. I’m intrigued by what Jake meant when he said of the government contractor Jennings and Rall, ”I’ve seen what they do.” I want to find out who in the government was behind the decision to blow Iran and North Korea off the map. And I really want to find out whether Chavez is with or against Hawkins.

What did you think of the premiere? Is Jericho the way you remember it? And did you also wonder what was in the train that Hawkins derailed during the battle with New Bern?

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