Jericho S1E5/6: Federal Response/9:02:00am

by thethreepennyguignol

Thank you so much for bearing with me during this short break – things have been enormously and unexpectedly busy the last couple of weeks, and, much as I love the chance to talk to you lovely people about this lovely show, I have mostly been lying face-down in piles of pillows and eating crisps by the multipack.

But anywhere! We’re back in Jericho, with the two episodes that deal with the town after an EMP attack puts everything back a few steps, and the survivors must navigate the pressing concerns that have arisen as food and other supplies begin to run short. But I don’t want to talk about Jericho in this recap – I want to talk about the family at the centre of Jericho. And that is, of course, the Green family.

Of all the episodes so far, it’s these two that do the most to illuminate the status of the Green clan – both within the town, and within their own quartet. It makes sense, in a lot of ways, since the family has literally been pulled into a far smaller space – Jake is back in town after years away, and Eric’s home recently burst into flames and forced him and his wife to move in with his parents. There’s a claustrophobia to the high stakes and close quarters – but it brings out some of the most interesting relationships and dynamics that Jericho has to offer.

With Johnson Green the patriarch of the family but also of Jericho at large, the Green clan often boxes itself into representing only its best side for the sake of the people. Eric’s obvious infidelity and the cracks in his marriage are swept under the rug for the sake of decency; Jake’s past is obscured (both to the audience and the cast at large) as he has to step up as a son of the town’s leader instead of just a man in his own right. When the family’s ranch is robbed, and Jake slips straight into revenge mode (not unjustifiably), the Green family have to consider not just the best way to protect their property, but how to prove that Jericho will not descend into anarchy as a result of the attack. As Jericho (the town) teeters on the brink of chaos and tempers start to fray, the Green family, more than ever, has to reflect the best of what this place can be, even if they’re hiding some of the worst of themselves, too.

And while I find that a really interesting concept – that push between personal chaos and political and public portraiture – what I really love in these two episodes is the careful, intimate family moments that come as the shine starts to come off Jake’s return. Jericho as a show is one that really handles well drip-feeding plot details without making the characters feel like they’re dancing around what they already know but that which we don’t – there’s a scene where Jake and his father discuss the latter’s dislike of his son’s past and choices in life, and it’s a simple, character-true scene where Johnson basically points out the lack of usefulness in dwelling on their deep familial chasms right now without info-dumping about what Jake has been through.

But this recap, more than anything, is a stan article for Gail Green. There was so much room for Jericho to just go with a down-home well-meaning mother figure and leave it at that, but Gail (as played by the brilliant Pamela Reed) is more in line with brilliant matriarchs like Floyd Gerhardt from Fargo; she’s a woman with a deep understanding of the world that she is a part of and her place within it, and with a fierce protectiveness of the very best of that status quo can look like. I love her and Jake’s easy fondness for each other, and I think that Skeet has the best chemistry with her of anyone else in the show so far. There’s a reason that Johnson has stayed mayor so long with her at his side, you know? Gail is a representation of everything good that Jericho has to its name, and also the ruthlessness that’s going to be required to keep hold of it as things take a turn for the worse.

I’m so enjoying this first season of Jericho so far, and I really have to pick and choose when it comes to what I want to talk about, because I know I could just spend thousands of words breaking down each little thematic detail and how they come together every week. If you’re watching along with me, how are you enjoying things so far? If this is your first time, what are you making of the show? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

If you liked this recap, and want to see more stuff like it, please feel free to jump into some of my other recapping projects – the Fifty Shades of Grey book series, the first Harry Potter book, Doctor WhoGame of Thrones, and American Horror Story, to name a few. I also write about movies with my brilliant co-editor over at No But Listen. If you’d like to support my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or buying my books!

(header image via CBS)