Notes, including spoilers about last night's episode, after the jump ...
I saw the first three episodes of the CBS drama's second season before the season began, then went on to other things until there were new episodes to view. Then, of course, I forgot to check back and missed the fourth episode a week ago. Caught it thanks to CBS's Web site and made sure last night to record.
And what a thrill ride last night was. "Jericho" is easily this year's "24" (especially since there is no "24") and in many ways more satisfying than that Fox show.
I have said before that I wasn't crazy about the second season's focus on a vast conspiracy to take over the United States, as opposed to its pondering of the nature of community in the first season. But as the second season has gone on, it has presented a marvelous, tension-ridden vise of a situation for its main characters.
That was especially evident on Tuesday, when the aftermath of the farm shootout found Jake and his friends opposing corrupt mercenaries whose ties to the government made them seem unbeatable. In a profoundly cynical twist, that group of bad guys was driven from power not because they were evil and murderous but because one was stealing money from his bosses. Yet the conflict did not end there, since the government is still in power on the larger stage and individual deaths had to be avenged on the smaller stage that is Jericho itself.
But even before we got to the carnage, we had marvelous acting work by Alicia Coppola (as Mimi) and Brad Beyer (as Stanley). And even as one bad grip on Jericho was removed, that act will probably prompt a tightening of the vise overall.
Is it all credible? Of course not. Neither is "24." Is it all entertaining and riveting? Absolutely. I know, there are only two episodes left to this abbreviated season -- and no guarantee of a third. But you've got two spare hours somewhere. Or you could find them.