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Goodbye, "Jericho"

By admin Published: May 19, 2007

One more sign that I'm getting old: I have trouble sleeping late in the morning ...

So it's a Saturday and still, around 6 a.m., my body clock was saying that it was time to do something other than lie around. And one of the things I've done is finally watch the season finale of "Jericho."

Series finale, that is, although the show clearly held out hope for another go-round, strewing the episode with cliffhangers -- the battle with New Bern, the short-term help and long-term threat from the military, a villain seemingly in charge of the government, the arrival of Titus Welliver (not a guy you get only for a couple of scenes, any more than "Grey's Anatomy" had Chyler Leigh just drop by), Hawkins and his nuke ... Plenty of keep the thing going.

On the other hand, it wasn't as sure-handed as some "Jericho's" I've seen. Anyone who didn't expect a major character to say "Nuts" before the faceoff with New Bern hasn't paid read the Big Book of Narrative-Telegraphing Anecdotes. And while the killing of Gerald McRaney underscored that rebuilding a nation means major sacrifice, it also deprived the show of a strong voice of authority (not to mention an actor who knows how to deliver a speech); I suspect that renewal was hinging on a shift more toward the younger characters, and McRaney was so strong onscreen that he had to be moved aside.

Also, even as McRaney was dying, I would have expected more urgency about the pending attack. And, since the Jericho folks controlled the high ground at and around the farm -- and since Skeet's climb let him take out the machine-gunner, wouldn't you have expected them to position some snipers above the fight?

Still, I would have been watching next season. And, since there won't be one, I have rationalized my way into treating the season finale as a proper finish. Goes like this:

As "Jericho" began, the town was divided, its citizens awash in pettiness, selfishiness and power grabs. In addition, the Green family is fragmented and in pain from problems old and new. At the series' end, both the town and the Greens have come to understand what's important in life. They are united, their foes coming from the outside, not tearing them apart from within. Much the way the "Angel" finale (and, for that matter, Disney's Davy Crockett) argued that you fight for good even when the odds say you might not win, "Jericho" reached the same place. It ended with people stronger than ever, heads high, no conflict frightening enough to make them bow.

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