‘Jericho’ Rerun Report – “Pilot”

Welcome to the 1st Edition of the J.R.R., or the Jericho Rerun Report, where we’ll be reviewing the rerun episodes airing throughout the summer. This is a unique edition of the J.R.R. since I’ve already seen this particular episode. So what’s it like watching a 2nd time around? Well, it’s kind of a mixed bag.

On the one hand, things move incredibly quickly in the early part of this episode with what is a lot of exposition crammed into about four minutes. We see Jake return to the strains of Brandon Flower and The Killers, entering into Jericho and providing a wide cast of characters with alibis as to his location for the past five years. The Navy, the Army, Minor League Baseball. We meet Stanley, Bonnie, Dale, Skylar, and all of the other casts of characters. What we learn? Jake’s been gone for a while, he’s mysterious, and he’s got daddy issues.

I actually think that this is a serious problem with the pilot: everything moves too darn quickly. It seems as if they were trying to fit all of this into a very short period of time, and it just doesn’t work that way. Here we’re getting years of history, family struggles between Eric and Jake, and we’re not even eight minutes into the episode. Starting out slow might have allowed the series to develop at a more natural pace. Instead, all of the “cool” setup is included in the pilot to “sell the show”.

And, to be honest, it sold me on the show’s potential quite quickly. The iconic shot in the image above is a stunning visage, and takes your breath away at first glance. The problem is that for the following ten or so episodes, it wasn’t about bombs and aftermath at all. It became a series about a community trying to return to a normal life, which we only got to see for about seven minutes. It’s hard to get attached to something that you only got to spend seven minutes with, you know?

The quality of the pilot itself can’t be denied in terms of its setup: seeing this town in peril and its characters starting to come together, especially Mayor Johnston Green, is good television. I think that the school bus is a bit clichéd, and Jake is a bit too much of an uber-hero, but it’s the same as with any pilot: things need to be done in a hurry.

And when the show finally gets around to the inspirational speech at the close of the episode, we want to see the town of Jericho survive this ordeal…but it is my belief that we are also more interested in learning what the hell is going on. And then, well, the episodes that follow don’t exactly delve very far into that at all. It is truly a blessing for the show that it will be skipping those episodes and airing the first half recap next week. It can get right through to the parts of the season that, apparently, improve greatly. Until then, the Pilot should leave people satisfied.

Moments of Interest

– The initial attack is still great television, and a fantastic act break.

– Robert Hawkins’ introduction is of great interest because it’s so subtle, so wise. He has all the answers, and there’s something really unsettling about that.

– Dale replaying the message on his answering machine is such a subtle moment, gaining a lot of resonance as the episode moves forward and we learn where his mother was.

– I liked the pilot on the whole, but Jake and his little straw jig was kind of ludicrous.

– There was a great moment where Jake immediately assumed the African-American kid to be the strongest. I wish he had been talked back to for that, would have provided a bit of humour in what was a difficult moment to take seriously.

– Pamela Reed and Gerald McRaney are kind of on their own level in this episode: they seem above the fray, above the panic, above the melodrama. It’s impressive work.

– Watching Johnston put Gray in his place is pretty darn fun, not going to lie.

– I never liked this ending, focusing on Ashley Scott; the character wasn’t a huge part of the episode, and the dead birds isn’t a strong enough image to justify cutting to what, at this point, is a storyline with no resonance. Still, my father reacted to it, so it does the job.

– I’m sure the irony of them airing a Kid Nation advertisement during the broadcast couldn’t have been lost on them, could it?

Any new viewers catch the episode and have any thoughts to share? Any old viewers have any new observations at a 2nd (Or 3rd or 4th or 10th) viewing? Feel free to leave them below. Meanwhile, the J.R.R. will update tomorrow with the ratings information as soon as it’s available. We’ll see what it all looks like in the morning.

5 Comments

Filed under Jericho, Television

5 responses to “‘Jericho’ Rerun Report – “Pilot”

  1. Fred

    1st episode of season 1 is great. 1st episode of season 2 is going to be SPECTACULAR!!!

  2. anamatopoeia

    loved it as much this time as i have the other couple times i’ve seen it. i hope that other people out there, bored with vapid summer television offerings, will find jericho if they haven’t already.

  3. Judist63

    I loved it again just as before and the time before that, although I will say I enjoyed it much better since I could watch it on the bigscreen in my house as opposed to the screen on my pc. The large tv puts the enormity of whats going on in Jericho into perspective. I have been giddie all day long awaiting Jericho’s return and am fully satisfied. I also love the endearing remarks at the end by Skeet Ulrich to the fans for saving the show. To me, it shows alot of class on the part of CBS and Skeet for doing it. A huge thank you to CBS for bringing it back!!!

  4. Rebecca

    I’m glad you mentioned Pamela Reed and Gerald McRaney’s superb performances. Watching it again, I see now how the real emotional beats were executed by them. Pamela Reed is brilliant at playing the matriarch. There’s just something really genuine about her. Skeet nailed the air of mystery, but I think the emotional pull for me in this episode is thanks to these two.

  5. Pingback: ‘Jericho’ Rerun Report: Week One Ratings a Mixed Bag « Cultural Learnings

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