After a long wait, Jericho is finally back and it at least partially answers a lot of questions. CBS' Jericho is following somewhat in the footsteps of Fox TV's 24 and American Idol in broadcasting only new episodes sequentially, without any reruns to gum things up and annoy viewers. Although this puts a long gap between what are now know as the "Fall" and "Spring" seasons, I think it's a good idea for shows like Lost, Heroes and those mentioned above. All of these shows are sequential in nature, depending on the episodes that came before, and it's aggravating to see a rerun in between new episodes on shows like these.
Jericho is one of those "ongoing mystery" shows that were spawned by the success of ABC's Lost. It also happens to be one of the shows (along with NBC's Heroes) which has taken that original concept and improved it substantially. These shows have done that by actually moving their respective plots forward and revealing what's happening in the story and who the characters are at a pace that doesn't leave the viewer feeling like they're getting jerked around.
When the Fall 2006 season closed, there were of course, a couple of pretty good cliffhangers. Just as things were getting cozy between Emily and Jake, her fiancee Richard arrived in town along with a few dozen other people who looked like they'd had a really rough few weeks surviving out in the wild. The other interesting bit was Robert Hawkins' decision to detach himself from whoever it was he had been in contact with via his milspec laptop and satellite uplink, and their foreboding text messages of "We need to discuss why you have been lying to us" and the even creepier "See you soon."
I'll endeavor not to give out spoilers in this review, BTW.
I thought this was a very cool episode, because it didn't start out the way I expected, started taking me in a direction that I thought would annoy me (no resolution of the cliffhangers) but then came back and paid off nicely - especially in regards to the mysterious Robert Hawkins.
The episode opens with a very brief refresher of the previous episode and then takes us back to 8 weeks prior to the blasts, with each scene bringing us closer and closer to zero hour. We finally get to see some serious background on Hawkins and how he is related to what's happened, and it's really juicy. We are also shown how he got his family out of Washington D.C. and the reasons for his family's reaction to him earlier in the season become very clear.
We're also given a good amount of background on Jake... another character that has been shrouded in mystery and for whom the audience really needed some background. The story lets us know where he's been and what he's been doing as well as what brought him back to Jericho.
Next we get to see Emily's relationship with her fiancee and just how close they were (or weren't). Finally we get a bit of background on the mayor, his cheating son Eric and the initial meeting between Stanley and the IRS agent, which is pretty funny.
All in all this was a great "information fix" for the series, and they managed to feed the hungry viewers a big chunk of background on most of the main characters yet still left room for more and mysteries to be solved. Compared to the long, drawn out and sometimes even boring character expositions on Lost (in particular the Elizabeth Mitchell character), I found this episode of Jericho much more satisfying.