This article discusses the Jericho TV show, a 2006 CBS television series. ***Spoilers Below***
Jericho has gained a cult following in prepper popular culture. The series is set in a small town, “Jericho, Kansas.” The series follows the people of Jericho as they deal with the nuclear attack. In this article, I’ll discuss a few of the plot points. We’ll go over the real preparedness concerns as well as Hollywood fluff. Read our analysis of episodes 5 and 6 here.
Long Live the Mayor
The episode starts with signs of Halloween festivities and Mitchell Cafferty still incarcerated. Mitch states that Jonah Prowse will be coming for him. We find out that Jonah Prowse is a local criminal, who leads a group of outlaws. He’s also Emily Sullivan’s father.
Prowse comes rolling into town in Jake’s 69′ Roadrunner. Jonah asks to post bail for Mitch. Jake strikes a deal with Prowse: the food for Mitchell. Prowse also agrees to keep his outlaws out of Jericho if Mitch is returned.
We see a teenager, Skylar Stevens, trading a jewelry box for a case of diet soda at Gracie’s market. Dale is now living at the market since the trailer park burned. The Mayor, Johnston Green, is still ill and has apparently been consuming antibiotics for some time.
Gray Anderson returns from his scouting expedition. Gray has been Johnston’s rival in the Jericho Mayoral race. He tells the townsfolk about the state of chaos that exists outside Jericho. Gray tells about how he had hitched a ride on a water transport, that was ambushed. The driver was beaten to death by bandits for a few cases of water.
Anderson tells the town that Washington DC was destroyed, but New York survived. Gray says that police in New York caught men with a rented van and a 20 kiloton bomb in a can.
Gray inserts himself into local governance and interrupts Jake’s deal with Jonah. Skylar returns to Gracie’s market to trade back some soda for the jewelry box. Skylar’s parents were in New York, and she believed them dead. Now she wants to recover a family heirloom she traded for soda.
Gracie refuses to trade back the jewelry box. We see people trading items for food. Jake talks with Jonah but it is clear that the town’s decision to keep Cafferty is obviously displeasing to Jonah.
During the Halloween celebration armed men ambush Jimmy at the holding cell and free Mitchell. After locking Jimmy in the cell they leave down main street. Gray prepares to engage the fleeing men with a shotgun when Jake stops him.
Jake confronts Gray and scolds him for failing to support the deal. He makes it clear that Gray has endangered the town, and that Jonah has resources that could benefit the town whether Gray likes it or not.
Jake goes to visit Jonah’s compound. Mitchell and a few of the outlaws fight with Jake, but Jonah breaks up the fight. Jake tries to establish a new deal. Jonah says he will deal but he wan’ts to speak with his estranged daughter, Emily. Jake thinks Emily will refuse. The two are at an impasse.
Gracie discovers the jewelry box is missing and confronts Dale. Dale quits, and questions Gracie’s business practices.
IRS auditor, Mimi Clark, has a breakdown as she comes to grips with loss of DC. She realizes that all her pending cases are likely pointless.
The Green boys return home to find April and Gail resuscitating Johnston. April says Johnston has sepsis and needs heavy duty antibiotics. April says Johnston needs Ciprofloxacin within 12-24 hours or he will die.
Emily meets with Jonah in an effort to obtain the Cipro. Jonah provides the Roadrunner so Jake and Eric can leave town to look for meds.
Dale gives Skylar the heirloom jewelry box. Skylar says he should stay at her house now that he’s lost his lodging at Gracie’s
Emily gives Jake the Roadrunner just before he was going to leave in an unreliable old truck. Eric brings two shotguns and some supplies and the brothers head to Rogue River…
This episode deals largely with agreements and bartering in the post attack crisis. Jake’s agreement with Jonah and Skylar’s trade with Gracie are situations that could plausibly occur. How to deal with criminals is a major concern. Gouging and bartering are also a probability in these scenarios.
Gray states that New York City Police found a “20 Kiloton” bomb. It is unlikely they would be able to determine the yield of an improvised or non military nuke. That being said even a military nuke would require someone with expertise to determine yield based on knowledge of models etc…
If Gray’s statement were accurate, it is important to note that a 20 Kiloton bomb is fairly small as far as nukes go. The first atomic weapons were of similar yield. The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were more effective due to large use of wood construction and high population density in those cities. In large modern cities a bomb of this yield might not completely destroy even the city’s center urban area.
This is somewhat contradictory to Hawkin’s previous assertion that the bombs were “hydrogen bombs.” H-bombs or Thermonuclear weapons have significantly higher yields. The effects shown in the series are more consistent with a weapon over 100 kilotons in yield.
What they got right
The societal breakdown would cause a lot of the problems described in this episode. Dealing with apprehended criminals would be a big problem. What are you gonna do with them? The criminal justice system would likely be non functional. Keeping the criminal incarcerated would require significant resources.
There are certainly some circumstances where it might be preferable to release a criminal rather than feeding and housing them. Of course this decision is not without its negative consequences. A released offender is free to re-offend.
Skylar trading a jewelry box for soda seems an appropriate behavior for her seemingly vapid character.
Broken agreements would be a concern. Trust would be in short supply so breaking an agreement would likely cause issues.
Mayor Green’s failing health demonstrates a real problem in these scenarios. Stress and lack of medical infrastructure could easily result in increased death from illness. Having appropriate medical supply storage might mitigate this type of problem.
Ultimately Jake and Eric decide to make a risky journey to try and save their father. The Green family does not have the needed meds, and people will take risks to care for the ones they love.
Another thought provoking episode. Watching this TV again reminds me how many issues and points the series covered. Great TV.