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 episode 4 here.
We find our heroes playing cards in the bar. The power suddenly returns. An automated message rings to all remaining land line telephones.
Hello, this is Assistant Secretary Walsh from the Department of Homeland Security. Do not be alarmed. If you are safe, stay where you are. Do not attempt to leave. We will be in contact again shortly. Until then, know that help is on the way.
TVs are seen with an emergency alert system screen. The towns folk start trying to call out, and access the internet. Visiting IRS agent Mimi Clark tries to use an ATM at Gracie Lee’s market. Gracie tries to warn Mimi that the ATM is broken, but Mimi inserts her card anyway. She soon finds out the machine is broken and has held her card.
Jake, Johnston and Eric discuss the development in the mayor’s office. They take advantage of the power restoration to charge radio batteries, and obtain gasoline from the gas station. Folks all over town are taking advantage of the power restoration, showering, vacuuming etc.
School teachers Emily, and Heather are at the Jericho Library, when a power surge explodes a transformer. A falling power-line strikes the ground near Emily and stuns her. Fire crews rush to the now burning library.
When Heather finds out one of the children is still inside the burning library she rushes in to save the child. Meanwhile, we find the mysterious Robert Hawkins setting up a satellite dish. Has access to the Internet while others are blocked out by the emergency message.
From Bad to Worse
We discover that Johnston Green is still suffering from his illness. And there are more fires around town. One of the fires is threatening the trailer park. Jericho’s meager firefighting resources are stretched thin. Johnston cuts the power to the library.
Firefighters discover there is no water pressure now that the power is cut. Jake and Stanley rush to the pumping station to restore pressure so they can fight the fire. Eric rushes into the library to find Heather.
The pump station valve is closed and they can’t turn it by hand. Stanley retrieves a rifle from his truck to use as leverage to open the valve.
Eric and Heather become trapped inside the library with the child as the building burns around them. Using the rifle as a lever Jake and Stanley open the valve. Sprinklers inside the library come to life and Eric leads the escape.
Jake climbs to the top of the pump station and discovers another fire near Eric’s house. He also sees Hawkins using his satellite communication system. Hawkins rushes to the library, where he offers to help Jake fight the fire near Eric’s home. They both display ingenuity in activating a pool pump to fight the fire. In this episode it becomes clear to both Hawkins and Jake that neither is who they appear to be at first glance.
Eric’s house is badly damaged, and we discover Dale Turner’s home was burned when the fire went through the trailer park.
Bar patrons see the emergency message flash to an image of the white house podium. Only the bar is able to receive the transmission. The Green’s rush to the bar, but the transmission ends. Tremors rock the bar. Patrons go outside to see ballistic missiles rising into the nights sky.
The Green’s discuss the reality that the United States has not only been attacked but is now at war. They continue to watch the missiles climb into the sky.
Power goes out throughout the town as a flash of light is seen high above. Robert cracks some chem lights as he tells his family that they have just experienced an EMP– Electromagnetic Pulse.
2 Weeks Later
We find the town is still without power. Clocks read 9:02. Teenagers are having batting practice on main street with cellphones. One of the phones breaks a window at Gracie’s Market. Dale comes out to confront the perpetrators and shoves another teen to the ground. It is clear the town is on edge.
Hawkins tells Darcy he is going into assist local law enforcement maintain order. Darcy tells Hawkins he is scaring their children. When Hawkins arrives at town hall citizens are lining up to complain about interruption in emergency services. Bill explains that they are unable to patrol the city because they lack manpower. Citizens are on their own to guard their own property.
Jake overhears criminal, Mitchell Cafferty, trying to intimidate barkeeper Mary Bailey. Jake confronts Mitchell and we discover they have history. Hawkins enters the bar and backs Jake up. Mitchell leaves.
Mimi Clark strikes a deal with Stanley to stay at his farm. In exchange she states she’ll mitigate his debt to the IRS. Stanley discovers his crops are dangerously infested with corn worms. He realizes that if he can’t find pesticides to apply, he must either harvest the corn immediately or burn the affected ares of the crop.
Crime and Price Gouging
Gail and Jake Green are caring for their ranch when bandits make off with their horses. Gail is knocked down by the fleeing criminals. April confirms she has no broken bones, and Jake argues with his father about how to proceed.
Mimi and Stanley go to Gracie Lee’s supermarket to get pesticide. Gracie says the price has gone up, she’ll give him the pesticide for ownership of half the harvest.
Jake goes to retrieve the horses without support. Meanwhile Stanley talks to Johnston about his crops. Johnston and Stanley can’t come to an agreement about how to handle the situation and Stanley storms out.
Dale appears along with the horses. Jake is ambushed by shotgun wielding Mitchell Cafferty. After a blow to the head, Jake recovers and begins fighting with Mitch. Eric and Bill arrive but Mitch escapes with a horse. Dale and another teenager are apprehended.
Gracie discovers that the pesticide is missing. She accuses Stanley and Jimmy goes to his house. Jimmy demands to search the barn, but Stanley refuses. Jimmy searches anyway.
Jake releases Dale after he talks with him. Dale says he know’s where Mitch Cafferty is. Stanley prepares to burn the infested portion of his crops. Mimi admits to stealing the pesticides. Mimi says “it’s every man for himself.”
Johnston’s condition continues to deteriorate. Stanley directs Gracie to the stolen pesticides, as Eric and Jake search a barn for food recovered by Dale. Dale had struck a deal with Mitch to move the food. Mitch returns and is apprehended by Jake, and Eric. Jake pummels Mitch, until stopped by Eric.
At the town holding cell, Jake laments not killing Mitch. Gail demands Dale and the other teen be released. Gail says she won’t press charges.
Jericho rallies the townsfolk and they visit Stanley ready to harvest his crops “no strings attached.” Gracie apologizes for the price gouging.
Jake and Mitchell have a confrontation about who will come looking for Mitchell now that he’s incarcerated in the town holding cell.
These episodes mostly deal with the lack of emergency services in this type of scenario. One thing that seemed drastically out of place was children going to school. I think it would be exceedingly unwise to set up public school as a priority. Children would likely study at home.
The fire department is only able to spray for a few seconds before they find there is no water pressure. Generally fire trucks carry water with them. It would be unusual for the fire department to be unable to spray any water on the fire even without hydrants.
The use of the rifle as a lever to open the valve at the pumping station strikes me as a misuse of resources. Not that it wouldn’t work, but finding something else to use would be more appropriate. A rifle is such an important resource, especially in this type of situation, damaging it would be a major loss.
We are told the nearest missile silo is 100 miles away, however bar patrons feel the tremors from the missiles launching.
Our heroes go to great lengths to not shoot Mitchell Cafferty. This is clearly Hollywood fluff. Mitchell Cafferty is a dangerous individual who is stealing property, threatening and assaulting people with a shotgun. I expect shots would have been exchanged in that scenario.
What they got right
The loss or incapacitation of Emergency Medical, Fire and Police services is a major concern. These two episodes deal directly with the consequences of limited Fire and Police resources.
It is certain that when power is restored TVs and telephones would initially be providing emergency messages.
In today’s society buildings are rarely lost to fire. However, once started they can rage out of control. The part where a fires take out multiple portions of the town is a legitimate concern.
Crime would definitely increase. Folks like Mitchell Cafferty would take advantage of the lack of police. After the Electromagnetic Pulse resources like horses would become incredibly valuable. Security would have to be established to protect livestock.
We see price gouging when Stanley tries to get pesticide. Price gouging is something they obviously needed to include. It would likely be far more prevalent. Gracie Lee determines that she has something that Stanley needs dramatically, and the price goes up accordingly. I hear many folks act like price gouging would not happen or somehow it is unfair. Remember that those who prepared for these types of situations have sacrificed resources now for a situation that may or may not take place. They are expecting a return on their investment.
Armed citizens confronting criminals would likely become the norm very quickly. And rising crime would be the obvious reason. However as stated before I think the use of deadly force would likely increase as well.
Incarcerating criminals would be a major concern. There would probably be far more than just this lone villain, “Mitchell Cafferty.” And the crime wave would likely happen much sooner. This is especially concerning if there is no access to judicial review. In any case, the producers are getting just getting the series warmed up and in the next installment we see how much larger the criminal element is in the Jericho scenario.
These two episodes highlight the problems that arise from loss of emergency services. The scenarios are conjecture and some have a Hollywood spin. But the problems that come with lack of Emergency Services are real and very concerning. A great couple of episodes, from this thought provoking TV show.