Fans of Jericho knew heading into last night’s series finale that there would be a good amount of closure. Though the seven-episode second season was filmed before the writers’ strike, the Jericho writers, led by executive producer Carol Barber, created two endings for the finale: a cliffhanger in case it was picked up for a third season, and an alternate ending that provided closure if it wasn’t.
Jericho was cancelled once again, and so we got last night’s finale in which Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich) and Robert Hawkins (Lennie James) saved the day, which in this situation meant starting the Second American Civil War. What, you probably wonder, would the original ending have looked like? In a new interview with TVGuide’s Matt Mitovich, Carol Barber clues fans in.
The big twist she revealed is that “in the original ending, Hawkins has to sacrifice himself to let Jake get away with the bomb.” Viewers actually saw a bit of this on the tarmac as Jake prepared to board the plane bound for Texas with the bomb. Hawkins said he would stay behind and hold off the Cheyenne soldiers so Jake could get away. In the episode that aired, Jake refused to let Hawkins do it, so he dragged him aboard the plane. Originally, Hawkins would not have been so lucky.
However, Hawkins’ “sacrifice” would not be his life. Instead, Barber says, he would be taken into custody, and the overall story arc for season 3 would involve Jake trying to rescue Hawkins. Barber added that the other part of a possible third season wouldn’t alter much because of the ending. It would still involve the ensuing Second American Civil War between the Cheyenne and Columbus governments.
For the larger issues, the original ending and the new ending aren’t all that different. Both result in Texas getting the nuclear bomb, learning of Cheyenne’s role in the attacks, and aligning with Columbus in preparation for battle. The only real difference is that, in this ending, Hawkins is safe. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the rescue operations in season 3, if only to see how Jake and the people of Jericho could do without the many talents of Robert Hawkins.
But if the stars don’t align and the show is officially dead, I think fans can rest easy. Jake and Hawkins saved the day, which is what the second season was all about. As cool as the coming war would be, the show was never really about that. The larger ramifications of the attacks on American and world history were always peripheral to the basic story of a small town dealing with the events. Jericho‘s focus was always much smaller, and that’s what made fans fall in love in the first place. The reason we loved Jericho was watching these characters in a small town cope with the tragedy. That story is done, and “making history” is a perfect way to go out on top while letting fans’ minds run wild with what the future might hold.
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-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of CBS)