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'Jericho': It's never too late

July 27, 2007 | 11:01 am

Tonight's "Jericho" rerun is a perfect example of the show in top form. Even if you've never seen an episode, you'll be able to enjoy this one thanks to a self-contained central story. Then it's worth sticking around through the season finale, as the show really hit a stride in the home stretch (oddly at the exact time the ratings fell apart after its ill-advised winter hiatus).Jericho_300

Titled "Semper Fidelis," the installment originally aired in March and features the arrival of U.S. Marines in Jericho who bring hope and good news with them. Unfortunately, things aren't quite that simple...

But bad news for Jericho means good news for fans and newcomers. Everything in this hour works.

Spoilery details after the jump.

The resolution of the Marine story line is supremely satisfying, especially since the entire Green family becomes involved (Pamela Reed and Gerald McRaney really kept this first season grounded with their excellent work). Even Jake's (Skeet Ulrich) single episode flirtation with one of the fake Marines (Erin Daniels of "The L Word") feels right and Ulrich and Daniels work up a nice chemistry.

But the episode's knockout punch comes in the continuing saga of Robert Hawkins (Lennie James). Sarah Mason's time on the show reaches an end and her death at the hands of Robert's daughter, Allison (Jazz Raycole), is thrilling and bold. There's something rather creepy about Allison becoming the second teenage killer on this show. It's precisely that kind of unsettling choice that underscores the bleakness and desperation that makes "Jericho" stand out from other network dramas.

And the cherry on top of the hour is the "C-story" furthering the unexpected romance between big city IRS agent Mimi Clark (Alicia Coppola) and country boy farmer Stanley Richmond (Brad Beyer). Proper appreciation of their story takes familiarity with the show, but in just a few scenes the couple once again prove their unique value to the series. Coppola's character grew into one of the most enjoyable supporting characters in the first season and the slow-burning relationship between Mimi and Stanley gave the show some needed humor and warmth.

"Semper Fidelis" will make you glad CBS gave "Jericho" a second chance.

-- Geoff Berkshire

(Photo courtesy CBS)