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Headscratchers: Jericho

The TV Series

  • Why is the 10th Mountain Division, which is headquartered at Ft. Drum, NY and would have been deployed to Iraq at the time of the events suddenly at the Beck and call of the west-based Cheyenne government? They're a part of the XVIII Airborne Corps, which is HQ'ed in Fort Bragg, NC, so wouldn't they be under the command of the East-Coast faction?
    • It's possible that Beck's particular unit was on the west coast for training or transportation, or that he and his men were recalled by the AS government before it was clear that there were indeed two separate factions in the US. Careful observation, however, will reveal that Beck's 10th Mountain insignia is colored differently than the real unit, perhaps suggesting that this is wholly the ASA's version of the 10th Mountain.

  • There's obviously a teenage girl (Skylar) in town who is holding unsupervised parties at her house after the bombs go off, and not a single adult takes her in or assumes the responsibility of looking after her. And she's been sleeping with Dale for months and isn't pregnant?
    • Teenagers aren't necessarily stupid, and condoms last a long time. Why should Skylar be pregnant, again?
    • It's implied that people offered, and she turned them down. Also, she's just about the least of the town's problems. Besides, she's got what looks to be the nicest house in Jericho, and she sees herself as holding down the fort until her parents get back from New York.
    • And just because they're living together doesn't mean they're necessarily doing it. Some people actually have the morals and self-restraint to not go boning everything in sight just because they can.
  • They're always going on about the shortage of fuel to run the generator in Jericho, but there's ALWAYS a car with a tank full of gas to go out in.
    • Having cars available to travel and transport objects are too important to dry them all up.
  • Bombs only went off in about 20 major urban areas - and not even in every single state! There should be plenty of towns and local governments in contact!
    • Fallout. This troper was dismayed to learn that the Modesto Bee was the biggest paper in California, meaning his town was probably wiped out after San Francisco got hit.
    • The EMP effectively destroyed all but the specifically designed communication equipment (like Hawkins' laptop). Those governments don't even have the ability to phone the building next door, let alone tell anyone higher what's going on.
  • The bombs went off BEFORE the harvest, but they're short on food even after the harvest... in the middle of the breadbasket of America, where they grow food for in excess of a a half-billion people (they don't just feed the USA, but export the food, too), a good number of are dead now and the harvest wasn't shipped out anyway. That's like starving to death locked in a fully-stocked supermarket.
    • Jericho has plenty of crops. The people who are starving are from towns that have no farmland, like New Bern.
      • Actually the lack of food in Jericho was an important plot point in not having enough to feed the small group of refugees.
      • Jericho's farming community was never geared towards feeding the town; it was geared towards providing for the various farming and food industries of America. The only farms they have access to are in a small radius around the town and that means there could very well not be enough food to go around, especially with the added burden of refugees.
      • Also, it's both shown and implied that the farmers of the Jericho area own relatively small, family farms, not large-scale factory-farm operations. And unlike New Bern, they weren't about to go stomping onto land that didn't belong to them. This troper has lived on a Midwest farm for 12 years and knows that even in the best of times, that would mean that they would make enough to cover expenses (feeding their families, property payments, bills, agriculture-related expenses, maintaining machinery, etc.) and if if things are good, they'd break even. If it's a particularly great year, a farmer might make some profit. Jericho did not have a great year after the bombs went off.
      • Speaking of which, why was Stanley carrying the Idiot Ball when he was negotiating for the pesticide? He's already cannily shown he knows Uncle Sam is pretty much finished and with it, any chance of a cash economy or even a chance at selling his crop for export. So he could have negotiated some kind of barter agreement in which he gets pesticides then and there, and first call on anything that comes into Grace's market after the harvest and delivery. But no, he storms off in a huff.
      • And yeah, Grace is a hard-nosed and somewhat selfish negotiator, but she can't really be blamed all that much considering the way the townfolk have been less than decent to her on occasion after the bombs went off.
      • To be honest, everyone pretty much carried the Idiot Ball until immediately before the attack by New Bern. Gracie expecting to be paid for food after a nuclear attack, the Greene's politely asking people to donate gas to keep the medical center up and running, everyone in general just pretending as though they weren't absolutely cut off from the world and left on their own. That Stanley didn't realize his crop would have to be eaten by the townspeople for sheer survival boggles the mind.
      • Speaking of Idiot Balls, talk about Roger and the refugees! They keep acting like the town of Jericho can magically pull some food out of a magic hat and change the fact that there just is not enough to feed everyone. Even resettling the refugees into abandoned houses doesn't change the fundamental math. (the Aesop, I suppose, is that humans have a hard time understanding true scarcity when the Western World mostly has artificial scarcities driven by corporate hype over new products)
      • To be fair to them, it's not like the refugees have a whole lot of choice. Even if the town doesn't have the food to feed them, going out on the road means near-certain death.
  • April should have known the pregnancy wasn't going well - after several months she was barely showing, if ever at all.
    • Denial is not an unusual response to the situation even in normal circumstances. After the apocalypse, with minimal medical help available? Completely understandable.
  • Mimi worked for the government and there's not a single living person/friend/relative/distant acquaintance left in the United States who she may have known and could contact?
    • The communications networks are down. All of them. That's kind of the point of the show.
      • That's not the point. She doesn't talk about anyone, doesn't try to contact them when government steps in in season 2, just settles happily in Jericho.
      • No, in Season 2, both Stanley and Bonnie ask a friendly J&R employee to look up Mimi's family. They didn't find anything.
  • When the United States has been attacked, don't you think you'd get your rival for mayor involved with the town government instead of ignoring them and letting them paint you as the bad guy?
  • The state of Texas sure not only declared itself independent awfully quickly, but they repainted their planes and got an embassy set up in Cheyenne in less than a year.
    • It's Texas. They've been waiting for this.
    • Why the Republic of Texas move its seat of government from Austin to San Antonio? Austin already has all the facilities and infrastructure for running the whole state-turned-nation. San Antonio would require some major work to be turned into a capital. The only reason to move to San Antonio is the abundance of military bases there, which might indicate a military government, but that doesn't seem to be the case at the end of season 2.
      • Maybe I'm misremembering but wasn't Austin on the list of cities that got nuked?
      • This troper is a Texas National Guardsman, so he can answer a few of the questions: As to how quickly they repainted their planes, adjusting the unit flash on a plane is not complicated, but even then, all National Guard aircraft have a flag or unit decal indicating their state of origin. Further (this more for the uniforms than anything else), Texas actually has its own in-state military forces (the State Guard). These include an Army component, an Air component, and a Maritime component. They wear the exact same uniforms as the Federal forces (ACU for the Army, ABU for the Air component, and MARPAT for the Maritime component), except they have a Texas flag instead of a US one, and are completely untouchable as far as the Federal government is concerned. They are also seriously underfunded, as you can imagine, but the patches, uniforms, and all that do exist, so transitioning Guard forces and State forces into a 'National' one wouldn't be difficult. As for San Antonio...no idea. The only two cities destroyed were the troper's hometown of Dallas and Houston. Maybe the move was symbolic?
      • Some countries do have two capital cities: the Netherlands and South Africa are prominent examples. Perhaps Austin remains the administrative center while San Antonio has become the home of the president/prime minister/whatever and where foreign embassies are based.
  • Branching off of the above, how is the ASA able to provide all of its soldiers the appropriate flag patches, it's government buildings their new flags, its schools new text books and set up diplomatic relations with foreign countries in the space of six months?
    • The ASA does seem unusually progressed as noted, particularly given the likely state of the industrial capacity for making all of the above. It's not complete however, as Major Beck's uniform still has "US Army" on the chest for about half of season 2 before switching to "AS Army" later on.
    • Producing patches is actually not a very difficult thing to do. All they had to do was activate the Army and Guard units in their area of influence, and produce the patches in time (I can order a name patch for my uniform and have it made for me on the spot at almost any Army-Navy store). If anything, the ASA forces are somewhat underequipped: note that the Kevlar helmets that they are using are not the high-speed MIC Hs that all military forces are using now, but Cold War-era PASG Ts. Which are not nearly as nice.
      • Remember: J&R had been planning all this for a long time.
      • Except they haven't. The show even severs this line of thinking by revealing "John Smith" is the guy who set the bombs. The season 3 comic goes a step further and details how he came up with his plot, in an effort to stop J&R from becoming too powerful in the government. It's just that certain aspects of his plan went off the rails and gave Valente and Tomarchio the opening they needed in the chaotic aftermath. I wouldn't be surprised if Valente and Tomarchio were actually sincere in their attempts to create a new country.
      • John Smith got the last laugh, though, because furnishing that J&R report from 1993 makes it look like they were behind the whole thing.
  • It's said repeatedly that the bombs detonated were 20-kiloton nuclear warheads. That's about the same size as the Trinity test, or the Fat Man bomb detonated over Nagasaki. However, checking this against the data provided at the High Yield Detonation Effects Simulator reveals that a 20-kiloton detonation (particularly if set off near the ground rather than an airburst) wouldn't even dent a wall over 2 miles out. Many of the cities such as Chicago and Seattle are quite a bit larger than 4 miles in diameter. While the city would certainly cease being livable due to riots, lack of power, lack of food etc, the city wouldn't be "gone." It bugs me that "nuke" automatically means "full size superweapon" without actually understanding what yield numbers mean.
    • It's said on at least one occasion that the bombs were "high yield."
    • That being said, the knock-on effects of the fallout, plus the chaos that would ensue from having 20 cities knocked out at once - chances are the USA simply fell by its own weight when the full magnitude of the disaster made itself felt. And then, just when people figured they might get the country back on its feet, hello EMP.
  • How is it so many soldiers "turned coat" and joined the AS military? Country and duty and patriotism is almost a prerequisite to joining the army, and a lot of stock is put into serving your country once you're in the military. I have a hard time believing so many soldiers, like Major Beck, would all of a sudden decide the Allied States is their boss and refer to the US as a "foreign nation".
    • I think what happened is that in trying to preserve order and serve the nation they swore an oath to defend, they were subtly brainwashed into believing that the ASA was the new America and that the east-coasters were the rogue state. Same thing that happens in most every civil war - our side is what the nation was meant to be, and the other side are traitors. Thing is, on the other side, they're telling their people the same thing.
      • Agree with above, and also, bear in mind that military forces are designed to have very strict chains-of-command by default. This is one of the reasons you can see coups in foreign countries succeed with barely fifty men conducting them. At a certain level on the chain, all a Soldier wants is to be told what to do, initiative be damned. This isn't because they're dumb or lazy, but they are, by nature, trained to operate in a team and think as part of a group (which is why they can succeed at so many different mission sets). Having any kind of chain-of-command reestablished, following such a disastrous setback, is something that won't be questioned too harshly. There'd be grumbling, to be sure, but for the most part, they would support the transition, if just for the sake of stability.
  • Why even have "John Smith" doing what he did? He could just as easily have been a J&R employee, deep cover mole, instead of the man who helped precipitate the worst disaster in world history. And there's still the obvious question of why it is his interests coincided so neatly with Valente's in using the nukes to vastly rearrange the power structure in the USA.
    • The season 3 comic reveals that John Smith is a former J&R employee who saw how the company and its contractors were insinuating themselves deeper and deeper into the US government, and that it's dealings were very suspect. He put a bunch of Raven Wood employees on leave because of PTSD, drug use and fighting, only to have them kill his wife and put him in the hospital. When he realized that they had no oversight, and when he's diagnosed with cancer, he decided to put into motion the decapitation of the US government. He just didn't count on J&R and the ASA. That's why he planned to use the nuke meant for Colombus in Cheyenne. Velente and Tomarchio were allowing J&R to do things that were technically illegal - like take over the disposal of former USSR nuclear material from the military - and Valente established a CIA task force to track down Smith and his terrorist cells and keep them from being held accountable. It's possible that Smith's plan would have worked if all his bombs had been in position. As it was, Colombus and New York escaped destruction and Lawrence, Kansas, was destroyed instead of any number of more likely targets.
      • Still, it seems like Smith's plan fits the very definition of overkill.
      • Indeed it does. It's given no subtle treatment that he's basically insane for thinking that way.
      • If he was diagnosed with cancer, he might have though of it as his Dying Moment of Awesome. Remember all that talk with Robert about "making history"?
  • And who caused the EMP? I currently suspect J&R because shattering the US communications networks would slow revelations about the conspiracy they're engaged in to cover up their deep involvement with covert ops specialists as well as attempting to seize power in the USA's remnants.
    • EMP bursts are part and parcel of any explosion, even a small one. A nuclear burst produces a significant enough EMP to shut down electronics over a large area. Twenty bombs going off would definitely shutter large portions of the country's grid.
      • The 20+ bombs set off were essentially ground-level nukes. The EMP induced by these bombs would be highly localized. But when J&R (or someone) set off the bombs many miles high in the atmosphere, that EMP was enough to shatter the North American energy and communications grid. (See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_nuclear_explosion )
  • in episode four, the electricity in the clinic runs out. What this troper wants to know is, what the heck kind of clinic only has one bag valve mask?? A big deal is made about having only one (though it was called a hand pump ventilator in the episode), but most ambulances have at least two. Did I miss something??
    • It's a small farming community that doesn't even have a Costco.
      • wait—they have a hospital. Why don't they have a convenience store? They have a gas station, don't they? Makes no sense. In addition to that, this troper happens to live in an extremely rural mountain town, and no, we are not suffering a lack of bag valve masks.
      • This Troper actually lives in Kansas and can tell you that Jericho is fairly accurate as to how the smaller towns in western Kansas are. Jericho has a population of 5,000 and they don't have a hospital. They have a medical center so small the loss of a single doctor (mentioned by April in "The Walls of Jericho") is enough to force the rest of them into a "state of emergency". It's fully believable that they don't have more than one bag valve mask (keep in mind they also didn't have medicine to treat Sepsis in Johnston Green). Also, as an aside, Costco is larger than a convenience store, more like a smaller Wal-Mart.
      • Ah. This troper lives in rural Vermont, not Kansas, so that's probably why the logistics of the town make no sense to me. The point still stands though; bag valve masks are standard equipment for ordinary EMTs—a medical center would surely have more than two (they are reasonably reusable too, especially if it's a state of emergency, so it's not like they would run out within a week or something).
      • While Jericho is a small town in western Kansas, it's real-life counterpart, according to a map on the CBS website, is Oakley. Oakley has half the population of Jericho and does have a hospital. However, a hospital in a small western Kansas town might have trouble keeping its doctors, so Jericho might have been suffering a shortage of medical professionals.
      • Oakley might have a hospital, but Jericho doesn't. They have a medical center with a handful of doctors and a shortage of a lot of medical equipment (again, cannot treat sepsis, and April even suggested an ineffective treatment). It's probable that they don't have more than one hand pump, they don't have an ambulance of any sort, and were totally reliant on the electric facilities and airlifting any serious cases to another, better equipped hospital (perhaps even the one in Rogue River). Again, perfectly believable that Jericho - an in-universe podunk farming town - does not have important equipment that's viewed as the standard in the civilized world.
  • Early in the show Chinese (and apparently Germans too) drop some supplies and, that's the last we hear of involvement of foreign countries. Why? Was that a token effort to clear their conscience?
    • There's the sheer scale of the relief efforts required. The East and West coasts of the US would require the largest relief effort in human history just to keep them above anarchy so the much less populous American heartland is obviously going to get the short end. The Midwest has a lot of open land that escaped fallout and ready access to food from the farms so humanitarian aid there isn't so urgently needed. Besides that, the Allied States of America, the Independent Republic of Texas and the United States of America all vying for sovereignty would complicate the issue. A civil war on the horizon, leading to UN peacekeepers operating in the US, would make it difficult to approach humanitarian aid (does China send aid shipments to the USA and risk the displeasure of the ASA? Do they send shipments to the ASA and risk them collapsing to a begrudging US market in the end?).
      • Yeah. And I seem to recall an episode where the Canadian Prime Minister proclaims "neutrality". That must mean that on the world stage, leaders of countries face a judgement call about whether to openly support what appear to be breakaway governments, or simply declare "hands off" (and if the nukes hit the USA bad enough, Canada was surely hit by a lot of indirect collateral damage; Canadians would have no desire to accidentally start a war on the North American continent after a nuclear catastrophe) - IIRC in our real world, the lack of effective national authority in some countries can complicate relief efforts. What I'm curious about is how the US Army RFID tags got on those pallets; that must mean that initially, aid was coordinated through the apparently legitimate US government before the wannabe political rivals made it harder to send further aid.
      • Early on the ASA couldn't have been half as organized as they are by the series' end so there might be a blurry line between what is the actual US government and what's the AS government using military equipment still marked as belonging to the US. Or it might be a sort of joint effort between the two factions to send relief aid only for it to break down as political fractures became more apparent. Or, heck, the ASA might not yet even exist. Those efforts were early on.
      • A lot of countries are also probably looking inward. The sudden implosion of the United States would have severe economic and geo-political effects on the world stage. There may be a scrabble going on to replace the US as the premiere world power, while at the same time trying to stave off the consequences of the world's number one economy just vanishing. Anything going on inside the old borders would probably be considered inconsequential in light of that.
  • Where did Eric get off being angry at April for filing divorce papers? He was cheating on her with Mary. And he was going to leave her anyways for Mary! So when did he think he had the right to plan to leave her and yet be angry when she already filed the paperwork?
    • Probably like most people who cheat on their spouse, he blamed his actions on his wife and saw the marriage failing as HER fault and not his own, therefore, in his way of reasoning, he should be the one filing for divorce. Or he could just be one of those that cheats but never itnends on leaving his spouse nor wants to commit to another woman either.


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