I've got a bit of a feeling of déjà vu whilst writing this as I remember writing a review for the season 1 finale and at the time having to look back at the show in general as there was a good chance that would also be the series final. Fortunately that wasn't the case and we've been given another seven quality episodes, but this time the season finale is almost definitely the series finale. After last week's episode it seemed that they couldn't possibly finish off the story in a satisfactory manner and this is was one of the great things about this episode, that it didn't finish the story. They could've rushed through everything and given a happy ending but that would've cheapened the overall show. Instead they finish off the second season's story arc and give enough closure for the show in general to keep the viewers happy.
First off Jake and Hawkins were trying to get back the bomb and met up with Mayor Anderson in the process in Cheyenne. It was nice to see Gray again as he's come a long way from the unlikeable character he was in season one. Instead of just second guessing Johnstone's moves he's shown he is a good choice for Mayor of the town. Anyway, Jake and Hawkins tell him to head back to Jericho to see for himself how had things have gotten before meeting one of Hawkins' contacts. His contact seemed a bit thrown in for convenience, but considering Hawkins' background it's perfectly believable that he could know someone who'd be able to help them.
His contact however doesn't make it through a cool fight sequence where Hawkins is also injured but saved by Jake. "Mr. Smith" finally reveals himself to be 24's George Mason, although runs off straight away so his story can't be explored any more. But again this is what works in this episode. There's so much going on that they couldn't cover it all so pretty much playing points like these as if they would get a third season was the best choice. There's then a great high speed chase where they burst into a Texan embassy (which was a nice touch in the Jericho universe). Again the way Hawkins seemed to be able to get a hold of everyone he needed to quickly and easily enough seemed a bit of a stretch, but for the sake of the finale I was happy to buy it.
The Texan embassy gave them a plane to get the bomb to Texas which was when it appeared Hawkins was going to sacrifice himself for the greater good. This would've been a great way for his character to go out, but what they did instead was even better. Jake refused to let him die and dragged him onto the plane too with the best line of the show: "I'm not debating either, I'm ignoring you", awesome! Hawkins is a great character and the decision to not kill him off ended up being the right one. Of course it wasn't over yet and Jake and Hawkins ended up being followed by two fighter jets. But just when it looked like they were totally screwed the Texas fighters came in to save the day in a scene that showed off some incredible CGI for a TV budget.
Back in Eric seemed to be on the verge of joining with New Bern's Constantino which as Stanley pointed out couldn't end well. Fortunately after a quick scene between the two of them Constantino's remarks made Eric realise that he's the bad guy and joining him would be big mistake. Fortunately Major Beck finally found out the truth about the Cheyenne government and so let Eric and co go free as well as releasing the military hold over the town. The full effects of this decision can't be fully shown in this episode but it gives a good bit of closure to his storyline as well as that of those in hiding.
Again this seemed a bit convenient but because of the great way Beck's been written and acted throughout the season his actions were perfectly believable which helped sell that scene. On top of that Stanley got to bury his sister and essentially married Mimi (on Bonnie's grave which I thought was a bit odd). It was an emotional-ish scene but felt a bit forced within the episode. The two emotionally charged scenes put together the way they were took from the overall effect a little bit, but to be fair that's my only real complaint in the entire episode.
So the show ended on a relatively happy and positive note. Gray putting up Johnstone's "Don't tread on me" picture as the flag was a great statement to end the show on. Although we didn't get to see the fallout of the proposed war that the country would now be thrown into it was heavily implied that "the good guys" were going to win. This episode was jam packed and didn't waste a single second of screen time to move the story forward. Although this made certain parts of feel like things were going by too quickly considering what they needed to do in the one episode it was perfectly excusable. The ending was great, if not fantastic, but was certainly the best way to end the show. Had we been given a quick epilogue type thing showing the war and everything that's to come within five minutes it would've cheapened the experience.
Overall this was an excellent episode and a great way to end the show. That's most likely it for Jericho but it accomplished more in a season and a bit than most long running series ever do. Jericho was a truly great TV show that created an impressive post-apocalyptic type world that was very believable which is a testament to every part of the show from the production design to the actors to the writing. Now everyone go out and buy the DVDs so that a Serenity-esc movie can be made for it!