When I reviewed the season 1 finale I said that if they did do a second season it'd probably start after the battle between the two towns was over. I thought that they'd then explain what happened or maybe show a little of the battle in a flashback. And I was pretty much right, with the exception of how much they showed! The opening battle scene was fantastic, on par with most films and had a lot of great action. Hawkins driving the tank across the train lines was fantastic and when the train smashed into it the CGI was amazing. It was really top notch stuff which I was especially surprised with because I was under the assumption that a show brought back from the dead would have a severely cut budget; obviously I was wrong.
While the opening scene covered most of the action for the episode the rest was more about the rebuilding of the town and country. I'm glad they're moving the story forward by changing the dynamic of the show. I'll miss the way it was in season 1, but doing this makes it seem like a season 2 really was a necessity as opposed to just more of the same. Of course the best part about Jericho is its characters, and within moments all the memories of them from season 1 came rushing back. They did a very good job of reintroducing everyone which was no mean feat considering it's been about nine months since the previous episode. For example I couldn't remember Jake and Emily had gotten back together, but it didn't matter because we always new they'd end up together. I was a bit surprised that Jake and Eric's mum was missing from the episode. After what happened at the end of season 1 it made sense, but for a while I was scratching my head, wondering if she had kicked it in the last episode too.
It was a huge shame to see Johnston go last season and I was worried that the show wouldn't be the same without him. However, although he was missed, the show doesn't seem to have suffered for it. After all Jake is still the hero, and a total legend! His and Eric's revenge plan did seem a bit out of sorts for their characters, but under the circumstances it is believable and understandable. The fact that New Bern have gone unpunished was as frustrating for me as it was for the characters, which helped to empathise with them all. There was also no Dale or Skylar anywhere to be seen in this episode, which hopefully means that they're gone from the show. Neither were particularly interesting, unlike the new character Major Beck. He seems a genuinely good person and a good new character for the show.
So it was a triumphant return for the series, wrapping up most of the loose ends from season 1 very well. It also showed the direction this short season will go and has opened up some intriguing stories involving both Jake and Hawkins. Great acting, characters, effects and story; Jericho is well and truly back!