With "Jericho's" second (and likely final) cancellation announced late last week, this week's season finale has suddenly become a series finale. Thankfully for "Jericho" diehards (and CBS execs certainly know that they are out there), The Powers That Be foresaw this turn of events and filmed two endings for the episode - a cliffhanger and a conclusion. Since the show was cancelled, we received the latter. The only question is - does it satisfy?

The Final Beginning

On to the episode. Jake (Skeet Ulrich) and Hawkins (Lennie James) prepare to journey to Cheyenne in order to reacquire the package (a.k.a. the nuclear bomb) and deliver it safely to the independent government in Texas. It is a thrilling opening, boosted by the usual outstanding performance from Lennie James. Yet it is Skeet's grimy mullet that ultimately steals the scene. The mullet will be missed.

Beck & The Rangers (no, it's not a sitcom spin-off)

Meanwhile, Major Beck (Esai Morales) is given orders to begin the very ominous sounding "Phase 3." Beck, despite being confronted with evidence of Cheyenne's corruption episodes ago, is still blindly following such commands and institutes "Phase 3" with some misgivings. The Allied States troops begin to section off entire streets and neighborhoods in town, and martial law is enforced. It almost makes one long for the short-lived reign of D.B. Sweeney's delightful sociopath, Goetz.

Naturally, the rangers are not happy with this sequence of events. Eric (Kenneth Mitchell), once the ultimate pacifist, decides that it is time to take action. He decides to meet with the treacherous Constantino (Timothy Omundson), the New Bern mayor who had waged his own war on Jericho months earlier. The rationale for the potential partnership is that the two towns could ally and effectively neutralize Beck's forces. However, when the two men meet, Constantino shares his ingenious plan - which is to kill every single soldier in Beck's company. Eric realizes that Constantino has completely lost it and rejects the offer. Honestly Eric, what were you expecting?

Beck, meanwhile, still has nagging doubts about the Cheyenne government and decides to snoop around on Hawkins' laptop before sending it off to his superiors. Conveniently, the first file that pops up when he opens the computer is the document that proves Jennings & Rall was behind the attacks. That information is finally enough to convince him that the J&R folks and the Cheyenne government are not to be trusted, and he and his men declare their independence from the Allied States. He pardons all of the rangers and prepares for the long battle that is likely to ensue.

John Candy would be proud

So what about Jake and Hawkins? Well, they basically star in a much more violent (and less funny) remake of "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" as they make their way from Jericho to Cheyenne to Texas. They successfully hijack the bomb before the mystery man can acquire it, and what follows is a long chase scene through the streets of the burgeoning Wyoming metropolis.

Just as all hope appears to be lost, Hawkins makes a call to his friend Chavez (Chris Kramer) down in Texas, and gives Jake specific directions. The boys end up crashing through metal gates and come to a stop in the middle of the Texas embassy. Texas to the rescue! Chavez has apparently wormed his way into the inner circle down in the Longhorn State because the ambassador is quite sympathetic to Jake and Hawkins' cause.

Jake and the wounded Hawkins briefly rest in the embassy before preparing to fly down to Texas with the bomb. When they get there, the Texas government will have the evidence that proves the corruption of Cheyenne, and they will instead join forces with the Eastern States, a country that we are led to believe is "the good guy."

The flight goes well at first, until two Cheyenne jets prepare to blow up the plane. The situation looks grim for our heroes, until two more planes emerge over the horizon. Texas to the rescue again! The Texans shoot down the Cheyenne planes and escort Jake and Hawkins to Texas. Mission accomplished.

And it comes down to this

In the show's concluding minutes, the folks in Jericho as well as Hawkins and Jake, all prepare for the fact that there is going to be a civil war. It turns out that the "conclusive" ending to the episode that was promised by CBS is anything but. We are left with the prospect of a major civil war, the likes of which haven't been scene outside of a Harry Turtledove novel.

The fact that this abbreviated second season would be the series' last was pretty inevitable right from the beginning. Ratings have been atrocious all season, and no doubt they will be equally poor for this final installment. It is unfortunate because the second season has been nothing short of riveting. The prospect of a post-apocalyptic civil war could have made for some great television, but alas, it was not meant to be. Guess it is back to the unemployment line for Skeet Ulrich...and his mullet.

What did you think of the "Jericho" series finale? Satisfied with the conclusion? You know the drill. Comment below!

Story by Derek Krebs
Starpulse contributing writer