As the episode begins, Mayor Gray Anderson is trying to find a solution to the town's supply problems, recognizing that Jericho does not have enough supplies to survive the winter. He believes that their only option is to begin forcing the refugees who have arrived since the bombs exploded to leave. Some townspeople, having lost faith, are already making plans to leave for the south, believing that it will be easier to survive in the warmer climate. Johnston Green begs for them to stay, fearing that most of them will die or be murdered before they can reach safety. Just when all seems hopeless, a detachment of the United States Marine Corps under the command of a Gunnery Sergeant arrives in Jericho, traveling with an M1A2 Abrams tank, and claim that they are there to help restore electricity. They say that they are under orders as part of the National Reconstruction Act to travel from town to town, rendering assistance and restoring order (which has led to a considerable amount of armed combat). They claim that they are a C Company, 4th Tank Battalion from Dodge City, Kansas. The Marines also convey some news about the war , which they say is now over, and that the formerly feuding factions of the federal government have resolved their differences and are now reunited under one president.
Jake befriends one of the Marines, Corporal Maggie Mullen, and they rapidly become attracted to each other. However, it turns out that the Marines' arrival might not be such a good thing for the town when the Green family begins to suspect that they are impostors. Before the Marines are able to render any real assistance, and after the people of Jericho have begun sharing their own supplies with them, the Marines receive orders over the radio from Dodge City, recalling them to base. Mayor Anderson wants to stay on the Marines' good side, believing that, on their return, they will help to ensure that Jericho receives desperately needed supplies. To this end, Anderson decides to see them off with a fireworks display and a farewell dinner.
During the dinner, the "Marines'" use of the US Army slogan, "Hooah" (not used by US Marines), as well as their addressing of an N.C.O. as "sir," betray their fraud to Johnston Green, who is himself a former US Army Ranger. In addition, when Jake attempts to communicate with their Dodge City command center, he hears the town's fireworks through the radio. Jake then figures out that the supposed "command center" is really someone camping on the outskirts of town.
Without letting the other Marines know what they are doing, a team of Jericho residents goes out to investigate, and they do, indeed, locate and capture a lone man who was faking the supposed radio transmissions from Dodge City. When Jake confronts Maggie about these discoveries, she confesses that they are in fact refugees in disguise who have been traveling from town to town, posing as Marines in order to con unsuspecting townspeople into giving them enough supplies to make it to the next town. The Greens then capture and detain the "Gunnery Sergeant" Marine and learn that he was, before the bombs, a physical education teacher who "watched too many movies." He and Maggie confess that when the genuine Marines arrived to assist their refugee camp, the 10,000 inhabitants began a food riot and the Marines, overwhelmed by the sheer number of refugees, abandoned the camp, leaving some of their gear and equipment behind, including the tank, which the refugees then commandeered.
The fake Marines and the Greens work out a deal by which the refugees will be allowed to leave peacefully, and they are even provided with several days' rations, but the refugees are forced to leave all of their weapons, including the tank, behind. Johnston Green decides not to tell the majority of the people of Jericho about the fake Marines' true identities, however, believing that the myth of a federal government working to restore order is more valuable to the people of Jericho, whose confidence in the government is quickly eroding, than letting them in on the truth. Therefore, the fake Marines are given a heroes' sendoff, and are escorted out of town to the same alley where Sarah executed her comrade in the previous episode. Jake tries to convince Maggie to stay in Jericho, but she thinks that adapting to life there will be too difficult, given all of the lies that she and her companions have told. She leaves with the others. Johnston decides to stash the M1A2 Abrams in Stanley's barn, saying "never know when you might need a tank."
As all of this unfolds, a stand-off occurs inside the Hawkinses' house between Sarah Mason and Robert Hawkins. Suspicious of Sarah's intentions, Hawkins steals her hand-held communications terminal. When he reads her messages, he learns of her duplicity, and that she intends to use his family as leverage in order to acquire the "package." When Sarah discovers the theft, she takes Hawkins' son Samuel hostage, telling Hawkins that she was upset to find that he had decided to return to his family in spite of the relationship that they had had together before the bombs went off. Hawkins wants to know for whom Sarah is working, but she insists that she is now working only for herself. She plans to sell "the package" to the highest bidder in order to ensure her own survival.
Sarah ends up holding Hawkins' entire family at gunpoint, and he decides to hand over the "package," retrieving it from behind a concrete wall in his basement. It turns out that it is the unused atomic bomb that had been destined for Columbus, Ohio. After Darcy attacks Sarah, a fight occurs in which Allison shoots and kills Sarah. Upset and frightened, Darcy leaves immediately with both children. Allison says "I love you" to her father for what seems to be the last time. After his family leaves, Robert makes contact with Sarah's partners using her hand-held device, and pretends to be her, telling her partners that he is now dead and that Sarah wants to know where she should take the bomb to deliver it to them. The mysterious contacts reply that they will shortly communicate where they will meet.
The episode does not definitively state whether or not what the "Marines" tell Jericho about the outside world is true or not. They say that the six regional governments have been re-united into one. They also say that Secretary of Health and Human Services Charles, who is referred to in "Black Jack" as being the first survivor in the line of presidential succession, is now officially the president, and that Columbus, Ohio, where Hawkins' bomb was to have been detonated, is now the new capital of the U.S.A. They also report that the bombs used in the attacks were supplied by North Korea, that the attacks were funded by Iran, and that both countries had been retaliated against in the United States' counterattack. They further say that American forces are still engaged in pursuing the surviving terrorists all over the world. However, since the "Marines" themselves later confess that they got this information in bits and pieces of news that they had heard, and made up material to fill in the blanks, none of it can be assumed to be factual. However, it is worth noting that the "Marines" talked of the "war being over," before they were told that the citizens of Jericho have received little news about the outside world.
|List of Episodes in Jericho Season One|
|Pilot · Fallout · Four Horsemen · Walls of Jericho · Federal Response · 9:02 · Long Live the Mayor · Rogue River · Crossroads · Red Flag|
Vox Populi · The Day Before · Black Jack · Heart of Winter · Semper Fidelis · Winter's End · One Man's Terrorist · A.K.A. · Casus Belli · One if by Land · Coalition of the Willing · Why We Fight