‘Jericho’ finale review: ITV’s drama has been entertaining at times

With both young George Quaintain and Johnny Blackwood now freed from their conspiracy, this final episode seemed to dedicate itself quite blatantly to laying foundations in the hope of a second season.

As romance blossomed in the open between Annie and Johnny, barmaid Alma prepared for her wedding to Davey Sharpe and Ralph Coates supposedly prepared to leave town. Though dismissed last time, the former Railway Agent appeared to be in no hurry and was able to scrutinise the new sandstone mine which promises to be the financial saviour of the project.

And there sits a problem. A mere couple of weeks ago saw the site surveyed, and now we have shifted from idea to reality with no suggestion of who dug the shaft – clearly not the men of Jericho, who persist with the notion of it being cursed ground and refuse to enter. Regardless, when a rock fall trapped Dagger and Johnny, and then Charles, Davey and Easter became trapped on a bungled rescue mission; it fell to Coates to save the day.

Cementing his position as the most interesting character in town, the self-serving anti-hero seemed to dispel any lingering doubts that he is an arch manipulator. Saving the day, he recovered his position and later murderously dealt with enquiries which threated to uncover his hand behind the opening episode’s explosion. Also, the revelation of Easter’s parentage was something we didn’t see coming, and it gave him a further angle to work.

JERICHO CLARKE PETERS as Coates

It is a testament to the skill of Clarke Peters that we find Coates compelling; despite his dark heart and the increasingly ludicrous situations, we want him to thrive and the enjoyment comes from seeing continue to succeed.

Conversely, Annie Quaintain (Jessica Raine) is destined to suffer, choosing to turn down the offer of a happier life in favour of her independence in the town.

It seemed like a false situation though, designed to inflate the emotions, as surely the offer will remain when the project is completed – unless we are to believe that Isabella can really charm Johnny into a relationship behind his brother’s back. In truth, we are not sure that Annie’s story has much further to go without a significant change of direction.

Oddly enough for a period drama, given what we are used to these days, the show has felt short on passion. Neither Annie’s slow fall towards Johnny nor the business-like arrangement of Isabella and Charles offered much chemistry. In truth, the most interesting romantic pairing, Isabella and Johnny, was consigned to backstory and barely glimpsed.

JERICHO HANS MATHESON as Johnny

Both Raine and Peters have made the most of what they were given, but perhaps the slow burn approach risked letting the fire go out completely. We hope that a second season, if commissioned, might ramp up the speed as Jericho has been entertaining at times, but rarely enthralling – with a creeping suspicion that there was not quite enough plot to go round.

Despite an engaging cast of characters and inviting Yorkshire vistas, the central mystery took an ungodly amount of time to unravel and the show has definitely felt like a stopping service, not the express train.

images_Stars_3star

Aired at 9pm on Thursday 25 February 2016 on ITV.

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