The Main Line

Where have you been?

I have really enjoyed watching Skeet Ulrich grapple with and fill out the corners of Johnston Jacob Green.

From the pilot through episode 29 the requirements of this character have been to bring believability to a most unlikely hero. The Jake we first meet is a shady liar; white lies perhaps but designed to conceal a past which is less and less to his liking. He comes home attempting to turn his life around in episode 1. He needs money, left to him by his grandfather, to help him start a legitimate business. He is the prodigal son for whom a Father and brother seem to have little tolerance. Ulrich plays the role of that early Jake with all the beautiful nuances of a man hitting his thirties and discovering he is very unhappy with the direction his life is going. He has a confidence level that rises and falls depending on who he is talking to and how they are connected to him. These interactions seem to be informed by a real history and are the root of the “Hallmark” Like scenes that some people say turn them off of Jericho. This town and these people feel like our neighbors which is partially why I think some folks are disturbed. Ulrich is heartbreaking as Jake because anyone who has ever failed at something can see themselves in him. Had bombs not destroyed 23 American cities there is no telling where Jake would have gone after leaving Jericho.

But the world goes mad on that day and the character of Jake comes back to his hometown again, this time driving a school bus full of children he has saved. Jericho, the show, almost lost me here but Ulrich amazingly pulls it off. He down plays the action hero stereotype to a point that a really amazing television character is born. A hero who balances his redemption and regret so realistically that we are left cheering each time he himself cannot believe what has just taken place. A hero who even when paired with Robert Hawkins refuses to lose his autonomy and a hero who can fly a plane or go to war with a neighboring town and still seem like someone we know.

Thanks to a masterful performance by Skeet Ulrich the character of Jake Green is a refreshing take on the hero inside of us all.


AmyV said...

Absolutely. While everyone on the show has been great, if either Skeet or Lennie had not so fully become their characters, the show easily could have faltered. I'm a huge Skeet fan now, whereas before I knew I'd heard his name but had no idea why.

Wendy said...

Totally agree with your comments and loved that he finally got to fly a plane. Excellent.

For all things Skeet, check out:


Tons of photos, interviews, audio, video......

auntvonna said...

I absolutely agree! Jake's character was realistic from the beginning IMO, and his subsequent growth was realistic as well. I hope we get a Season 3 to see where he goes next (plus I need some more Jake and Hawkins adventure)!

Anonymous said...

Tero, you'vee beautifully captured the essence of Jake. Thanks!!

I've been keeping a diary as the character of Jake on the JerichoNet Tumblr blog, and it's been a labor of love for me as I try to explain Jake's weaknesses but still embrace why he's a hero and much beloved.
I offer this not to call attention to myself, but to show how I agree with your 'evolution' of Jake. BTW, there's some great work there from other 'characters.'

SaveJake said...

I love this!!!
What you captured and the words you spoke....Well I'm speechless. :)
Thank you Tero.........!!!

erika said...

A very nice study of my favorite Jerichoian! I was never really a fan of Skeet, but he won me over with his portrayal of Jake Green.