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Hail To The Thief

At Richmond Farm, a line of seven marines line up in their dress uniforms, their guns in hand. They're preparing for the three-volley salute, usually saved for military and police funerals where there's an actual body to mourn. Of course, we've never had a death of the country, so this might make sense. Sorry -- we've never had an official death of the country.

The Usurper President begins his speech by saying he's just so chuffed to be with them that day on such hallowed ground. The Usurper's flag flies above children in sundresses sitting on the hoods of cars. The U.P. goes on, saying that the dead gave their blood to protect their lives and liberties, "And so WE honor THEM." The U.P. does something here with his face. When I first watched, I thought he was imitating Bush, but I've come around to thinking he's doing an amalgamation of Clintonian lip-bite and a Bushy squint-wince. The marine in charge shouts something.

Hawkins pounds away at his keyboard. He keeps getting denied access to a certain file. Jake bursts in, checking to make sure no one followed him. He walks up to Hawkins, his hand over his mouth to hold back the vomit. He drops his gun on the desk and croaks, "It's over." His sheriff's badge and handcuffs follow the gun with a clatter. "He's dead." Hawkins furrows down at Jake's sloughed sheriff's trappings. Jake paces and clarifies, "The reporter's dead." Hawkins exhales a quick breath. He's clearly sorry for Jake, but he also clearly expected this.

Richmond Farm. The marines fold up our flag to a funereal triangle. Eric, to his credit, can't even watch. A marine presents the folded flag to the Usurper President, who in turn, presents it to Gray. "Accept this on behalf of a grateful nation," the Usurper President intones. Usually, when this sort of ceremony is performed, there's actually a corresponding dead body. The body of a soldier. My mother-in-law was presented with such a flag. There is no human body here. There's just our usurped flag, representing the barely cooled corpse of our fragmented country. Of course, this glib president could argue that the flag represents all the dead of Jericho. If that was the case, he should have handed the flag to Eric, the son of an actual deceased military man, and not to Gray. The folded flag is the United States of America. The marines fire three times. At the first shot, Eric jumps. Mimi cries without tears. Gray winces at the second shot. The Usurper President basks in the deadly glory of the third shot. The new flag flies.

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