THE SHOW: Jericho (ITV)
THE PAIRING: Annie Quaintain (Jessica Raine) and Johnny (Hans Matheson)
THE MOMENT: Annie and Johnny dance underneath the stars
Confession 101: I’m a sappy romantic. Anything includes the smoldering look or emotional impact in every touch while maintaining a classy, old-fashion barrier is a win. Sadly, this sense of charm and romance is no longer the standard, but an exception. For this reason, any story that achieves this element of old-fashioned romance and I’m a goner.
One of the recent period dramas I’ve found that caters to my romantic heart is ITV’s Jericho. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived series that did not earn a second season renewal. But the series is worth seeing, uncertain conclusion and all. The romance you’ll encounter in its world is, in my opinion, one of the most swoon-worthy yet. There’s no “big” key moment so much as it’s constructed of smaller, honest and raw moments between the leads, Annie and Johnny.
The pair meets on the road to Jericho. Annie is a widowed mother of two trying to repair the financial damage her husband left behind. Johnny is a man carrying secrets. Fate throws them together when Johnny ends up renting a room in Annie’s boarding house, and beyond that, a terrible secret binds them together.
The Build-Up – Annie and Johnny
Unlike some romances, the first meeting between Annie and Johnny isn’t charged with fireworks. But I felt something there, especially on Johnny’s part. He’s curious about the reserved woman traveling alone with her children. Time passes, and the two meet again only for fate to play a hand in nudging them together. This arrives in the form of Johnny rendering Annie a service that’s both horrific and kind without restrictions. (Saying more would be giving away a HUGE spoiler, so I’ll be cryptic.)
This sets into motion an altered basis for their relationship going forward.
In the beginning, Annie puts up walls, asking Johnny to move out and stay away from them. But the pull they feel towards one another is not to be denied. The ties that bind them are unconventional, but they are charged with a beautiful spark and bouts of flirtatious banter sure to inspire a smile.
The Romantic Moment
Selflessly, with no expectation of anything in return, Johnny gives Annie the funds to escape a dangerous situation. Without really knowing her, a desire to protect this woman springs inside him. Placing a satchel of money in her hand, he tells her, “Take the children and leave here.”
With reverence, Annie sincerely thanks him.
Later while he sits off by himself, lost in thought, Annie finds Johnny to thank him for this gesture. When she approaches, he states, “I thought you were leaving tonight.” With relief, he confesses, “I thought I’d never see you again.”
She tells him she can’t go back home, not yet. In the interim, she says, “Here’s as good as any place to wait.”
His eyes never leaving her face, Johnny moves in closer. Annie softly inhales and takes the hand he extends.
Standing close together, Johnny places his arm about her waist and gently tugs her closer. No words pass between them as they begin to sway and twirl under a starlit sky.
In this scene, it’s not difficult to see the emotions play across Johnny’s face. He’s falling deeper in love with the widow whose scars keep her careful.
When danger again looms for Annie’s family, Johnny is the one to keep Annie stable. To calm her. To reassure her each time he gathers her in his arms. Watching her carefully, we see the anguish and devastation play across his face as he comes to terms with the reality of Annie’s distress. Eventually, we see him make the ultimate sacrifice as he places himself in the line of guilt to keep a secret.
However, this isn’t where Annie and Johnny’s story ends. But in order to discover whether or not they find the happy ending they deserve, I recommend you watch the 8-part miniseries. It’s now on US DVD or available to stream on Acorn TV.
Have you seen Jericho? What was your favorite romance or story of its eight hours? I’d love to know your thoughts!