"Patriots and Tyrants" is the seventh and final episode of season two and the series of the CBS drama
Jake and Hawkins go to Cheyenne, where they tell Grey to go home to Jericho. Grey says that the whole constitutional convention is a sham. He and a fellow convention attendee had just discussed the removal of the second amendment from the constitution being written at the convention for the Allied States of America.
Russell tells Eric that Constantino will work with Jericho in order to fight the Allied States. Stanley and Mimi leave to bury Bonnie.
Beck arrests Heather after he discovers that she had removed information from an aerial scan for radiation. When he asks why she did it, she says that she believes that Cheyenne is corrupt, accuses him of working for a fraudulent, illegitimate government, and challenges him to "open his eyes".
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Hawkins contacts the only other member of his team, Cheung, who comes to Gray's hotel room, where Hawkins and Jake are waiting. They soon discover that the nuke will be transferred using an ambulance, in order to not attract attention. Hawkins, Jake, and Cheung go to a hospital that had been evacuated because of a "gas leak." They find an EMT with a gun and soon after, an ambulance. Cheung doesn't trust Jake so he
stays behind. While securing the nuke, one of the ambulance drivers pulls out a gun and kills Cheung and the other driver before he shoots Hawkins. The driver then speaks and reveals himself as John Smith; the mastermind behind the attacks finally revealed in person. Hawkins is surprised that Smith is doing his own dirty work and Smith responds that he wanted Hawkins to, but now he has no further use for him. Just as Smith is about to kill Hawkins, Jake comes to the rescue; shooting Smith in the shoulder before he escapes. Jake attempts to go after him, but Hawkins tells him the bomb is more important. He and Hawkins get into the ambulance and Hawkins tells Jake to head south. Following Hawkins's direction, Jake crashes through the Texas Embassy gate and they are soon surrounded by Texas soldiers. Hawkins tells the soldiers that they are seeking political asylum.
Meanwhile, Beck asks to see the evidence collected from Hawkins's car. On Hawkins's laptop, he quickly finds the J&R report on a nuclear attack meant to cripple the federal government.
Constantino and Eric meet to discuss working together. Constantino tells Eric that the only way that they can win is to kill any soldiers that they capture, since it costs the Cheyenne government money to train a soldier and it lowers morale every time there is a death.
At the Richmond Farm, Stanley, Mimi, and several others are burying Bonnie. Eric, who refused to join Constantino, then arrives to help with the burial. Several soldiers soon arrive to arrest the Rangers. Mimi manages to get the soldiers to give them a half hour to bury Bonnie.
At the embassy, the Texan ambassador comes out and orders the Texan soldiers to keep the ASA military
out. He explains that he has been ordered to get Jake, Hawkins, and the bomb to San Antonio as soon as possible.
A Cessna Citation II airplane is made available and they are to fly to Texas. Jake refuses to leave Hawkins, who had said that he would delay the ASA military. Just as the plane takes off Cheyenne soldiers dismount from their HMMWVs.
Gray arrives back in Jericho and looks around the devastated streets and buildings. He goes to his office where he sees Johnston Green's "Don't Tread on Me" flag.
More soldiers, as well as Beck arrive at the Richmond Farm. Beck tells Stanley that he is sorry for their loss and then tells the Rangers that they are free to leave. When Eric asks why, Beck explains that he told his company commanders twenty minutes earlier that he no longer recognizes the ASA government's right to lead. He says that he considers Cheyenne to be corrupt and that most likely by the end of the day he will be arrested and sent to Cheyenne to be court-martialed for treason. However, until that happens, he is still in charge and he is letting the Rangers take their time.
Back on the plane Jake is flying and Hawkins is not doing well. ASA F-15 fighters come to intercept the plane. Jake is told to return to Cheyenne or they will be fired upon. Jake tells them that they are a Texan diplomatic plane, but the ASA pilots still threaten to shoot Jake down. Just before the fighters fire their missiles, two Texas Air National Guard F-16 fighters intercept and fire missiles at the ASA fighters, destroying them. One of the Texan fighter pilots, Col. Thompson, tells Jake that he has orders from the governor to escort him. In reference to the two ASA fighters he and his wingman just shot down, Thompson mentions, "Son, I don't know what you're carrying, but whatever it is better be good 'cause I think I just declared war on Cheyenne".
Back at the Richmond farm, there is a small funeral and Mimi tells Stanley how much she loves him and how he is her world. They then marry each other together at the grave site, with Stanley saying "I do" and they kiss.
At the army headquarters in Jericho, Beck sits in a chair drinking Dalmore scotch when Heather comes in. He tells her that she is free to leave and she asks what the other officers are doing in Beck's office. He says that he told them to look at Hawkins's laptop and to decide what they will do to him. The officers then come out and tear the ASA flags off of their uniforms, asking Beck for orders. Beck tells his men to spread the word to prepare for a fight.
Eric and the rest of the Rangers come into town where Gray is waiting. Gray tells them "I thought I told you to stay out of trouble while I was gone." Eric sees that Gray has replaced the ASA flag with Johnston's Gadsden Flag, and Gray says that it was time for Johnston Green to have his voice heard again.
In Texas, Chavez comes and tells Jake that after the bomb is authenticated, Texas is siding with the old US government based in Columbus, which will lead to the second American Civil War. Texan soldiers load the nuke into a trunk as Hawkins is loaded into an ambulance. As the ambulance drives away, Hawkins asks Jake "How does it feel, makin' history?"
Producers initially shot two endings—one a cliffhanger, one more of an open-ended wrap-up, at the request of CBS, which was still undecided on the future of the show beyond the second season.. On March 20, 2008, CBS notified the show's producers that they would not renew the show, and that they would show the wrap-up version. According to producer Jon Steinberg, the version with the cliffhanger ending will appear on the season two DVD set, and may also be made available for viewing on CBS' website.
The alternate ending begins with Jake and Hawkins arriving at the airport; Hawkins tells Jake to let him out on the runway so he can disable the tower. If he's not back in 10 minutes, Jake is to leave without him. Jake waits at the plane and Hawkins blows up the tower, but the ASA troops swarm the area. Due to his wounds, Hawkins is caught by the troops as Jake leaves without him.
We see that Hawkins has been taken to Lumeridge Prison in Colorado, where the Secret Service plans to interrogate him and hold him there for life after he has healed. Hawkins then has an encounter with Valente, who tells him how difficult he's made things and that he wants to know everything Hawkins knows. However, Hawkins sarcastically replies that he knows that Valente and Tomarchio will soon be exposed by the analysis of the bomb and that the United States will stop the Allied States from gaining any more power. Valente then leaves Hawkins to his fate in the cell.
Upon arriving in Texas, Jake is greeted by Governor Todd (a woman) and Chavez, who asks about the whereabouts of Hawkins. Jake says he was captured and Chavez deduces he would be at Lumeridge. Jake then moves towards the plane and Chavez asks where he's going. "To get my friend! You coming?" Chavez simply smirks before he and Jake board the plane and the bomb is taken away. It ends with the plane taking off from the runway, a thunderstorm forming in the sky.
The title of the episode alludes to a quotation from Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787. The letter reads in part, "What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure."
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- Jefferson: Writings. Library of America, 1984. ISBN 0-940450-16-X.