11.22.63: The Eyes of Texas (and Johnny Clayton) are Upon You (Recap/Review)

In 11.22.63: The Eyes of Texas, it appears that Sadie’s husband, Johnny Clayton is watching over his wife and Jake, and it is his eyes that are upon the couple in the bungalow and not the CIA’s.

Jake and Billy listening in on Oswald

In 11.22.63: The Eyes of Texas, it appears that Sadie’s husband, Johnny Clayton is watching over his wife and Jake, and it is his eyes that are upon the couple in the bungalow and not the CIA’s. Things look to be unravelling fast as the past pushes back against Epping as he gets closer to learning about Oswald’s plans.

Bill becomes infatuated with Marina, Miss Mimi reveals to Jake that she knows his secret (that he is really Jake Epping), Deke offers some advice and Sadie gets a visit from her husband at the school.  Jake tells “Miz” Mimi about being in the Witness Protection program as he tells of Michael killing Fredo in The Godfather Part II.

Along with Jake’s singing part of an old Beatles tune, “I Saw Her Standing There” to Sadie (just before Deke catches the two teachers sharing a kiss in the music room) this was another nod to Epping’s feeling like an outsider and quoting things from  the future. Although it does beg the question, what if someone liked the lyrics from his invisible friends, Paul, George, John and Ringo?

Leaving aside quotes from future bands, although not too far in the future as the group got their first number one hit in 1964 with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, it is interesting to note that Johnny Clayton could be a close relative, or at the very least a spiritual twin of Castle Rock killer Frank Dodd from The Dead Zone.

The thing both men have in common is a clothespin placed on their penises. Dodd as a small boy,who later grew to murder “dirty women” and it appears that Clayton still wears his, all the better to be prepared for that “dirty wormy” hole…  Both men have  obviously been  damaged by their mothers and the two evoke feelings of pity and revulsion.

In this episode, The Eyes of Texas do not feel as though they are looking upon events as must as the past is.  One thing is certain, the eyes of Johnny Clayton are also upon Epping and Sadie, as the odd man takes pictures of the two lovers.

The push, that has been getting more apparent since the fire, has manifested in Billy’s increased attraction to Marina and his sexual frustration.

The scene at the local “cat” house where he has to sit downstairs as Epping goes upstairs to spy on Lee and George and Turcotte’s  inadvertent voyeurism of Lee and Marina having some pretty verbal sex both show how close the younger man is to become stressed out.

Marina and Lee’s taped sex session pops up later on after Johnny sets up his wife to hear the recording in Jake’s basement.

As the past increases its struggle to keep Epping from changing things, it is clear that while Sadie may also be part of this push, so too is her weird estranged husband. The man has turned up four times in the episode. Once, off-screen, while taking pictures, twice in person; at the high school and later when Jake has followed George to meet his powerful friends and the last time as a shadowy figure at Epping’s house.

11.22.63 could have the past push so hard that everything blows up.  Storm clouds are gathering as Deke’s disapproval of Jake’s arrest at a brothel mixes with the man’s concern over his lover Miss Mimi’s health, Billy’s testosterone and hormones are taking a battering every time he interacts with Marina and, of course, Clayton’s move against Jake.

Again, it is not necessary to refer to the source material as  showrunner Bridget Carpenter is attempting to cover all the bases. Granted Bill Turcotte (George MacKay) has had his part increased substantially in the mini-series, but it works.  Although there are times when the character appears more as an irritation than compatriot/sidekick as Carpenter has called him. 

Thus far, it looks to be a race as to who will cause things to fall apart first.  Bill with his intrusion into the Oswald’s life, “here Marina I found your daughter’s dolly,” or Clayton’s intrusion into Sadie’s. “Who are you,” she asks Jake after hearing the “sex tape” of Lee and Marina that Johnny so carefully set up.

11.22.63, while not on par with Stephen King’s book, is pretty damned close. It has the same feeling that the original does. That outsider feel, the idea that the whole thing is going to collapse even while Epping is managing to fit in well enough to fall in love with Sadie.

Kudos to Sarah Gadon for bringing Sadie Dunhill to life so effectively that at no time do we ever doubt that James Franco’s Epping could help falling in love with this woman  so “ahead of her time.” 

The mini-series airs Mondays on Hulu. Stop by and prepare to be mesmerized by the plot, the performers and the pacing. The three Ps are doing pretty well in the entertainment stakes.

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