11.22.63. Truth – and Consequences (Recap/Review)

11.22.63 continues with Truth and Sadie bursting from Jake’s house by the lusty sounds of Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald’s love making.

Daniel Webber as Lee Harvey Oswald in 11.22.63

11.22.63 continues with Truth and Sadie bursting from Jake’s house by the lusty sounds of Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald’s love making. Not knowing that the consequences of having told Epping about her husband’s clothes pin will cause innumerable problems.  Ms Dunhill wastes no time telling Jake that she is not happy that he continues to like to her.

After Sadie leaves, Jake is left to orchestrate the General Walker mission, where he hopes to learn the truth of just what Oswald’s part was in the attempted shooting of the public figure.  Prior to Bill and Jake casing out Walker’s house and making plans to catch Oswald in the act, Jake is let go from the school.

Deke Simmons (Nick Searcy) uses the morality clause in Jake’s contract to release him.  Although the principal explains the it will be easier for Epping to get another job if he resigns. Miss Mimi is not happy to see Jake go at all.

Bill Turcotte continues to be too aware of Marina and Jake goes to clear up the Oswald evidence. Johnny Clayton (T.R. Knightcalls Epping and tells him to come to Sadie’s house. Jake calls Turcotte and tells him to go to Walker’s on his own.

At Sadie’s house, Jake arrives to find that Clayton has cut his wife’s face deeply and she is sitting in a dining room chair. Johnny rants (sounding a bit like Annie Wilkes “Dirty bird” is used quite often, along with the “wormy-hole” thing that Clayton likes so much)

As Jake is held “under the gun” so to speak, it is Sadie (Sarah Gadon) who remains clear headed enough to attempt an escape. She breaks a fruit bowl after telling Epping to get ready. After the bowl crashes to the floor, Sadie reveals that Johnny’s grandmother molested him as a 12 year-old boy and that the woman was taken away.

Clayton goes off like a rocket and as he reaches full rant, the doorbell rings, interrupting his rage and for a moment all three freeze. Meanwhile, Bill makes contact with Marina again and as a result meets Oswald.

The doorbell was two of Dunhill’s students delivering a raffle win. Jake tells the kids to call the police. Clayton tells Jake that if he does not drink the full glass of bleach, he will kill Sadie.  As Epping raises the glass to his lips, Clayton leans forward eagerly and Jake throws the bleach in the man’s face.

Johnny is blinded and he begins shooting around the room as Jake and Sadie crouch in the corner of the living room. Epping tosses his watch over by the television and Clayton turns and shoots the screen.  Epping grabs a poker and hits the man in the head. A shot rings out and Clayton falls.

Sadie is rushed to the hospital and as the police start to question Jake, Deke comes to the rescue. The sheriff is a former student of Deke’s and the principal tells the man he can meet Jake at the hospital. Bill watches Marina and Oswald until Lee leaves.

At the hospital, Jake learns what medicine was like back in 1960s America.  At the Walker’s house, Bill waits nervously for Oswald to show up. The church near the general’s house lets out and Turcotte sees his dead sister. Distracted and excited, the man runs to catch the woman and misses the attempted shooting of Walker.

Sadie survives  the attack and Jake tells her the truth, that he is from the future. She begins to laugh until she realizes Epping is serious. Jake and Sadie finally meet for real and he declares his love.

This episode showed just how the past pushes when Jake gets too close. The timing of Clayton’s attack on Sadie and his planned murder of Epping/Amberson is not coincidental. The past also interferes with Turcotte’s fact finding mission by inserting his dead sister Clara.

In this version of King’s time travel tale, Jake has not returned to the future. In the novel verse of 11.22.63 he does reset the clock a number of times. Once again, this omission has not harmed the tale and enough incidents are included to keep relatively true to the written story.

With Bill inserting himself into the Oswald’s lives, because of his attraction to Marina, there are sure to be consequences that make the mission to stop Lee more difficult.  11.22.63 airs Mondays on Hulu and thus far has been a pretty decent adaptation of Stephen King’s novel.  Tune in and see whether the truth can be learned before Oswald strikes.

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.

11.22.63: Review – Other Voices, Other Rooms: Slowing Things Down

In episode 3 of 11.22.63; Other Voices, Other Rooms, the Hulu series slows things down, while simultaneously pushing the plot up a notch, in terms of Oswald, Jake’s new helper and the romance between Epping/Amberson and Sadie Dunhill (Sarah Gadon).

Jake and Billy listening in on Oswald

In episode 3 of 11.22.63; Other Voices, Other Rooms, the Hulu series slows things down, while simultaneously pushing the plot up a notch, in terms of Oswald, Jake’s new helper and the romance between Epping/Amberson and Sadie Dunhill (Sarah Gadon). In this installment Bill Turcotte (George MacKay), whose sister was the first woman that Frank Dunning murdered, buys a ticket on Jake’s “man from the future” ride. 

The two team up and head to Jodie, Texas where Jake gets a job and meets Dunhill yet again and the attraction between the two is instantaneous after they get past “From Here to Eternity.”  The two people have a lot in common, both divorced, although Jake’s took place in 2016, and the attractive pair “know where the noses go.”

Sadie’s acceptance of jake’s fumbling and increasingly desperate apology for leaving her with 200 students to chaperone is a brilliant moment of romance that brings back memories of “that perfect” match moment.  Her straight-forward “Don’t ever do that to me again,” signals a woman who will take no guff from a man and sets up Dunhill as a strong female character that is attractive to boot.

Once again, the serendipity of the two meeting in Jodie, Texas where she just happens to be the new librarian at the school where Jake has been taken on as the English teacher, is not a good thing, surely. Placing a love interest so close to the future arena of conflict is the past pushing back, although the series is approaching it rather obliquely at this point.

Oswald (Daniel Webber) is an enigma of almost epic proportions. Controlling, a mommy’s boy, a man desperate for attention and, it seems, one who has mental issues as well. Out of the  two stressful events seen by the viewer Oswald reacts  differently.  Take for example his reaction to hearing  Jake and Billy in his apartment. Lee might have been furious at this invasion to his privacy, but it was a lucid and perfectly spoken rage. No slurring of words and no outbursts of violence. 

At the General Walker speech later on, however,   Oswald is slurring his words, stumbling around and is, at times, almost incoherent. Was the would-be assassin drugged or does he have a mental condition (the real Oswald was said to be very mentally troubled); a hidden ailment, not unlike Jack Ruby (who died of cancer after shooting Oswald in the real world)  that the CIA agent is taking advantage of.

The use of Japanese electronic devices is cute and the reminder of what 1960s Texas, and indeed the entire South, was like in terms of racism evokes anger and sadness in equal measure.  The treatment of Miss Mimi (played by Tonya Pinkins who is on FOX’s Gotham as Ethel Peabody) give two instances where Jake as outsider is first surprised then enraged at the treatment of this lady.

The coffee scene in the high school office where Epping (as Amberson) offers to pour Miss Mimi a cup of coffee is the first instance. The entire room stops in shocked silence at the lapse in 1960s protocol. Later, at the petrol station, the attendant flatly refuses to sell Mimi the fuel she needs, stating that she can go to the station in “N*****town.”

Jake reacts angrily and righteously by grabbing an empty gas can and fills it. He then lets Miss Mimi in his car after throwing money at the attendant.  Both of these incidents mark the time period perfectly for anyone who lived in the South, back in the day.

There is also an event triggered by a neighbor deciding that Billy and Jake are gay, something that comes back bite the duo later on. This incident is also evocative of the time period.

While this episode has slowed down the events, in order to bring things forward in terms of Oswald, it has the distinction of providing nail-biting suspense when the two men are trapped in the apartment while Marina (Lucy Fry) and Lee begin fooling around in the bedroom.  

As Billy and Jake become increasingly, desperate (Jake) and turned-on (Billy) the tension becomes almost unbearable. The moment they find their “way out” things do not diminish, as expected, but become more intense and damned hard to watch.

Jake has not yet realized that Sadie is yet another instance of the past pushing back as events move ahead to “that” day. Kudos on the excellent chemistry between Franco and Dunhill. Their romance feels spot-on, as it is meant to.

11.22.63 may not follow the book exactly (But then what adaption of King’s work has?) and thus far it does not really matter.  This version of King’s time travel tale entertains and keeps the viewer wanting more after each episode.  The series airs on Hulu Mondays, tune in and prepare to do a little white-knuckle viewing of this adaptation.

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